Atlanta is a such a great place to live if you love cigars. The sheer volume of tobacconists in the greater metro area draws a lot of attention from large manufacturers and ensures that the smaller boutiques are well represented too. But even in a big market like this, it’s still possible to miss some new cigars. And initially, I thought that was what had happened with the Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial. The first time I came face to face with one locally was only a few weeks ago, long after the stick had been smoked, discussed and reviewed all over the internet.
But it turns out that the Reserva Especial wasn’t officially released back in December 2009 like I had thought. No, Atlanta had not missed the memo. The cigar being discussed earlier this year was actually a limited preview of the line set to be released this summer. The indications are that the released blend is identical to that pre-release, and very fortunately, the speculation that this cigar would retail between $20 and $25 a stick turned out to be incorrect.
The Reserva Especial is available in five vitolas, Petit Robusto (4 1/2 x 50), Robusto (5 1/4 x 52), Toro (6 x 54), Toro Gordo (6 x 60) and Belicoso (5 1/2 x 52) and features filler tobacco from Pepin’s farms as well as leaf from the Oliva Tobacco Company based in Tampa, Florida. Though I have been unable to verify it, some retail websites are also saying that the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper has been aged for 6 years as well. And as the name implies, the cigar was blended Jaime Garcia, not his legendary father.
Size: 5 1/4 x 52
Wrapper: Connectictut Broadleaf
Filler: Nicaraguan (from Pepin and OTC farms)
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: MSRP $6.80
The Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial is a great looking cigar. It has dark, oily, sometimes toothy wrapper and comes decorated in a simple and elegant sepia-esque band. Looking each cigar over, it was difficult to find a flaw, or more than two veins in any stick. The closest thing to a construction error I found was a an oddly cut edge of leaf on one stick, but that’s really getting nitpicky.
The cigars were consistently firm to the touch, and gave off a pungent compost aroma. The cold draw had a dark chocolate flavor with a little bit of sweetness.
The Reserva Especial looked even better burning that in did tucked away in it’s box. The even burn and the fine, solid white ash was a nice contrast to the very dark wrapper leaf. Each session with this cigar was a textbook example of the way a cigar should burn.
From the outset the flavor profile of the Reserva Especial was pretty dark. Dark chocolate, molasses and slightly charry wood got things going. As the first third progressed, there was an increase in spiciness, but a decline once again before the next third.
As the second third began, the cigar grew a little sweeter, and before long, the charry wood flavor grew a little sharper, pushing the chocolate more into the lingering finish. Though it varied in location from stick to stick, there was also an short period during this third where the wood receded almost completely, leaving the cigar tasting like mixture of an earthy cocoa and dark chocolate. But then once again, the wood returned.
As the cigar drew to a close, the flavor took a turn toward earthiness. The charred wood remained, and to a lesser extent, the dark chocolate did as well.
$6.80 beats the heck out of the $25. At this price, not only can just about anyone can afford this cigar, but it’s cheaper than most cigars being made by Pepin these days.
The Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial is a well priced, good burning, solid smoke with a lot of dark, full flavors. It wasn’t exactly what I expected when I lit it up, but then again, it isn’t a Pepin-blended cigar either. The difference between that Pepin expectation and the reality of the cigar may have been what caused my feeling that something was missing as I smoked the first stick. But like the foot of a cigar over a match, I slowly warmed up to the Reserva Especial as I burned my way through the review assortment. With all of them now attractive piles of ash, I can see my self buying more, but without a sense of urgency. It’s good, but not gotta-have-it good.
If you’re a fan of fuller bodied cigars with heavy flavor profiles, double ligeros and the like, this is one you should try.
Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Probably
Recommend It: Yes
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.
22 thoughts on “Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Robusto”
I completely agree with your assessment of this cigar. It’s so different from what I’ve grown to expect from a Pepin stick that my initial impressions were a bit clouded. But the more i smoked them the more i began to appreciate the cigar for it’s unique characteristics. I guess we’re witnessing Jaime differentiating himself from his dad.
Solid review once again. Haven’t seen these at my regular shop but it looks like the price is right & the flavor profile is right up my alley. I really like the fuller flavors of double ligeros so I’ll give it a shot.
Great stick & great review! I do have to state that the production release is significantly different than the pre-release. Jaime strengthened the blend because they thought the original was too mild. Also the suspicion that these were going to be $20-25 ea was missinformed and based on the assumption that the Cigar Inn release was boxes of ten when they were boxes of twenty (with a NY msrp of $250).
