Distinguished Ruffians

Epic La Rubia Robusto

Epic Cigars La Rubia

Welcome back Ruffian family. Today, I’m bringing you a review I promised a couple of weeks ago. I’m tackling a new brand and new cigar, La Rubia, by Epic. Released in 2016, Dean Parsons, owner of Epic cigars, wanted this to be “not your average blonde.” I’m really excited to take this journey with you because I have yet to smoke one before this review. Dean said he worked on this blend for close to a year before he got it how he envisioned. La Rubia (The Blonde) has an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, Mexican San Andres binder, with fillers from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. This cigar is made at the Charles Fairmorn Factory in the Dominican Republic. This is a 5 1⁄2 by 52 Robusto. The MSRP in 2016 was $7.66. After having Dean on our Ruffian Zoom for the release of the VIP Year 4, I was impressed by his knowledge and his demeanor. Dean is a great guy and couldn’t wait to try his sticks. With all the fluff behind us, let’s get into this cigar.

Upon first glance, the wrapper is golden brown with just one prominent vein running the length of the cigar. After straight cutting this bad boy, the cold draw has leather and vanilla. I spark it up with my soft flame lighter and get to the meat and potatoes of this blend.

The beginning starts out super creamy with a hint of nuttiness. The retrohale has some leather with a tiny white pepper bite on the back of the tongue. Further in, a vanilla sweetness starts to show along with some great oakiness coming towards the end of the first third. The draw is perfect as well as the burn. As expected, it’s on the mild/medium range in both flavor and strength.

Pushing into the second third, some black coffee hits me in the face and the finish still has that nuttiness that was prominent in the first third. The retrohale has a bit more white pepper bite than before. The creaminess is still there, albeit much less than when I started. The strength and flavor are more around the medium range as I move toward the end of this third.

Kicking into the last part of the cigar, there is a SIGNIFICANT leap in body. Super dark espresso jumps my palate while the retrohale has some deep leather and wood notes. Cedar, hazelnut, and vanilla all seem to be present with each different draw I take. The smoke output also drastically increased towards the end of the cigar. Amazing draw and construction continue throughout. I smoke it down as far as I could without burning my lips. One of the best final thirds of a cigar I’ve ever had. Medium strength and Med/Full flavor! Wow!

Well, not much more to say than, DAMN! This cigar is just flat-out good! Not only is Dean Parsons a great guy, but his cigars are also Epic! I’m not a huge Connecticut wrapper fan, but they definitely have their place when they are this good. I’ve just started with this brand and if the rest of their portfolio is as good as this, we are all in for a treat. This could be an anytime smoke, not just for the morning. From a novice smoker to a seasoned vet, this cigar has something for everyone. I suggest you give them a try and maybe introduce someone you know to this cigar. There are plenty of retailers that carry these and have them in stock. Grab them up now and I promise you won’t be disappointed. Smoking time was 1 hour and 30 minutes.

T Money score: 4.5/5. Rebuy Box. Enjoy these cigars with your friends. Get a new smoker to try one, it would be a great place to start. As always, do something nice for someone today and until next time, Smoke Well!

Wrapper –  Ecuador

Binder – Mexico

Filler – Nicaragua /Dominican Republic

Website: www.Epiccigars.com

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 pints.

  • Travis Peterson AKA T Money is the Co-Captain of the Arizona/New Mexico Chapter of Distinguished Ruffians. He started his cigar journey in 2007 and hasn’t looked back. Outside of cigars he has a passion for brewing beer, playing guitar, bowling and golf. He is also a self proclaimed grilling and smoking expert. 

Dos Cientos: by Joya De Nicaragua

Dos Cientos

Now here is a very interesting and dynamite cigar to add to the Joya De Nicaragua already premium collection of magnificent smokes; Unfortunately Dos Cientos is a one-time release which was came out in August 2021. As stated by Joya Cigars “Dos Cientos; which means “200 years” was masterfully blended to celebrate the bicentennial of Central America’s independence from the Spanish Empire. It is a super-premium and limited-edition cigar that embodies our region’s history. It features a multi-origin blend with tobacco from different Latin American territories; Dos Cientos provides a very distinct smoking experience in my opinion of course.” 

