--> Cigar Coop: Cigar Review: El Centurion (2013) by My Father Cigars

Monday, June 17, 2013

Cigar Review: El Centurion (2013) by My Father Cigars

El Centurion (2013) by My Father Cigars
Back in January, Jose Ortega and Janny Garcia of My Father Cigars announced on Kiss My Ash Radio that the El Centurion would be returning.  Many cigar enthusiasts will remember the original El Centurion cigar that was released in 2007.  That cigar was a limited release cigar.  With My Father Cigars focusing 2013 on the 10th anniversary around family patriarch Don Pepin Garcia, a decision was made to bring the El Centurion back.  We soon learned that this would be an all-new El Centurion - from the blend to the packaging.  In addition the new 2013 version of the El Centurion would now be a regular production offering - this time under the My Father Cigars umbrella.  The big question would be how would the 2013 version of the El Centurion fare given that the 2007 version was an absolute classic.  After smoking several cigars in the new blend, the answer is the legacy of the El Centurion is preserved.  This cigar now goes right to the top of My Father Cigars' core line offerings.

The 2013 El Centurion will come out of the My Father Cigar factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.   This differs from the 2007 version which was made in Miami.  The price point has also been reduced as the 2013 version will retail in the $7.50 to $9.00 range (depending on the size).  The 2007 version had a price point starting around $12.00 SRP.

At this time, let's break down the 2013 version of the El Centurion and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile

The 2013 version of the El Centurion is a very blend, but like the 2007 version it is a Nicaraguan puro. This new version features Sancti Spiritus in the filler.  Sancti Spiritus is a variant being used by the Garcia and is famous for being the wrapper of the 
L'Atelier cigar by L'Atelier Imports (also made by the Garcia family).  Here is the breakdown of the blend:

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo 98
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan (Criollo, Corojo Habano, Sancti Spiritus)

Vitolas Available

The El Centurion has been released in four sizes.  These sizes also differ greatly from the 2007 edition.  It will be packaged on boxes of 20.


Robusto: 5 3/4 x 50
Belicoso: 5 1/2 x 54
Toro: 6 1/4 x 52
Toro Grande: 6 1/2 x 58

Appearance

For this cigar experience, I smoked the Robusto vitola.  This robusto has a classic 50 ring gauge, but actually is a bit longer than most robustos (5 3/4).  

One noticable difference is the color of the wrapper.  The Nicaraguan Criollo wrapper of the 2013 edition is definitely darker than the Habano version of the 2007 edition.  The wrapper's color is chocolate in color.  While the wrapper has a slight amount of oil in the surface, it definitely has a rustic look to it - giving the cigar some charm.  There are some visible veins, but the dark color and rustic look do a good job at hiding the wrapper seams.

The band to the El Centurion 2013 edition is a variation of the original El Centurion band.  Most of the changes are in the color scheme.  The 2013 has more red while the 2007 edition has more yellow.  This cigar features a color scheme consisting of red, gold, and an orange/peach combination.  At the center of the band is a big red "C" on a shield shape.  The shield has an gold/orange color  Above the shield is an pale yellow ribbon with the text "EL CENTURION" in red font.  To the left and right of the shield are gold medallions.  In black font, the text "PREMIUM BLEND" and "MY FATHER CIGARS" to the left and right of the shield respectively.  To the far right of the band, there is a small signature of Don Pepin Garcia.  The remainder of the band has red and gold adornments on it.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

After clipping the cap with a straight cut, I proceeded to the pre-light draw.  The dry draw notes provided a mix of cocoa, leather, and some pepper spice.  Overall, this was a very good pre-light draw.  At this time, it was time to light up my El Centurion 2013 edition Robusto and see what the overall smoking experience would bring to the table.

Flavor Profile

From a flavor perspective, the 2013 edition of the El Centurion produced a totally different profile than the original edition.  The start to the cigar yielded a decent shot of black pepper along with some leather notes.  Within the first five percent, some bittersweet chocolate notes entered the equation.  Between the leather, pepper, and chocolate, there was no dominant flavor, but the pepper could be detected prominently on the retro-hale.

As the El Centurion moved through the first third, the leather and bittersweet chocolate notes became primary and the pepper notes became a (close) secondary note.  Once the El Centurion moved into the second third, the leather notes dissipated, leaving the bittersweet chocolate notes primary with the pepper close behind.

Once the El Centurion entered the second half, an interesting sweet note emerged.  The best way to describe this is a banana bread type of flavor.  It started out as a secondary note, well distant from the bittersweet chocolate and pepper.  This sweetness did increase, and while it came close, it never overtook the chocolate and pepper flavors.  It is worth noting on the toro, I did not find the banana sweetness having the same impact on the flavor profile as the robusto.

Later in the final third, the banana bread sweetness faded.  The pepper eventually became the primary flavor with the chocolate close behind.  While there was some spice at the end, there was no harshness. The resulting nub was ideal - cool in temperature and firm to the touch.

Burn and Draw

The construction to the 2013 edition of the El Centurion is outstanding - and this is reflected in both the burn and draw attributes.  The burn line remained relatively straight from start to finish - requiring minimal touch-ups along the way.  The resulting ash was firm with a white color.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.


Burn of the El Centurion (2013)

The draw to the El Centurion had a touch of resistance to it.  This is something I consider to be a positive when drawing a cigar.  This made the El Centurion a very enjoyable smoke from start to finish.

Strength and Body

From a strength perspective, the 2013 edition of the El Centurion did have some pop to it.   I assessed this to be a full strength cigar.  While this full strength isn't going to knock you to the canvas, it nonetheless still is in the full category.  I am curious to see if the cigar does mellow a bit over the next few months.

As for the body, the flavors have some nice depth to them.  I assessed this cigar as being medium to full-bodied.  I gave the strength a slight edge over the body with this smoke, but I would not categorize the equilibrium as being out of whack.

Final Thoughts

As I said at the beginning of this assessment, this cigar is right at the top of the My Father Cigars core line offerings.  For a cigar of this quality to be offered on a regular basis is great for cigar enthusiasts. This cigar is a very different cigar than its predecessor, but it is very satisfying.  It has an excellent flavor profile and it is supplemented by excellent construction.  I'd probably still steer this cigar to a more experienced cigar enthusiast because it does have some strength to it.  As for myself, this is not only a cigar I would smoke again, but one I would consider worthy to purchase a box of.

Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Full
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Excellent
Assessment: Memorable
Score: 93

Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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