Sunday, August 10, 2008

El Centurion Guerrero (robusto)

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It should be interesting to see which of the new cigars being introduced at this year's IPCPR will be actually be worth the hype. I think it would be safe to say that the El Centurion by Don Pepin Garcia, introduced at last year's RTDA, has proven itself to be an absolute winner in looks and flavor. It is the first limited edition cigar for DPG which uses the best leaves grown from Cuban seeds in Nicaragua and contains both Nicaraguan Criollo 98 and Corojo 99. Only 850 boxes per three sizes were made. The robusto size is called the "Guerrero" and measures 5 inches by 50 ring gauge. I happened to get two free when I ordered some San Cristobal's recently but they usually retail for about $11.95 a stick.


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The El Centurion is probably the most attractive cigar I have smoked so far, and I've smoked quite a few now. The triple cap is just gorgeous and neatly applied. The oily Nicaraguan Habano wrapper is a beautiful medium brown color with hardly any veins and smells of a wonderful sweet and spicy tobacco. The cigars feel nicely packed but still cushiony. Once lighting the cigar you get such a nice warm and spicy aroma that just adds to your smoking pleasure.


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The flavor of the El Centurion is unique and wonderfully complex. I would call it elegant in the way it captures your attention with it's smooth and well balanced flavors. The cigar has just the right amount of honey sweetness to go along with it's floral and woody tang. Eventually the cigar develops a smooth coffee flavor along with some vanilla, cinnamon and white pepper spice. The burn line was not as straight as I would have liked it but it didn't take away from my enjoyment of this cigar. Just be prepared to torch it to keep it under control. The ash is nice and white and holds on pretty well.


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The second half of the cigar showed more creaminess with nuts and toasted sweet hay while still maintaining it's spicy profile. It still had some floral notes and some sharp cedar flavors as well. The body of this cigar is mostly medium. I anticipate it to be a sublime smoke with a little more aging.


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Overall, I would say this cigar is worth the $12 price tag. This cigar is really presented well. The tobacco used is all high quality and the cigar band is a true work of art. It also has unique and complex flavors not commonly found in other cigars. The burn performance, on the other hand, was not perfect or what you would expect for a premium smoke. The burn line was crooked and the wrapper did lift slightly at one point. Plus, towards the end I had to re-light the cigar to get a better burn and more smoke. Despite this, I would buy this cigar again just because I enjoyed it's flavor and complexity so much. When you smoke it you can feel the heart and soul that went into creating this blend. We can only hope as cigar smokers that veteran blenders like DPG will continue to put out new brands that reflect their true passion for making cigars. Otherwise, why bother crowding the market with another crappy cigar.

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