In this industry, I learn something new every day. Whether it’s from a cigar manufacturer, manager or co-worker, if you have something interesting to say about tobacco, I’m all ears. Believe it or not, one of my finer resources for good information is customers from the CI Super-Store. It amazes me how much these folks know about tobacco growing, fermenting, rolling and so much more.
Sadly though, a customer occasionally gets a hold of some bad info and ends up spouting it off to me, thus, resulting in a painful wince in my face as if I just changed a diaper. A loyal customer named G. swears that the Don Pepin Garcia Blue blend changes every time he comes into the store. His bewilderment is conceived by the fact that Pepin formerly applied a pale blue cigar band with normal manuscript font for the blend. However, more recently, the hue of blue has changed to a darker shade, while the gold font is printed in cursive. This makes G.’s head spin, elevating a state of confusion in his mind. Seriously, he stumbles down the CI Super-Store aisles as if he just got off the Tea Cup ride at Disney World.
I’m not comparing the cigars with two differing bands side-by-side because, honestly, it’s not that big of a deal to me. But G.’s baffling plight did spark an interest in me to rate the blend. Therefore, I am smoking the Don Pepin Garcia Blue Invicto (Robusto).
Before I spark this thing up, I’m excited. Not only do people rave about Pepin’s blends, the Blue is a cigar that receives an overabundance of high accolades, including a #8 rating as a top cigar in the world according to a well-known cigar publication. With this said, I expect greatness.
However, as I grab this Nicaraguan puro off the shelf, I need to be honest with you; this cigar doesn’t look overly appealing to me. It’s ok I guess. The Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper looks average at best and that original pale blue band with gold manuscript is somewhat lackluster. The ‘Invicto’ size is a standard 5”x50 robusto, a size that I prefer while at work. One thing I know is never judge a book by its cover, especially when it comes to a Pepin blend.
As I toss the vaguely yellow cellophane away (a sign of good age), I fire up the Blue with wooden stick matches. A pleasant, rich aroma fills the air but I’m greeted by a significantly tight draw. Listen, I can’t suck no golf ball out of a garden hose…if I could, it would be extremely questionable…and I’m not fixin’ to start practicing. I’ve had relatively good experience with Pepin’s products but a 12-year old must have been operating the Drawmaster during the construction of this cigar because I am getting minimal smoke.
I quickly toss the cigar away and grab a new one. As I spark Blue #2 up, the draw is much better and I catch a nice leathery note at the start. Okay…now this is what I’m talking about! Through the first half-inch of the cigar a subtle spice changes into a bready flavor which I enjoy. Seriously, I’m getting notes of sourdough pretzel, but that could be due to the fact I ate 3 small bags of Anderson Buttered Balls…wow, that sounds awkward. Oddity aside, my happiness did not endure, for my Pepin Blue Invicto had extinguished without my doing. To blame it on myself could potentially be an erroneous accusation but I’ll take this one on the chin for the sake of argument. But while we’re at it, I did not catch many noteworthy changes of flavor throughout the rest of the cigar. Solid blend and flavor? Sure. Something that tickles my fancy? Not particularly.
I know…I didn’t give you much there. Sadly, I didn’t pick up on many notable characteristics that were singed into my memory. Moreover, I will not go on for two paragraphs barraging the cigar with disapproval. This cigar is medium-to-full bodied, though my friend G. really likes the Pepin Blue because it’s "mellow and smooth.” Epic fail, G.
Listen, I know this is a highly rated blend. Furthermore, I’m aware Pepin has been making incredible cigars for some time. Honestly, I’m just not on board right now with the Don ‘Pepin’ Garcia Blue Invicto. I ask of you to take my review with a grain of salt and, whatever you do, please do not lose confidence in my palate. However, at $7.50 a piece, it’s easy for me to chalk this one up as a FAIL.
Expert advice for the day: “If a lady gives you their phone number and it’s only 5 digits long, it’s fake!