Last year, Thompson Cigar and My Father Cigars collaborated on the My Father Churchill, a 7 x 50 churchill that was exclusive to the Tampa, Fla.-based company. In January, the two companies were at it again, announcing the release of the Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Connecticut, a milder take on the classic blend that was first released in 2006.

In terms of blend, the new Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Connecticut utilizes the existing Nicaraguan tobacco in both the filler and binder, but replaces the corojo 99 wrapper on the Cuban Classic with a Connecticut-seed leaf from Ecuador. There are three violas in the line, all of which are being rolled at My Father Cigars S.A. in Esteli, Nicaragua are sold in 12-count boxes. According to Thompson, the new line is not a specific limited edition, but feature a limited but ongoing production.

Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Connecticut Robusto Box 1 Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Connecticut Robusto Box 2

There are three vitolas in the Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Connecticut line:

  • Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Connecticut Robusto (5 x 50) — $7.50 (Boxes of 12, $90)
  • Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Connecticut Toro (6 x 50) — $8.33 (Boxes of 12, $99.96)
  • Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Connecticut Churchill (7 x 50) —  $9.17 (Boxes of 12, $110.04)

Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Connecticut Robusto 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Connecticut Robusto
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Robusto
  • MSRP: $7.50 (Boxes of 12, $90)
  • Release Date: November 2015
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Covered in a golden brown wrapper, the Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Connecticut is silky smooth to the touch, with almost no oil visible. The cigar is just short of rock hard when squeezed, and very few veins to speak of. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of sweet nuts, tobacco, hay, creamy cedar, cinnamon and leather, while the cold draw brings flavors of creamy peanuts, oak, white chocolate, hay, earth and fresh ground coffee.

The Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Connecticut starts off the first third with a very obvious bitterness on the finish that really overwhelms most of the other flavors in the profile, although I can still pick out some nuts, cedar, leather and earth that flit in and out. There is a touch of white pepper on the retrohale, along with some floral sweetness, but neither one is all that strong enough in the profile as of yet. The draw is excellent so far with just the right amount of resistance, while the burn is razor sharp, not even coming close to needing a touch up. Smoke production is about average, and the overall strength struggles to make it out of the mild range by the time the first third comes to a close.

Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Connecticut Robusto 2

Thankfully, the bitterness that was so prevalent on the finish in the first third really starts to dissipate around the start of the second third, and almost totally disappears by the halfway point. This allows some other flavors to become dominant, including a wonderful creamy peanuts and leather combination, followed by hay, earth, potatoes, cedar and white chocolate. There is a nice—albeit fairly slight—vanilla sweetness on the retrohale that replaces the floral sweetness from the first third, along with tiny amount of white pepper, both of which seem to be getting stronger as the second third burns down. Construction-wise, the Cuban Classic Connecticut continues to impress, with a wonderful draw and a burn that is still trouble free. One big change is the strength, which ramps up in a major way, easily making it to a solid medium by the end of the second third.

Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Connecticut Robusto 3

The final third of the Cuban Classic Connecticut is much the same as the second third, with the same leather and peanuts combination as the dominant notes, followed by other notes of gritty earth, grass, cedar, dark cocoa, coffee beans and a touch of citrus. Although the level of the white pepper has remained about the same, the vanilla sweetness on the the retrohale has increased noticeably, leading to a much more complex profile overall. The draw remains great, but the burn has started to waver, forcing me to touch it up to keep it from getting out of hand. The strength has continued to climb, and ends up just above the medium mark by the time I put the nub down with a little less than an inch to go.

Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Connecticut Robusto 4

Final Notes

  • While it was not the first cigar I smoked by any means, the Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic had a place in my regular rotation for years after it was first released.
  • Exclusive cigars are nothing new to Thompson Cigars, who has recently launched a number of them from different manufactures in the past few months, including the Casa Fernández Reserva Connecticut, Quesada Oktoberfest Präsident, the Arturo Fuente Hemingway TCC 100th Anniversary and the aforementioned the My Father Churchill, among others.
  • Americans are used to seeing robustos measuring 5 x 50, the classic Cuban robusto is actually 4 7/8 x 50.
  • While it takes a while to make itself known, the strength in this blend is actually more aggressive then in most Connecticut-wrapped cigars, something I enjoyed.
  • The final smoking time for all three samples was just over one hour and 10 minutes.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were sent to halfwheel by Thompson Cigar.
  • If you would like to purchase any of the Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Connecticut, the only place you can get them is at Thompson Cigar here or by calling 800.216.7107.
83 Overall Score

I have always been a fan of a well made Connecticut blend, and while I enjoyed the Don Pepin Garcia Cuban Classic Connecticut—at least in the final two thirds—the bitterness that was present in the first third on each of the samples really threw off the overall experience for me. Construction was quite good overall, with the burn only needing attention intermittently, and the slightly higher strength of the blend was actually a welcome change compared to most Connecticut wrapped cigars. Having said all that, the Casa Fernández Reserva Connecticut is a significantly better Thompson exclusive utilizing a Connecticut wrapper that just happens to be less than half the cost at the moment when purchased by the box.

Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.