Cigar Review: Don Pepin Garcia Vegas Cubanas

DPG Vegas CubanasSize: 5×50, Robusto (Invictos)

Wrapper: Nicaraguan (Habano Rosado Claro)

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan (’99 Corojo)

Strength: Medium

Price: Box of 25, $154.95

Grade: 8.7

The Vegas Cubanas from Don Pepin Garcia is one of Pepin’s first blends and is currently produced at his Miami factory, El Rey de Los Habanos. It is comprised of Cuban-seed tobacco from a 1999 crop for which there is some secrecy attached to. Its medium body sets it apart from other Pepin blends, for which we lesser-bodied smokers are thankful for! Though the VC is one of his first blends, it is very easy to come by online, in both boxes and five packs.

We all know plenty about Don Pepin Garcia, so let’s get on to the toast!

Pre-light, 1.8:
This Don Pepin beauty was pure class from top to bottom, starting with a triple cap and an elegant label. The Rosado wrapper had a wonderful red hue to it with no discolorations. The construction was great as well, with no soft spots, minimal veins, and a well formed foot—classic Pepin quality. The aroma was of sweet cedar, slight earth, and a bit of spice that seemed to linger longer than the other smells. The draw was a little loose and had some unannounced flavors, even a bit bland. After several cold draws, I eventually was able to pick up some sweet and earthy profiles but mostly it was empty.

Burn, 1.6:
The draw was fairly loose and started off with a quick burn. The smoke was very thick and had a nice billow to it. The ash was very nicely colored but had no hold to it and flaked along the edges for the duration of the smoke. The burn was even and the smoke pulled a little dry even though it has been properly stored for several months. From the two thirds mark forward there were some issues with the burn and I had to perform one re-light. Not a terrible burn experience, but not up to what I’m accustomed to with Don Pepin’s cigars.

Flavor, 2.6:
As to be expected, the Vegas Cubanas throws you back with spice in the first few puffs, but it quickly mellowed out, setting it aside from most Pepin smokes. In some regards, the flavor on this stick reminded me of the Tabacos Baez (review), another medium bodied Pepin blend. The first third kept a bit of the spicy tingle on the tongue but mostly mellowed into a nice earthiness with an ample amount of cream. The second third didn’t provide much transition other than a bit of fruit on the edges of the smoke; the finish was less pronounced during this portion of the cigar as well. The final third provided a momentary return of spice, but only enough to remind you of the transition. It finished with the classic Nicaraguan flavor profile of earth and cream and had a smoky and grainy undertone.

Overall, 2.7:
Locally, this stick was $7.70, which is a bit strong for what you are getting in my opinion, but with a box purchase you can get the price down to around $6 a stick. On a blind test, you’d write down DPG pretty quickly; the construction was fairly spot on, the burn had some issues toward the end, and the flavor had some nice complexity to it. If this stick jumped down a bit in price it would fly more closely to my radar, but right now I’d pass on it.

Question of the Day: What is your take on a company that puts out multiple blends each year, such as Don Pepin Garcia and Rocky Patel? Do they risk diluting their reputation?

(Total: 8.7)