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Cigar Review: El Centurion Belicoso

2 Oct 2014

El Centurion is a brand that often resonates with seasoned cigar veterans, as it was the first limited edition line José “Don Pepín” García ever produced. That was back in 2007, when El Centurion was limited to only 850 20-count boxes of each of the inaugural sizes.

El CenturionMarketed as García’s personal blend and intended to replicate the aroma of classic Cuban Cohibas, the three formats— Guerreros (robusto), Gladiadores (toro), and Emperadores (belicoso)—sported Nicaraguan Habano wrappers around Nicaraguan-grown Cuban-seed Criollo ’98 and Corojo ’99 leaves that had been aged three years. They were crafted at Tabacalera Cubanas S.A. in Nicaragua.

If any cigars from the original El Centurion release can be found today, they’re very rare and almost assuredly very expensive. However, last year García decided to commemorate his company’s tenth anniversary by introducing a revamped El Centurion that would be a permanent addition to the My Father Cigars portfolio. “My Father Cigars brings back the cigar that left everyone wanting more,” proclaimed a press release in March 2013.

This El Centurion remix is a Nicaraguan puro with a dark, sun-grown Criollo ’98 wrapper around Criollo, Corojo Habano, and Sancti Spiritus filler tobaccos. It is offered in 4 sizes with MSRPs ranging from $7.50 to $9: Belicoso (5.5 x 54), Robusto (5.75 x 50), Toro (6.25 x 52), and Toro Grande (6.5 x 58). Boxes of 20 are furnished with ornate, decorative styling in gold, red, and orange.

I was able to pick up a 5-pack of Belicosos for $34. This toothy vitola is handsome with its well-executed cap, oily shine, considerable weight, and firm feel. The wrapper and foot emit hearty pre-light notes of dark chocolate and coffee. The cold draw is smooth despite the narrow cap and firm packing of tobaccos.

After setting an even light, a medium-bodied profile emerges with hints of cocoa, coffee, roasted nut, and raisin. The spice is surprisingly muted, save for lingering cedar on the aftertaste. Towards the midway point and beyond, a flavor of black licorice also becomes apparent. Cinnamon and sweet chocolate are dominant in the final third. The smoke stays cool to the nub.

Construction is all-around solid throughout, including a solid white ash, smooth burn, and good smoke production. The burn is a little wavy, but it never requires a touch-up.

The temptation to compare this blend to the original El Centurion release is great. That’s no fault of my own, or any other cigar smoker; it’s more of a critique of My Father Cigars’ decision to keep the same name and packaging, despite the (very different blend). Fortunately for this review, I never had the opportunity to personally try the original. So I’m judging the Belicoso entirely on its own merits. With that in mind, I consider this an excellent smoke and a good value, worthy of four stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys


3 Responses to “Cigar Review: El Centurion Belicoso”

  1. Marcus Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 6:36 am #

    This is an excellent cigar, but nowhere near the legendary original El Centurion. If anyone out there has some of those for sale, let me know.

    Despite my affinity for the new Centurion blend, I was disappointed when Pepin kept the name the same for this smoke despite having a completely new cigar line. Seems like he was just capitalizing on the reputation/brand of El Centurion. Ironically, this means I can't smoke a new one without comparing it to the old — and that's an unfair comparison.

    • Patrick Semmens Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 11:34 pm #

      I 100% agree with you. What's strange to me is not that they put out another El Centurion, but that they didn't even try to remake the blend. Many companies put out a redux of a popular limited edition, even if it isn't quite as good as the original. Their decision to use a totally different wrapper just doesn't make sense. I would have preferred their best effort at remaking the original, and I think anyone who smoked the original Centurion would agree.

  2. Arless Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 5:44 pm #

    Indeed. While I enjoy this new version I was lucky enough to have gotten two boxes of the original and there is no comparison.