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.