Crafted by Jaime Garcia from Santa Clara Cigars | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Rosado
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 5 x 50 Robusto
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $8.00 MSRP ($1.00 less online)

Today we take a look at the Crafted by Jaime Garcia from Santa Clara Cigars.
Thanks to dear friend Aaron Hamamoto for the sticks.

BACKGROUND:
From Cigar Dojo:
“Santa Clara, Inc., one of the nation’s one of the largest distributors of cigars and other tobacco products, announces the newest additions to an exclusive portfolio premium cigar brands: Joya de Nicaragua Clásico and Crafted by Jaime Garcia. The official announcement, made at the IPCPR’s 86th Annual Convention & International Trade Show, marks an operational launch in which the wholesaler will exclusively showcase and distribute both newly-introduced premium cigar lineups.

“Crafted by Jamie (sic) Garcia, the second exclusive announced at the 2018 IPCPR, is the newest addition to Santa Clara’s own Crafted Series. Crafted by Jaime Garcia joins the line’s top-selling precursors, Montecristo Crafted by A.J. Fernandez, and Romeo y Julieta Crafted by A.J. Fernandez, which were both released in early-2017 to tremendous success. This newly-offered assortment was blended by Jaime Garcia, son of the legendary master blender, Don ‘Pepin’ Garcia, and comes hand-rolled by the artisans of the My Father Cigars S.A. factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. ‘Crafted’ cigars utilize fiery Habano Rosado wrappers and other full-flavored components to deliver a spicy, complex profile, that’s sure to pique the interest of any ‘My Father’ enthusiast. Crafted by Jaime Garcia cigars are presented in three sizes, with a suggested retail price of $8.00 – $9.00 a cigar.”

SIZES AND PRICING (MSRP):
Robusto 5 x 50 $8.00
Toro 6 x 52 $8.50
Gordo 6 x 60 $9.00

APPEARANCE:
What a beautifully oiled wrapper with hues of deep and dark espresso and notes of walnut. The wrapper is covered completely in veins; mostly small ones. Seams are tight. The triple cap is perfectly applied.
I found a consistency in the two other samples I smoked. The bottom third was under filled. Same goes for this cigar. This is odd and doesn’t say much for quality control. It’s spongy soft. As your fingers travel from bottom to top, the cigar becomes harder and harder until my guess a reaming will be necessary.

SMELL THE GLOVE:
A gorgeous aroma of dark bittersweet chocolate, hunka hunka black pepper, salty, malt, caramel, barnyard, cedar, strong espresso, nuts, and luscious creaminess.
The cold draw presents flavors of super spicy black pepper, dark chocolate, dark coffee, malt, salty nuts, barnyard, cedar, creaminess, and some generic sweetness.

FIRST THIRD:
The draw is clear so no need for my PerfecDraw cigar poker tool. BTW- Today is when the hammer comes down on the winner of the 2018 Cigar Journal’s contest for best cigar accessory. Dr. Rod is among the top 5 and has his fingers crossed he wins. The final announcement is happening in Germany today and Rod left for the fatherland on Wednesday. If he pulls it off, this poker will go world wide in the blink of an eye. Another contest for my readers to start when Rod returns home with a large trophy and dollar signs implanted in his eyeballs.

There is a slight plug behind the cigar band but I am going to man up and tough it out. Not that a big deal. It’s just once you own Rod’s cigar poker, you just get used to making sure there is a nice open tunnel in your cigars for a clean and perfect draw.

First up to bat: Salty caramel, black pepper, malt, chocolate, café au lait, raisins, black tea, tart orange zest, honeysuckle, cedar, creaminess, and a chocolate rum cake quality.
I’m impressed.

With only half an inch smoked, complexity kicks in. Followed by a nice array of transitions and a healthy finish.

This is not the same cigar as the original Jaime Garcia Reserva…this is better. It’s smoother and with early hints of serious cohesiveness.

I’ve had these cigars for more than a couple of months. Garcia blends tend to be mostly New Breed style blends. You don’t need to wait for 8 months before they are ready to smoke but are on the money after just a couple months; or less.

Shit, I had to check on the price point once again. $7.00? Lawdy, lawdy, Miss Clawdy. This is nuts. The blend ranks right up there with all the new overpriced cigars running in the $12+ range. There is no going back for this blend. It will continue to improve with each puff and with each third. If I were rich like Aaron H., I’d want to pick up a box of these just based on this morning’s experience.

The balance is emulsifying into a soupçon of varying flavor bits and pieces contributing to the whole of the cigar’s influence. The mind meld is complete and I’m out of clean man boob bras. I guess I will go earth mother today.

All three cigars had minor burn issues that were corrected easily but who can afford #9 rollers when you are putting out a $7 cigar?

