The AFR-75 was one of two new blends launched by PDR Cigars at the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas. The AFR-75 derives its name from the initials its Master Blender, Abraham Flores Rosario as well as his year of birth (1975). 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. For his own offerings, Flores has lately been focusing on small batch releases – and the AFR-75 is no exception as it will be limited to 500 boxes per size. At the same time, the AFR-75 is intended to PDR Cigars’ most premium offering – starting around $14.75 for this cigar. Recently, I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the AFR-75, and this is a cigar worthy at being at the top of the class for PDR Cigars. This represents Flores’ best work to date.
When PDR Cigars announced its two small batch IPCPR offerings, the AFR-75 and A. Flores Gran Reserva, Flores commented on the projects: “I’m really excited about the new lines. We had a lot of success with the A. Flores Serie Privada line and we’re going to be doing more special release small batch projects. As a blender I have a lot of fun creating different blends that we can put out in smaller amounts for the hardcore cigar guys to enjoy.”
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the AFR-75 and see what this cigar brings to the table
The AFR-75 features a San Andres maduro wrapper. This marks the first cigar in the PDR Cigars’ family to use this wrapper.
Wrapper: San Andres Maduro
Binder/Filler: Nicaraguan Criollo 98, Connecticut Broadleaf, Dominican
The AFR-75 is available in three front-marks skewed toward larger ring gauges.
Sublime: 5 x 56
Edmundo: 6 x 58
Immenso: 7 x 60
There is also a lonsdale version of the AFR-75 that has been made. However don’t expect to see this on retailer shelves. This is meant to be a personal cigar for Flores himself.
For this cigar experience I went with the 5 x 56 Sublime. The San Andres maduro wrapper of the AFR-75 has a nice chocolate color to it. I would describe the wrapper as more on the silky side and less on the oily cigar. There are a few visible verins while the wrapper’s dark coloring does a nice job at hiding the wrapper seams. There is a fan-tail on the cap.
The band is definitely PDR Cigars’ most elegant one to date. The band has a white background. On the center of the band is a black square. There is a good leaf resting on the square. Under that leaf is text “AFR-75” in gold font. Surrounding the black square to the left and right is a grid-like pattern of small black squares. Toward the top of the grid pattern (on both the left and right side of the band) is a black stripe with gold trim. On each of those stripes is the text “EDICION LIMITADA” in white font. On the far right of the ban is a black PDR CIGARS star logo in black surrounded by black circular trim. To the right of that, arranged in landscape mode is the text “PDR CIGARS” in black font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my cigar experience of the AFR-75 Sublime, I opted to go with a straight cut as opposed to pulling off the fan-tail cap. This is typically what I do with any cigar that has a pig-tail or fan-tail. Once the cap was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw provided a mix of floral, cocoa, and pepper notes. The floral notes seemed to take more center stage as the pre-light draw progressed. Overall, I was quite satisfied with pre-light draw of the AFR-75. At this point I was ready to light up this cigar and see what the smoking phase would deliver.
The start to the AFR-75 started out with some black pepper and floral notes. I was also able to detect pepper on the retro-hale from the very beginning – and this would stay with the AFR-75 throughout the remainder of the cigar experience. The floral notes diminished and gave way to notes of cocoa, earth, and cherry.
As the AFR-75 progressed through the first third, the cocoa notes got deeper. At times the cocoa notes had more of a cocoa powder taste, and at other times it had more of a rich chocolate taste. The pepper notes alternated with the cocoa/chocolate flavors as far as which note was primary. The cherry sweetness remained in the background.
At the start of the second third, the chocolate flavors were the richest. It was in the second third where some earth notes began to blend in with the cocoa/chocolate notes. The earth notes began to get more prominent throughout the second third.
By the last third, the earth, chocolate, and pepper notes were all still present – at varying degrees. The cherry sweetness had dissipated. The end of the cigar was flavorful and had no harshness. The resulting nub was ideal – cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
From a construction standpoint, the AFR-75 is impeccable. This is one of the best constructed cigars I’ve seen. This was clearly reflected in both the burn and draw. The burn line remained sharp from start to finish – requiring minimal touch-ups to keep the burn line straight. The resulting ash was firm and tight – with a nice salt and pepper color. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the AFR-75|
From a draw standpoint, the AFR-75 scored extremely well. The draw had a touch of resistance to it – which is something that I like on a cigar.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I did not find the AFR-75 to be a nicotine bomb. The strength starts out medium and slowly increases to medium to full strength by the second half. The depth of the flavors followed a similar pattern. The AFR-75 starts out medium-bodied before progressing to medium to full-bodied in the second half.
I found the AFR-75 to deliver the right amount of strength with just enough depth to its flavors. On top of that, I found the strength and body to balance each other very nicely on the AFR-75.
Abe Flores has certainly built himself into one of the most sought after blenders in the industry. He has been behind a lot of great lines from his own brand and for other brands. Right now the AFR-75 is as good a cigar as he has made. While I thought this blend worked very well for the 56 ring gauge, I can tell you it even smokes better in Flores’ personal lonsdale. The AFR-75 is intended to be PDR Cigars’ ultra-premium offering. As mentioned, the price point starts $14.75 (for the 5 x 56 Sublime). While I did not factor price into this assessment rating or score, I do mention it for informational purposes. I will say, this is a cigar that truly smokes like an ultra-premium offering. This is a cigar that I would recommend for the novice or experienced cigar enthusiast looking to smoke something special. As for myself, this is a cigar that is box-worthy and one I would certainly smoke again.
Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy