In 2016 PDR Cigars unveiled the second installment under its Connecticut River Valley line, the Azul. A year earlier the Connecticut River Valley line was first introduced as one of PDR’s most premium offerings. The Connecticut River Valley blend was highlighted by a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper. The Azul also utilized a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, but would feature a lighter variant with a Connecticut Broadleaf Rosado. The Connecticut River Valley line was originally released under PDR’s Flores y Rodriguez brand but as a part of PDR’s ongoing portfolio rebrand was moved to the A. Flores 1975 brand. Today we take a look at the A. Flores 1975 Connecticut Valley Reserve Azul in the Churchill size.
If you have been following PDR Cigars over the past few years, you will probably have noticed the company has been overhauling the portfolio in terms of packaging and blends. The original Azul was released in 15-count elongated boxes and 19-count jars.
The packaging has more vibrant packaging and bands. In addition, the Azul has received an updated blend.
In addition, the Connecticut River Valley Maduro was also updated. It has now been rebranded the A. Flores 1975 Connecticut River Valley Roja – and the packaging has been updated in a similar manner to the Azul.
If you are keeping score at home here is a quick summary of the two blends and the rebranding.
|Wrapper||Original Release||Rebrand / Reblend (2022)|
|Connecticut Broadleaf Rosado||Flores y Rodriguez Connecticut River Valley Reserve Azul||A. Flores 1975 Connecticut River Valley Reserve Azul|
|Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro||Flores y Rodriguez Connecticut River Valley Reserve||A. Flores 1975 Connecticut River Valley Reserve Roja|
For now, let’s turn our attention to the A. Flores 1975 Connecticut River Valley Azul Churchill and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
In addition to the Connecticut Broadleaf Rosado wrapper, the Azul features a binder from the Jalapa region of Nicaragua as well as Dominican Corojo and Nicaraguan Criollo. The components of the A. Flores 1975 Connecticut River Valley Azul may seem similar to what was in the Flores y Rodriguez version, but PDR Cigars has said they use more in the way of Dominican tobacco in the A. Flores 1975 version.
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Rosado
Binder: Jalapa Nicaragua
Filler: Dominican Corojo, Condega Criollo (Nicaragua)
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: PDR Cigars
The A. Flores 1975 Connecticut River Valley Azul is offered in four sizes. As mentioned above, with the new packaging, the Azul is presented in ten-count boxes.
Robusto: 5 × 52
Gran Toro: 6 × 54
Lancero: 7 × 42
Churchill: 7 × 50
The Broadleaf wrapper of the A. Flores 1975 Connecticut River Valley Azul Churchill is on the lighter side when it comes to color. There was a slight amount of mottling on the surface of the wrapper. The wrapper had a slight amount of oil on the cap. There were some visible seams and visible veins on the surface of the wrapper. The cap had a slightly rugged look to it.
The band to the A. Flores 1975 Connecticut River Valley Azul has quite a bit going on. This band is highlighted by its vibrant blue colors and floral pattern. There is a Cuban-style oval design on the top. The lower part of the band also names the wrapper, binder, and filler.
The lower third of the band has a gold-colored paper sleeve with the interlocking letters of the PDR logo.
After removing the paper sleeve on the A. Flores 1975 Connecticut River Valley Azul Churchill, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. From this point, it was on to the pre-light draw ritual. The cold draw delivered a mix of earth and tannic notes. Overall this was not the most exciting of pre-light draws. Given the pre-light draw is not factored into the numerical score or value rating, there was no loss of points here. At this point, it was time to toast up the A. Flores 1975 Connecticut River Valley Azul Churchill and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
When the cigar experience of the A. Flores 1975 Connecticut River Valley Azul Churchill began, the profile of earth and tannic notes continued. These were joined by notes of mixed pepper, wood, and sweet natural tobacco. Early on the earth and natural tobacco notes moved to the forefront. The wood, pepper, and tannic notes settled in the background. Thee was an additional layer of pepper on the retro-hale.
As the A. Flores 1975 Connecticut River Valley Azul Churchill moved into the second third, the earth and natural tobacco alternated in intensity. Meanwhile, the wood notes transitioned to a cedar note. This cedar note and the pepper on the tongue increased in intensity. The black pepper also started to increase on the retro-hale.
By the final third, the earth and natural tobacco still remained at the forefront. The pepper and cedar notes were close secondary notes, and thee were still tannic notes present in the background as well. As the A. Flores 1975 Connecticut River Valley Azul Churchill came to a close, the flavors seemed quite muddled. As for the resulting nub, it was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
There was a slight bit of waviness on the burn line, and a slight amount of meandering on the burn path of the A. Flores 1975 Connecticut River Valley Azul Churchill. This required frequent touch-ups to the cigar. The resulting ash had a light to medium gray color to it. The ash itself was slightly flaky. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both maintained ideal levels.
The draw to the A. Flores 1975 Connecticut River Valley Azul Churchill performed quite well. It had a touch of resistance to it – which is a positive. At the same time, this was a low-maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The A. Flores 1975 Connecticut River Valley Azul Churchill started out with medium strength and medium body – and remained that way for the duration of the smoking experience. When it came to strength versus body, both attributes balanced each other nicely with neither overshadowing the other.
My experience with the A. Flores 1975 Connecticut River Valley Azul Churchill can be summed up quite simply: the cigar had its moments, but in the end, it did not deliver what I had hoped for. This was a similar experience to what I had with the predecessor, the Flores y Rodriguez Connecticut River Valley Azul. In both cases, the Azul (Connecticut Broadleaf Rosado) blends did not deliver as good an experience as the Roja (Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro). In the end, PDR’s Connecticut River Valley Reserve Azul does have a steep price tag, so the advice here is to try a sample first.
Key Flavors: Earth, Natural Tobacco, Cedar, Wood, Tannic Notes
Finish: Very Good
Value: Try a Sample
Photo Credit: Cigar Coop