August 25, 2011

REVIEW: Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Limited Edition

A few Sundays ago, the Cigar Explorer crew headed to Casa De Montecristo in Chicago for the national release party of the new stick Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Limited Edition, blended by its namesake, Jaime Garcia. Jamie released the first cigar to carry his name (the Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial) last year, and followed up this year with the Limited Edition version -- which goes hand in hand with what the My Father company has been doing the past 2 regular release of a line and one limited.  The difference between the limited edition and the regular release is the filler used in the cigar. The now-famous Pelo de Oro tobacco is used, as well as a few other slight changes to the percetages of the other types of tobacco included to round out the cigar.

I spoke with our good friends Janny Garcia and Jose Ortega of the My Father Company at the event for a long time about many new projects, but what's funny is we didn't ever talk about this cigar, so I don't have any quotes for the readers. That's not to say that they weren't very excited for the new stick; it's more to say that they have so many projects on the horizon that we could fill hours just talking about the future.

As always, it was a great party at Casa de Montecristo. Let's see if the cigar was just as good.

Vitola: Toro
Length: 6 1/2
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price:  $16.00
Smoking Location: My Back Deck
Beverage: water

The Jamie Garcia is a stunning looking cigar. The wrapper leaf was a near flawless dark brown shade with only one noticeable seam line. The extra band added to this cigar to distinguish it from the normal release was nicely designed. I really like the color choices used in the graphics. There's something about the blue, brown, and gold that gave a sophisticated yet still modern feel. The triple cap clipped easily and the cold draw had a nice dried fruit taste to it. I'm happy to report that after my last two reviews where the draw started tight, this cigar was not showing any of those problems. The pre-lit aroma was of a heavy cedar and wood smell. (Something to note about the photos in this review: I smoked this cigar outside on a windy day. The normal long ash photos weren't possible to capture.)

First Third   
Even with the wind problem, lighting my Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Limited Edition was easy. A few flicks of the flame and we were off and running. Right out of the gate, the cigar produced a strong black pepper flavor on the front of each draw that really woke up my taste buds. I was expecting this and happily got it. The finish was heavily dominated by the black pepper also, but I did pick up hints of cinnamon spice mixed in. If you've read my reviews before you might remember this is one of my favorite flavors in cigars (and in anything really.) If the flavors came quickly from this cigar, so did the power. I could tell with only a few pufs in that this was going to be one hell of a strong cigar. Full strength from the get-go. A little over an inch into the stick, I started to get some flavors of coffee mixing in. The burn was great even with the wind and the ash was solid.

Second Third  
The second third of my Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Limited Edition had the coffee flavor pick up in intensity. The front of each draw was no longer completely dominated by pepper, but was more a mixture of a toned down pepper and black coffee. It was an interesting mix of flavors. The finish on the cigar in the second third was where I had a bit of a problem. The flavor of the finish had turned into a deep leathery note that was kind of dirty tasting. I'm not sure how to describe it, but the best I can do is say it tasted dirty and left my mouth feeling unpleasant. None of this flavor was in the first third of the cigar so something must have changed. I must mention again that this is a strong cigar. By this point of the smoking experience, I could feel my heart rate picking up and the nicotine effecting my head. Just like the first third, there were no problems with the burn or construction.

Final Third and Final Thoughts 
The final third of my Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Limited Edition was a little better than the second third. I have no issues with the front profile of flavors with the pepper and coffee; it was the finish that still troubled me a bit. The dirty taste had subsided for the most part, but I got a taste of it in maybe one out of every seven or eight puffs. It was not enough for me to end the cigar early, but just when I thought maybe it had gone away for good, I would get that flavor again on an exhale. Annoying. I nubbed the cigar and my head was in full spin mode from the power. I didn't get the sick spins, but if I had not eaten beforehand, I bet I would have. Perfect My Father construction with no relights.

My final thoughts on the Jaime Garcia Reserva Especial Limited Edition? Was Jaime trying to hurt someone with this cigar? Phew. This is one powerful stick. If you're a guy who loves full strength, this cigar is for you. Overall, I would say it was a good cigar, but not a great cigar. The flavors in the first third were right up my alley, but the transition the cigar made in the second third and on into the final third were not what I look for in a My Father brand cigar. I love almost everything from My Father brand cigars. This one fell just a bit short for me.

Would I buy it again? I would like to smoke another one of these in the future to see if anything happens with age, but I don't see myself buying more than maybe one.

Would I buy a box?  This is a very expensive box of cigars. I will be passing at this time.



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