G.A.R. Red by George Rico | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano (Jalapa)
Filler: Nicaraguan Habano & Corojo
Size: 5 x 50 “Robusto”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $5.00 MSRP (Less than $3.00 on CI)

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Today we take a look at the G.A.R. Red by George A. Rico.

BACKGROUND:
From the Sept. 2013 Press Release:
“The G.A.R. Red is a medium to full-bodied smoke experience with a rich dark chocolate flavor infused with black peppery notes in the finish. George Rico once again delivers complexity and balance, thus becoming the kind of experience that only Gran Habano can create at such a value for the consumer. This newest premium long-filler cigar joins the ranks of the highly rated G.A.R. collection, including G.A.R. White and G.A.R. Opium.”

Factory: G.R. Tabacaleras Unidas S.A.

From the April, 2015 Press Release:
“Sizes: 5 x 50, 6 x 54, 6 x 60, 7 x 70. 6 X 66 has been discontinued.
“MSRP: $4.00 – $5.60”

DESCRIPTION:
A nice looking oily, mottled brown wrapper. Solid. Tight seams. A modicum of veins. A beautiful triple cap.

SIZES AND PRICING:
5 x 50 $5.00 MSRP
6 x 60 $5.00 MSRP
6 x 54 $5.25 MSRP
7 x 70 $5.60 MSRP

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
Along the shaft, I smell barnyard, sweet cedar, cinnamon, cream, and some fruitiness.
From the clipped cap and foot, I smell baking spice, red pepper, barnyard, leather, and cocoa.
The cold draw presents earthiness, leather, milk chocolate, red pepper, and coffee.

FIRST THIRD:
I’ve had this cigar simmering for 3 months. Thanks to Natasha Rico for the samples.
The cigar starts off with a wallop of red pepper. My lips burn, my sinuses are ringing the alarm bell, and tongue is on fire. I love it.

The draw is exceedingly on the money.
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Other flavors include: rich earthiness, undisclosed fruit, campfire mesquite, cedar, and the start of creaminess. It is a very meaty cigar. Very sweet and savory.

I didn’t know what to expect. I really didn’t. This is my first G.A.R. Red by George A. Rico. Look at that photo of the 7 x 70 next to the Robusto. Smoking that cigar is a major commitment of time and life span. Thankfully, Natasha sent along a Robusto because there is no way I can get through that Mamajamma in one morning.

Strength hits medium body quickly.

There is a flavor I can’t nail. I’m smacking my lips like the dog trying to figure it out.
I wait a couple minutes and I’ve got it. It is a combo of cinnamon and raisin.
You know what the G.A.R. Red by George A. Rico reminds me of? The original My Father blend.

Flavors embolden and more are added changing the lineup: Creaminess, red pepper, chocolate, cinnamon, raisin, sweetness, fruit, cedar, licorice, and coffee.
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It is difficult to discern that long list of flavors because, so far, this is not a complex cigar. But then, I’ve only smoked 1”.
What a lovely flavor profile. Again, not expecting this subtlety. Now I wonder what it will be like to smoke a redwood sized G.A.R. Red by George A. Rico?

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time has been 20 minutes.

I’m really digging this stick. I checked Cbid and they are there for the taking.

But no Robustos. They are selling the 6 x 60, and 7 x 70. Even though Rico discontinued the 6 x 66, CI must still have back stock of them because they are still selling them.

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My opinion at this early stage is that this is a blend flying under the radar. The big sizes may put some smokers off. Others love it. Clearly, the Ricos know their customer base and would not have put out such big cigars if there were not a market for them.

The G.A.R. Red by George A. Rico is very smooth. Strength is at medium+ body.
This blend definitely has My Father overtones. And for a fraction of the price. Now remember, I’ve allowed mine for over 3 months. No cheating and smoking one ROTT.
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New flavor profile: Creaminess, red pepper, coffee, cocoa, Ritz crackers, cinnamon, raisins, fruit, sweetness, cedar, licorice, vanilla bean, and just a touch of orange zest.
Strength hits medium/full.

HALFWAY POINT:
Smoke time is 33 minutes. (Yes, I use a stop watch).

Construction has been top notch. No wrapper issues. And a perfect char line. No touch ups required.

