Review: Don Pepin Garcia Lancero (Puff ‘N’ Stuff)
I was in a pretty foul mood when I got up yesterday morning (long day at work on Saturday), so I decided to have a smoke. I knew I wanted something that was going to be good, but something I had not reviewed before as well. As I was searching through my Vinos, one after another, I came across a half full box of these, and figured I would officially review what has been one of my favorite sticks (when I feel like smoking one) for the last few years.
For those of you that don’t know.
In May of 2007, Don Pepín García (whom I photographed a portrait of here, if you have not seen it yet) rolled 100 boxes of a limited release vitola in his Blue Label line, a Lancero. These were rolled (and sold by) Puff ‘N’ Stuff, a shop in Atlanta, Georgia. The 100 boxes of 20 cigars each were hand numbered and much like the Tatuaje WCD 120, these were such a limited release stick (and sold out so quickly when they actually were released) that very few people even know they exist.
They were released again in 2008, this time with 150 boxes sold, but about 50 boxes from that release were sent back to Garcia and replaced, after he decided he was not happy with the draw coming from them.
At 6 7/8 inches X 42, the DPG Blue Puff ‘N’ Stuff Lancero is not a true Cuban Lancero size (The standard Cuban measurement for a lancero is 7 1/2 inches long by 38 ring gauge), that would be it’s brother in the Blue Label line, the Fundadores, which is exactly 7 1/2 x 38. However, DPG supposedly wanted a way to distinguish the Puff ‘N’ Stuff vitola, and so he made it a bit shorter and bumped up the ring gauge.
According to various reports, when Al (the owner at Puff ‘N’ Stuff), asked Pepín to make him the OR Blue lancero for his shop, Pepín said that they were too thin for the regular blue blend, so Al told him to use an extra ligero leaf (and bumped up the ring gauge a bit). That makes this batch of the Blue Lanceros a very specific blend that can only be found in this release.
But enough about that, let’s get down to business.
- Cigar Reviewed: Don Pepin Garcia Blue Lancero Puff ‘N’ Stuff Release
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacalera Cubanas S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
- Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo
- Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo
- Size: 6 7/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 42
- Vitola: Lancero
- Est. Price (MSRP): $10.75
- Release Date: 2007 & 2008
- Number of Cigars Released: 250 boxes of 25 ( 6,250 cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 1
The cigar itself is extremely well constructed, as most of DPG’s cigars are. It has a medium brown wrapper with a few visible veins and smells strongly of Chocolate and spices. It is very firm when squeezed, but not too firm, and the pre-light draw tastes of a great sweet oak barrel, with some pepper.
The First Third starts off with just the right amount of pepper (not overwhelming at all) along with flavors of Oak and leather, there is also a great sweet undertone, and just slight bit of spice on the tongue. Honestly, a great way to start a cigar.
The Second Third changes things up considerably, with flavors of toasted nuts and coffee all but replacing the notes in the first third. The pepper has died down a bit and replaced the sweetness (which has disappeared) as the undertone. There is still a wood note present, but it is not enough to really make much of an impact.
The Last Third changes things up again. The pepper increases a bit, but so does the sweetness, in fact, I taste an almost vanilla flavor along with chocolate and the every present wood note. It stays that way until the very end, and never once burned hot, all the way to the nub.
- I have smoked quite a few of the DPG Blue Labels in my time, and this cigar beats all of them, hands down. There seemed to be a new combination of flavors every few puffs, that never got boring (or predictable).
- The Burn was Flawless, and the draw was great until about the last 1/4th, where it got just a bit tight, but nothing more then a slight annoyance.
- Final Smoking Time was 1 Hour and 40 minutes.
The Bottom Line: When these were first released in 2007, they were quite strong (as are most of Pepin’s blends). The pepper seemed to overwhelm quite a bit of the nuances that were present, especially in the first third (much like the DPG Firecracker, which I reviewed here). Well, I am here to tell you that 3 years of aging have done wonders to this blend. It is hard to quantify in words the complexity and refinement that you taste in this cigar, (although I did give it my best, of course). Whether it is because of the aging, or the different blend, or a combination of the two, the DPG Puff ‘N’ Stuff Release is without a doubt the best Blue Label I have ever tasted, and I am just glad that I have half a box left! These will become one of my sticks to enjoy when I know exactly what I am looking for.
Final Score: 92