Tabacos Baez Favoritos

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Tabacos Baez Favoritos

Just when you thought there couldn’t be couldn’t possibly be another new Don Pepin Garcia smoke, it’s time for just that. Another review of a new Pepin cigar! That’s right, the cigar rock star that’s responsible for the new La Aroma De Cuba I reviewed recently and the new EO Cubao that Walt weighed in on (as well as countless other well established smokes) has also produced a line of cigars by the name Tabacos Baez.

I looked around trying to find out if there was some sort of interesting story behind the cigars name or creation, but initially I couldn’t find much beyond a discussion of the cigars characteristics. So I turned to an online Spanish-English translation service and found that Baez doesn’t translate to anything, which means it’s a name. On a hunch, I plugged “Baez, Cuba” into Google maps and viola! There is a Báez, Cuba! A little more searching reveals that this cigar was named for the city in which Pepin was born. Well, I’m satisfied now, so let’s light up Pepin’s hometown smoke!

Cigar Stats:
Size: 5 1/2 x 52
Wrapper: Connecticut
Binder: Cuban-seed Nicaraguan
Filler: Cuban-seed Nicaraguan
Smoking Time: 2 hours
Beverage: Water
Price: ~$8.10

The Pre-Smoke
I have to say, when I first saw the band, I didn’t realize this was a Don Pepin smoke. It really looks to me like the band you’d see on inexpensive bundled cigar. Sure, the band on the Cubao and even the Benchmade are very simple and unpretentious, but this seems, well, poorly designed. But fortunately for this cigar, the design of the band carries so very little weight in my reviews that I never mention it after the pre-light inspection. However, I can imagine this cigar may be passed over by those who don’t know it’s a Pepin creation.

Looking the cigar itself over, I didn’t notice any imperfections on the wrapper. The wrapper is has a number of fine veins and the cigar itself is nice and firm. However, I did notice a few small soft sections in the cigar, which seemed to be small cavities formed by larger veins in the binder leaves. Another interesting feature of this cigar is the belicoso-like tapered end.

When I first tested the aroma of the cigar’s wrapper, I noted a creamy, almost popcorn like aroma. After setting it down for a minute to grab some paper and a pen, I took another sniff, and noticed the wrapper started to smell sweeter the longer it was out of the cellophane.

The Burn
Both cigars I smoked for this review had a great burn. Aside from a bit of waviness in the early part of the first cigar and the latter parts of the second, and the relights due to some slow smoking (a little too often in the second cigar), the cigars were without flaw. Nice light sturdy ash, good volume of smoke and a perfect draw. Really nothing else to mention when it comes to the burn.

The Flavor
After reading that this was an uncharacteristic mild-bodied smoke for Pepin, I was surprised at how spicy and peppery the cigar turned out to be. So much so that the majority of the flavors in the first cigar were simply overwhelmed by the spice and pepper. In the second third of that cigar, the flavor simply became harsh, and I found that it was irritating my throat. Interestingly enough, the other cigar, which was stored in similar conditions and smoked the same day was significantly less spicy, which made it easier to read and appreciate the flavors.

With the spiciness noted, I did get creaminess, earthiness, toastiness and a good deal of coffee in the first third of both smokes. The second third was generally more of the same in the flavor department. While the first cigar retained its spiciness, the second smoke began to mellow out significantly, becoming a smoother and a little sweeter. The first cigar developed the worst of it’s harshness in the second third, and I began to notice the throat irritation.

The spiciness gave way to a less abrasive peppery in the final third, and interestingly, the earlier irritation started to subside a bit. (Mellowing to pepper is saying something, isn’t it?) The flavors noted earlier were still present at the end, with the addition of a sharp dry woodiness. The second cigar also developed a bit of sweeter cedar, and darker chocolate I didn’t notice in the previous smoke.

The Price
I was little surprised to see price tag on these cigars. I’ve seen them retailing for up to $9 a stick, which is more than the lines carrying Don Pepin’s name. I think it’s a little high. Not crazily over priced, but a little high.

The Verdict
Though it almost seems like blasphemy to say it, I just didn’t care for this cigar. It’s not that I don’t think it’s a quality, well constructed smoke, it the flavor profile just didn’t suit me. Particularly the first, incredibly dry, spicy, peppery smoke. The second started to win me over a little in the second and final thirds with some better flavors, but not enough to really make me want to run out and buy more. Especially when I can pick up a number of other Pepin smokes I enjoy more for better prices.

Though I know that’s Pepin’s policy is to release cigars that are smoke-ready as soon as they hit the B&M shelf, I think it would be an interesting exercise to revisit this cigar after it spends a little time resting in the humidor.

Liked It: I didn’t really care for it.
Buy It Again: Probably not.
Recommend It: I think big fans of spice and Connecticut wrapper may find this to be a great smoke.

Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.

enjoying cigars since 1997

13 thoughts on “Tabacos Baez Favoritos

  1. Another great review. I’m a DPG nut, but not a big fan of Connecticut. Chances are I’ll try it at least once.

    There must have not been much room left in the budget this year at El Rey de los Habanos. Both this cigar and the new Mi Barrio have two of the ugliest bands I’ve ever seen. That new tobacco farm they opened in Nicaragua must have eaten up some cash.

