This week’s Wednesday review is of the Don Pepin blend produced for Holt’s, known as Old Henry, in the robusto vitola (5×50). I bought a small humidor from them a little over a month ago while they were having issues with their web site and included this as a freebie because of the inconvenience.
Pre-light the wrapper was a little darker than most of the Pepin’s I’ve had and was more of a matte finish than the oily appearance I’ve become accustomed to. There was little to no give to the cigar when squeezed between the fingers, save for a few spots this cigar was hard as a rock. The head clipped cleanly revealing a firm draw but not as bad as I had feared based on the feel. The first few draws were a bit harsh but I try not to judge to harshly from the first half-inch or so. I haven’t had that many cigars that started out fantastic go really bad on me, but I have had quite a few that started off less than impressive only to become quite enjoyable as the burn went on.
The first third was spicy, but more of a nutmeg or cinnamon spice than the peppery spice I have come to expect from a Pepin blend. Something about the flavor profile seemed familiar but I couldn’t quite place it at this point. The body was definitely full but that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone familiar with Don Pepin Garcia’s blends. Almost from the start the burn was uneven, and while it never required a major touch up it never really straightened out either.
As I got into the second third I finally realized that the familiar flavor I was picking up was the same gingerbread flavor I got from the Tatuaje Havana VI Angeles. It wasn’t present the whole time but crept up occasionally and was unmistakable when it reared its head. The harshness from the beginning subsided and while the smoke was pleasant it never really made me say, “Wow!” like the Don Pepin Serie JJs I’ve smoked (my favorite Pepin). Minor touch ups were necessary to keep it from canoing which was a minor distraction but it touched up easily and continued pumping out full-bodied white smoke.
I found the Old Henry similar in body to the Pepin Blue label and Cuban Classic (black label) but not quite as peppery as either of them. I prefer the Cuban Classic, but would have to give the edge to the Old Henry over the Blue Label, though all three are more full bodied and spicy than my regular rotation.
Just past the half-way mark the harshness from the beginning began to show up again bringing with it a bitter, metallic taste. I tried a purge, which cooled it down a bit and help to keep the bitter tastes less frequent but didn’t make them go away. A shame since the draw actually improved at that point (guess I found the plug). Shortly after the purge the harsh, bitter flavors took over and I had to set it down.
For the price I paid I’ve got no complaints. I don’t even think I would be upset with having bought a single that smoked like this for $5. Now if I had a whole box that smoked like this I would definitely not be happy. If the good parts of this cigar lasted for the whole cigar I think it would be a really good bargain. Based on the fact that these are only available at Holt’s and there are so many Pepins I’ve still yet to try I can’t say I see myself getting back to this one any time soon.
11 thoughts on “Old Henry”
So if I were to pick one of these up at Holts when I’m there next week. What would it run me?
Patrick, I think they’re in the $5-6 range for the robusto. Please let me know what you think if you decide to give it a try.
I had one of these in a blind test where the band was removed and from the get-go, I was displeased with this cigar. In fact it was bad. I think I gave it a 68 out of 100 if my recollection is correct. Anyway, great review.
I think Pepin’s products need aging time. I find that the bolder blends in general need time to marry with the other tobaccos in order not to be harsh, I’ve noticed good improved in Red Label Tats in the last 6 months.
Jeremy D., I could see that. While I’ve yet to have a Pepin that I really disliked, I was probably the least impressed with this one. Thanks for the kind words.
I didn’t like my first Old Henry either. Had some of the same complaints that you did.
However, I’ve found that Pepin’s cigars are much different at, say, 63%RH than 70%. These things are mostly corojo and some criollo, so they suck up moisture like a freaking sponge.
After trying the Don Pepin Blue label, I decided to purchase the Padilla Edicion Especial Achilles and the Old Henry as well as a large sampler from the company that sells the largest variety of Pepin products.
Without exception, these need time to sit and stabilize and dry out to show their true potential. Out of all the ones I’ve tried, the Hirsh y Garcia, Nacionales W, DPG Blue, and Old Henry were the best.
The last few Old Henry’s I’ve smoked were the closest thing in terms of depth of flavor and complexity to any Partagas Serie D #4 or RASS I’ve ever smoked. They have been absolutely sublime, and should be even better in another year or two.
Pick up a sampler, hold on to them for a few months, and then give them another shot. You’ll be surprised. I certainly was.
I purchased a box of Old Henry toros in October and cracked them open earlier this month. They were stored at 65% RH. These are wonderful cigars. I have almost finished the box, not one touch up required, full of strong flavors and complexity with no bite at all. I have since ordered another box because after sampling as many Don Pepin blends as I can, my opinion is that OH is the best.
GregoryD, I agree that all of the Pepins I’ve smoked to date have burned much better when stored for at least a few weeks at 63-65%.
The Havana VI Angeles that I reviewed fresh out of the B&M, which keeps storage around 70%, didn’t burn as well or taste as good as the ones I bought at the same time but stored for a few weeks at 65%. I still liked that first Angeles I had better than the Old Henry which had been sitting at 65% for a little over a month.
John, That’s what makes the world go round. I think the Old Henry can’t hold a candle to the Don Pepin Serie JJ. Don Pepin Garcia is definitely producing some fantastic blends and I suggest everyone find their favorite. 🙂
Great review Brian and thanks for saving me a few bucks. Of the DPG offering, I like the Cuban Classic best although I really enjoy most of them. Holt’s just advertised a special on the OH with the robusto going for $4.17 a stick. Good price but given your review, I think I’ll pass and keep my eye out for some “DPG Black” on special.
Lucky, if you like the DPG Cuban Classic be sure to give the Tatuaje Havana VI line a try. Old Henry is still my least favorite DPG two months later.