Mi Barrio (Guest Review)

This weeks guest review comes courtesy of Rich
from the Stogie Review Fan Forums.

Hey Y’all

This time around its the Mi Barrio by EO brands and Jose “Pepin” Garcia. The series is being released in 100,000 stick installments, each featuring artwork by Edin Gutierrez on the band and on the top and inside of the box lid. This particular band is a portrait of Pepin Garcia standing next to Erik Espinoza’s father and Pepin’s good friend Orestes Espinoza. Each new release will be an identical blend in a different vitola identical vitola with a different blend, with a different painting. (The word on the street is the next is the robusto… but don’t quote me on that).

On to the review!!!

Mi Barrio - 1

Cigar Stats:

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan….?? (probably corojo, knowing Pepin)
Filler: Nicaraguan (from Esteli and Jalapa “vintage”)
Size: El Puro (7.5 x 52)
Origin: Nicaragua
Price: $12.50 (I paid $13 at a local shop)
Drinking: Sweet Tea and Water

Mi Barrio - 2

Appearance:
Superbly constructed… the wrapper is a rich oily brown, and has a rustic appearance to it. There are a couple veins, the most prominent is just beneath the band. The cigar is triple capped, and is nicely packed with no soft spots. The band is highly detailed, and looks hand painted.

Mi Barrio - 3

First Impressions:
The wrapper has a spicy sweet aroma, and a pungent tobacco and barnyard smell from the foot. I use a punch to open the cigar, and the draw is free and easy. The flavor on the cold draw is subdued. It has a very light cedar flavor with some sweet tobacco.
The first puffs contained very very full flavors of leather and earth. The cigar produces a lot of thick smoke. The finish is smooth yet has a nice spice to it. Its very powerful through the nose, with lots and lots of spice, and subtle hints of vanilla. The aroma is really nothing special… enjoyable for a smoker…not for anyone else.

Mi Barrio - 4

1/3 (45min):
Leather is the prevailing flavor… and there is lots of it. I occasionally get a little nuttiness and some earth, but its still being pushed aside by the twangy leather. The smoke is slightly bitter on the tongue, but balances well with the spicy clean finish. Through the nose is still challenging, and now reinforces the leathery palate flavors. The ash isn’t particularly strong. It first dropped at just over an inch, very unexpectedly on my poor keyboard. The burn is fine, but at the end of the first 3rd I have to give it a little help.

Mi Barrio - 5

2/3 (90min):
Similar to the previous third, but is a little more nutty and earthy. The twang of the leather has settled down. The flavors have mellowed a bit, and gives the impression of a medium bodied smoke. However… I’m catching a nice little buzz right about the half way mark. The ash hasn’t gotten any stronger, and it seems every time I try and get a shot of it….it falls! The finish is starting to linger a little more, lightly coating the tongue with spice. Near the end of the 2nd 3rd the leather starts taking a back seat to the nuts, and the overall flavor has moved from crisp to savory. The burn problems continue… I will say that this stick is an anomaly, the other 2 I’ve had burned perfectly.

Final 3rd (2hr):
The leather returns with a vengeance. The nuts and earth have trailed off, and the finish is much drier now. An unusual flavor I am getting now, is that of curry….yep…weird, but its happened before. Spice is picking up a little more… leaving more of a bite on the tongue than the rest of the stick did.

Mi Barrio - 6

Last Bit (2hr15):
Not much to report here… similar flavors and spice as the previous 3rd but they are fading fast. It does pop in some pungent compost flavors here and there. The stick gets pretty warm around the 2 inch mark, but maintains its firm structure. I’ve got a nice euphoric buzz going on, which really rears its head when I stand up to take the final image!

Final Thoughts:
This is a very nice smoke. Its a little one sided, but the varying amount of flavors from start to finish add a nice dimension to the stick. I thought it smoked a little fast, I was expecting a good 2.5 hours out of this thing (I did take my time with this one, being aware of the nicotine punch from the previous outings with this stick). I specifically used the Punch on this one because the other two I used a straight cut, and a shave (scissors), and the nicotine became a little overwhelming. I think as the shorter vitolas become available, the nicotine will not be as much of a factor, because I have no doubt that the length of this bad boy contributed greatly to the buzz I have now. Its a great cigar if leather is your flavor of choice. The spice gave it a great sense of balance, and for the most part the finish was crisp and clean. I wouldn’t recommend it to a beginner. Not only for the strength, but the flavors are not typically what a new smoker would gravitate to. I think with a year or two under its belt, this could become a classic smoke. Giving it some time to balance out the leather with some other flavors that will develop over time…not to mention calm down the nicotine kick. Its a solid FULL body smoke particularly in the first and last 3rds. The middle calms down to a medium, but thats when you start to feel the smack of the Nicotine. Pepin fans will recognize many similarities to his other blends. Is it his best? I don’t think so…but its in the top 5.

Liked it: Yes
Buy it again: Yes, but I’m going to age them a bit.
Recommend it: Only to the veterans…I think it would be too much for a beginner to handle. Pick up one to have now, and one to age.