In an industry rife with celebrated family operations, the Garcia clan cuts a pretty high profile. At the head is Don Pepin Garcia, a master blender and maker now most closely associated with My Father Cigars, and flanked by his son, Jaime, and daughter, Janny. This summer, Janny stepped into the spotlight with the introduction of La Duena, which translates to the feminine form of “the owner.” The cigar was crafted to Janny’s taste, with Tatuaje’s Pete Johnson doing the blending and brother Jaime overseeing the production. The aim was to produce a full-flavored, medium-strength stick.
Cigar Stats: La Duena is an ode to broadleaf tobacco. The filler and binder are blends of Connecticut broadleaf and Nicaraguan tobaccos wrapped in Connecticut broadleaf. It’s available in five sizes: Robusto No. 5 (5x50), Belicoso No. 2 (5½x54), Petit Lancero No. 7 (6x42), Petit Belicoso No. 9 (4¾x48) and Petit Robusto (4½x52). Retail prices should range from $7.50-8.25. I sampled the Robusto.
Appearance: The deep brown wrapper has an appealing rough-hewn look, with a couple of veins and wrapper seams. The red-and-white band is quite simple, with a silhouette of La Duena and a minimum of text. The understated presentation keeps the focus on the smoke.
The Smoke: There is plenty of rich pre-light aroma – always a good sign – and that carries through after the flame is applied. At first light, spice pervades the taste, but about a half-inch into the smoke, a smooth blend of wood and earth prevails. Along with a hint of sweetness from the wrapper and the rich aroma, it’s a hearty, tasty blend that does not overwhelm the senses. The draw is near perfect, and the burn line is a model of consistency.
Verdict: La Duena achieves exactly what it set out to do: deliver plenty of flavor in the medium-bodied range of strength. As usual, the Garcia family is touching all the bases with this stick. You should try one. – Brian Coyne