PDR Cigars

Abe Flores, Tamboril, Dominican Republic

Gurkha Ghost Gold Shadow

Gurkha Ghost Gold Shadow. Gurkha is a controversial brand. For most people, it is a ‘love it or hate it’ brand. And when you have to believe the social media, most cigar smokers are in the hate it section. Yet, the sales numbers don’t seem to show that, as the brand is selling like hotcakes. Our personal experience is more negative than positive. Yet, as cigar geeks with an open mind, we give each new blend a try. The regular Gurkha Ghost is a good cigar, so maybe this follow-up Gurkha Ghost Gold is good too.


The cigars are made at PDR in the Dominican Republic. It has the same filler and binder as the regular Gurkha Ghost. The fillers are from the Dominican, Nicaragua, and the United States. The wrapper is replaced. Instead of the dark Brazilian Arapiraca, Gurkha uses an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper for the Ghost Gold blend. And as it turns out, it’s an updated version of an old blend. That means it will be grandfathered in if the FDA gets their way. The FDA is currently trying to regulate premium cigars and it will be close to impossible to have new blends on the market. Since this is an old blend, it would be grandfathered.


The cigar looks great. The foot is closed. The ring is the same as the regular Ghost line, yet with gold instead of silver. The wrapper is dark and very oily. It’s almost glossy. The cigar has the right sponginess. The triple cap is beautiful. The aroma is dark, hay with charred wood.


The wrapper is quite salty. And the cold draw is a bit tights because of the closed foot. The flavors are raw tobacco and salt. Once lit the draw is fine. The flavors are wood, salt, leather, earthy and coffee from the start. There is some sweetness at the background as well. The sweetness becomes stronger, and a little creamy. There’s a mild chocolate flavor to the sweetness too. There’s some pepper as well. So far, this cigar hits almost every section of the flavor wheel in the diagram below. And all within the first ten minutes. Then it turns to nuts and wood, with spices. This cigar has a very dynamic start. The chocolate sweetness remains while the cigar gets more peppery and spicy, with some hay flavors as well. The wood is still there, with leather. After a third, it’s nutty and woody with leather and pepper. The pepper is growing. The mouthfeel is dry. The final third starts out with nuts, salt, spices, pepper, and leather.


The draw is great. The smoke is good but could be a little thicker. The burn needs corrections every now and then. The dark gray ash isn’t really firm. This cigar is medium-full, both in body and flavor. The smoke time is an hour and thirty minutes. Is it better than the regular Gurkha Ghost? Not in my book, but this is still an enjoyable cigar.

Would I buy this cigar again? Every once in a while

number90

Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Gurkha, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

PDR Dark Roast Robusto

Coffee flavored cigars are popular. Several popular brands have a coffee infused cigar line in their portfolio. Drew Estate even has two with the Tabak Especial and Isla del Sol. Plus they produce the Java for Rocky Patel. The Nub Cafe from Oliva is a popular coffee infused cigar, but there are more. And last year, PDR decided to jump on the train as well. But their coffee infused cigars are different.

Where the other brands choose to sweeten the wrapper, PDR decided not to do so. So their ‘roast series’ are natural cigars, just infused with coffee. No other techniques, no sweetened wrapper, pure cigars, and coffee.

The PDR Roast series come in three blends, just like the Nub Cafe. The Natural Roast has an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper. Then there’s the Medium Roast with a Sun Grown Claro wrapper from Ecuador. The version that Ministry of Cigars is reviewing is the PDR Dark Roast. That one has a Brazilian Maduro wrapper and is supposedly the strongest of the blends. There are three sizes available. There are a 51/4×44 Corona, a 6×52 Toro and the 5×52 Robusto that we are reviewing.

The cigar looks amazing. A dark oily wrapper. Closed foot and a knot on the head. A dark glossy ring, simple and clear. A huge glossy foot ring with the PDR logo. This cigar stands out. There are a few veins on the wrapper, but for a Brazilian Maduro wrapper, it looks smooth. The construction feels good and the cigar has a nice bounce when you squeeze it. The cigar has a strong aroma of dark chocolate and coffee. More chocolate than coffee, which is quite surprising.