  2. Nice review as always Brian! I am a little disappointed to hear that you did not like this cigar. I was really looking forward to trying this one, but now; not so much (of course I’m still going to smoke the damn thing).

    I agree with you that this band is silly looking and I agree with Chuck that the band on the Mi Barrio is horrible. But if the cigar tastes good, I too can overlook an ugly band. However, a company like Gurkha has to be very disappointed in the marketing practices of these two cigars ; ) Gurkha would put lipstick on these pigs and charge $15-30 for them. OOPS I forgot, Gurkha eats those packaging costs (BS).

    Keep it up Brian . . . the good work . . . not the other thing your are thinking of.

  3. Mount Chuck,
    Actually, I’ve been thinking about the band a little bit since I wrote up the review. I wonder if it was an intentional choice to keep this band looking “juvenile”, like a kids drawing, as a subtle reference to Pepin’s childhood in Baez, Cuba. That simplicity theme may also apply to the Mi Barrio smoke. Just an idea I’m kicking around.

    Yeah, I’d far rather have a good stick with an ugly band (or no band) than an overly ornate dog rocket. And my thoughts on the band did not negatively impact my thoughts on the cigar itself. I just couldn’t get past the throat irritation I experienced while smoking.

    I do see merits to this cigar, and think there will be people who love it. I’m just not one of those people. You should definitely try it and see if you are one who does.

  4. Just had one of these yesterday; a friend brought it back from a trip to Miami. I actually saw them in a local shop a few days ago, too, but I didn’t notice the price point at that time. My impression: really, really good cigar. It had a bit of a caramel waft on the prelight (that sweetness you were talking about). The burn was mostly good; near the beginning, it started to run and I thought I was going to get a major canoe, but it evened out all by itself within a few minutes. On a 10 scale, I would rate the strength at a 2 or 3: quite mild-bodied. For flavor however, I would have to put it at around a 7 or 8. It’s always nice to find a mild cigar with a really good flavor as those two items seem to be mutually exclusive in many cases. If the price is right, I would buy this one again–and frequently!

    RE: Gurkha’s cigars and their alleged over-priced status. I would advise you to look past what you see in your local B&M. Some Gurkhas there are very pricey although they may be worth it if you really like their flavor. I’ve had the Beast and it rocks; I’ve heard the Beauty kinda sucks, though. One of my favorite cigars, though, is the Class Regent Nepalese Warrior. It’s made by Torano for Gurkha; it’s very similar in construction to the Exodus 1959 as a matter of fact. I picked up a 10-pack on a cigar bidding site that shall remain nameless for less than $4 per stick. Not every Gurkha fits the stereotype of overpriced status symbol cigar.

  5. dmjones,
    Thanks for the mini review. You’re thoughts on it seem to be in line with what I hear from a lot of people. It’s just a shame my experience was not as good as yours!

    I have to agree with you on the Gurkha Beast, I recently reviewed it, and found it to be a very enjoyable stick. I still have problems with the $20+ price tag on it, and just didn’t like it enough to lay down that much money for it. However, I am likely to pick up more of those at auction. The Beauty and the Titan I was less impressed by, which is in keeping what what you said. It’s also funny that one of my earlier reviews was of the Nepalese Warrior, and while that didn’t knock my socks off, I thought it was a respectable cigar. My opinion on the Gurkha as a whole remains that they are just overpriced, which is why most people who smoke them buy them at that unnamed auction website.

  6. I know I’m late weighing in here but I can’t find many reviews of this cigar and I wanted to add another positive vote for it.
    I recently purchased a box of the monarcas and I am about halfway through it so far without one disappointing experience. I agree with dmjones’ assesment that this is a mild-bodied but med/full-flavored cigar which is a rare combination. I do taste the spice and pepper but I find it to be very well-balanced with the sweet and cream. The burn is a little less than perfect but not problematic and it puts out quite a bit of aromatic smoke.
    While my favorite cigars tend towards the full/full end of the spectrum, I find this one to be perfect for early in the day with water or coffee. I highly recommend it for those looking for a lighter smoke that still has a lot of great flavor.
    I think it is priced fairly especially if you find a good deal on a box and I will definitely be purchasing more of these when my stock runs out.

  7. This wonderful smoke has become my go-to morning/daytime smoke. I just can’t get enough of these, very very consistent in all areas. I hope this cigar continues to fly under the radar so I can keep picking them up dirt cheap, and thanks to the plain looking band and limited press it has received I have a feeling it will.

    Long ashes!

  8. While cleaning up my inbox, I noticed I was still getting a few comments on this review. And since I smoked another a few weeks back, I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add a few more thoughts.

    Recently I’ve been a little more into Connecticut, and as such, I did find the more recent experience to be more enjoyable. In fact, I enjoyed the first half quite a bit. And then something happened. The cigar simply went flat around halfway. Like a tobacco vampire sucked all the flavor out of the cigar.

    Had the entire cigar been as enjoyable as the first half, I’d reconsider my rating. At best, I’d upgrade my rating from “I didn’t really care for it.” to “it was OK, but disappointing.”

  9. Very interesting and good to know Brian. I’ve not had one which is amazing since I’m such a DP fanboi but with the humidors full, this was just on my curious list. Based upon your impressions, it’s moved to the bottom of my curious list heh.

  10. Hey Brian,

    Do you have any plans to revisit this in the Habano wrapper? I’ve only had one so far, but really liked it.

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