Continuing our tour of all things spiced, spicy, and pepper-packed, comes a squat little Belicoso boasting Cuban seed tobacco that's been exclusively grown in Nicaragua. Meet Don "Pepin" Garcia's Cuban Classic.
Synonymously referred to as the "1970 Black," the first cigar to be produced in Don "Pepin" Garcia's newest Nicaraguan factory is both beautiful and bold. Honoring the birth year of his son and fellow cigar master blender, Jaime, this is one of those cigars that promises a kick in the palate when it comes to spice intensity.
I've been wanting to smoke Pepin Garcia's Cuban Classic for quite some time, and as with every other premium cigar blend I've had from old man Garcia, this stout little stogie did not disappoint.
At just 5-inches long (my sample measured just a dash over in length), the 1970 Black is quite the compact Belicoso. The Habano Rosado red cigar wrapper cloaking this smoke oozes with appeal, with the duo of black cigar bands and gold fabric wrapped around the foot adding an attractive contrast.
Aromas of peppery spices, freshly harvested hay, chalky earth, and tanned leather are all there, and inspire you to salivate. The Cuban Classic is a very tightly packed and well-wrapped cigar, with unlit pulls providing many of the same flavors found on the nose, but with a nice splash of tartness added for good measure.
The first thing that hits you when you fire up this cigar is its cedar-rich aroma. It's by no means on par with the level of what I encountered in the sensational "Dias de Gloria" by AJ Fernandez, but it is still a very prominent attribute nonetheless.
Although it may feel tightly constructed, I had zero issue pulling plumes of silky spiced smoke through the tapered tip of the 1970 Black Belicoso. The first half is a spice box spiked with an intriguing array of aromas and aftertastes.
This is not the sort of baking spice blend you'd expect to find in the pantry at grandma's though. It's more of an exotic, herbal, grassy sort of spice. A medley that's almost akin to what you might encounter in a full-flavored plate of Thai cuisine. All told, this formulates a very promising start to this spicy Nicaraguan puro.
As layers of lemongrass and vegetative earthiness blend with the Cuban Classic's cedary aromatics, a pepper spice intensity begins to build. Black, white, and even a sprinkling of red pepper are all present, blending into a 100% Cuban seed filler backdrop that seems built to accommodate and balance this intensity.
Construction is without question one of this cigar's greatest strong suits. Even with a stiff riverside breeze blowing, all of that locally farmed Estelí tobacco held together in tidy form. As the Cuban Classic's brilliant white ash built, pull after pull did not disappoint in the level of smoke provided, with nary an an uneven burn line to be seen along the way.
Finishing up the final third of the Cuban Classic 1970 Black by Don "Pepin" Garcia, means embracing all that is bold. By this point, the cedar has given way to a mesquite-like tannin kick, and full-flavors are at every turn.
Spicy and strong, yet dangerously smooth, I couldn't find a single thing to dislike about the finishing flavors on this smoke.
A few intriguing points to ponder, is the alkalinity that builds, for while this cigar may have a tasted (and felt) a bit dry upon the palate early on, the final third is definitely mineral-rich. Personally, I found this to be a pleasant attribute. As it added some contrast to all of those lemongrass and herbal spiced flavors that continued to build throughout.
Another peculiar point, is the positioning of the primary cigar band. It sits fairly high up on the barrel, forcing you to remove it prematurely, which is a bit of a bummer considering how damn good looking it is.
Ash / Burn / Smoke / Draw
As the snaps I took along the way clearly illustrate, the ash of the 1970 Black is about as good as it gets. Burn rates were slow and steady, and securing a puff of smoke was never an issue, as the tight construction of the cigar did not affect the draw. Very impressive construction and combustion all around.
The next time I reach for a full-flavored after-dinner cigar, the Cuban Classic 1970 Black Belicoso is sure to be topping the list.
Complex levels of pepper spice, organic herbal grasses, floral aromas, and a woodsy stave of flavor in the center make for one fascinating full-strength premium cigar blend. A must experience stubby smoke for fans of spicier cigars.
|Don "Pepin" Garcia Cuban Classic 1970 Black
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