Monday, February 8, 2010

My Weekend Cigar: Mi Barrio El Puro

Yesterday, before heading to Famous Smoke Shop to watch the Superbowl, I decided to bring a special cigar with me for the occasion. It was a Mi Barrio El Puro that I received about two years ago when these scrumptious Don Jose Pepin Garcia-made cigars debuted. If this 7½" x 52 cigar was a football player it would be a linebacker. But rather than personify this cigar with corny metaphors, let's get down to the nitty-gritty.

Every now and then I come across what I call a "perfect cigar," and the Mi Barrio El Puro falls into that category. Everything about this cigar was so good it virtually justified the $250.99/box price. (If I ever hit the lottery, this will be one of my first purchases.)

The blend is composed of rare Nicaraguan Esteli and Jalapa tobaccos rolled in dark, oily Nicaraguan Habano wrappers. I can also see why these are made in limited edition. The appearance of the cigar is stunning enough; nary a spec of discoloration and packed to the gills with all that rich, dark tobacco.

Considering its size I was expecting this cigar to be a lot more potent, but it wasn't peppery-spicy like some of Pepin's more popular cigars. On the contrary, it was ultra-smooth, oozed gobs of thick, creamy smoke, and was surprisingly sweet. (Perhaps it was the extra two years of aging in my humidor.) Moreover, every puff was brimming with sweet, woody flavors; and I mean every puff, from end-to-end. Mixed in were some leathery notes, but all-in-all, a primarily sweet cigar.

The ash was firm and burned cleanly revealing a nice round cherry when tapped. The cigar also didn't have a chance to go out, so there was no relight issue. The aroma was also rich enough to break through the effluvium of all the other cigars in the room. Additionally, the balance never wavered off of dead center. Suffice it to say, this cigar didn't skip a beat from the start of the 2nd quarter of the game to well into the 4th.

I should also add that I paired the last third of the cigar with a glass of Ron Zacapa Centenario Rum, aged 23 yrs. Factor in the length of the cigar, the fullness of its smoke, plus the rum, and you could say I was feeling pretty good by the time I left the 1½-inch stub in the ashtray (see photo).

In closing, the Mi Barrio El Puro is going on my all-time best list. I can imagine that only the best Cuban cigars during Havana's golden age could rattle this cigar, and frankly I don't care. Viva that these cigars are legal, that's all.

All I can add is, like many cigars of this caliber, you really have to experience it for yourself to fully appreciate its splendor. If you've smoked any of the Mi Barrio cigars, please leave a comment, and feel free to mention your Superbowl cigar, too.

~ Gary Korb

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