The cold draw is great, even with the closed foot. There is some artificial sweetness but it’s not on the lips as with other infused cigars. Once lit, there is dark roasted coffee as expected, with some artificial sweetness. The bitterness of the coffee is quite complex. Soon the artificial sweetness takes over, with coffee and chili pepper as supporting flavors. After a few puffs, there’s coffee with mud. That artificial sweetness does not do the cigar any favors. But at least it’s not stuck on the lips, something that happens with for example the Nub Cafe lines. Halfway the cigar gets spicier, the artificial sweetness is less. There’s coffee, pepper, herbs, leather, and wood. The mouthfeel is mild creamy. In the final third, the cigar turns a little bitter. With pepper, coffee and that artificial sweetness again. The pepper is strong. Near the end, there’s wood with the pepper. The sweetness disappears just like the coffee.


The draw is good, a bit loose maybe. And the smoke is fantastic, thick and white. The burn is wonky and had to be corrected. The light-colored ash isn’t very firm. This cigar is medium-full bodied. The flavors are medium. This cigar would have been better with less artificial sweetener. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, I don’t think so

number89

Categories: 89, Dominican cigars, PDR, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

PDR 1878 Capa Oscura Lancero

Abe Flores and his partners, the Rodriguez brothers, started their company on the Dominican and the first time I heard of them was with the PDR 1878 line, the Habana and the Oscura. I liked both lines and met Abe years later when the company I worked for back then started to distribute his cigars. And for some reason, unknown to me as my then employer hates lanceros, we gotten a few boxes of lanceros in, of which I still have a few single cigars.


Now I don’t think the lancero is a regular offering, or maybe it’s discontinued since it’s not listed on the PDR website. I do see the robusto, toro, torpedo, Churchill and double magnum listed but no lancero. The wrapper is an Ecuadorian Sun Grown Oscuro with a Dominican Habano binder and two different Dominican Corojo tobaccos as a filler.


The wrapper is dark, as oscuro should be, shiny and oily and smooth to the touch. The simple rings, bright red with white letters and silver outlines, really pop and look good. Just like the cigar itself with the little pig tail and the closed foot. The construction feels good. The aroma is medium strong, a bit like dusty wood.


After cutting the cigar I get an awesome cold draw, herbal and spicy. After lighting I taste a strong coffee with some sweetness. Quickly the cigar turns to dark chocolate, creamy and bitter, with herbs. After a third the cigar is earthy, the bitterness from the cocoa is still there, just as some pepper. After a third I taste an earthy, peppery flavor but now with some peanuts instead of cocoa. Halfway I taste a salty bitter chocolate with some pepper, but salt is the dominant flavor. The finale is very peppery with a hint of floral.


The smoke is so thick that it could be vape smoke, white and voluminous. The draw is almost perfect. The dense ash is white. The burn is straight as an arrow. I would call this a medium full bodied and flavored cigar. The smoke time is seventy five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I want a box.

Score: 92
number92

Categories: 92, Dominican cigars, PDR, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

La Palina Lancero

Years ago, when I was still working for the biggest independent cigar distributer in The Netherlands a few of the brands we distributed asked us to look into La Palina, so we reached out to Courtney Smith who was their VP of Sales back then but has moved on to Cornelius & Anthony since then (a good move in my opinion, both for Courtney and for Cornelius & Anthony). To cut a long story short, we decided to give two La Palina lines a try run.


Courtney came to Intertabac and flew into Amsterdam a few days early. I picked her up and she gave my employer a box of the La Palina Classic Lancero to sample, yet my employer hates lanceros and is the only cigar smoker at the office so when I saw that box at the office a few months later, with just one cigar missing, I asked if I could have it. These cigars are made at PDR on the Dominican Republic with a Brazilian wrapper, a binder from Ecuador and filler from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.


The wrapper is smooth, very smooth for a Brazilian wrapper which usually are darker and rougher than this one. Its shiny because of the oils in the leaf yet the cigar feels a bit like sandpaper. The ring is simple, off white with black letters with golden outlines, just saying La Palina classic in an old fashioned font. The cigar feels well constructed, no hard of soft spots, and the cap is decent. The cigar has a nice stable aroma, manure, some acidity and hay.


I used a flat cut to decap the cigar. The cold draw is great, cedar and spicy. After lighting I taste sweet and savory spices. After half an inch I taste cedar with pepper. Then I suddenly taste a nasty bitter flavor that I recognize, the cigar is bleeding and that after just an inch. An easy fix, just cut off some of the head, but still. After I fixed the cigar I taste some sweetness, cedar and some hay. Halfway I taste a sharp cedar, just cedar. The last inch gets a little stronger but still the same flavor.


