Cigar Review: My Father El Centurion Robusto

My Father El Centurion Robusto

Size: Robusto ( 5 3/4″ x 50)

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo 98

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan Criollo, Corojo Habano and Sancti Spiritus

Strength: Medium

Price: $7.50 msrp

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Grade: 9.1

One of the big surprises last year was word that My Father would be re-releasing the El Centurion blend for 2013.  The original El Centurion blend is arguably one of Pepin’s finest creations and if you can find them these days, boy are you in for a treat.

I had heard early in the year that the Centurion that was going to be released wasn’t the same blend, and while disappointed (understatement!), I was intrigued by what the Garcia family had in store for us using the namesake of cigar that had achieved an almost legendary stature.

El Centurion was released two months ago and with it’s release, the mystery was over.  The new El Centurion, a Nicaraguan puro, features a dark sun-grown wrapper, and the filler blend includes Sancti Spiritus, the same tobacco varietal used as the wrapper on the L’Atelier Imports core line.

But enough about that, Let’s toast the foot?

Pre-Light:  (1.8)  First thought….”Are you sure that’s a robusto?” quickly followed up by “Damn, I need to snip and light!”.   The El Centurion Robusto is an oversized Robusto at 5 and 3/4″ in length.  The Sun Grown Wrapper is full of bumps and veins, and the toothiness of it is makign me want to get this sucker lit.  The construction is exactly what I have to expect from My Father: Tight seams, firm to the touch, no soft spots, and a well applied triple cap.

The scent off the foot is rich.  The usual undertones of barnyard are there but it’s joined by a very distinct aroma that reminds me of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. The pre-light draw is not quite as intoxicating as the scent off the foot however I do pick up hay, cookie dough, and sweet tobacco.

Burn:  (1.8 )  The El Centurion offered up a near perfect draw with ample tension.  The burn line goes back and forth from jagged to crisp through the first half but levels out and burns true through the second half.  The white ash passes the inch test and holds consistently through the smoke.  The El Centurion burns cool to the nub.

Flavor:  (2.8)  At first light there is a gentle pepper that sticks to the side of the palate.  Once the stage is set element of a mild cocoa, earth, and a dark espresso join the fray.  As the El Centurion progresses there’s a toasty characteristic to the flavor in the smoke.

As I puff my way into the second third I am greeted by flavor I can best describe a charred raisins.  The second third of the El Centurion is a wonderfully complex assortment of flavors that consistently transition in depth.  Cocoa, espresso, earth.  charred raisin, pepper, and even a hint of red wine all appear in the flavor profile in varying amounts through the smoke.  Smoke body is nice and rich.  The finish is all flavor as the hallmark Pepin spice is dialed back in this El Centurion blend and while it is present, it is nicely balanced and not dominating the palate..

The last third is nearly identical to the second third.  Balanced, complex, harmonious, notes of earth, cocoa, espresso, charred raisin, pepper, spice, and a little sweetness on the finish.  It’s tricky to describe but there’s a darkness to the flavor profile. Either that or I’m just short of the right words.  Either way the last third brought together all the right elements the El Centurion had to offer.

Overall: (2.7)   I’ll be honest, the first two El Centurions I smoked didn’t do it for me.  Maybe it was a bad box, or they hadn’t settled yet, either way I don’t know.   What I do know is that I decided to revisit the El Centurion a few weeks later and thought I was smoking a different cigar.  Whatever was missing at first was there in spades when I reviewed the cigar.  Tons of flavors, lots of complexity, a nice balance, and with the extra 3/4″ in the Robusto format it’s a hell of a good value at $7.50.

Is this the new standard bearer for Pepin?  I don’t know that I’d go that far, but it’s a damn fine smoke and may be worth grabbing a box to see how it ages although at the price point there’s no reason not to just smoke ’em and enjoy!.

Total:  9.1