A "New" Smoke From Pepin

So I thought I knew all of Jose “Pepin” Garcia’s smokes. I was wrong. I had lunch the other day with John Gonzales, national sales manager for El Rey de Los Habanos, Pepin’s company in Miami. John and I were talking about cigars when he mentioned Vegas Cubanas, a brand I’d never heard of. When I professed my ignorance, John handed me a few robusto-sized smoked called Invictos.

John told me that Vegas Cubanas is one of the milder brands made by Pepin. He gave me a little document listing Pepin’s house brands. Pepin makes quite a few smokes. Some, like Tatuaje, are for other companies. The brands his company owns include various versions of the Don Pepin line, but also include El Rey de Los Habanos (the mildest cigar he makes) and Vegas Cubanas, which is described as being “mild to medium bodied.”

The cigar is made in Miami, on Calle Ocho. Like the bulk of what Pepin makes, it’s made solely from Nicaraguan tobacco. It looked pretty tasty, so I took the cigars back to the office. Yesterday, I fired a couple of them up. Here’s me puffing away in this video.

No shocker here—it’s a very good cigar. It’s nicely made (I don’t think I’ve ever smoked a poorly made smoke that’s come from one of Pepin’s factories), it’s woody, a tad earthy and a bit dry in character. It’s not very sweet, but it’s tasty, with a touch of coffee bean flavor.

Pepin makes some pretty gutsy smokes, and while this isn’t the strongest of his line I wouldn’t call it mild to medium bodied. I think it’s more medium-bodied.

I called Janny Garcia, Pepin’s daughter, for some more info on the cigar. She told me Vegas Cubanas is one of Pepin’s original brands. “We’ve made it since the beginning,” she said, making it four years old.

Here’s the best part—the brand is also a steal—about $5.30 a cigar for the robusto-sized Invictos, which is five inches long by 50 ring gauge. Not bad.