The draw is good. The light colored ash is dense and firm. The smoke is quite thick and white. The burn is quite straight. There isn’t much evolution, which is rare for a lancero. This cigar is medium bodied at most, mild to medium flavored. And the smoke time is less than ninety minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No

Score: 86
number86

Categories: 86, Dominican cigars, La Palina, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , ,

El Criollito Half Corona

Abe Flores created this blend as a European release, and if the FDA gets their way and their proposed policy on cigars doesn’t get overthrown by the senate and the house of representatives that will be something we will see a lot more, European releases. Even though I’m European and think it’s cool that there are some cigars that we can get that aren’t available in the USA instead of the other way around, I would hate to see that happen.


The El Criollito line is made out of a lot of Criollo tobacco, hence the name. Criollo 98 from the Dominican and Nicaragua as a filler, a Mexican San Andres binder and an Ecuadorian rosado criollo wrapper make this four vitola line. I smoked the 3 1/2 x50 Half Corona, a gift from Abe himself, but there is also a 5×54 Robusto, a 6×60 Double Magnum and a 7×70 Sentenial.


The smooth and oily wrapper has a mild reddish glow over the coffee colored wrapper. The cigar looks good and feels good although the triple cap isn’t glued straight. The ring is simple and small, brown with golden outlines and white letters El Criollito A. Flores. The aroma is very strong, it reminds me of horses that just came back from a run.


I cut the cigar the cleanest cut ever, literally just taking the cap off. I taste a slight salty and spicy cold draw, which has the perfect amount of resistance. I taste coffee with salt. The flavors are bolder and stronger than expected. After a few puffs I also taste nutmeg and cinnamon. The coffee disappears and I now taste a mild salt with wood. The flavor gets a little citrus halfway, with the wood and salt. The final third is stronger, with a lot of added pepper.


The draw is great. The light gray smoke could be a little thicker and more voluminous. The light gray ash is firm. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium full bodied and flavored. The smoke time is fifty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes.

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, El Criollito, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Flores y Rodiguez 10th Anniversary Figurado

Ten years after Abe Flores and the Rodriguez brothers went into business together and started PDR it was time to release an anniversary cigar and so they created this ‘Reserva Limitada’ line in four vitolas: Robusto, Figurado, Wide Churchill and Gran Toro. For this review I am smoking the 6 1/2×52 figurado that I have had in my humidor for approximately three years.


The cigars are made from tobacco from three different countries. The filler is an aged Nicaraguan piloto cubano, with at least 7 years of age on it. The binder comes from the Dominican Republic and is a Dominican Olor while the wrapper is an Ecuadorian Habano.


This shape makes the cigar look special, somehow figurados make a cigar seem cooler, mor fancy. Add a mind shiny, smooth wrapper and it just rises your expectations. As for the ring, I have said that to Abe on many occasions, the PDR and Flores y Rodriguez cigars are good enough to stand on their own and not having to copy Cuban rings yet Abe Flores did it again, he copied the old green and white Ramon Allones ring, the one that was in place before the make-over by Habano and the secondary ring with the gold and black has a reminiscence with the Cuban limitada ring too, just slightly different. The rings are pretty and well printed, yet not unique. The construction feels and looks great. The cigar has a strong aroma of hay with some spice to it


I cut the cigar, the cold draw is good. I taste raw tobacco and pepper. After lighting I taste coffee and earthy flavors. After an inch the cigar is wood with herbs and a little pepper. Halfway I taste wood with a faint vanilla and some acidity to balance it out. The aftertaste is peppery and I taste a very faint milk chocolate too. The final third starts peppery with some wood as a base for the pepper. An icing sugar sweetness joins the spicy wood and the red pepper.


The draw is great. The smoke is medium thick and full, with a perfect white color. The light gray ash has nice dark rings and is firm. The burn is straight. This cigar is medium bodied and medium to full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? This is a pleasant cigar that I will smoke every now and then.

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Flores y Rodriguez, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Flores y Rodriguez Cabinet Selección Maduro Robusto

Just as the Habano Cabinet Selección, the maduro version of this Cabinet Seleccion all comes from the same tobacco seed originally cultivated in the Vuelta Abajo region of Cuba but now grown on the Dominican Republic, and that makes this cigar a Dominican Puro too, something that was said to be impossible before Arturo Fuente managed to grow wrappers for their Opus X on the island.


The wrapper on the maduro version is of course darker, but also thicker because it has had more sun hours and opportunities to grow. There is more natural sugar in the leaf because of the extra sunlight so I expect this cigar to be a little bit sweeter but it can’t be a one on one comparison with the Habano since I’m smoking a different vitola for this review, the 5×52 Magicos.


