It’s safe to say Don Diego cigars are made well. I can’t recall receiving complaints about the quality or construction of this brand. It’s the recipient of numerous favorable ratings from various cigar magazines and commands prices anywhere from $4 to $7 per stick (well, not at CI). Holding the cigar in my hand, a hefty 6”x50 Grande, I can easily agree with these statistics. A sweet, cedary aroma works hand in hand with a thin, vein-free wrapper to scream, “Pick me, I’m gentle!” to passersby. And gentle it is. Smooth, gentle and crisp. Not bad, especially if you’re new to cigars, or the exact opposite, a loyal veteran that refuses to try something new. I find that a lot from those that smoke old brands like these...Don Diego, Henry Clay, Hoyo de Monterrey etc. Come on fellas, variety is the spice of life! But I digress. The chestnut-brown Connecticut shade wrapper is incredibly smooth, and lends a straight burn from first spark up, while the Dominican and Brazilian long-fillers turn to a solid pale-grey ash. The aroma remains pleasant, and will surely please any crowd. The flavor, that’s another story. These days, I find this cigar doesn’t have enough character to please my palate, which is growing more critical by the hour. The flavor is pleasant, and mellow. Offering the slightest hint of cedar. No bells, no whistles, just a crisp tobacco flavor that diminishes hastily after each puff. If I smoked 1 cigar every few days, Don Diego might stand a chance, but I’m up to 2-3 a day lately. That kind of rotation calls for something with a little more substance. There’s nothing wrong with mellow, as long as there’s some complexity to add a little excitement. Sorry Don Diego, things just aren’t going to work out.
Don Diego is one of those names that’s become synonymous with ‘gentle’. It’s a go-to brand for beginners – they know the name, it’s easy to say and you’ll find it in just about any cigar shop across the country. They’re consistent, well-made and make for an easy introduction to the wonderful world of premium handmade cigars. Heck, one of the first cigars I ever had was a Don Diego, given to me by a friend’s father. It was good. 40+ years in the cigar-making business should account for a good smoke.