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Cigar Review: Pinar del Rio Selección Magnum

8 Sep 2011

Abe Flores of Pinar del Rio gives us reason to be optimistic about the future of the cigar industry. He and a select few others—including Pete Johnson of Tatuaje, Dion Giolito of Illusione, Jonathan Drew of Drew Estate, and Chris Kelly of Tesa—comprise a gifted squad of young cigar makers who are destined to be making great smokes for years to come.

Flores’ talent was on full display in the summer of 2010. That’s when he introduced his re-blended standard lines, launched a wonderful new smoke, and dropped his cigars’ prices by 10%. “I wanted to do a premium cigar that wouldn’t hurt the average guy,” he told me. “People still need to be able to buy tobacco.”

That commendable attitude has earned Flores a chorus of praise from the cigar community. It also doesn’t hurt that the cigars themselves are quite good, including the Selección Reserva Limitada, a line of nine vitolas that currently ranges in price from $100 to $125 per box of 20. Each size features a dark, mottled wrapper from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, wrapped around a criollo ’98 binder from the Dominican Republic and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

The Magnum measures 5 inches long with a hearty ring gauge of 60. It’s a thick, bold-looking smoke with a pigtail cap, double bands, and a black ribbon around the foot. The pungent pre-light notes are sweet and chocolatey.

Advertised as medium in body, the Selección Magnum starts with a musky leather flavor that leaves a long, somewhat bitter taste on the tongue. Bitter isn’t a bad thing, mind you. While the word “bitter” often conjures a negative sensation, most well-balanced cigars have some bitterness to complement their sweet, salty, and acidic components.

But the Magnum isn’t all bitter. Its other flavors include cocoa, black pepper spice, espresso, and creamy undertones. And as the cigar progresses, tastes of roasted nuts and dark chocolate become more apparent, rendering this cigar a rich after-dinner smoke and a fine medium-bodied companion to a glass of rum.

The Magnum’s physical properties are likewise dependable, with a clear draw that yields bountiful tufts of smoke, a solid ash, and a burn line that requires little maintenance.

I’ve yet to come across a Pinar del Rio smoke that I didn’t like, and the Selección Magnum is no exception. With interesting flavors, zero harshness, and an affordable price point, this cigar is a good reminder of Abe Flores’ talent. It earns four stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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