Origin : Dominican Republic
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 52
Wrapper : Ecuadorian Habano Sun Grown
Filler : Dominican / Nicaraguan
Binder : Dominican
Blender : Abe Flores
Manufacturer : PDR Cigars
Price : $12.35
The word “fine” has evolved in meaning through generations of English speaking people. “I feel fine” means you don’t have aches and pains, and the sarcastic “Fine!” means you’re done discussing a disagreeable subject and want to move on. But I like using the word “fine” in the more classical sense. To me, the word fine connotes something artisan; well made and of outstanding quality. Recently, I smoked a cigar that struck me as having all the elements that make for a truly fine cigar, the PDR A. Flores Gran Reserva Sun Grown Robusto.
A good first impression.
As an empirical cigar smoker, I’m always looking for the perfect cigar. I have an ideal in mind against which I judge every cigar I smoke. The perfect cigar must have it all, great construction (draw, burn, etc.), exceptional flavor (balance, smoothness), and heavenly aroma. For a cigar to be great, everything needs to fall into place.
At first glance, the Gran Reserva looks like a contender for greatness. It’s a beautiful cigar to behold, with a flawless, Colorado-claro, Ecuadorian Habano sun grown wrapper. There are no blemishes, and the seams are barely visible. Although sun grown, the GR has the look and feel of a wrapper sheltered under cloth. Hailing from Ecuador, the natural cloud cover of the region filters enough light to create a delicate sun grown leaf in the open field.
The cap is a thing of wonder. It is wound perfectly: tight with multiple windings. The cigar retains its shape even with a deep guillotine cut. Examining the foot reveals perfectly random entubado (Cuban cigar rolling technique whereby each leaf in the filler is rolled into a tube, allowing airflow through the length of the cigar) bunching, foreshadowing a nice, easy draw. Plus its robusto size (5×52) promises abundant smoke.
The GR comes in cellophane, with each cigar encased in cedar veneer. This adds a nice aroma to the stick that will only increase as it ages. The addition of a ribbon foot band ensures the cigar will not spread as it ages. It seems apparent that Abe Flores, the creator of the GR has taken extra steps to preserve the quality of these cigars over time.
Off the charts aroma.
The Gran Reserva lights easily, and burns with a perfectly cylindrical, although somewhat flakey ash. I am almost halfway through a box of 24, and all the sticks I’ve smoked have burned evenly, requiring no touchups. Here, the entubado construction really shows its worth.
Upon lighting, a sweet nuttiness appears, with a touch of caramel corn. This stick is delicious. But the GR isn’t a dense cigar, and it starts out burning a bit hot. It also burns faster than I would like. I would have preferred a more tightly packed cigar. As it is, the cigar is a quick smoke for a robusto.
After the first inch, the GR starts to cool down, and remains so to the nub. As the cigar progresses, a soft chewiness takes hold. Like a golden layer cake, this cigar is downright delicious. It’s an easy smoke, utterly relaxing and enjoyable. Its aroma is divine and quintessentially cigar.
Mid way, the GR becomes slightly earthy, and gains an almost menthol character. I attribute that to the cedar packaging. At this point, the cigar is quite mild. It reminds me of the newer, Cuban H. Upmann Magnum 50 in both its draw and complex yet subtle flavor.
At the nub it all comes together. Earthy sweetness melds with herbal/floral nuances, and it’s disappointing when there is nothing left to smoke. Because this is a mild cigar, some smokers may not be satisfied when finished. It is best appreciated when smoked in the morning. But because this cigar is so good, I find myself enjoying two, back to back.
A fine cigar indeed.
We have all heard the term “Fine Cigars”, and often, these hand made beauties are indeed quite fine. But when judging cigars as an aficionado, cigar smoking becomes a super critical task. We are always judging one cigar against all others. In the case of the PDR A. Flores Gran Reserva Robusto, fine has an elevated meaning, and is what I look for when I want to fully enjoy the best a cigar has to offer. I recommend the Gran Reserva to smokers who prefer mild cigars, or to anyone seeking pure pleasure in our celebration of all things cigar.