Strength is a little disappointing as it maintains an even keeled medium punch. I was hoping for a little more kick in the arse by this point. I know…be careful for what you wish for when I’m pissing and moaning during the last third about my puny brain becoming overcome by nicotine.

This is a fucking delicious cigar blend. Hands down from my lips to God.

SECOND THIRD:
I like this blend a lot more than the original. It’s gotta’ be the Habano Rosado wrapper. The original has a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. Both blends have Nic binders and fillers. Although there is no further description of their origins. So, go figure. I heartily vote for the new wrapper as a better choice.

I’m ready for some additional punch from this blend but it is stubborn like a German wife who makes me wear jackboots before and during sex. I make sure to wear a mezuzah around my neck so I don’t rot in hell at some later point.

Damn, dear readers. Now I’ve smoked cigars in all the price ranges. Of course, nowadays, it is damn near impossible to get a good deal on a good cigar. One just becomes numb to the fact that every decent boutique cigar is going to run you $12 a pop. Or more. The creeping up of the $14 cigar is on the cusp of becoming normal. There is one boutique brand that every new release is $12 per cigar. Exactly how do they manage to do that? Are the costs exactly the same for every blend? This is why I don’t purchase from them anymore because I take it as a personal insult to my dignity. I know I look stupid…and of course, each new blend is the best they’ve ever made. You ever get tired of all the stupid and inane PR attached to every blend on the planet? It’s fucking insulting.

Back to the Crafted by Jaime Garcia.
Smooth. Flavors are deeply complex. Nice transitions that are unrelenting. The finish is chewy and delightful…like me wearing my cat’s talis and yarmulke.

New flavor alert: crazy Starbucks concoction, sourdough bread, lemon twist, molasses, chocolate covered cherries, sweet cedar, white pepper, almonds, and lots of malt.

Strength begins its creep.

I can’t go back to the original blend. The Crafted by Jaime Garcia is so much better. And virtually no difference in price. Although, the original is a much stronger blend. Still, this is a perfect stick for newbies. Smooth and balanced without a hint of danger. Perfect morning cigar. The originals just don’t contain the deep complexity of this variation.

LAST THIRD:
Did you ever find yourself out with the wife and family and you excuse yourself to take a leak only to realize afterwards that you didn’t move your tee shirt out of the way and you’ve just baptized it in urine for all to see? Me either.

Bloody hell. The Crafted by Jaime Garcia keeps on getting better. Once again, I’ve lucked out and found (with Aaron’s assistance) a reasonably priced blend that rivals all the sticks at twice the price. You have got to try this cigar. Be patient though. None of that bullshit where you smoke it ROTT and then complain it tastes like hay. Allow it a couple months of naked humidor time and you, ladies and germs, will be delightfully impressed.

Strength hits medium/full.

Construction, despite my early concerns, has been exemplary. No char line touch ups required. A nice draw with the perfect resistance for my needs.

Maybe #9 rollers weren’t used but they certainly knew what they were doing. I just don’t get the soft spot at the foot. Must be attributed to a single roller that made the batch I’m smoking from.

Nicotine kicks in. I now look like a stroke victim but happier.

I’m going to miss Fred Rewey’s great blends. He sold the biz to Ezra Zion. Guess how much each new Nomad will cost from now on? That’s right…$12.00.

The timeline on the Crafted by Jaime Garcia is a perfect story arc. It starts off with plenty of potential and then continues to impress throughout the entire experience. That’s a premium blend. Now if we could only instruct other cigar manufacturers to follow in Garcia’s footsteps that some fancy new cigar with 17 different country’s leaves in it doesn’t help a $17 cigar.

Stick with the basics…use up all your passion til you’re spent and lying back smoking a cigarette. Be creative. And don’t be a greedy S.O.B. selling an $8 cigar for twice the price to pay for the P.R.

I overuse the term “smooth.” But the Crafted by Jaime Garcia runs that gamut with ease and abundance. Even with a touch of nicotine, it remains a cigar blend that goes down silky and polished.
I plan on putting this cigar into my rotation.
Carry on…

RATING: 91

And now for something completely different:

After Curved Air, I moved back to Long Beach and struggled. I was a big shot in London but a nobody in SoCal.

I went through some tough times dealing with this. I went to work at my father’s structural steel fab shop as a project manager for a bit. And then a couple years later, I said the hell with this and quit. I found a great rock band doing their own music called The Attitude. For long time readers, you’ve seen our music video of “Hound Dog.” But for those that haven’t, click on Hound Dog. The skinny kid playing bass is me. It was 1981. Timed perfectly with the birth of MTV. The video is rudimentary and basic but fun.

Shortly after joining The Attitude, I saw an ad for The Police who were to be playing in Santa Barbara. They had their first hit of “Roxanne.”

