PDR 1878 Cubano Especial Capa Natural

For the past 18 months, Abe Flores’ Pinar Del Rio Cigars has been growing.   In particular Flores has put a lot of time and energy into his PDR 1878 series.  During this time he has introduced four cigars that are a part of this line.   Each cigar is different than the others and is highlighted by the color of its band.  The differences in the blends offer something for every cigar enthusiast  The series started with the PDR 1878 Cubano Especial Capa Madura (Black Label).   Late last year the PDR 1878 Reserva Dominicana Capa Oscura  (Red Label) was released.   Right before IPCPR, the PDR 1878 Reserva Dominicana Capa Habana (Blue Label) started appearing on retailers’ shelves.   Finally the PDR 1878 Cubano Especial Capa Natural (White Label) rounds out the series.   The line goes across the board: Maduro, Oscuro, Habano, and Natural wrappers.  I’ve found each of these cigars to be a unique cigar experience.  This assessment will focus on the Capa Natural – a.k.a the White Label.   The PDR 1878 Cubano Especial Capa Natural joins the crowd of Ecuadorian/Connecticut wrapper that have been released in 2011.   Overall, this cigar provides more of a classic style of what an Ecuadorian/Connecticut wrapper cigar is all about.

The interesting thing about the PDR 1878 series is that while they are not the most complex cigars, they have a very good flavor profile.  I mentioned the Capa Natural has a classic profile of what an Ecuadorian/Connecticut wrapper cigar should be, but this rule also applies to the other cigars with this series (depending on the wrapper).

The Capa Natural was unveiled at the 2011 IPCPR, but I do believe there were some limited pre-releases done (similar to what was done with the Capa Habana). Let’s analyze this cigar in some more detail:

Blend Profile

I found the blend of PDR 1878 Cubano Especial Capa Natural to be interesting – especially with the Criollo binder.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Binder: Dominican Criollo ’98
Filler: Dominican and Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

The PDR 1878 Cubano Especial Capa Natural is available in the following vitolas:

Toro: 6 x 52
Torpedo: 6 1/2 x 52
Double Magnum 6 x 60
Short Toro 5.5 x 54
Robusto 5 x 52
Churchill 7 x 54

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

While I’m not a fan of torpedo-shaped vitolas, this was the vitola I ended up going with for my assessment.  As with all torpedos, I defaulted to a straight cut.  After commencing with the pre-light draw, I picked up notes of wood and butter.  The pre-light draw wasn’t the most exciting, but with most Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrapper cigars I find this is usually the case.  At this point, I wanted to see what the smoking experience would be, therefore I fired this one up.

Flavor Profile

As mentioned, the PDR 1878 series has not proven to have a very complex cigar profile – especially in terms of flavor transitions.  However, I don’t look at this as a negative.  In the case of the PDR 1878 Cubano Especial Capa Natural, this the flavor profile falls into this category.

The initial flavors of the Capa Natural provided notes of wood, cream, and cedar.  The interesting thing was that while the cedar spice was not very deep on the tongue, it did provide more pepper spice through the nostrils.  As the cigar experience progressed, the cream and wood became the dominant notes.

Eventually as the smoke of the Capa Natural moved into the second third, the cream became the dominant note.  In general, I found this to be a very creamy flavored cigar.   The finish to the PDR 1878 Cubano Especial Capa Natural was very smooth.  The nub was outstanding – firm and cool.  Overall a very pleasant smoking experience.

Burn and Draw

Some of the burns of the PDR 1878 series cigars have been a little inconsistent in terms of burning sharp.   The Capa Natural has proven to be the best burn I’ve gotten on all of the PDR 1878 cigars.  It burned razor sharp with few touch-ups.  I also found it burned at the ideal rate and ideal temperature.

As for the draw, the Capa Natural has also been the best one I’ve gotten from the PDR 1878 series.  In general,  I’ve found the PDR 1878 series to have a looser draw than I prefer, but with the Capa Natural I thought the draw was perfect.  It made for an enjoyable smoke.  Typically why I don’t like torpedos is because I don’t care for the draw, but this one was just about perfect.

PDR 1878 Cubano Especial Capa Natural Burn

Strength and Body

Many of the 2011 Ecuadorian Connecticut cigars have gravitated toward “medium” on the strength and body spectrum.  The PDR 1878 goes back to basics – it provides a classic mild strength and mild-bodied cigar.  In other words, you won’t get overpowered with nicotine, and you won’t get overwhelmed with flavor.  There is nothing wrong with this.  Sometimes you don’t want too much out of a cigar, and in this case I feel the PDR 1878 Capa Natural does a good job with this.

Final Thoughts

I mentioned this was a classic Ecuadorian Connecticut smoke.   This a classic Ecuadorian Connecticut smoke ithat is mild strength, mild-bodied – and doesn’t go through a lot of complexities in its flavor profile.   Sometimes it’s good to get back to simplicity and the PDR 1878 Cubano Especial Capa Natural brings that to the table.   This is a great cigar to give to the novice enthusiast.  Experienced cigar enthusiasts might want a little more strength, body, and complexity; but may appreciate what this cigar can bring to the table.  I certainly would smoke this cigar again.


Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Low
Strength: Mild
Body: Mild
Assessment: Nice to Have

Source: The samples for this assessment were cigars received from the Lite Up Charlotte 2011 Cigar Herf in Charlotte North Carolina.