The G.A.R. Red by George A. Rico will definitely make “The Katman’s List of 140 Great Cigars in the $5.00-$6.50 Range.” I’ve been remiss and have not updated it. Today it shall be done.
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I hope you are taking advantage of the Pierson Geoffreys coupon on the bottom of the page. I suggest starting with the Estilo Cubano. It is a $9.00 stick before the coupon discount. After a month of rest, it becomes a monster. I know it seems I’m a schmuck for shilling for this company but I have great hopes for Jeff Pearson. His blends are truly outstanding and I hope you have the opportunity to try them. Another good start is the Sampler – Vintage 1967, Perfecto, Estilo Cubano, Anejo Havana for $48. You get two of each blend. Making it a 10 count Toro package. And brings the price down to $4.80 per stick. Can’t beat that.

Back to the G.A.R. Red by George A. Rico.
The cigar is very complex now with a nice balance and long finish.
What a great blend this is. I was fooled by the inexpensive price point. How could a $5 cigar be great? Well it is. It is better than great. It’s fantastic.
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CI sells them from $2.00-$2.50 per stick. Who needs Cbid? In fact, I see people bidding on these cigars on Cbid and they are paying more than the regular pricing on CI. Dummkopfs.

LAST THIRD:
No real changes. Doesn’t need any. Just cruising along.
The red pepper makes a huge surge and moves to the front of the line. That’s OK with me as long as it doesn’t wipe out other flavors in its wake. Which it doesn’t.

This definitely reminds me of the original My Father blend.

Nutty and toasty. Like me. New additions. I’ve found that those two components never seem to really sink their teeth into the flavor profile til the last half. Something has to accrue before they can be appreciated.

What I don’t know is how the big redwoods smoke. Does the enormous size have a deleterious effect on the flavor profile? Or does it make it more intense? I will smoke the 7 x 70 this week. Ah ha! And I will review it. It has to possess different flavors. Maybe tomorrow.

Everything, construction wise, is dead on.
No heat. No harshness. Perfect char line.
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I’m glad I waited 3 months to review this cigar. I only had one so I had no choice but to let it simmer in the crock pot.
The sweetness overtakes the savory. But in actuality, it reminds me of a Ritz Cracker with a light, peppery cheese in the middle of two Ritz crackers. The crackers are sweet.

With a little more than an inch to go, the flavors become more intense. No slow fade on this baby.
This just goes to show how prejudiced and snobby we are as a smoking population. How in the world can a $3 cigar be any good? The G.A.R. Red by George A. Rico proved the fallacy incorrect.
Final smoke time is around an hour.

PRICE POINT:
Who are we kidding? This is the deal of the century. There isn’t another cigar for less than $3 on the market as good as the G.A.R. Red by George A. Rico. This stick smokes like a $7 cigar.

SUMMATION:
I went into this cigar experience not expecting much. I thought this was just an inexpensive cigar with a mediocre flavor profile and not a lot of fun to smoke. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Construction was dead on.

The flavor spectrum was broad and intense. It was an interesting cigar with lots of transitions; albeit mild ones.
For a Nic puro, it had none of the stereotypical flavors. Kudos Mr. Rico.
Go to CI and buy a box of 12 cigars for less than $30. These will impress your friends. But I doubt you will share. Mine, I tell you. Mine!

From Natasha Rico on 7-26-15:
“That was a wonderful review! I read it to George while we were in the car yesterday. We’re so glad you enjoyed it!!!! I already posted it to our Instagram and Facebook page yesterday.
Natasha”

Thank you Natasha!

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3 replies

  1. CI now only has the 660, 666 , and 770.

  2. Katman been reading your reviews for almost 3 years. There is another cigar on the market (if you know where to find it online) for less than $2.00 a stick that smokes better than 99% of most $8.00 cigars. Gran Habano Vintage 2005-in the case the Toro Grande actually smokes better than the Robusto. Too much focus and emphasis put on the bigger online retailer: I.E. CI, Famous Smoke. In order: Price Point is cigarpage.com; Quality of shipping Atlantic CIgar and Holts SIde by Side.

    Jeremy Born in Miami Lives in Ft. Laud. 50 + years old.

    • Jeremy,
      I can’t find the Vintage 2005 anywhere.
      And to be quite honest, I have stopped buying cigars as our bills take priority.
      Thanks for your support you old codger!
      Phil