Last 15th of September 2021 had marked the 200th anniversary of Central American Independence. This set the stage for the creation of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua to commemorate the occasion. As Juan Ignacio Martinez, president of Joya de Nicaragua explains in a press release “For us there is always a link between the past and the present. We are who we are today because of the decisions that were made hundreds of years ago. Dos Cientos pays tribute to those 200 years and who we are today as the leading cigar producing country and region in the world.” 

Dr. Alejandro Martinez-Cuenca the owner of Joy de Nicaragua added “The leaf’s role in the development of our culture and our society has been fundamental. Tobacco was ever present as we created our own economic, political and cultural identities. That was the moment in which we became what we are today as a region. We want to celebrate that achievement of our own birth as a country and as a region, so we’re showcasing tobaccos from different Latin American countries-Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic. We are paying tribute to the Latin Americans and the Americans who achieved independence to craft their own destiny.” 

With a Habano wrapper from Ecuador, the binder being from Mexico, fillers from Nicaragua, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic; the monumental story behind “Dos Cientos” certainly gets my palate perked with curiosity. With a nice oily leather and chocolaty look to Dos Cientos, it most certainly gets my eagerness to spark this cigar up! Before I get into my review of this cigar; I wanted to express that it took me two to solidify my review. My first experience of Dos Cientos did not burn or draw correctly; my second attempt had exactly what I was hoping for; smooth, extremely tasty, and the burn was on point. 

Taking a few cold draws before lighting it up really got my senses going due to some hints of cardamom and dried fruit which I don’t always get from the cold draws. Upon lighting up an immediate explosion of profiles came to mind; bakers spice, leather, brown sugar, cocoa, espresso, and that dried fruit hung around. Smoking right into my first third the intensity of notes smoothed out yet the various profiles are still very present to describe. Cardamom, cinnamon, dried fruit, chocolate, almost an essence of toasted pine nuts came to mind, with that sweetness of brown sugar still lingering on the palate. One observation I will mention; have you ever had toasted pine nuts? Pine nuts, once toasted (like all nuts) will excrete oils; some more than others yet pine nuts certainly will excrete more than most. I bring this up because during my journey I was getting that oily residue around my tongue. Not a bad taste at all, in fact it enhanced the experience. 

Smoking right into my second third most of the profiles stayed consistent but some moving to the front of the line and some getting shifted around, fresh baked bread and baked plantains joined the palate party. The construction held strong, the burn was very consistent, and the flavors were really impressive. Chocolate, nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, caramelized plantains, earthiness, toasted pine nuts, fresh baked bread, and that swirl of cardamom in the background really makes me want to hoof this cigar down but took my time to really get the most out of Dos Cientos. 

Burning right into my last third, some of the profiles like toasted pine nuts, fresh baked bread, cardamom, and cinnamon started fading away while black pepper comes to the table, along with sweetened espresso and the traditional chocolate taste became a rich dark chocolate with that essence of brown sugar still lingering. I smoked this right down to the nub and it did not get hot or did I taste any type of bitterness to end the journey prematurely. 

Over all I rate this cigar 4 out of 5 and absolutely worth the $17 price tag. The Dos Cientos is available in a single 6×54 toro size. Production is limited to 3,000 boxes of 21 cigars per box. Of that number 2,000 boxes will be sold in the U.S. while the remaining 1,000 are designated for international markets. To remind you this a “one-time” cigar so if you see one, make the purchase and hope you have an exceptional cigar experience as I did! Enjoy!

Wrapper –  Ecuador

Binder – Mexico

Filler – Nicaragua /Handuros/Dominican Republic

Website: www.Joyacigars.com

Rating: 4.0 out of 5 pints.

  • William O’Connor, AKA Billy Kartwheels, is the Co-Captian of the Distinguished Ruffians NY Chapter. Billy has had an interesting life, going through college, being in the Navy and living on a submarine, he has visited 48 states (hitchhiking through 35) of them and even lived in a Hare Krishna monastery for some time. After having numerous brushes with death durring his travels he has decided it was best to take it easy and appreciate life to its fullest all while smoking a cigar at the same time. 

Las 6 Provincias LV (Las Villas) From Espinosa

Las 6 Provincias LV

Now here is a cigar that had certainly intrigued me since its release back on December 20th, 2021. What highlights this cigar is that it’s individually packaged in their own branded coffin, presented in a 10 count curio display AND to top it all off the authenticity of original artwork from local Cuban Artist Eden Gutierrez depicting scenes from Las Villas before the Communist Revolution. The fact that this cigar has a Nicaraguan wrapper, binder, and filler; made at the AJ Fernandez’s San Lotano factory in Ocotal, Nicaragua makes it even more enticing to smoke and to speak of the story which pays homage to the Cuban history. In fact Erik Espinosa in a press release was quoted saying, “We are incredibly happy to continue this homage to our company’s Cuban roots and the Cuba of our forefathers, before Castro took power”. 

The province of Las Villas was the center of the Cuban cattle industry between the 18th and 19th centuries before shifting to sugar production in the 20th century. The original province of Las Villas was nestled between Matanzas and Camaguey. In 1976, the province was divided, with Cienfuegos, Sancti Spiritus, and Villa Clara each becoming their own province. The name Las 6 Provincias means “six provinces” and there are six planned releases of Las 6 Provinces with each having a unique blend, size and associated artwork. Now that a little light has been brought upon this beautiful cigar it’s time to get into the review. 

Las 6 Provincias LV

At first glance this box-pressed 5 ½ X 54 robusto, had a wondrously dark chocolate rich color to the wrapper, with the Cuban artwork was really drawn in, knowing I am ready to enjoy the journey that this Las 6 Provincias LV cigar will take me on. Giving the cigar a smell I could really get that deep essence of the Nicaraguan soil, like walking around a barnyard, you know that smell I’m talking about. Taking a few cold draws the glands immediately activate with saliva. Profiles of chocolate, floral, cinnamon, cedar and almost a fruity sweetness were picked up. With my palate senses activated, I was ready to light up and get into this. 

Upon light up, a copious amount of flavor hit my tongue. Black pepper, leather, wood, toasted nuts, a very dry cocoa powder, with a hint of brown sugar sweetness dancing in the background. As I proceeded with smoking into the first third the intensity of the initial profiles smoothed out and all of those tasty flavors really made my palate happy! Add a dash of salt to those toasted nuts, that dry cocoa powder now became semi sweet bakers chocolate, the black pepper transitioned into a creamy white pepper, yet the cinnamon stays prominent thus far. 

Burning right into the second third, the profiles remain the same. Cedar notes with a swirl of citrus fruity notes come through which adds a nice little transition. As the flavor notes continued to satisfy the palate the burn is pretty consistent, half way through I had to touch up a little bit with a single flame torch but nothing that would take away from the experience. So far the flavor is very robust and has a medium – medium plus in strength. 

As I reached the last third of the Las 6 Provincias LV the overall flavor profile remains similar yet, because of the spectacularly grown Nicaraguan tobacco used within this cigar, there are other profiles that came through. Espresso, that semi sweet bakers chocolate turns into a dark chocolate, that white pepper transitions again back to black pepper, that leather taste really never left but here into the last third it’s really making its presence. The floral citrus notes went away but that brown sugar came back around to add that nice sweetness to tie it all together. 

I smoked this cigar right down to the nub, only had that little construction issue half way through and the profiles were absolutely amazing. I’m rating Las 6 Provincias LV a 9 out of 10 or 4 out of 5 pints however you want to look at it; this cigar is phenomenal would certainly smoke again despite the fact that it does have an MSRP of $22 a stick and a box of 10 for $220 only 1,000 boxes of 10 were made so this cigar might be a little difficult to locate. Looking forward to the next release at the same time I’m anxious to see if I can locate the two prior releases to give them a try! Great tobacco that took me on a awesome journey A+! Hoping you; the reader, can locate one so you too can enjoy the experience I just did! Cheers and Enjoy!

Wrapper –  Nicaraguan

Binder – Nicaraguan

Filler – Nicaraguan 

Website: www.Espinosacigars.com

Rating: 4.0 out of 5 pints.

  • William O’Connor, AKA Billy Kartwheels, is the Co-Captian of the Distinguished Ruffians NY Chapter. Billy has had an interesting life, going through college, being in the Navy and living on a submarine, he has visited 48 states (hitchhiking through 35) of them and even lived in a Hare Krishna monastery for some time. After having numerous brushes with death durring his travels he has decided it was best to take it easy and appreciate life to its fullest all while smoking a cigar at the same time.