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My Father Flor de las Antillas toro

This week Punch and Draw weigh in on the Don Pepin Garcia cigar rated 96 by Cigar Aficionado Magazine, which also ranked it number-one in their top 25 of 2012.Don Pepin Garcia My Father Flor de las Antillas toro cigar

Punch: This Flor de las Antillas toro (6 x 52) is a Nicaraguan puro, with the wrapper being sun-grown. It is a milk-chocolate brown with a rather veiny wrapper and a maroon satin ribbon band around the foot. The wrapper aroma is alfalfa with a faint apple cider vinegar.

Draw: I’d say it is more a crimson, or a scarlet, color. It’s the color of the very pretty dress on the woman from the band. Your chocolate description is apt, and now causes me to smell cocoa in the wrapper. I get the apple-cider best when I sniff the foot directly. Very nice. Very autumn.

This is a rectangular box-press. Nicely constructed, with at least a triple-cap on mine. I have a slight soft spot near the foot. And, I may be mistaken, but clearly the best-side is put forward, for there’s a gnarly vein running down the back, and some rumpled wrapper.

P: I’d like to punch this, but the last few times I used the punch I have split the heads. I’d like to find a way to sharpen it before using it again. Well now, since my new smoking lounge at home is my re-purposed storage shed with my model airplane building bench, I just happen to have a file and emery paper within reach. Nice!

D: I’d just like to point out, they have these devices at office supply stores that will punch three holes at once in the paper you are putting into notebooks. Might help make the sharpening less needful? I’m just saying.

Dry draw on this Flor de las Antillas toro yields salted apple and hay flavors for me.

P: Um… well… this seems to have sharpened up just fine. But thanks for the suggestion(?) My dry draw is really mild, but I am getting that hay you mentioned. I’d rate it stiff-to-medium tight.

D: Ooo… Learn from my experience and remove the ribbon before toasting.

P: That’s good to know. I’m glad you went first.

D: You think you have heat in Arizona? Well, today I’m dealing with yet another set of Kansas extremes – 20 m.p.h. gusts, and a bracing 50 degrees. The good news is, it was hard to do anything but give the cigar a light toasting. For me, it only brought out a little more salt.

P: Great smoke production. The attack is bright and fresh – almost citrus, or at least the acid from the citrus. This reminds me of a J. Fuego Origen, only that goes a bit further into having a mild but distinct lime flavor. The finish on this is a short, mild, woodiness, and a very faint, long, green pepper.

D: Interesting. I may still be suffering from a head cold. For me, the flavor is all salty. An alkaline salt. Bright, salty attack, salty middle, and a finish of roasted red and yellow bell pepper, heavy on the salt. I’m not finding much other flavor at this point.

Have you seen, “Sad Cat Diary”? Youtube it! Then watch, “Sad Dog Diary”. “True Facts about the Owl” is good too.

P: Alright, that was cute. Well worth deviating from our serious work of cigar reviewing. Flavor changes? Notice anything at the end of the first third?

D: First third? I noticed the flavors mellowed a bit. There is some woodsiness for me, now, too – very mild compared to the salt. There is also some kind of flavor in the middle, but I’m not yet able to make out what it is. Nothing objectionable about this cigar, except – for me – a nagging awareness of my salt intake.

P: Starting the second third the brightness on the attack has been replaced by a harsher pepper flavor and has a stronger pepper on the finish.

D: Agreed. I’m right there with you, finally. So much for the salt, which, by the halfway point has really faded to a flavor-enhancing level.

P: At my halfway point it has become, what I call harsher – green pepper seed spicy. It is earthier in general, and specifically has leather and black walnut on the finish.

D: There’s an interesting story in this week’s Ars Technica digest about “badBIOS”. (I’ve heard it referred to as the “air-gap BIOS virus”). A respected computer security researcher is putting his reputation on the line to report bizarre behavior in his research computers, including spreading viral information via the computer’s speakers. After reading the story, I think that same bad BIOS is spreading around our home computers via my laptop!

P: Wow. And I thought YOU were nutz… Well, that took up some time; let’s see what others are saying about the Flor de las Antillas toro. I’m sure there are numerous reviews on it, which I’ve intentionally not been reading so as to not be influenced by them.

The smokes are delicious from the first puff, with notes of nutmeg, white pepper and just enough strength without being overpowering.” -Cigar Aficionado

The initial draw of the Flor de las Antillas provided a short spurt of pepper to start.  It wasn’t as pronounced as other Garcia pepper blasts, but it still provided a nice shot of pepper.” “By the end of the first third, the natural tobacco sweetness took over as the primary flavor.  The pepper notes were significantly in the background and the coffee notes had dissipated.” “Toward the end of the cigar, the pepper picked up in strength.  These spice notes closed the gap with the natural sweetness.” -Cigar Coop

D: Entering the last third (total length), this Flor de las Antillas toro is both creamier, and starting to turn cedary. Still the pepper…I still have a pleasant roasted pepper on the finish and aftertaste, but there’s a cedar whang on the attack now, with some cheese funk in the middle. This is about where the band would normally be, and – true to convention – is where many cigar aficionados choose to put their stogies down. Who’s to say I’m not?

P: Funny. Me, too: right at my one-third-remaining point – BANG – cedar, as you noted! Not just cedar; it is accompanied by the earthier flavors noted above.

Burn it or Spurn it?

D: This is a nice cigar in terms of construction and smokability. Medium body, mild-to-medium character, good draw, even burn, nice smoke production. Flavor? Well, it’s really a question of what you like. If you like this peppery blend, then this is for you. My tastes generally run more complex, and more sweet. To be fair, this was my first Flor de las Antillas toro, so maybe I’ll take a crack at a second. Especially if it’s a gift.

P: I agree and don’t have a lot to add to that. As they say, “there is no accounting for taste”, and apparently the Cigar Aficionado editors have different tastes than I. It definitely is not bad, just not particularly to my liking. Being in the $7–9 price range, I could see myself buying another one to re-evaluate at some point, and would happily burn another of these if one appeared in my hand.

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