The Story of The Little Robusto Project

Personal Stogie News52 Comments on The Story of The Little Robusto Project

The Story of The Little Robusto Project


For those of you who come here often, you already know or at least have an idea of what The Little Robusto Project is. “Little Robusto” was the affectionate nickname I gave my son JJ. Sadly, JJ passed away on November 2, 2007 from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) while at daycare when he was just 3.5 months old. When JJ was born, the first cigar I smoked to celebrate his birth was the Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ. A cigar blended by father (Jose Pepin Garcia) and son (Jaime Garcia) team at My Father Cigars. Even though JJ isn’t with us anymore, I still celebrate his birthday. Every July 22nd, I light up a Series JJ just like I did when he was born. Many of you have joined me every year and so, Smoke a JJ for JJ Day was born.

In 2010, for Smoke a JJ for JJ Day, my good friend Barry from and others raised money for SIDS. It was a such a popular social media event that it caught the attention of My Father Cigars who joined and participated, even matching the money that Barry and others raised. This was the beginning of The Little Robusto Project. From retailers to bloggers, many had a hand in this and I’m really not sure whose idea it actually was but there was enough support for My Father Cigars to make a special “Little Robusto” version of the Series JJ to raise money for SIDS.


At the 2011 IPCPR show in Las Vegas, Jose Ortega, officially announced that the Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ “Little Robusto” (pictured above) would be made. The “Little Robusto” is a 4.5 x 50 short robusto. It features a Broadleaf wrapper with Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo filler. 300 (24 count) boxes were made with a MSRP of $6 a cigar (doesn’t include any taxes).

Where Does My Money Go? – This will vary by retailer as I’ve left it up to them to decide what percentage will go to two charities:

The Center for Infant and Child Loss works with Maryland families and communities facing the sudden unexpected death of their infant or child as they learn to live with their loss. The Center is committed to increasing the understanding of sudden infant and child death, risk reduction practices, grief, and compassionate intervention.

First Candle – First Candle is one of the nation’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to safe pregnancies and the survival of babies through the first years of life. Their current priority is to eliminate Stillbirth, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID) with programs of research, education and advocacy.

Like I said, I left the actual percentage up to each individual retailer. Your mileage will vary but I’m happy to say some retailers have already committed that 100% will go to charity.

Where Do I Buy The Little Robusto? – Participating retailers include W.Curtis Draper, Buckhead Cigar, Cigar Connections, Delaware Cigars, Ruben’s Smoke Stack, Smoke Inn and Atlantic Cigar all carry the “Little Robusto”. I’ll update this post as I hope the retailer list grows.

Personal Note – I want to thank My Father Cigars especially Jose Ortega and Janny Garcia for making this happen. Like true friends you asked nothing of me and offered to do this out of the goodness of your heart. I also want to thank my retailer, blogger, online and real life friends (some of you fall into multiple categories). Whenever you guys saw Jose Ortega at events you always asked about the status of The Little Robusto Project. You never forget about him.

When JJ passed away we had prayer cards made. One part of that prayer card read:

When you are lonely and sick of heart,
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing
good deeds.

I hope this classifies as a good deed and that my “Little Robusto” is a little prouder of his papa.


52 thoughts on “The Story of The Little Robusto Project

  1. Much love and respect with prayers brother. Thanks for sharing this part of your life- makes me always sit back and know how blessed i am

  2. Jerry,

    I am so proud to be a part of the project and seeing it become reality. Raising awareness to SIDS counts as a good deed in my book.

    I am sure the Little Robusto is smiling down at his papa.


  3. It’s a testament to how well you are respected in the cigar world. Do you know of any shops in SoCal that might be carrying the Little Robusto?

  4. I was moved to tears when I initially heard of your son’s passing, and am close to that now. What a wonderful tribute. This is one of the many reasons I love the cigar industry. Every facet of the business is about the people.

  5. Jerry, I always think of your son whenever I pick up Series JJ. I am looking forward to picking up some of these at Buckhead Cigar this weekend.
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the cigar community is made up of some of the finest people I know. Blessing on all who made this project come to fruition.


  6. Jerry,

    This is fantastic and I’m definately going to do my part in buying many little robustos in Honor of Your “Little Robusto”!!!!!!!!!!


  7. Great Job Jerry your little guy is so proud of you. I will be sure to pick up some of these JJ’s for the cause.

  8. Amazing story, our thoughts and prayers are with you! this is the first time reading about this and I will look forward to smoking with you in 2011.

