25 Sep 2013
Throughout his career, Abe Flores has made cigars for various brands, including his own boutique Dominican outfit, Pinar del Rio (PDR). He is regarded as one of the most sought-after cigar makers in the world. So he caught the industry’s attention when, in 2012, he decided to produce a cigar bearing his own name.
Called A. Flores Serie Privada, it comes in two wrapper varieties: Ecuadorian Habano (“Capa Habano”) and Maduro Habano Ecuador (“Capa Maduro”). These blends use “the oldest tobacco in the PDR factory, and for good reason, [as] they are a tribute to Abe Flores, who has become a major player in the world of premium hand-rolled cigars,” reads the PDR website. “The Habano wrapper delivers great complexity and a creamy, cool, medium-body cigar. Best way to describe this is creamy sweetness with a touch of spice at the finish…The Habano Maduro wrapper is a medium-body cigar that starts with some natural sweetness, then delivers some spice.”
Both versions have Nicaraguan Habano binders and filler tobaccos comprised of Nicaraguan Habano and Dominican Corojo. Sizes include Robusto (5 x 52), Toro (6 x 54), and Churchill (7 x 58). In the $9.75-12.75 MSRP range, Serie Privada’s prices clock in higher than PDR’s other blends, which are very affordably priced (especially when you consider the quality).
I sampled three Serie Privada Capa Habano Robustos for this review. Common aesthetic characteristics include rustic, oily wrappers with only thin veins, a very soft feel from cap to foot, and faint pre-light notes of honey and hay. The caps all clip easily to reveal airy draws that are ultra-easy. Without even lighting it up, my concern is the box-pressed cigar is going to burn hot, harsh, and quick.
Hot or harsh the Robusto mostly isn’t. While there’s a lingering spice—especially on the tip of the tongue—the profile is a medium-bodied mixture of dry cedar, cinnamon, roasted nut, and a little sweet cream. The texture is light, billowy, and toasty. Black pepper and that trademark Nicaraguan zing play bigger roles as the cigar progresses. Towards the end some bitter notes come and go. The aftertaste lingers long after each puff which, I find, makes the Capa Habano an excellent pairing with sipping rum or bourbon.
My concerns about the smoke being too quick were also assuaged, evidenced by the average smoking time of 70 minutes for the Robusto. All the other physical properties are up to muster as well. The burn line is near perfect, the ash holds well, and the draw remains smooth throughout with each puff yielding ample smoke.
I’ve been a big Pinar del Rio fan for years, and I still think it’s hard to find a better bang for your buck than with many of the lines Abe Flores has created for PDR. The 1878 Cubano Especial Capa Natural and the Small Batch Reserve Maduro are among my favorites. For me, the Serie Privada Capa Habano Robusto is a fine smoke, but it falls a little short of my (admittedly high) expectations. While the flavors and construction are solid, the depth and complexity aren’t what I had hoped. All this adds up to a respectable yet tempered rating of three and a half stogies out of five.
[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]
photo credit: Stogie Guys