Pete Johnson’s creative flair combined with Don Pepin Garcia’s blending prowess yield something truly spectacular. Since they collaborated on Tatuaje in 2003, the pair has consistently developed blends that are unquestionably among the best. They are especially known for their cubanesque creations meant to evoke an old-fashioned feel to new generation smokers.
Today, I was fortunate to enjoy one of their masterpieces. Translated as “The Riches” in Spanish, the La Riqueza is a revival of an old Cuban brand from the 1920s. These cigars were painstakingly produced in Esteli, Nicaragua, at My Father Cigars factory. Underappreciated at first, they were seen as the weakest selling in the company’s portfolio, leaving Pete Johnson disappointed for a while.
Instead of scrapping the brand, he decided to revamp it to appeal to enthusiasts. The vintage-styled 25-count boxes were reduced to 10 and released into the market — a trend that Johnson has to adapt for the line to survive. But that was several years ago. To enjoy these cigars regularly, you can now purchase them in packages of 25 or 50.
After an exhausting day, I decided to indulge myself with a fine cigar, grabbing a stick of La Riqueza No. 4 from my humidor. The stogie oozes perfection and showcases character, balance, and depth. Oh dear, this is something that my fellow cigar lovers should know about.
|Wrapper Origin: Ecuador||Shape: Robusto|
|Length: 5||Ring: 48|
|Color: Maduro||List Price: $305 (Box of 25)|
|Origin: Nicaragua||Strength: Full|
Pull of Cigar
This Robusto conceals its bareness beneath a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper that spares no effort for a stunning facade. It has decent oils over its length, accentuating the cigar’s deep chocolate tone. The body boasts a solid construction devoid of any soft points. I am pleased with the way it was gently pressed, making it appear flat with rounded edges. Upon closer inspection, a pattern of minimal veins along with few prominent ones revealed itself.
Its seams are tightly sealed, and the triple cap is neatly crafted, demonstrating strict quality control that Johnson imposes. The band was adorned with a simple red and gold design with the brand emblem embossed on the center. The interior houses an extensively aged Nicaraguan binder and filler for a full-flavored, medium-bodied smoking experience. With a nice glass of red wine, the cigar reveals even more of “the riches” it possesses, as implied by its name.
As my guillotine cut off the cap, an intoxicating aroma spreads through the air. The nose detected the sweetness of dark cocoa that blends with strong notes of coffee, leather, and spice. After sucking on the unlit tobacco, a warm sensation reminiscent of black pepper hits my palate. Meanwhile, the pull of the cigar was rather tight, requiring some adjustments for a smoother draw.
When the flame engulfed the foot, a thick cloud of smoke swirled around the tongue — marking the start of a decadent feast. The cigar immediately presents a fantastic combination of well-rounded notes: sweet, creamy, and leathery. Soon after, a blast of red pepper introduces heat, unleashing the signature Pepin Garcia blend. Slowly infusing sweetness, the dark chocolate mellowed out the spice and teased the palate with anticipation. The first third concluded with a sharp coffee taste.
Progressing to the middle third, La Riqueza No. 4 displayed captivating and intact layers of white ash, contrasting nicely with the dark wrapper. The retrohale provided some woodsy cedar notes that were heavily spiced and left a tingling sensation. Upon giving in for another puff, the heat sort of receded while a big, bold flavor of leather took center stage. During this phase, the intensity attempts to cross the boundary between the medium and full spectrum.
As I approached the last third, the burn exhibited a moderately wavy char line, not compromising the smoke’s quality. Unsurprisingly, the flavor profile remained intriguing to the palate. I was rewarded with an intricate mix of espresso, wood, leather, and spice similar to the earlier phases. Before reaching the nub, the wrapper pours a more pronounced sweetness into the blend. The finish then gives off notes of nuts, creating a textured taste with salty and buttery elements.
Associated with the names of two of the most reputable connoisseurs in the cigar industry, the La Riqueza No. 4 is sure to meet expectations. During the 45 minutes of smoking, my palate was continuously sated with pure enjoyment. It features a pleasing cocoa flavor trailing wood and a zesty spice kick that makes you want more. That said, I would definitely keep this cigar in my rotation.
The construction was excellent, furnishing a tower of silvery ash that held on quite nicely. Although there was a slight issue with the draw initially, the cigar eventually made a decent pull. The Maduro wrapper has also served its purpose — to provide richness to the blend and balance the Nicaraguan puro core with its subtle sweetness. Overall, an unforgettable experience. I couldn’t be happier with selecting this cigar for a review. This deserves 91 points.