I stared at the photo of the band and it hit me. It was my drummer in Curved Air: Stewart Copeland. He made it big time by breaking away from Curved Air.

I called the management office in L.A. and told them who I was and could I get tickets? The man himself called me back: Miles Copeland III…Stew’s brother and the manager of The Police. Miles started with Wishbone Ash and branched off into a gazillion English bands you’ve heard of and listened to. Too many to list.

Miles was excited to talk to me and said he had an idea. He would give me back stage passes and we would surprise Stew.

I took my girlfriend, Teri, with me. Nice drive from Long Beach to Santa Barbara. I believe the band played at the university. Oingo Boingo opened for them.

We got there about 4 pm. Teri and I saw a small group of people huddled in the corner of the concert hall/gym. It was The Police and Miles. Miles saw me and motioned me over.

I sauntered over. “Hey douchebag!”
I had that beautiful fro in Curved Air. But times had changed and so had the music and the look. I had short hair.
At first, Stew was shocked at being called a name. So, I said, “Hey douchebag. Forgotten old friends already now that you’re a rock star again?”
Copeland and I called each other douchebag the entire time we were in Curved Air.

His eyes lit up and yelled: “KOHN!!!! You douchebag.”
He literally lifted me off my feet with a bear hug.

He introduced me to Sting and Andy Summers. They were actually impressed to meet me because Curved Air was such a big group in Europe. That shook me up.
We shot the shit for a while and then they had to do their sound check.

Miles handed us our back stage passes.
Then Teri and I got a bite to eat.
When we got back, Oingo Boingo was just starting.
We had very special back stage passes.

There must have been 100 Hollywood types that drove up from L.A. to see the concert because The Police weren’t playing that town this tour.

I had the white death with me. After all, it was 1981. The height of coke use in America.
Well, the boys had run out of theirs. They bought a bunch in S.F. and went through it fast.

I met their head roadies and handed them vials of the white powder. That did the trick. I had total access to every place the band did.

So, while the Hollywood self-important people were kept at bay and not allowed in the dressing room, Teri and I just smiled at the 8’ tall body guard at the door and walked in.

It was skeezy locker room. Not even a chair. Just benches in front of lockers for the players.
So, we sat and talked. Stew, Sting, Andy, Teri and me. Stew brought out a joint. And then I brought out the coke. Their eyes lit up like it was Christmas in Wales.

Now Sting was new on the scene. Really new. I couldn’t believe that his friends really called him that name in private.
As I passed the coke around, I whistled at Sting and said, “(Whistle) You want some?” Sting grabbed the coke dispenser and helped himself to a big dose.
Stew was miffed. He looked at me and said, “His name is Sting!”
I stood corrected and I apologized.

We sat there for about 45 minutes while Sting and Andy quizzed me about Stew in the Curved Air days.
When that got boring, we went out to the wings of the stage and watched Oingo Boingo.

Great band and Danny Elfman went on to become a great composer for the movies. Director Tim Burton uses Elfman almost exclusively for his movies.
Elfman went on to score other movies as well and has shelves full of Oscars and Grammys.

I met him when The Police went on and found out we had a lot in common. We were both Landsmen. Jews. He was also from L.A. He told me how he almost died from malaria while he toured Ghana to pick up musical influence. And then we just stood there and watched The Police together.

After the show, we all went back to the locker room. Miles was there along with Jerry Moss of A & M records. Partners with Herb Alpert.

Miles went on about how funny I was during the radio interviews we did with Curved Air and made me tell a funny story.

I had brought all of The Attitude stuff with me. Including our single. After I felt comfy with them, I handed them the copy of “Hound Dog.”

Miles’ assistant sat there as well. Miles turned to the guy, handed him my single, and said with a wink, “You know what to do with this.”
I was stunned. The bastard told his assistant, right in front of me, to throw it away. I was pissed.

I excused myself, gathered up Teri who was entertaining the musicians and grabbed her by the elbow and said, “Let’s get out of here.”
I gave Stew, Andy and Sting a hug and split.
Now Stew and I haven’t spoken for 15 years. He outgrew me as he joined the polo set. And surrounded himself with the greatest musicians in the world.
But it was a helluva story.

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Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

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4 replies

  1. I could hardly wait to finish the review to order some of these bad boys. That price is impossible to pass up. And I’m hoping when the Ezra Zion boys read this, they exchange a knowing glance and take a couple ducats off their intended Nomad MSRP.

  2. I really like “dark” cigars and Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers. But I often wonder what some of these ultra-dark cigars, like the original Jaime Garcia and the New World, would be like with a different wrapper or binder for more complexity. Sounds like this one fits the bill. Will check these out soon.

    Cat tails and a yarmulke…sweet!

  3. I’m happy you enjoyed them.

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