The other weekend I gave one to my brother to try & asked him how much he thought the price was – he said he would expect $12-13. He nearly fell out of his chair when I told him <$6…!!!
Great review Brian. I’ve been impressed with these since I first smoked them. I do like the price. I agree with you in that it is good, but not gotta have it good.
Jerry nice reading. So are you going to do that with all of Brian’s reviews from now on? LOL
Nice review Brian. I think your spot on with the assessment. Good stick at a good price but not a game changer except its nice to get My Father Quality without it being a spice bomb.
I also agree with Chris that its good to see Jaime using his talents to do something different.
Also liked Jerry Cruz’s reading of the review. Kind of like cigar reviews for the blind….
Brian great review. These just landed out here in Cali and just pickup two letting rest and I cant wait to try.
I was at my local b&m over the weekend and the owner kept going on and on about these. Though I normally don’t try sticks on the behest of my local b&m, because it had the Garcia name on it I decided to pick up a few. I was not disappointed.
This review is dead on! If you’re a fan of dark flavored, full-bodied cigars, then this is definitely a must try. I agree with the review that it’s good, but not gotta-have-it good, though for $6 a stick it’s definitely worth smoking.
Brian – Here is a question for you. How on earth did it go from a $20-$25 cigar to a $6 cigar? If its the same blend as the limited pre-release stuff I wonder what changed for such a drastic drop in price? At $6 you know they are still making money off of it.
Jerry’s reading of the review added so much to the overall experience…almost as if you were sitting, having a smoke with Brian and/or Jerry! Okay, maybe not, but it certainly was fun. As for the cigar itself…yet another blend from the halls of My Father, but at least this one sounds like a good one. I’m heading down to Burns tonight so I’ll see if they got them in yet.
I really enjoy this stick. It reminds me of the Ashton Aged Maduro, but has a little more going on flavor-wise, and at a far better price. I think you were pretty spot-on with the flavor profile, pretty much what I got from it, except I picked up a nice citrusy sweetness that balanced in very well.
Nice review Brian. I smoked a few of these while in Key West, and brought back some as well. Solid smoke and the price is right on target.
Great job Brian!!!
Finally tried these just last night… for my taste it is certainly a “gotta have it” cigar… and I agree that it’s flavor profile definitely appeals to a certain smoker… some, like me (and I do love the LFD double ligero) , will love it… to others it’s just a good/solid smoke.
If this is the direction that Jaime’s blends will go, then I am really looking forward to future smokes!!!
This is quickly becoming one of my go-to cigars. I picked up a couple a few weeks ago at a local B&M based on the name and reputation, and I certainly wasn’t let down. Since then every time I am in the shop I gravitate back to these smokes.
Great, full-bodied cigar with an excellent construction. Love these.
Caught myself with a few minutes to kill before the dentist and popped over to my B&M to see if they had anything I had yet to try. Was pleased to find a box of these, so I grabbed one.
My palate is not yours Hewitt, but I did have the EXACT thoughts of the burn, and remarked to myself how perfectly constructed the cigar was. And was also waiting for that Pepin zing and was pleased not to find it in this stick. Since its only my 2nd Jaime cigar (Le Bijou being the first) I’m learning that as far as spice notes go, not all things are like father like son.
I loved this stick…might not have loved it as much at a higher price point, but for this money…think I paid $7.50…I felt like I was well rewarded for my hard earned coin. Going to make this one a staple in my humidor.
I am late to the party as usual, but I had to comment on a very good review. Well done and thank you.
And I am really late to the party. I smoked one of these last night and think this review is pretty much spot on. Right off the bat I got a blast of what I would describe as hickory. The mouth feel of the smoke was pretty thick. The flavors then waxed and waned between chocolate and wood with a buttery texture. I told my friend it reminded me of a nice prime rib followed by chocolate cake. These flavors were less prevalent in the second half of the smoke. I would smoke more of these in a heartbeat.
Better late than never.
The first one that I smoked was spectacular so I bought a box. Of the box, 3 had a decent draw, the rest had to be thrown away after lighting. I actually shared the box with a friend of mine for Christmas, horrible mistake. Would never buy this cigar again.
This is my favorite of the Pepin line of smokes. The review is right on, but I’d imagine mature pallets will enjoy this more. I tire of Nicaraguan sweetness and the Jaime Garcia is a welcome departure. The Flor de las Antillas rounds out the Pepin standouts to my taste. Again, tastes vary, but I’ve smoked the Pepin Exclusivos(9.2×48) and they’re pleasant but less satisfying.