Lancero, 7.25" x 38 ring gauge / $5.75 at Silo Cigars
In 1878, Cuba was divided into 6 provinces, including Pinar del Rio, which later was recognized for growing some of the finest cigar tobacco in the world. Abraham Flores and Juan Rodriguez names their cigar company after this region and this cigar in honor of the year the region was created. I was not able to find out much information about this cigar through online resources, so I contacted the company and got a response from Abe Flores himself. He says that the PDR1878 is "all Cuban seed...that is why it's called Cubano Especial (Special Blend of Cuban Seed Tobaccos)." The filler is Criollo 98 from Nicaraguan and the Dominican Republic, the binder is a Dominican Criollo 98 and the wrapper is a Brazilian Triple-Fermented Maduro. Prior to this review sample, I smoked two others.
Before even getting to the cigar itself, I had to battle the cellophane for it. The cello on the cigar was so tight that it held the band in place while the stogie slid out, which resulted in the band damaging the wrapper in a couple places. I think it might be a good idea for Pinar del Rio to get some cellophane wrappers just a touch bigger...and until that happens, I would recommend cutting the cellophane and peeling it off if it seems too tight to you at first. The wrapper of the PDR1878 was dark and oily--quite beautiful, really. There were a few largish veins, but no soft spots on the length and it was all finished off with a tight pigtail that reminded me of La Flor Dominicana's DL-Especiales. The aroma from the wrapper was not very strong--I hardly got anything from it, as a matter of fact. From the foot I got some barnyard and manure aromas, though. I cut the head and found that the damage caused by the excessively tight cellophane was making the wrapper threaten to unravel. I decided to go ahead with the review, hoping that a regular application of spit would keep it in place. The draw was easy and I got sweet tobacco and coffee notes along with just a bit of spice in prelight.
Ignition was easily accomplished and brought a ton of smoke with nice cocoa and coffee flavors on the palate and a nutty retrohale with a fair amount of pepper. When I say "a ton of smoke," I mean "it was a surprise that the local volunteer fire department did not show up!" All samples of this cigar that I have smoked so far have smoked so prodigiously that I expected them to burn through much faster than they did. In fact, all of them burned for up to an hour and a half before I completed them. The draw on this cigar was probably the most consistently excellent draw I have ever experienced on a lancero, too. The first third was a nice mix of chocolate and coffee in a thick medium-bodied smoke. I smoked one of these cigars with my morning coffee and it was an inspired pairing.
I kept getting more chocolate flavors in the second third, along with a nice breadiness and still more hints of coffee and pepper spice from time-to-time. The draw continued to be flawless, as was the burn line.
The last third was still sweet and chocolatey with a little pepper spice creeping back in. By this time, I was having more trouble with the damaged wrapper and its propensity to unravel, but overall the construction on the PDR1878 was consistently the best of any lancero I have smoked...and being as that is my favorite vitola, I have smoked quite a few. Every one I smoked had an almost perfect draw and an almost razor-straight burn line--I cannot remember a single touch-up in 3 cigars! While not the most complex smoke around, it was consistently great in the flavor department and ran in the medium-bodied range from beginning to end. Combine all that with a price point that is staggeringly low and this is a cigar that I can highly recommend to smokers of all experience levels, especially maduro fans.
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