My Father Cigars Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo Description
Behind every remarkable cigar is a remarkable blender. And the 2015 Cigar Aficionado Cigar of the Year, My Father Le Bijou 1922, exemplifies this rule. It is the second cigar of the year by master blender José “Pepin” Garcia, following 2012's Flor de Las Antillas, and cemented Don Pepin's position as one of the true cigar greats. Few blenders have won multiple Cigar of the Year titles: the only other two to do so in the past 15 years are Arturo Fuente and Padron. Perhaps an even greater testament to this cigar is that no other cigar has been rated more highly during this period either: it has surpassed two-thirds of the cigars of the year in this respect, including the Flor de Las Antillas.
You may already be familiar with the venerable Don Pepin Garcia, but it's worth reviewing his career in light of his accomplishments. Long before he started making a name for himself here in the US, he was a renowned cigar roller in his native Cuba. He had been a professional roller since the age of 11 (aside from a mandatory three years in the Cuban military) and crafted sticks for such famous Cuban brands as Montecristo, Romeo y Julieta, and Cohiba. He reached the highest rank possible for cigar rollers in Cuba and made headlines in the country for his accomplishments, including for rolling a remarkable 320 Julietas in just 4 hours. After a decade running Quality Assurance for Cohiba, Don Pepin decided to emigrate to Miami and launch his own cigar company in 2002.
His first cigars were produced for Pete Johnson's Tatuaje brand and propelled Tatuaje to cigar fame. In fact, most of the cigars in this line are still produced by the Garcia family. The Tatuaje partnership proved equally profitable for Don Pepin and put him on the mainstream cigar map. He was featured by CA as a rising cigar blender in 2007, and his business had expanded enough from the Tatuaje contract that he opened a second factory in Esteli Nicaragua in 2008. He launched the My Father brand in that year. As soon as he released My Father, Don Pepin won accolade after accolade until he shot to true cigar stardom thanks to his 2012 Cigar of the Year win.
If La Flor de Las Antillas made Don Pepin a rockstar, Le Bijou 1922 made him a legend. It is a testament to his craftsmanship as both a blender and a cigar roller and the culmination, though far from the conclusion, of decades of cigar expertise. The Le Bijou shows off Don Pepin's characteristic construction, including a firm box-pressed shape and triple-seam cap that means that every single stick will burn evenly and draw perfectly with no chance of unraveling. But most impressively, it shows José Garcia's versatility as a blender. From his Tatuaje days through the rise of the My Father brand, Don Pepin was known for creating powerful blends that achieved Cubanesque flavors using potent Nicaraguan tobaccos. La Flor de Las Antillas was one such blend, as were most if not all of the earlier My Father releases.
Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo Box-Pressed is Don Pepin's greatest accomplishment to date, not because it embodies the peak of his quest to replicate Cuban cigars, but because it is a break from it entirely. It is a chewy, sweet-savory, and hefty near-Maduro cigar that defies everything we've come to expect from this renowned blender, which only goes to prove his mastery. Only a true great could reinvent his brand and deliver the number-one cigar in one fell swoop.
What makes this cigar so special? The cigar owes its remarkable flavors to its rich, dark Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro wrapper. Not to be confused with Maduro wrappers, Oscuro leaves are fermented on the plant and then gently aged to achieve an even richer and thicker wrapper that delivers both sweetness and spice aplenty. Add hearty, spicy Nicaraguan long-fillers and you're in for quite a ride when you light this masterpiece up. There's the pepper you'd expect from a My Father cigar and a powerful wave of spice. But once the initial assault recedes, the pepper and spice provide just the right strong backbone for the earthy notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and old leather from the wrapper. As you smoke this beauty down, the smoke just gets richer and a delicious creamy note comes in for the second third. The grand finale is a crescendo of spice and salty-sweet chocolate and leather that is as powerful as it is balanced. There's nothing else quite like it in the My Father line, or in the rest of the world for that matter. This is a truly special cigar that is simply a must-have for any cigar enthusiast.