|A. Flores Gran Reserva – Robusto|
At the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show, the A. Flores Gran Reserva was one of two new lines being showcased by PDR Cigars. The A. Flores derives its name from its master blender, Abe Flores. Ever since he expanded his PDR Cigars factory in Tamboril, Dominican Republic, Flores has been a person sought after by many cigar manufacturers to make cigars for them. At the same time, Flores has continued to make products to be sold by his company – PDR Cigars. With the A. Flores Gran Reserva, I found this to be an excellent release from Flores.
In terms of its placement in the lines under the PDR Cigars umbrella, the Gran Reserva is put into the A. Flores line. This line was introduced last year with the Serie Privada blends. The A. Flores branded cigars include the year “1975” on it. This was the year Flores was born.
Without further ado, let’s break down the A. Flores Gran Reserva and see what the overall cigar experience brings to the table.
The A. Flores Gran Reserva has a good amount of Dominican Corojo in the blend. Like all PDR Cigars, the Gran Reserva is made at the PDR Cigars factory in Tumbril.
Wrapper: Dominican Corojo 2006
Binder: Not disclosed
Filler: Dominican Corojo, Nicaraguan Habano
The A. Flores Gran Reserva is intended to be a small batch offering. This is a trend that Flores has been following with many of his releases. The cigar is being launched in three sizes and each size will be limited to 500 boxes per size for this year. One of the sizes will be a small sized half corona and there will be a five count tin that will be a regular production offering.
Half Corona: 3 1/2 x 46
Robusto: 5 x 52
Gran Toro: 6 x 54
|A. Flores Gran Reserva – Half Corona size|
For this cigar experience, I smoked the robusto size of the A. Flores Gran Reserva. The cigar has a cedar covering for a little more than half of the length of the cigar. There is a red ribbon by the footer of the cigar.
The A. Flores Gran Reserva’s Corojo wrapper definitely has a reddish color. I would almost categorize it as a rosado color. The wrapper definitely has some oil on it. There are a few visible veins and the wrapper seams are somewhat well-hidden.
|A. Flores Gran Reserva – with cedar wrap removed|
The band has primarily a red background with gold trim. The text “1975” is at the center of the band in white font. There are a couple of gold-trimmed concentric ovals surrounding that text. On the outside of the ovals on the upper portion is the text “A. FLORES” in white font. On the lower portion is the text “GRAN RESERVA” – also in white font. There is additional gold designs and trim on the band. Toward the top of the band is the text “FABRICA PDR CIGARS” in small gold font. On the lower part of the band is the text “REPUBLICA DOMINICANA” in gold font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to starting any of the tasting activities on the A. Flores Gran Reserva, I removed the ribbon at the footer as well as the cedar wrap. After the visual inspection of the cigar, I then proceeded with my usual choice of a straight cut to remove the cap. The pre-light draw yielded notes of cedar sweet spice and leather. While the cedar wrapping did not cover the cap, I still was not surprised to have cedar notes on the pre-light draw. At this point, I was now ready to light up my A. Flores Gran Reserva and see what the overall smoking experience would deliver.
The start to the A. Flores Gran Reserva started with a pretty strong blast of pepper. The pepper quickly subsided into a combination of pepper and what I term a cedar sweet/spice. I found the cedar sweet/spice was present on the draw, while there was more of a pepper flavor on the after-draw. The pepper could also be detected on the retro-hale.
In the first third, I found the cedar notes continued to be primary flavors. The pepper notes diminished into the background. There also were some earth notes that surfaced in the background. It was also around this time where there was a secondary cinnamon flavor that emerged.
Toward the midway point, I found the Gran Reserva to transition to more of an earthy profile. The spices which in the first half where a combination of cedar and pepper diminished some more and became more of an exotic pepper that had less bite to it. This flavor profile held until the end. While there was a slight increase of the exotic pepper toward the end, I found the Gran Reserva remained more on the earthy side. The resulting nub was ideal – firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
From a construction standpoint, I found the A. Flores Gran Reserva to be a well constructed cigar. This was reflected very nicely in both the burn and draw. The burn was low maintenance as it did not require an excessive amount of touch-ups. I would categorize the burn line as relatively straight. There was a little bit of jaggedness, but the burn was far from uneven – and it was not a burn prone to canoeing or tunneling. The resulting ash was more of a white and charcoal gray color. There were a couple of points where there was some minor flaking, but nothing major. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the A. Flores Gran Reserva|
I found the draw to score extremely well. This was not a tight or a loose draw. The Gran Reserva was also a low maintenance cigar to puff on from start to finish.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I found the A. Flores Gran Reserva to deliver the right amount of pop. I assessed this cigar to be medium to full in terms of the amount of nicotine delivered. As for the flavors, there is some nice depth. The flavors never reached the full-bodied range of depth, but easily fell into the upper end of the medium to full-bodied range.
I found the Gran Reserva did an excellent job of balancing both the strength and body. Neither attribute would overshadow the other during the smoking experience.
Overall, I found the A. Flores Gran Reserva to be a nice addition to the PDR Cigars portfolio. I think the small batch model that has been seen on a lot of recent PDR releases is working well for Abe Flores – and its allowing him to be more creative with his blends. I found this to be more of a change of pace cigar for PDR. The flavor notes such as cinnamon and exotic spice were flavors that surprised me coming from a PDR cigar. If you like a cigar that delivers a lot of cedar and a variety of spices, this is going to be the cigar for you. This is a cigar I would recommend to either the experienced or novice cigar enthusiast. This is the kind of a cigar that I would still give to a novice to see if they can handle something more fuller. As for myself, this was an enjoyable cigar. It’s one that I would smoke again – and one that I would consider a five pack purchase of.
Complexity: Medium >
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigar for this assessment was provided by PDR Cigars. The request was initiated by PDR Cigars to myself (Cigar Coop) to provide feedback. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the samples, but in no way does this influence this write-up.