Reading Time: 5 minutes Don Pepin Garcia makes some astounding cigars, but are they as good when the price is bargain? That’s what we’ve come to find out! See our reviews to learn if it’s a buy or a bye…
Cigar Advisor Newsletter: January 2023
January News, Reviews, and Exclusive Content from Cigar Advisor!
Old Flames: Returning to Cigars You Once Loved
By Gary Korb
Spoiler Alert: You’ll notice my ‘Overtime’ and ‘Cigars We’ve Been Smoking This Month’ picks (both detailed later in the newsletter)—Romeo Eternal and H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez—they share something in common. They’re cigars that I hadn’t smoked in several years and stood the test of time by offering an outstanding smoke.
So, I got to thinking about returning to other cigars I’ve enjoyed but hadn’t lit in quite some time. Then I wondered whether other avid cigar smokers did this, too? Here’s the rub. Many new cigars arrive on cigar store shelves every week. If you tend to try them and like them it’s easy to forget about some cigars you’ve had in the past.
Take a stroll through the aisles of a well-stocked brick & mortar cigar store. That’ll spark some memories. If you don’t use a local tobacconist and buy cigars online, there’s another way to keep those memories alive. Using Famous Smoke Shop’s website as an example, if you have an account, you can build a Favorites list. And if you forget about your list—and I have for months sometimes—you can rediscover some fine primos in two clicks.
How to discover a new appreciation for old favorites
One of the cigars I recently smoked after a number of years was the CAO Pilón Toro. I hadn’t remembered it all that well, either. Box-pressed in an exquisite Ecuador Habano wrapper it’s a beautiful example of how the smaller circular fermentation method results in a bitter free and more flavorful smoke. Now I have a new appreciation for it; that’s another thing you may discover by returning to former cigars.
Another cigar I revisited was the Partagas Legend Toro. It’s not a cheap cigar. That could be why I haven’t smoked that many over the years. But I happened to have one in my humidor for a while and thought, It’s not going to last forever and neither are you. This Dominican-Honduran blend is pressed in one of the most flavorful Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers. It’s truly remarkable. Medium-bodied, the cigar issues perfectly nuanced flavors of cedar, leather, cocoa, cinnamon, and baking spices.
Why keeping a list of favorite cigars matters
Then I decided to take a look at some of the cigars in my own “favorites” list. Honestly, I hadn’t updated it in a long time and it revealed some long overdue surprises.
Another was the C.L.E. Corojo 11/18. I love prime Honduran tobacco and Christian Eiroa is a master. It’s also got a unique, patented shape. Highly consistent in flavor, burn, etc., it’s a modern classic and the Corojo wrapper is as “Cuban” as you’re gonna find out there.
I could go on ad-infinitum, but I’ll give you one more since I recently recommended it to one of my cigar lounge buddies. It’s a real bargain, too. I’m talking about the El Suelo Terreno. Blended by Pete Johnson, this portly cigar boasts an oily Ecuador Habano Oscuro wrapper and a mostly Nicaraguan blend below. It’s medium bodied but packs a load of flavor. Truth be told, the El Suelo line could easily sell for double its prices or more.
The moral of the story? If you haven’t returned to some memorable cigars you forgot about, do it. It’s well worth your while.
Cigars We’ve Been Smoking This Month
Sticks so good – we had to share…
Romeo y Julieta Eternal
Eternal represents the best of both, the iconic Romeo y Julieta brand and Plasencia’s phenomenal reserva privada tobaccos. – Gary
Flavor notes: Oak, nuts, caramel, nutmeg and other baking spices
Nicaraguan Habano Wrapper | Medium-Bodied | After Dinner Smoke
Caldwell Long Live the Queen
Lip-smackingly sweet & a perfect dollop of pepper. One of Caldwell’s best in recent memory! – Jared
Flavor notes: Cedar, sweet wood, vanilla, earth, salt, and pepper.
African Cameroon Wrapper | Medium-Bodied | Super Premium
Vegas Cubanas by Don Pepin Garcia
Say What?! Cigar Reviews That Made Us Laugh
The good, the bad, and the hilarious…
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ “A nice, big ash with a wonderfully long finish.”
Ed. Note: Hey, this is a family show!
⭐⭐⭐ “I like to dip mine in wine.”
Ed. Note: Hey, we said this is a family show!
⭐ “Nobody would buy this.”
Ed. Note: But…you…bought it.
Humidor Highlight: Top New Cigars
What’s fresh at Famous…
Surrogates Big Ten
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Oscuro
Happy 10-year anniversary, Surrogates! Hard to believe it’s been a decade since Tatuaje Cigars founder, Pete Johnson broke ground on Surrogates—one of Tat’s most sought-after offshoots. Fittingly named Big 10, this short run of sticks is limited to just 500 boxes and is rolled in the Britanicas size; a popular vitola in both the mainlines of Tatuaje and L’Atelier brands. As for your senses, unravel notes of dark berry, coffee, pepper, and earth with every puff. Raise your glass—err, ashtray—and smoke a toast to 10 more years!
See more from our latest edition of Top New Cigars.
Overtime: Bonus Buying Guide Picks
Exclusive cigar reviews not seen in Cigar Advisor articles…
Gary’s Bonus Pick: H. Upmann AJ Fernandez Toro – 5 Stars from 11 Reviews
One of the reasons I wanted to draw attention to H. Upmann by AJ Fernandez Toro was: in recent weeks several fellow cigar smokers have told me how much they love this first H. Upmann-J Fernandez collaboration. Medium-full in body, AJ used an Ecuador Sumatra wrapper, Corojo 99 binder, and vintage ‘98 Criollo and Piloto Cubano. Balanced and creamy, the smoke issues lead notes of cedar and leather underscored by earth, cocoa, and sweet tobacco. If you like the most recent H. Upmann Heritage by AJ, you might want to give this cigar a second look.
Paul’s Pairings: Have What He’s Having
Our resident boozeologist shares his cigar and beverage pairing of the month!
In our glass: Whiskey Sour
This classic cocktail takes me back to my college days. Ditch the sweet and sour mix to class it up.
What you need:
- 2 oz whiskey (or bourbon)
- ¾ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ – ¾ oz simple syrup to taste
- 1 maraschino cherry or lemon peel for garnish (optional)
Combine whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry or lemon peel.
Pair it with this: Juarez by Crowned Heads
A sweet, sour, and fiery cocktail like a whiskey sour needs a cigar that’s its equal. The Crowned Heads Juarez—a more affordable version of their Jericho Hill line—is a medium-plus bodied blend brimming with balance and complexity. The Juarez’s bittersweet, savory, and spicy flavor profile works in perfect harmony with a whiskey sour.