This week’s review is one that took quite a bit a time to get to. Not because I was busy, or couldn’t find the cigars. I just kept smoking them all. Without giving too much away, lets dive into My Father/Tatuaje’s La Duena.
The Good Stuff: By now, we are all quite aware who Janny Garcia is. Don Pepin Garcia’s daughter who along side her father and brother Jaime Garcia have became some of the most prominent faces in the cigar industry. Both Don Pepin and Jaime both have their own blends, and now it was Janny’s time to share the spotlight. This cigar has an interesting upbringing though. Blended by Pete Johnson of Tatuaje, the La Duena’s (translated to the Female Owner) production is overlooked by Jaime Garcia and ultimately distributed by My Father cigars. La Duena follows closely in one of Pete’s more recent releases, La Casita Criolla which was composed purely of Connecticut Broadleaf. In the case of La Duena, The cigar starts with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, and a binder and filler that both contain Connecticut Broadleaf along with other Nicaraguan tobaccos. La Duena comes in 5 different vitolas: Robusto No. 5 (5 x 50), Belicoso No. 2 (5 1/2 x 54), Petit Lancero No. 7 (6 x 42), Petit Belicoso No. 9 (4 3/4 x 48) and the Petit Robusto No. 11 (4 1/2 x 52). La Duena comes in boxes of 21 and range from $7 – $8.75 a stick. I picked this one up from our friends in Phoenix a Fox Cigar Bar while I was up there. The first time I actually got to try La Duena was during out trip to Nicaragua last year. Pete met us at the door of the My Father factory and handed each one of us a La Duena as we entered.
Size: No.7 6 x 42
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf and Nicaraguan
Filler: Connecticut Broadleaf and Nicaraguan
Pairing: Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron (Imperial Brown Ale 12% ABV)
Prelight: La Duena is a beautiful cigar. Starting out with the beautiful dark, consistent brown wrapper. Not only is the color damn near perfect on this wrapper but so is the texture. This cigar is the perfect mixture of both oily, and toothy with only the smallest of webby veins throughout the slender body of the cigar. La Duena is ther polished off with a beautiful, nubby, possibly short rat tail. The band on the La Duena is beautiful and elegant, sporting a white, lacy silhouette of Janny herself on the front with fuscia and white embossed print on the rest of the band including the words “La Duena” on both sides.
The wrapper on the Duena gives off a very sweet, very spicy aroma white the foot smells like strong tobacco and straight up black pepper. The cap cut very easily and clean using my double bladed palio cutter. The cold draw produced a really strong, sweet prune and spice flavor. The draw seemed a bit held back, I am hoping that doesn’t make for a tight experience.
First Smoke: Right off the bat the Duena greeted me with some black pepper. Despite picking up a ton of the pepper in the pre-light, it was very minimal and faded shortly after the first few puffs. After the pepper dropped off the cigar was left with an incredibly sweet flavor mixed in with some bold tobacco, grape/prune, and soft cedar. The draw is only lightly tight and requires only a bit of effort to get a good draw from. Shortly after the first inch the draw really opened up and began pumping out tons of thick smoke that seemed to dissipate rather quickly. The Duena gives off almost no stationary smoke or aroma. The cigar’s burnline was razor sharp and dead even through the entire first third leaving behind a trail of brilliant white and light grey ash which held it’s ground for about an inch before falling into my ashtray.
Halfway There: A lot of the cedar in the Duena has really started to fade out as more and more of the sweet tobacco has taken center stage. The grape/prune flavors I picked up in the first third are still present into the second third with the edition of a ton of sweet spice. The spice is interesting though, it’s almost Christmas oriented with a possible mixture of nutmeg, cinnamon, and maybe even pine. Whatever, I’m reading too deep into this. It’s good, that is all. The retrohale still produces a ton of spice and a ton of black pepper. It’s a bit strong for me so I don’t find myself doing it too often. The burnline is still pristine and I am not feeling any nicotine from this cigar as of yet.
Finish: The final third of the Duena resulted in some interesting change ups. First, the black pepper is back and in full force. Along with that the grape/prune flavors have really started to take off with the spice and sweet tobacco dropping the cedar out of the equation. I smoked this cigar down to the nub. Seriously, this baby was burning my fingertips. Despite it being a lancero I was surprised to find no harshness, and no pre-mature heat from the cigar until it reached my fingers. It took me about an hour and half to smoke this cigar and it left me with only the slightest nicotine kick. On a side note, make sure you tap the ash often. I often forget that when it comes to lanceros, especially ones with ash as beautiful as this and it resulted in some very ashy pants.
Overview: Needless to say, I enjoyed this cigar. I enjoyed each size I smoked more than the next with this Petit Lancero being my favorite. La Duena is similar to last year’s La Casita Criolla release, only bolder, with much more flavors. Despite the complexity of this cigar, the flavors meshed incredibly well together and never really got out of hand making for a very smooth experience. The price tag on this cigar is way more than acceptable, in fact, I would probably pay much more than what this cigar is priced at. That being said, I think a box of these should be on everyone’s Christmas list.
Pairing: I’ve had a lot of La Duena’s, and it seems like a very easy cigar to pick out a great pairing for. Something full bodied, with lots of deep, rich flavors. Most any holiday ale, porter or stout falls in that category. What I decided to grab was Dogfish Head’s Palo Santo Marron. This unfiltered beer isn’t your standard brown ale. Brewed at the Dogfish Head brewery in Milton Delaware, this 12% powerhouse is aged in huge Paraguayan Palo Santo wood bringing out some of the boldest, richest flavors. The beer is very heavy and dark with lots of caramel, vanilla, malty, oaky goodness. The awesomely high ABV % only adds to the character. This beer was absolutely perfect as it blended in with the woodsy, sweet, fruity flavors the Duena packed. Not to mention the two were both full bodied with helped them work together to bring the experience to a new level.