In 2020, ACE Prime would introduce the Pichardo Maduro. This would become the first offering in the ACE Prime portfolio to feature a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper. ACE Prime is a company that launched in 2019. It was founded by Luciano Meirelles and Don Eradio Pichardo. Each of the principal owners have launched a namesake brand, thus Pichardo Maduro falls under the brand named for Don Eradio. Today we take a closer look at the Pichardo Maduro in its current vitola offering, a Box Pressed Toro.
Just prior to the release of the Pichardo Maduro, ACE Prime entered into a strategic partnership with Crowned Heads. The Crowned Heads-ACE Prime Strategic Partnership includes several components. Under the alliance, ACE Prime Cigars will now exclusively be distributed by Crowned Heads Cigars. The two companies had already been working together as ACE Prime’s Tabacalera Pichardo is handling production for the Crowned Heads Juarez line, (and since then has produced other cigars for Crowned heads). At the same time, Tabacalera Pichardo also produces cigars for its own (the ACE Prime) brands, for which the Pichardo brand is one of them.
For now, let’s turn our attention to the Pichardo Maduro and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
In addition to the Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper, the Pichardo Maduro features all Nicaraguan tobaccos for the binder and filler. As with all current ACE Prime Cigars, production comes from Tabacalera Pichardo in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera Pichardo
As mentioned, the Pichardo Maduro is currently offered in one size – a 6 1/2 x 50 box-pressed vitola. The Pichardo Maduro is presented in 20-count boxes.
The Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper of the Pichardo Maduro had a light roasted coffee bean color to it. There wasn’t much in the way of oil on the surface of the wrapper. The surface of the wrapper had some visible veins. While not the darkest Brazilian Arapiraca Maduro wrapper I’ve seen, it was still dark enough to hide the wrapper seams.
The band of the Pichardo Maduro is green with gold trim. On the center of the band is a gold shield with a green-colored “P” on it. Below the shield is the text “PICHARDO” in gold font. To the left is the text “NICARAGUA” in white font while to the right is the text “ESTELI” – also in white font. The lower part of the band has a thick gold stripe. On that stripe is the text “MADURO” in green font. The remainder of the band has various gold design elements on it.
Prior to lighting up the Pichardo Maduro, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. Once the cap was detached it was on to the pre-light draw stage. The cold draw delivered notes of mocha (a fusion of chocolate and coffee), earth, and floral notes. While I am not personally a fan of floral notes, I did find they complemented the other flavors on the cold draw well and this resulted in a satisfactory pre-light draw experience. At this point, it was time to light up the Pichardo Maduro and see what the smoking phase would deliver,
The Pichardo Maduro opened up with notes of mocha, wood mineral, and white pepper. The mocha notes moved into the forefront. Meanwhile the wood, mineral, and pepper settled into the background where they were joined by dark fruit notes. Meanwhile the retro-hale produced an additional layer of white pepper with some citrus mixed in.
As the Pichardo Maduro moved into the second third, some of the sweetness of the cigar receded. The mocha notes shed the chocolate component, becoming more of a straight coffee note. The dark fruit notes diminished in the background. At the same time the mineral notes increased.
Later in the second third, some earth notes mixed in with the coffee notes in the forefront. The pepper notes increased and joined the mineral notes as the most prominent of the secondary notes. Rounding out the flavor profile were the wood and fruit notes. When the cigar entered the final third, there was little change in the complexion of the flavor profile. The Pichardo Maduro came to a close with a slightly soft and cool nub.
The burn of the Pichardo Maduro performed excellently. The cigar maintained a straight burn path and a relatively straight burn line. The resulting ash was light gray in color. The ash itself was on the firm side. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both attributes maintained ideal levels.
The draw of the Pichardo Maduro also performed excellently. Sometimes a box-press draw is a little more open than I prefer. In this case, the Pichardo Maduro had an ideal balance of resistance and openness. This was also a cigar that was low maintenance in deriving flavor from.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength and body, the Pichardo Maduro started out medium. By the second half, both the strength and body progressed to the medium to full range. In terms of strength versus body, both attributes balanced each other in the first half. By the second half, there was a touch more strength than body, but it didn’t throw the equilibrium off track.
Brazilian Arapiraca is one wrapper that I find can be quite pungent in terms of flavor. In the case of the Pichardo Maduro, this was not the case. ACE Prime has delivered a blend that has excellent balance and just enough complexity to satisfy me. On top of it, the flavors delivered were quite enjoyable. Combine all of these factors with top-notch construction, and this is how you earn a Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence designation. This is certainly a cigar I would recommend to either a seasoned cigar enthusiast or a cigar enthusiast looking for something in the medium plus range. As for myself, the Pichardo Maduro is a cigar I would smoke again and buy multiples to keep in the humidor.
Key Flavors: Mocha (Coffee, Chocolate), Earth, Mineral, Fruit, Wood, Pepper
Complexity: Medium Plus
Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy Multiples
Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop