PDR Cigars

Abe Flores, Tamboril, Dominican Republic

Gurkha Ghost Shadow

I have done a handful of Gurkha reviews and to be honest, most weren’t that impressive to me. I think the problem with the brand is that they don’t have DNA, their cigars are all made in different factories, the brand focusses on marketing and does crazy stuff with super expensive cigars dropped in super expensive alcohol and other marketing tricks. That doesn’t help the reputation of the brand amongst serious cigar smokers like me. But this Gurkja Ghost, I always thought that one was quite enjoyable, maybe because it’s made at PDR, a factory I like.


Now, even though most of the cigars are a miss, I can’t say the same about their sales manager Juan Lopez, I met him years ago in Miami in a cigar bar, the next day me and my friend went to the Gurkha office and that’s beautiful. From the outside its a boring office building, the first floor is just cubicles but then upstairs a beautiful lounge, like you’re back in 1800’s Asia, with a huge bar full of expensive liquor and a secret room where all the blends are kept. And Juan hooked us up with cigars, backpacks, knives and all sorts of cool items. So it was cool to see Juan at Intertabac this year, where he handed me a few cigars to smoke.


The wrapper is typical Brazilian arapiraca, a bit rough to look at with sturdy veins, not thick but sturdy. The color is dark and even though, so that makes up for it and the ring fits the wrapper. It is black and silver, with the Gurkha logo and scary lettering saying ghost. The ring is different than what you usually find in humidors. The construction is great, the triple cap is straight. The cigar has a strong earthy smell, earthy as if you’re walking in nature, early in the morning after a good rainfall.


I cut the cigar with a butterfly cutter from Xikar. The cold draw is good. I taste tobacco and some pepper. I taste a strong coffee after lighting the cigar with my soft flame lighter. A few puffs later I taste a mild acidic oak with cocoa bean. Halfway I taste a mild pepper with some lime and wood. A little later some honey sweetness shows up too. The final third I taste a nice, mildly sweet, wood with some spices, all balanced though. The flavors become very nice, wood, mocha, sugar, chocolate all in a creamy way.


The draw is great, the light ash has beautiful rings and it’s firm. The smoke is medium thick, medium full. The burn is close to perfect. I would call this cigar medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? It’s a pleasant cigar, not the best I had but enjoyable.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, Gurkha, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A. Flores El Trovador

Abe Flores handed me this 4 1/2×50 Petit Belicoso of El Trovador when he was in Amsterdam a few weeks ago and to be honest, I had never heard of the cigar. That’s not strange because they haven’t been available on the Dutch market yet even though the cigars were released on the American market over a year ago. The translation of El Trovador is The troubadour which is fitting since Abe Flores used to be a professional bass player when he was younger.


Even though the cigar is made at the PDR factory on the Dominican Republic, there is not a shred of Dominican tobacco in this cigar. The filler is vintage Nicaraguan, the cigar spots a double Nicaraguan binder and the wrapper is from Ecuador. And for the artwork Abe found inspiration in Cuba again, since this is a upgraded and updated version of the Montecristo label. The sad part is, and I told Abe, that his cigars are good enough not to need copied Cuban rings.


The reddish yet dark Ecuadorian Rosado wrapper looks great on this box pressed cigar, you can see the veins in the wrapper but since they’ve been flattened the surface is smooth. The cigar is well rolled with a beautiful top and a simple, clear and well printed dark brown ring with golden details and white lettering. The aroma is strong and dark, charred wood like with a little barnyard aroma.


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is perfect, I taste tobacco and pepper.  After lighting I taste coffee and pepper. Soon it changes to leather with a tiny bit of dark chocolate. After a third I taste a carrot like flavor with pepper. Halfway I taste cedar with spices, pepper and a hint of cacao. I also get some floral notes.


The draw is perfect. The light colored ash is firm and dense. The smoke started out thin but turns thicker and filler quick. This cigar is medium bodied, medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour exactly.

Would I buy this cigar again? This is a nice short smoke, I would get more.

Score: 90
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Categories: 90, A. Flores, Dominican cigars, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Viaje Circa 45 No.1

Now here is a cigar I know nothing about, well, almost nothing. All I knew was what Andre Farkas told me when he gave me this cigar at Intertabac 2016 and that was that this cigar is made for the European market and that it’s made by PDR in the Dominican Republic. Thank goodness for my (little yet sufficient) understanding of the German language and the cigarworld Dusseldorf website so I can provide some information on this cigar. The blend is named Circa 45, I don’t know if I would mention 45 in a cigar that is mainly for the German market but thats just me, and that it consists of a Ecuadorean Corojo wrapper, an Indonesian binder and Dominican fillers and that the line consists from 3 vitolas, of which I’m smoking the 5×52 No.1.


I met Andre a few years ago, when he came to The Netherlands to promote the Viaje brand and I was working for what was then his importer/distributer. That relationship well through, Viaje is no longer available on the Dutch market, but I still hang out with Andre for a bit when we run into each other at the Intertabac trade show in Dortmund. I know Viaje is available on the German market, I have no idea what other countries carry Viaje. The wrapper on this Circa 45 isn’t the prettiest, the color is a bit pale brown and it has a big ugly vein on the side of the cigar, the triple cap is nice though. The band is simple, it doesn’t distinguishes the cigar, at first glimpse I thought it was a Jose Marti or Punch, while the sides and the back are a copy of a Cuban Bolivar ring. I’m used to better rings from Viaje. The construction feels good, not soft spots, no knots and the aroma is a medium strong ammonia.


