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Stogie Reviews: El Centurion Emperadores

14 Sep 2010

Don Pepin Garcia burst on the scene when Tatuaje, a cigar made for Pete Johnson, first started garnering high praise and plenty of buzz. By the 2007 industry trade show, Pepin, formerly a top cigar man in Cuba, had established himself as one of the most prolific makers of non-Cuban cigars. That meant he was ready to release his first solely produced limited edition cigar.El Centurion

Called El Centurion, the blend was originally available in just three sizes: Guerreros (robusto), Gladiadores (toro), and Emperadores. The latter is a belicoso that measures 5.5 inches with a ring gauge of 52. It features a Nicaraguan Habano wrapper around Nicaraguan-grown Cuban seed criollo ’98 and corojo ’99 leaves that have been aged three years.

It’s a very attractive smoke with a few veins and muted sheen. The large red, orange, and gold band is ornate, and notable because only a very small script signature lets you know that this is a Don Pepin Garcia smoke.

Just 850 boxes of each size were ever produced, all of which reportedly sold out on the first day El Centurion became available. Few remain today. A handful of places still sell them for $12-15 each. (I got mine from CitizenCigar.com, which sells boxes for $230.)

El Centurion starts off with plenty of cedar along with cream and graham cracker sweetness. Adding to the complex blend are subtle pepper, paper, coffee, and bread flavors. The profile is medium-bodied but dense with flavor. It’s a deliciously complex cigar that is is well-rounded and balanced from start to finish. Time seems to have done wonders.

Each of the three samples I smoked before writing this review demonstrated excellent physical qualities. Particularly notable was a razor thin black burn line, a sign of a well-aged smoke.

This cigar reminded me of a cross between two others made by Don Pepin Garcia: My Father and the Tatuaje Reserva SW. Those are two fine smokes. And while I’ve sampled nearly all of Garcia’s creations, I must conclude that this is his finest masterpiece. (The only line I’ve yet to smoke is the new My Father Limited Edition.) With high priase like that you can probably guess how this cigar review ends. This is a special cigar that unfortunately will never be made again. That’s why it earns five stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here. A list of other five stogie-rated cigars can be found here.]

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

8 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: El Centurion Emperadores”

  1. Padronnie Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 8:29 am #

    Totally agree. This is a fantastic smoke.

  2. Todd Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    Will be looking to try these now. I really enjoy the DPG blue label and also My Father so these sound right up my alley.

  3. charlton Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

    I had the lancero in the sampler pack and it wasn't that great. The JJ maduro and JJ were much more impressive. I think I will revist it in a different size such as this one.

  4. George Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 8:48 pm #

    I just bought a box of these from an online retailer (because my local shop had sold out). They arrived some days ago and I immediately placed them in the humidor to rehumidify. Today, I pulled one out of the box and removed the cellophane.

    The foot smelled strongly of wet hay, cranberries, dark chocolate, and the sort of rich tobacco aroma one enjoys when sniffing good Cuban tobacco.

    I lit the cigar easily, the draw was perfect, and the initial few puffs were better than ordinary, but nothing special. Inch by inch, the toasted sweet tobacco, vanilla, dark chocolate with cranberries, and burnt sugar flavors intensified until they were almost overpowering in the final 1.5 inches.

    The burn was very imperfect (probably due to poor storage and shipping techniques by the online retailer). The wrapper had an existing split that ended up bursting open toward the last third of the smoke. I held the cigar together at first with the band, then with my finger. Even through this structural failure, the cigar smoked fairly well and the flavors and aroma were excellent.

    I am very glad I have 19 more of these to enjoy. I am NOT glad I bought them from a particular online retailer. Oh well.

  5. Zen Cigar Sunday, June 16, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    I stumbled upon an old Gladiadores a few days ago and smoked it. The cigar is a light brown, a little lighter than i would figure for a Corojo leaf. It is smooth and silky to the touch and the cigar is mildly firm to the touch.

    After lit, I am met with a wave of sourness. This cigar is very harsh from the start.

    A little further down the cigar I get a little bit of that Don Pepin flavor, but it was short lived.

    Very little was good about this stick. It did not burn even, and it burned real hot in the middle with a smoldering white ash in the middle of the cigar.

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