It happens to the best of us. Hundreds of new cigars come out each year, and between trying to keep up with all the new stuff and revisiting your favorites it’s easy for a few cigars you love to fall through the cracks. In this series, I’ll be chronicling some of the cigars I’ve recently revisited that deserve to get a bit of attention. As per the nature of these particular articles, how consistently posts detailing overlooked cigars will be written is anyone’s guess. I can’t write a piece on hidden gems if nothing strikes the inspiration for it, now can I? Anyway, let’s start with an easy one.
Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic:
Don Pepin Garcia is arguably one of the most talented and prolific individuals in the industry, famous for putting out blends that have stood the test of time. Most interestingly, progression in Pepin’s palate and blending profile has continued to evolve over the years. His current work with My Father Cigars is a reflection of his modern approach, and quick look at their portfolio shows a line of cigars that have won countless accolades, including the Flor De Las Antillas which took home the coveted top spot on Cigar Aficionado’s list of the best cigars of 2012.
There’s no argument to be had about whether Pepin still has it or not. The My Father lines are indisputably fantastic. However, there are many of us who still appreciate and crave the profiles characteristic of Pepin’s old lines. Fortunately however, cigars like the Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic are still quietly produced to satisfy our needs. The Cuban Classic line (sometimes referred to as the “Black Label”) was the first blend to come from Pepin’s factory in Nicaragua, and as the name implies; the DPG Cuban Classic was designed to capture the essence of what Pepin felt were the timeless characteristics of a great Cuban cigar. Flavor positively explodes out of the cigar straight from the first puff, rich and full of vigor. Vibrant blasts of pepper and spice hit the palate in such a way that only classic Pepin has ever achieved, alongside meaty notes of sweet earth, wood, nuts, leather, and minerals; all with a texture so dense you can nearly chew it. While the strength is abnormally high for a breakfast cigar, I enjoy firing up a DPG Cuban Classic in the morning for the full effect. If that doesn’t get the crust out of your eyes in the morning nothing else will.
Coronado by La Flor:
The Coronado is a little known cigar from La Flor Dominicana that – for all intents and purposes – was only ever noticed by LFD fans and a few curious individuals and publications here and there. In fairness, the Coronado did take home several awards upon its initial release, but the life behind the Coronado quickly began to flat-line shortly thereafter. The Coronado had several things going against it, which I personally think are responsible for its ultimate downfall.
First and foremost, the flavor profile is completely outside the realm of what La Flor Dominicana has previously displayed. LFD is largely known by its reputation for being incredibly potent Dominican powerhouses, a fact that is supported by the fact that the Ligero and Double Ligero blends are the companies best sellers by an absurd margin. The Coronado by La Flor falls on the softer side of medium in almost all regards, and its flavors are largely light, crisp and vibrant – a stark contrast to the palate crushing meaty notes that LFD is known for.
The second issue is with the banding. While the band of the Coronado by La Flor is nice looking, it bares virtually zero resemblance to the core La Flor Dominicana band, nor anything else the company has produced. I don’t think there is any way around the fact that this was likely a serious setback for the Coronado.
Finally, nowhere on the band does Coronado actually say “La Flor Dominicana”, or even “LFD”. Towards the bottom of the band in small print the words “Coronado by La Flor” are written, and that is the sole connector to the LFD name. Unfortunately, – and this is purely speculation on my part -, I think the wording ‘Coronado by La Flor” had the effect of making the average person picking it up off the shelf assume it was some sort of off-label/factory-second product from La Flor Dominicana, when in all actuality it was a full fledged premium line from LFD.
Unfortunately, this resulted in the eventually discontinuation of the line. All of that is irrelevant however, because ultimately the most important question remains the same – “is it a good cigar?”, to which the answer is a definitive “yes”. The Coronado by La Flor is a cigar that tastes like nothing else, and is, in my opinion, one of the most flavorful medium bodied cigars available. The Coronado is built around a conglomerate of bright and sweet floral notes, very similar in essence to the type of flavors you might get from exotic tea leaves. Rounding out the bottom are lighter barnyard notes of soil, hay, grass, and leather. The Coronado by La Flor is high in complexity, and maintains excellent poise from start to finish. We were lucky enough to be able to order from the companies remaining inventory, so the ability to enjoy the cigar is still available in-store here at Cigar King for the time being. Ultimately though, we can only hope that this phenomenal blend sees the light of day in the future with a more traditional La Flor Dominicana look to it.