Don Pepin Garcia Series JJ Belicoso | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo
Filler: Nicaraguan (Corojo & Criollo)
Size: 5.75 x 52 “Belicoso”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $8.85 MSRP


This was Don Pepin Garcia’s first release, under his own name, back in 2005. It is not that easy to find anymore. He only releases 300- 20 count boxes every year. The few online stores that carry them charge $142 for a box of 20. Atlantic Cigars sells the same box for $110.

The double “JJ” comes from both the father and son’s name: Jose and Jaime.

This is a cigar that is not in my catalog of reviews and thought it was long overdue.

The cigar has a very rustic look with a lot of veins, bumps, and visible seams. However, the triple cap is flawless. The wrapper is a very light brown with a touch of oiliness and feels slick to the touch. The stick has a main cigar band, a secondary band that says, “Series JJ” and a white ribbon at the foot. There is also some mottling on the wrapper.

I clip the cap and find aromas of strong cream, cocoa, spice, sweetness, cedar, leather and fruit.
Time to light up.

Sweetness starts us out. The draw is perfect. And here comes the famous Garcia Blast of Pepper. Woo Hoo.

My nose burns. The tip of my tongue is on fire like biting into a raw habanero. And when I awaken from passing out, the pepper is still there.

The burn line is very funky and needs an immediate fix.

Earthiness reigns the day. And then some dark chocolate, black cherry and lime zest.

The stick comes in four sizes: 5.75 x 52 Belicoso, 7.25 x 47 Salomon, 6 x 54 Toro, and a 5 x 50 Robusto.

The wrapper cracks near the cap. A very bad start. There are also smaller cracks here and there on the shaft. Goddamit. This isn’t from the cold. It is because the cigars were not properly humidified at the online store’s warehouse. I’ve received a lot of cigars lately and NONE of them have had cracking problems. And it is damn cold.

The cracks are too erratic to glue. And I fear that when it is time to remove the cigar band, the whole stick will come apart. This can really screw up the enjoyment of a good cigar.

Meanwhile, the cigar is approaching the end of the first third and the flavors are: Cocoa, coffee, sweetness, lime zest, cedar, leather, earthiness, and black cherry.

Creaminess appears in the nick of time. I try not to look at the cigar as it only frustrates me.

As the second third begins, it is an official flavor bomb. The creaminess kick started it.

The spiciness is both black and red pepper.

A nice toastiness appears and enhances the nuttiness of the flavor profile.

The foot needs another serious touch up. I am having no luck with this stick. If it were not for the wonderful flavors, I would have dumped it.

The spiciness has tamped down considerably allowing the other flavors to shine.

I stop what I am doing to read a couple reviews of reviewers I trust and admire. They too complain about structural issues. So it’s not me.

I don’t know if it is because I am fussing about this cigar but it seems to be burning faster than I think it should. I am already at the halfway point and it’s only been 20 minutes.

The cracks above the cigar band get worse and against my better judgment, I lightly glue a small part of the wrapper. It will make it look uglier but I don’t want the binder totally exposed.

I have several cigar holders. And I should probably use one now to keep my lips off the offending cracks. And that’s exactly what I do. Every cigar smoker should have a set of holders. You just never know.

I bought mine when I was still playing gigs. I always smoked while playing and the holder stopped from drooling with a stick in my mouth. used to have a wonderful supply of holders and very inexpensive but no longer.

Here is a couple I found by Googling them. Ebay usually has some very sensibly priced ones too.

I remove the main band and the wrapper is verklempt.

I suggest you only buy meerschaum holders as they don’t interfere with the taste of the cigar. The aluminum ones are cheap but you can taste it.

The last third sees a big return of red pepper…almost blotting out the subtle and nuanced flavors from earlier.
The strength hits medium/full and the nicotine is really kicking in.

This blend is a sledge hammer to the My Father feather. It is not subtle. No complexity. And yet, the MSRP is expensive at almost $9.00.

I got a 5 pack on Cigar Monster for $25 plus free shipping.

The cigar is becoming harsh. With a boat load of nicotine. Normally, any Garcia cigar is good to go in a week or two. More humidor time is even better. I think this blend would be served better with a month or two on it.

The harshness is putting me off so I decide to stop smoking it with about 1-1/2” to go.

The interesting thing about this cigar is that since it was Garcia’s first blend under his own name, it shows you the progress he has made since then. So if you want to take a walk down memory lane, find the cigar on Cigar Monster where you don’t have to put out a lot of dough on an R & D blend.

Here are the links to the meerschaum pipe holders: Meerschaum Pipe Master…and Meerschaum Market.
And here is a link to Ebay for their holders.
Remember…You will need half a dozen holders because they come in various sizes to meet the ring gauge of the cigar.


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3 replies

  1. Excellent review bad stick…At $ 9 a stick I would expect flawless construction at the very least…I smoke outdoors on the run and don’t have time or patience for Cigar maintenance…I have sticks in my Humi that are 10 years old that look better than this dude..Hell, some of my cigars look better than me…Thanks again Katman !

  2. Why are reviewers using the word “infamous” ? It is not a compliment. uses the word infamous to describe Don Pepin Garcia in the descriptions of his Don Pepin Garcia Blue line. Am I missing something?