The first thing I notice when I get the cigar from the cellophane is that the wrapper is thicker and more leather like than the velvet wrapper on the Habano. The veins are thicker and this cigar looks more manly. The rings are exactly the same. The cigar has a nice aroma of dark chocolate, quite strong.


I punched the cigar, I taste raw tobacco, a little cocoa and pepper with a great draw. I lit the cigar with a torch because my soft flame ran out of gas. I taste coffee with some chocolate bitter sweetness. The coffee disappears but the chocolate gets stronger. Halfway I taste spicy fresh Wood with still a hint of dark chocolate. The final third is woody and peppery with a little bittersweet flavor on the background.


The draw is flawless and the smoke is white, thick and voluminous. The salt and pepper colored ash looks good. It’s very firm and the burn is straight. This is a medium full bodied and flavored cigar. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I like this one more than the Habano.

Score: 91

Categories: 91, Dominican cigars, Flores y Rodriguez, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Flores y Rodriguez Cabinet Selection Habano Canonazo

In 2012 PDR Cigars introduced another Dominican puro during the IPCPR trade show and it was this Flores y Rodriguez Habano Cabinet Selection. The name Flores y Rodriguez comes from Abe Flores and his partners, the Rodriguez brothers and together they are responsible for the brand.


All the tobacco used in this cigar comes from the one Cuban seed from the Vuelta Abajo region, the best tobacco region of Cuba, that was brought to the Dominican Republic to be cultivated. And this cigar is the result, Cigar Journal rated it a 95 point cigar. I smoked the 6 3/4×58 Canonazo, the other vitolas in the series are a 5×52 Magicos, a 6×52 Genios and a 6 1/2×52 Unicos (Belicoso)


The milky brown chocolate wrapper has a few veins and feels like velvet. The cigar feels well constructed and the triple cap is placed nicely. The ring is simple, a classic shape with a oval on the front the outlines are gold, the sides are blue and white vertical stripes and the face of the ring is burgundy with white letters and a golden crest on a blue background. The medium strong aroma reminds me of horses.


I used a guillotine cutter to decap the cigar. The cold draw is good, spicy and peppery. After lighting I taste spicy and herbal cedar and toast with some pepper in the aftertaste. After half and inch I taste toast with cinnamon and sweetness, caramel like. After an inch I taste French toast with a little sugar. After an inch I taste a mild wood and cinnamon flavor. Halfway it’s toasty with a mild peanut butter flavor, surprising but nice. After that I taste toast with sugar and a little nutmeg. Near the end the cigar is sweet but with a nice peppery aftertaste.


The draw is good, as to be expected from a big ring cigar. The smoke is full, thick and white. The salt and pepper colored ash has nice rings. The ash is firm too. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored, well balanced and pleasant. Evolution is very good for a big ring cigar yet the flavors don’t pop. The burn is great, straight and slow. The smoke time is two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? The blend yes, this vitola maybe, the smaller ones for sure.

Score: 90
number90

Categories: 90, Dominican cigars, Flores y Rodriguez, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , ,

Flores y Rodriguez Connecticut River Valley Azul Robusto

I’ve known Abe Flores for several years, since my previous employer started to distributing PDR cigars and every time Abe was in the country I would drive him around and do events with him. Actually, when I left my employer, which by the way wasn’t my choice, Abe was one of the few people from the industry that reached out to me. So I was happy to see Abe at Intertabac in Dortmund, which I went to visit even though I wasn’t in the industry anymore and Abe gave me a few cigars, including this one.


So I come home, select the cigars that I have gotten there and want to review in the months to come. One of these cigars was the Flores Y Rodriguez Connecticut Valley Reserve but with a blue ring and I couldn’t find any information on them online. Because I needed the information I reached out to Robbie Streitz on Facebook and his reply was that I’m very lucky to have gotten this cigar, since its a cigar that hasn’t been released yet (i’m writing this review late 2016, I work ahead) and will be released early 2017 in a very limited amount of 150 boxes and 250 jars of each size. The broadleaf rosado wrapper is beautiful, dark, oily, only one very thin vein with a beautiful triple cap and a great construction. The rings are quite simple, lets start with the blue cloth on the foot, just a piece of blue cloth to protect the cigar, then the 2nd ring, which is dark brown with a triple golden line, the middle one small white dots on both and in the middle of the cigar it says Connecticut Valley Reserve in golden lettering. The top band is a regular Flores y Rodriguez band with a golden logo in a golden dotted circle, white lettering and a golden outline. The blue used to fill the background is a vibrant medium dark blue and I must say, the printer did an awesome job as the gold and the blue really pop.