  9. What a great project, very cool of My Father Cigars to do this and the retailers as well. I know your Little Robusto is proud and happy right now.

  10. This is absolutely amazing. I take part in the “Smoke a JJ for JJ” every year and I am glad that it’s no longer an annual thing. JJ is smiling down on ya.

  11. Very fuckin cool, Jerry. Hopefully there’s somewhere around here that carries them. Not only do I want to support the route of the project, but I’m also looking forward to trying this blend with a broadleaf wrapper. I’ll definitely be grabbing a handfull whenever I see them available.

  12. What a wondeful project Jerry! Raising money for these excellent causes in the name of your little Robusto is beautiful. Way to Go Pepin & the Garcia family for making this project happen & big props to all the retailers for getting involved and donating the proceeds to those charities.

    I cannot help but get emotional whenever “Smoke a JJ for JJ” arrives each year and we all light up in honor of the little Robusto. You are right, the cigar community is filled with some of the best people in the world. Although we have never met, I consider you my brother (of the leaf).

  13. Very cool of My Father Cigars to take on this project. I have celebrated a JJ for JJ the past couple of years – this year i will be stopping by buckhead to pick up the new supplies!! Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family!

  14. Jerry, what a great prayer,I would have to think that the rest of it would also be great.We all need each other at some time in our living on this earth. Sure looks like the people that have left messages here do care.

  15. Great news! A big tip of the hat to you and all the others involved in this project. I hope I can find some of these around my neck of the woods.

  16. Jerry, it is wonderful to see this project come to fruition. I’ve had my humidor stocked with series JJ for the annual smoke since the first, never to be without them. Like mango mentioned, I can’t pick one up without thinking of your little Robusto. That stick will always be a remembrance of him for me. I look forward to purchasing some of these. A box purchase is not possible for me right now but I will get as many as I can or possibly a box split is in order. It humbles me and makes me proud to be a part of this wonderful cigar community we have that goes above and beyond just the mutual enjoyment of cigars.

  17. Great idea, wonderful tribute and glad some good can be gained from your tragic loss. God Bless you and your family.

  18. Will be placing an order for a box sometime today, assuming I can order these online or by calling them. Fantastic how so many people pulled together to make this a reality.

  19. I was there from the beginning for Robusto (JJ). It a great to do. I will get a box from W.Curtis Draper asap. Keep up the good work The Great

  20. Jerry,

    Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this incredible project. We are honored! I am sure “Little Robusto” is looking down from heaven proud of what you are doing. As long as “Little Robusto” lives in our hearts brother, he lives forever.

    Much love brother!

    José Ortega
    My father Cigars

  21. Well done to everyone involved in this. Last year i smoked a JJ for JJ after hearing about this and im hoping im able to pick some of these up for this year and years to come

  22. I’ve been trying to hold of some of these. I’m struggling to find a shipper over to UK. Anybody?
    Mr Ortega-you’re star!

  23. My thoughts are prayers are with you, your family and little JJ. thank you for sharing this extremely touching story with us. Big props to My Father Cigars, who once again show why they are the class in the Nic Cigar market.

  24. Very classy move by My Father Cigars. Thanks to the fine folks at Atlantic Cigar making these available online a box is headed my direction. Pretty cool knowing that this cigar purchase is going to such a worthwhile cause. Not to mention that for the next 24 birth days I don’t have to track down and JJ’s to honor the Little Robusto.

  25. Jerry – As one of your more vocal critics. I want to say…God Bless You! I have no doubt in my mind that JJ is proud of you and your work to keep his memory alive and to raise awareness for SIDS. One day I hope to meet you and share a cigar. Until then, I have my Little Robustos ordered and waiting for July 22nd.

    It takes a lot for a man to share his pain with others. Its something some of us are incapable of doing. Sharing this with us is a reminder that every day is a gift.

  26. Jerry, I heard about the JJ Little Robusto Project a few years ago but only now learned it was your son. Jerry, my eyes teared up reading your story. I am very sad. It’s a strong man that reaches out to his friends. I read your reviews with enthusiasm and have cigar tastes very much akin to yours. I hope your heart has healed at least just a little over the past five years. I know what I will be doing this coming July 22nd. God Bless you and your family.

  27. Jerry, as a father of four loving children, I can not tel you how many times the horrible feeling of loosing one of my own has haunted me in the last 30 years.
    All I can say to you is I’m sorry for the loss you bare. My heart goes out to you brother.

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