The La Duena is cigar designed to satisfy the palate of Don Pepin Garcia’s daughter, Janny Garcia, who desired something medium in strength, and full in flavor. The name translates most commonly to “The Female”, “The Owner”, or “The Mistress”, but that seems to differ in both definition and insinuation depending on who you ask. Blended by Pete Johnson, and rolled at the My Father factory, the La Duena certainly meets the requisites for a great cigar. Let’s see if that theory holds true in execution, shall we?
Cigar: La Duena
Size: 6×42 Petit Lancero
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan, Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Nicaraguan, Connecticut Broadleaf
Appearance and Pre-light Aroma:
The wrapper is beautiful deep brown, with a slight rustic look. The wrapper is smooth throughout the cigars length, with only a few noticeable veins throughout. The texture is fine but coarse, similar to a high-grade sandpaper, emphasized by the fine layer of tooth present. All of this is delicately wrapped up with beautiful pigtail cap.
The foot radiates a strong dose of dark earthy tobacco aroma, characterized by a chocolate sweetness and some barnyard notes. Already a tingle of spice hits the back of the nose, a sure sign of what’s to come.
Right out of the gate we have rich milk chocolate and spicy red pepper. If one were to light the La Duena up blind it wouldn’t take long to figure out which family is responsible for this cigar. All our favorite Pepin and Pete Johnson characteristics are present. Smooth but well defined spice on the front end, built upon a foundation of rustic dry earthy notes. The real highlight, at least thus far, is the wrapper. The connecticut broadleaf wrapper being used gives just a really savor sweet chocolate note that is able to take the edge off some of the spicier aspects.
Most of the abrasive spicy aspects of the La Duena have cooled off, leaving a very refined smooth, but dominant white pepper. Some definite earthy mineral and soil undertones, but the profile is mostly dominated by creamy sweetness and the aforementioned white pepper. The sweetness itself is creamy to the point of being described as velvety, and has taken on a bit of tang in the tail-end. The retrohale is particularly enjoyable, as it contains mainly a warm sweetness with just the right amount pepper for a playful top-end zest. This is a plus in my book, as I’ve had my nostrils eviscerated more times by Pepin products than I’d care to admit.
Just when you think you’ve got the La Duena figured out it throws you a curve ball. The sweetness and spice have blended together to create something along the lines of roasted/lightly burnt maple. The body, while not overpowering, is remarkably robust and meaty. The La Duena has been a flavor bomb since puff numero uno, but it really is hard to do justice to just how much definition is so densely packed into the profile of this cigar. A host of wood notes have come to life, in the form of strong oak and mild cedar. The foundations of this cigar are still earth, soil, and minerals. Pepper and spice are at their most gentle, and a retrohale is a creamy wave of sweet tang.
Burn and Construction:
The My Father Cigars factory is known for a number of things, one of which is their quality control. Very, very rarely will burn, roll, or draw issues be found. That holds true for the La Duena. The draw was just the right degree of tight, and the construction was rock solid. The burn did get a bit wavy here and there, but was able to self-correct with ease. Only two minor touch-ups were needed in the span of 6 inches. When I draw on a cigar, I enjoy my efforts to be compensated with a hearty mouthful of smoke. The La Duena does this with ease, and is nicely satisfying as such. Additionally, all three La Duena’s smoked for this review were smoked to the point of my fingers nearly being burned, a token of my enjoyment of this a cigar, and its ability to deliver great flavor without becoming bitter.
I find myself discussing what a great time it is to be a cigar enthusiast to the point of redundancy, and with cigars as good as the La Duena trickling out from various manufactures it’s hard not too. The La Duena is a phenomenal cigar that is medium in strength, and full with body and flavor. An excellent way to enjoy the flavor of a traditional powerhouse, without enduring the palate-crushing effects associated. The heavy utilization of Connecticut Broadleaf coincides well with my palate. While I enjoy the Pepin/Johnson profile quite a bit, it’s not something I reach for everyday. I find the dry, earthy, peppery profile to be a bit taxing on my palate to be smoked frequently, and the sweetness in the La Duena from the broadleaf largely mitigates that. My Father and Tatauje fans will find the La Duena familiar, but worthy of standing on its own. Whether or not they’ll choose it over the classics is anyone’s guess. At the very least, it will serve as a change of pace for them. For me, it may just be my new go-to for that profile.
4 out of 5