The cigar has a medium strong barnyard aroma with some ammonia and white pepper. I punched the cigar and notice that the wrapper is quite thick. The cold draw has the right amount of resistance and I taste raisin with a mild pepper in the aftertaste. I lit the cigar with my soft flame. I taste coffee with cinnamon and five spices. After a centimeter the cigar is a bit sour with wood and a mild bitterness at the back of my throat. In the front of my mouth it feels smoky.


After a third the cigar has a herbal and mild peppery flavor profile with a little bit of citrus and sweetness. Halfway it’s a cedar flavor with a little bit of pepper on the background. I also taste a mild cinnamon again. Slowly the citrus returns and gets stronger. The cinnamon gets a bit stronger and it’s mixed with nutmeg and citrus. Near the end I taste a strong nut flavor with some spice and citrus and a peppery aftertaste.


The smoke is thick, white and plentiful, just how I like it with a close to perfect draw. The ash is almost white, firm and beautifully layered. The burn is great, quite straight. The cigar is medium full to full bodied and full flavored, well balanced with a nice evolution. The smoke time is an hour and thirty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Since it’s such a limited release that will be impossible but maybe I get lucky.

Score: 93

93

Don’t forget to like my facebook page and follow me on instagram

Categories: 93, Dominican cigars, Flores y Rodriguez, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Flor de Selva Maduro Robusto

When I started working for my previous employer in 2011, my first real job in the cigar industry after blogging about cigars for years, we had a a good number of brands in our portfolio including Flor de Selva, but our portfolio grew and grew with more brands like Alec Bradley, Joya de Nicaragua, My Father, Tatuaje, PDR, Perdomo, A.J. Fernandez and thats when you have too many brands to focus on all of them and some will just be forgotten about. Flor de Selva was one of the brands that didn’t get any focus anymore and of course, if you don’t focus and pay attention to a brand it will die. That’s what happened with Flor de Selva for us. Then all of a sudden, after we already decided to discontinue, one of our small competitors started distributing Flor de Selva and I must admit, they did a good job since they revived the brand and it’s now seen in a lot of humidors in The Netherlands.

 

 


We never carried the Flor de Selva maduro, but the other distributer does so I got my hands on this Honduran made 4 3/4×50 robusto, made with a Honduran maduro wrapper, Brazilian Mata Fina binder and filler tobacco from Jamastran and Azacualpa that according to the Maya Selva website pairs well with Japanese whiskey. The cigar has a beautiful, dark and oily wrapper with a few minor veins and a beautiful constructed cap. The ring is actually a double ring, one where you usually find a ring and one on the foot. Now the one on the foot is different than the one displayed on the Maya Selva website, that one is white and fits the regular band, the one I got had a burgundy footboard with white letters saying Maya Selva Cigars in handwriting. The regular band is simple, white with green/gray lines, a picture of a goddess in the same color and Flor de Selva written on it. Its a thick quality paper so it doesn’t look cheap. The construction feels good.

 

 


Maybe it’s me, maybe i’m getting a head cold but I don’t smell much, only a little wood and a little soapy aroma. I straight cut the cigar and I taste a soapy but peppery flavor with a perfect draw. As usual I’m using a soft flame to light the cigar. Right from the get go I taste a full wooden flavor with a little bit of coffee. After a few puffs I also taste some sweetness as you can expect from Maduro leaf and the Brazilian binder. Soon the flavors are mildly bitter with some lime, the aftertaste is floral. Now I read the term floral often and never fully understood it in a cigar but now it does.

 

 


After a centimeter I taste soap like in the cold draw and with a bitter and mild peppery sensation in the back of my throat. The soap disappears and replaced by a little milk chocolate and the bitterness is now a sanding sensation on the back of my throat with a light licorice flavor. Halfway the cigar has a burnt wood flavor with cilantro, and I think that that’s where the soapy flavor comes from too, too much cilantro gives a soapy taste. There is also a little hint of vanilla. After two thirds I taste sweetness again and soon after some freshness too, on a bed of spicy green herbs and cedar. Near the end I also taste nuts, with sweetness, some pepper and a little bit of chocolate.

 

 


The smoke is thick and plentiful. The draw is perfect. The burn is frayed. The ash is gray with dark lines, the ash isn’t dense but still firm. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is and hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, even though there were some nice flavors in there and the finish was strong, the soapy flavor is not my cup of tea.

Score: 89

89
Don’t forget to like my facebook page and follow me on instagram

Categories: 89, Flor de Selva, Honduran cigars, PDR Cigars | Tags: , , , ,

Blog at WordPress.com.