I used my butterfly cutter from Xikar and that created a loose cold draw without a lot of flavor. I lit the cigar with my soft flame. I taste a nice, strong espresso right from the start, slightly bitter on my tongue. After a centimeter I taste wood with a little lime on the roof of my mouth. I also taste a very mild creamy chocolate flavor. The chocolate disappears quickly and I now taste dry spices like nutmeg with some wood. It bites a bit in the back of my throat and makes my mouth very dry.


Past a third the cigar turns sour and bitter and it’s because I’m reviewing the cigar otherwise I would have put it away. I think Andre had an off day when creating this blend, this is so sub par for Viaje. The bitterness disappears halfway while the sour flavor tones down. Now it’s wood with some lemon. After two thirds I taste some charred wood with the lemon flavor that is gaining strength again.


The smoke is thick and there is a lot, the color is off white. The draw is a bit loose. The ash is light gray with black stripes and clearly layered. It is still firm though. The burn is great on this medium bodied, medium flavored stick. The cigar does has evolution and the ratio is oke. The smoke time is about an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I had many great Viaje cigars that I would love to smoke again but this isn’t one of them.

Score: 83

83

Categories: 83, Dominican cigars, PDR Cigars, Viaje | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

PDR 1878 robusto madura

These Pinar del Rio cigars own their name to the year 1878 when the Cuban government created the provinces, and thereby creating the province Pinar del Rio, what is now known as the best tobacco growing region of the world. The cigars are made from Nicaraguan and Dominican filler with a dark Brazilian wrapper. I smoked the 5×50 robusto.
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The wrapper is oily and dark with some thin veins and the weirdest looking pigtail I have ever seen. The cigar has a tasteful double band and a mild smell of straw and barnyard. The construction feels good, and so does the predraw. I taste raisin with pepper.
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I taste coffee and pepper with far away on the background some maduro sweetness/chocolate which slowly becomes a bit stronger. The coffee morphs into wood after a quarter of an inch. After half an inch the pepper loses a lot of its power, the wood becomes dominant with pepper and chocolate on the background.
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After a third I taste wood with a tiny bit of pepper. The sweet chocolate flavor has disappeared. After two thirds I taste cedar with a lot of pepper again. The last few puffs are black pepper only.
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This cigar lasted me an hour and twenty-five minutes. I got a lot of thick smoke. The draw was good and the ash is frayed, salt & pepper colored but very firm. This cigar is full flavored and full bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Yeah, I see a box of these in the near future

Appearance: 9 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

Categories: Dominican cigars, PDR, PDR Cigars | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Pinar del Rio oscuro robusto

Pinar del Rio cigars are rolled at the La Fabrica Don Leoncio on the Dominican Republic and recently all their cigars were reblended, repacked and got a price drop. Not for sale in Europe, I was lucky to get my hands on a fiver in a box split that one of my American friends did on Cigar Asylum. The new Pinar del Rio Oscuro is made with a Brazilian oscuro wrapper, a Dominican criollo ’98 binder and filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. The robusto has the classic 5×50 size.
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The cigar has a classy double band and some black cloth on the foot of the cigar to protect it from damage. The wrapper is dark, shiny and oily. The construction feels good and I smell a strong straw and barnyard smell. The predraw is fine.
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I taste pepper with some coffee and after a quarter of an inch some musty wood. After an inch I taste herbs and wood. After a third I get a lot of leather with some pepper and herbs, but the pepper slowly fades away.
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Halfway I taste leather only but that changes into wood with nuts. The nut flavor fades to the aftertaste. After two thirds I taste wood with herbs and pepper.
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This cigar lasted me ninety-five minutes, which is extremely long for a 5 inch robusto. I got a lot of thick smoke. The draw is great and the burn is good. The ash is light gray, dense and firm. This cigar is full flavored and medium to full bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? I still have a few left from a box split, once they are gone, I won’t get more.

Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Dominican cigars, PDR, PDR Cigars | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Pinar del Rio sun grown robusto

I got this cigar from an American friend in a trade or a bomb, I can’t remember, and this whole brand was unknown to me as it is not for sale in The Netherlands. Ofcourse I heard of the name, but I had never seen or tried one myself. I smoked the Pinar del Rio Habano Sungrown 5×50 robusto, a cigar with a Dominican Habano Sun Grown wrapper, a Dominican Criollo ’98 binder and a Nicaraguan and Dominican filler.
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The cigar is nice and dark and the wrapper is very shiny, oily and has a few veins. The cigar also has a pretty strong barnyard aroma. The construction feels good. The predraw is good and I taste raisin.
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I taste a peppery coffee which is mild sweet and I even taste some dark chocolate, I like this. After an inch the coffee disappears and I taste dark chocolate, some herbs and at a third even a hint of nuts.
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Halfway I taste chocolate, wood, herbs and still some nuts. The chocolate gets less dominant and the wood slowly takes it place, with the herbs and the chocolate still on the background. After two thirds the herbs are getting stronger while the chocolate keeps fading away.
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This cigar lasted me an hour and twenty five minutes. The draw is good but gets a bit harder along the way, so I drilled a hole in the cigar which helped a lot. The smoke is good, I get enough smoke and it is reasonably thick. The ash is dark but firm. The burn is ok, I had to correct it a few times and at one point there was even some tunneling. This cigar is full flavored and medium to full bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? I might, depends on the price.

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 6 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Dominican cigars, PDR, PDR Cigars | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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