Lately I’ve been on a Don Pepin Garcia cigar kick. With all the cigars Pepin makes these days, that’s like saying “lately I’ve been smoking cigars.” But let’s not waste time with discussing Pepin’s seemingly inexhaustible production capabilities, that’s common knowledge. Instead, let’s have a look at one of his latest sticks, the La Reloba Seleccion Habano.
Perhaps because Pepin is so prolific, the La Reloba made its way to the market last month (May 2010) with little fanfare. It would probably be difficult for My Father Cigars to market all the new sticks they produce each year. It would likely mean more expensive cigars, and with a stick like the borderline budget-priced La Reloba, that would be counter productive.
I scoured the internet looking for details, and all I found was that it’s made in Esteli, comes in two wrappers, Habano and Sumatra, and four sizes: robusto, corona, torpedo and toro. I just about gave up on it, when I started to notice the words “peso” and “Reloba” appearing together frequently in search results. It turns out that there is (or was) a cigar called “La Reloba” being sold in Cuba that cost a single Cuban Peso. And given the value price of this smoke, could it be a reference to that incredibly cheap smoke, a familiar name to grab the attention of Cuban immigrants who smoked those back home? It seems likely. However, this doesn’t explain what the name means. I came up dry there. But what matters, is whether or not it’s a good smoke. Let’s light up Pepin’s Peso puro and find out.
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano*
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: MSRP $5.60
* As of the time of this writing, I was unable to verify the wrapper origin with 100% certainty, but I believe this is correct.
Beneath the flashy black, red and gold band of the La Reloba is a slightly rustic natural brown wrapper with mostly fine veins. One of the cigars was covered in tooth, but he was the odd man out. Surveying the brushed-looking leaf for imperfections, I found none. Unless you count an oddly placed triple cap. To the touch, the cigars were firm, but slightly lumpy and inconsistent feeling. I didn’t find holes as such, but there were definitely softer areas.
The wrapper leaf had a hay scent to it just out of the cellophane that became honey sweet as the cigars posed for a few review pictures. The cold draw offered up a little bit of raisin-like sweetness and a tingle of spice on the lips.
Generally, draw problems and refusal to burn are the only two things that have a negative impact on my verdict in this department. And unfortunately, I had minor problems with both while smoking the La Reloba Seleccion Habano. Two of the cigars I smoked for this review went out in the first third. On one occasion, there was a leaf or two in the bend that was fire retardant to say the least. The kind of leaf that turns black, but doesn’t actually combust. The other time, it was due to tunneling in the ash. In both situations, with a little help from the torch, I was quickly able to burn past the problems.
Aside from those issues, a relight or two, and a little cosmetically displeasing ash flakiness, the La Relobas burned pretty well, drew fine and produced long solid ashes. Some of those ashes were lent structural support by stems in the filler that became obvious when they dropped.
The La Reloba began with meaty, earthy flavors, a touch of sweetness, and a bit of a coppery tang. As the initial third progressed, the sweetness took on a caramel character, and the copper faded. It wasn’t long before wood began to appear in the finish and grow in prominence.
There wasn’t too much development in the flavor development in the second third. It settled into a pretty consistent profile of the previously noted meaty, earthy flavor with some caramel sweetness followed up with a healthy dose of wood. There was a little back-of-the-mouth spice to this third as well.
The final third saw the introduction of pepper to the flavor and a decrease in sweetness, otherwise the base composition was much the same as before.
For a Pepin-made cigar, this is probably reasonably priced. The only sticks he makes cheaper than this are mixed filler. (As far as I know, anyway.) As the saying goes, you get what you pay for, and since you won’t pay much for this cigar, you shouldn’t be that surprised when you run into burn issues. That being said, the bar has been set pretty high by other great cigars in this price range, like the La Traviata.
The La Reloba Seleccion Habano is decent, if unexciting cigar at a budget friendly price. It’s definitely not my favorite Pepin-made cigar, but I did enjoy it. There isn’t a great deal happening in the flavor department, but profile was enjoyable, and the burn problems weren’t much more than an annoyance. Would I buy more? Perhaps. If they were available, and I was looking for some inexpensive variety. But if I were craving the Pepin flavor experience, I’d most likely select another stick, and likely spend a few more bucks for it.
Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Maybe
Recommend It: Sure, give it a shot, it might make for a good everyday smoke.
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.
21 thoughts on “La Reloba Seleccion Habano”
Great review Brian. I have never seen nor heard of these till now. Does look to have a lot of wild ash on it, but I may have to snag some if i see them to try,
Just watch out, it has a bit of a kick to it at the end.
Brian it’s nice to see A Pepin cigar that isn’t all pepper right off the get go. I will def. give this a try as I as many enjoy Pepin smokes. Keep up the great work.
Thanks for the great review. Looks like a good stick for everyday huffing. I am a big DP fan and I will have to try a few of these.
Nice review. I need to try more of the DP cigars. He’s coming out with so many lately it’s nuts!
Pepin came to my hometown cigar shop (Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, TN) a while back, and was hand rolling cigars in the shop… he was hand-rolling a blend that wasn’t in production… he finally gave that cigar a name, and that is the “La Reloba”.
Hey, another Burns customer! DPG was in the shop in November and according to what I have been told, this cigar is the “guts” of the My Father original with the wrapper of the DPG Blue Label. He did indeed give out “fresh rolls” of this blend back in November. I got a couple and they were stellar (in Toro size, I believe). I did pick up a couple of these about two weeks ago (Burns’ entire shipment sold out in less than one day!) and really liked the first one I smoked. I did not experience the construction issues that you had, Brian.
Nice review brian and even better pictures. What kind of xamera did you use.
Thanks! I’m now using a Canon Rebel XS (Edit: Oops, not XT) for all the photography, excluding the occasional candid shot like the tunnel. That was taken with my crackberry’s camera. (Not bad for a camera built into a phone!)
IT SOUND’S LIKE TO ME THIS CIGAR TASTE JUST LIKE THE AMBOS MUNDOS FROM TATUAJE,PETE JOHNSON?
it does not taste anything like the ambos mundos, imo. although there is another one with a sumatran wrapper on it.
I didn’t notice a similarity in flavor, but I did notice the similar two-wrapper offering. I have no way of knowing, but perhaps the same wrapper is being used on both. Both lines are budget sticks, after all, it does make some sense.
Yeah, maybe it is the same wrapper, but the taste is more like an Oliva Serie O. The blend of the Ambos Mundos is just crap. This one had way more going on. I was a little weary of the double wrapper thing too, hoping they were nothing like the AM.
I liked this one quite a bit, although I prefer the Corona size to the others. As for comparing it to the Sumatra Wrapped one, This one is light years ahead.
Nice review Brian.
I smoked the Sumatra and liked it. I did think it tasted similar to the Ambos Mundos, but I actually liked the Ambos Mundos a little more. Haven’t tried the Habano in either lines…
Very good review! I smoked the Sumatra as well, and let me tell you, it is nice and peppery, spicy. I loved it so much so, I bought a box! I have not tried a Habano version, but from the review I would definitely enjoy one! Thanks
The Sumatra is far superior to the habano IMHO.
Perfect review. I’m smoking one right now and basically it’s a cheap cigar, tunnels while smoking and is less aromatic than most Cubans. Nonetheless, I’m enjoying it immensely since these were a gift from a Cuban friend who is visiting Canada right now. Thanks again for the great review.
Well, here it is July 4th 2020 and I am smoking a La Reloba Seleccion Habano cigar. I am watering the grass and just hanging out, found this in my coolador and decided to give it a try. Not a bad smoke at all! Had no problems with construction, tunneling or uneven burn. The flavor is OK for the price range, although this was a cigar that was gifted to me in a cigar swap with another brother of the leaf. The cellophane was a nice brown color when I removed it so I knew the cigar had some age on it and maybe that’s what it takes to make this burn well. Not bad at all, good smoke, nice draw and even burn. If I could find some more that were made back in 2010 2011 time frame I would surely buy them. I’m down to the last third now and must admit it was worth the time to get here. Have not had to touch up or relight yet. Two thumbs up! Happy 4th to all!!