Almost exactly two years ago, I reviewed on of My Father’s smallest vitolas, the El Picador, a custom size and blend made for Empire Cigars in North Carolina. The owner of the store, Hal Rubin, asked José “Don Pepín” García to roll him a limited number of cigars in the Cheroot vitola for his store alone, and Pepín agreed. Only 250 boxes of 20 were produced of the 5 x 40 unbanded Cheroot.

Here is what I said in my original reviewin late June of 2010:

As faithful readers of this site are aware, I am a huge fan of both smaller RG cigars and Pepín’s blends, and this stick does not disappoint on either. To say I was impressed with this cigar is an understatement. The flavors changed constantly, and the construction, burn and draw were all top notch. I bought a box sight unseen (and untasted), and it is nice to know my faith is well founded. It seems that Pepín took the best of both of his main blends, the spiciness and woodiness of the DPG line and the creamy sweetness of the My Father line and combined and condensed them into this one cigar. I was amazed at the flavor that was present, especially for such a small stick (and for the small price). I still like the Tatuaje Petit Cazadore Reserva better, but I am very glad I have a box of these to age for a while.

  • Cigar Reviewed: My Father El Picador
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 5 inches
  • Ring Gauge: 40
  • Vitola: Cheroot
  • MSRP: $5.15 (Boxes of 20, $103.00)
  • Release Date: June 2010
  • Number of Cigars Released: 250 Boxes of 20 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Redux: 1

The El Picador is obviously well rolled with a milk chocolate brown wrapper that is dry to the touch. It has the perfect give when squeezed and there are no obvious veins present to distract. The Nicaraguan wrapper has a pungent odor of cedar, hay, chocolate and spice.

The changes from the first time I reviewed this cigar are evident from the start as the spice I originally noted was quite a bit less pronounced up front — still present, but not as overwhelming at any point during the smoke. I also start picking up strong flavors right off the bat. Notes of sweet cedar, leather, vanilla, and a slightly bitter nuttiness are dominant, but there is also some espresso and even some white chocolate thrown in the mix. There is a strong creaminess that is pervasive throughout the entire smoke that really adds complexity to the profile as well. Although not a long smoke by any means, it keeps me quite interested for the entire time with changing notes and flavors. My Father El Picador As was the case the first time I reviewed it, the construction is astounding, both burn and draw were spot on for the entire smoke. The ash of the El Picador holds for about two inches before it fell for the first time, an amazing feat for such a small ring gauge cigar. It is also pretty slow burner, clocking in at right under 1 hour for the final smoking time.

91 Overall Score

There are so many new cigars on the market (with more coming every day) that even I sometime forget about the great ones that have already been released. This was the case with the El Picador, which I had put into one of my Vinotemps and completely forgotten about for almost exactly two years. However, after smoking another one, that will not happen again, I assure you. The El Picadors are rich with distinct flavors, extremely well balanced and just the right amount of spice and pepper to compliment everything. Throw in the stupendous construction and there is no reason not to buy these. Yes, the price is a bit high for the size of the cigar, but the profile makes it all worth it. Although these have been aging for two years, they still have plenty of flavor and legs left. And amazingly, I am told by Hal at Empire Cigars that they have a few boxes left, one of which I will be buying.

Original Score (June 2010)
Redux Score (July 2012)
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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.