My Father Cigars – Don Pepin Garcia 15th Anniversary
Due to work and stuff I have been a bit here and there lately but this week I couldn’t wait to get out back and enjoy some “Me” time. Here I find myself with a Don Pepin Garcia 15th Anniversary and a bottle of the Answer’s Double barrel King Molokai.
The Good Stuff:
The Don Pepin Garcia 15th Anniversary, as you would guess, was created to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the brand. The Garcia family is one of the most famed, and coveted cigar manufacturers in the word. The Don Pepin Garcia 15th Anniversary features an all Nicaraguan make-up utilizing a special tobacco called “Pelo de Oro” or Hair of Gold which is a very difficult tobacco to grow as it attracts mold, and bacteria which can quickly decimate whole tobacco crops if not carefully looked after. Each year since 2010 the company has released a Anniversary blend which until this past year, has always come in a single toro format fitted into coffin boxes. While the coffin box remains he same this year the family has added an additional Robusto format to the mix. The cigars come packaged in boxes of 14 running between $20 and $23 a stick. We got ours over from the wonderful Cuenca Cigars.
Size: 5 3/4 x 50
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Pairing: The Answer Double Barrel King Molokai (Barleywine 14.5% ABV)
The Don Pepin Garcia 15th Anniversary starts out with an absolutely stunning, dark, milky brown wrapper which is incredibly consistent in color. The wrapper’s texture is mildly toothy with a good amount of oil coating it. The wrapper feels very dense and heavy while the cigar as a whole feels very hard, firm, and tightly compacted. There are a few minor veins scattered throughout the cigar’s body leading towards the round, triple-wrapped cap. The cigar is polished off with a dark blue band based on the classic Don Pepin Blue band only much more extravagant. Then of course each cigar comes packaged in it’s own cedar coffin box.
The wrapper on the Don Pepin Garcia 15th Anniversary unleashes a ton of bold cedar and spice aromas while the foot is more natural with grain, tobacco, and earthiness. The cigar cut like butter using my Xikar XO double bladed cutter. The cold draw features some great spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, earthiness, and tobacco flavors.
The Don Pepin Garcia 15th Anniversary starts out with a whole mess of sharp black pepper which leaves my tongue and lips tingling. After the first few draws the pepper starts to fade away revealing huge amounts of cedar, espresso and vanilla with notes of earthiness, soft spice, pine, and almond. The draw is fabulous as each little puff kicks out a great amount of thick, white smoke which dissipates very quickly. The burn line is razor thin and dead even leaving behind a trail of tightly compacted medium-gray ash which held on for an inch before giving way.
Into the second third of the Don Pepin Garcia 15th Anniversary and the flavors have still be pouring it on. The cedar and espresso lead the charge backed by vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, almond, and lots of natural earthiness. The pine flavor I encountered at the start has completely faded away. The retrohale brings back all the sharp pepper I picked up in the first few puffs which is a bit overwhelming so I don’t find myself doing it too often. The burn line is still very sharp, and very even as I close out the second third with a nice mild nicotine kick.
Into the final third of the Don Pepin Garcia 15th Anniversary the flavors are still very bold, and the body is sitting in the full range, but they have started to come together to provide a much more balanced profile. The cedar and vanilla still lead the charge backed by light sweetness, earthiness, espresso, and spice. It took me almost two hours to take this cigar down to the nub. I experienced no harshness, no extended heat, and the cigar burned like a champ as I never once had to reach for my torch to touchup or relight the cigar. I close out the experience with a decent little nicotine kick.
The Don Pepin Garcia 15th Anniversary is a fantastic cigar in every way. The bold profile is complex, while not overpowering. The strength is full, but not ass-kicking. The construction is flawless creating a perfect smoking experience. Sure the price point is high, but this isn’t something I’d smoke everyday. This a perfect celebratory cigar, or one for those perfect moments when you are caving something a bit more extraordinary.
I had been waiting for a cigar I knew that was bold enough and had enough body to pair up with the Answer’s Double Barrel King Molokai. Brewed in Richmond, VA this 14.5% ABV barleywine is a blend of: Laird’s Apple brandy/Bourbon Barleywine (70% Barleywine/30% Stout) with Kona coffee, Macadamia, Hazelnut, vanilla and toasted coconut. This beer is a thick, chewing thing featuring one of the sweetest profiles I have ever had in a beer. Leading with tons of vanilla, molasses, almond, coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, oat, and malt with an extremely heavy mouthfeel before finishing even sweeter with more vanilla, coconut, coffee, molasses, and malt. As the beer warms more and more of the vanilla and coffee find their way through while the coconut starts to fade out. This is a big, bold beer and the Don Pepin Garcia 15th Anniversary really held it’s own against it. The vanilla, almond, and spices made for a perfect pairing with the flavors in the cigar while the sweetness from the beer helped add another dimension to the experience.