Pinar del Rio Cigars
Pinar del Rio is the most western provence in Cuba where 70% of the premium Cuban tobacco is grown. Like their namesake, Pinar del Rio Cigars produces great cigars! We were introduced to both Abraham Flores and Juan Rodriguez of PDR back in 2009 during the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers trade show in New Orleans. The cigar company is based in New Orleans where they also own a cigar bar on Canal Street called Don Leoncio, a popular hang out after the trade show. Abe and Juan showed us their brand and sampled us on the cigars. Made at their factory in the Dominican Republic called La Fabrica, each premium cigar is expertly hand-rolled. At that time we had a small table top humidor that featured a small selection of cigars and didn’t have much room for new product. We explained that once we expand to a larger humidor, PDR would be one of the first to be added. Finally, our humidor space expanded and during this year’s IPCPR, as promised we placed our first order with them. To our knowledge, SWAM is the only retailer in Hawaii that has PDRs! We just got in the new PDR 1878 series in 4 different sizes and blends and also the Liga Especial Reserva Superior!
The 1878 “Black Band” Capa Madura arrived to us in 2 sizes (Robusto and Toro). It is a medium to medium plus body cigar that has a smooth flavor. Toast with a slight sweetness to the finish. They are using a Brazilian Maduro wrapper on this which is the reason for the slight natural sweetness. Nicaraguan/ Dominican filler with a Dominican binder. This pairs well with a shot of Makers Mark Bourbon.
The 1878 “Red Band” Capa Oscura also came to us in 2 sizes (Corona and Lancero). There are only 1500 boxes produced of the Capa Oscura which is a puro or cigars pure in origin, this one being from the Dominican Republic. These have great flavor as well, the spice and nuttyness come through on the palate as well as the woodsy-ness and leather aromas. These are dark oscura and many think that it is a stronger cigar, but darker doesn’t mean stronger, just riper. This is a medium bodied cigar that produces a lot of smoke! A little more complex smoke, this pairs well with the the new Makers 46 Bourbon.
The Liga Especial – Reserve Superior or the “Silver Label” of the line is a Limited Edition cigar that debuted at the IPCPR trade show this year. The blend is an all ligero or top leaf selection, which makes for a full-bodied, powerful smoke. The flavors are hinted with leathery tobacco, slight hint of coffee and bitter chocolate. We are fortunate enough to get a shipment of the Gran Toro in on this order but don’t think we are able to get another. As a pairing, we like the full strength of this cigar with Jim Beams new Devils Cut.
The cigars are priced from $5.99 up to $7.99 for the 1878s and $8.99 for the Limited Edition making them one of the best values in our humidor!
Martin Family Cigars
One of our very first experiences with a cigar representative was with the lovely Maria Martin. Back then, she was working with Christian Eiroa for Camacho Cigars. She has since moved on to co-found the Martin Family of Cigars and the Pedro Martin line. SWAM is proud to say that we were the first account in the nation to order the line and it was all due to the personality of Maria, fun, energetic and a wealth of tobacco knowledge! Her background stems from her father, the late Master Blender Pedro Martin and founder of Tobaccos Tropical where she was the President of the company, and then as the National Sales Manager for Camacho Cigars. Maria Martin is a real success in an industry dominated by men. Together with Ammer Cabrera of Martin Family cigars, they are producing cigars with accolades from the critics. When we got the samples of the cigars in January, we immediately placed an order for them.
Pedro Martin “Ruby”
This cigar is made in Esteli, Nicaragua in a small factory using about 20 of the top rollers that worked for Tropical. It is a medium-full cigar that has a Nicaraguan filler and binder with a sun-grown Corojo wrapper. Spicy from the start that mellows out through the rest of the cigar as it shows cedar, a touch of nuttiness and over all is very complex cigar. A brandy on the full-flavored side like Comandon Cognac or Hennessy would go great with this smoke. The pricing for the robusto is $7.99 and the torpedo is $8.99.
George Rico – crazy, unconventional, controversial. These are the kind of words that come into our minds when thinking of Gran Habano and George. Crazy – At our first IPCPR, he showed off a 19ft /1900 ring gauge cigar at the show and recorded as the largest production cigar in history! Unconventional – At this year’s IPCPR, Gran Habano showcased an Ice Cream Truck as the backdrop of the booth. Controversial – the new “Zulu Zulu” packaging depicts African children holding AK-47s. Florida graffiti artist and Rico’s friend, Kid, was commissioned to do the artwork. Many in the cigar community downplayed the use of the images saying “it exploited children.” In actuality, a portion of the “Zulu” box sales go to Invisible Children, an organization committed to bring awareness, support, and justice for the war affected children in East Africa.
We are getting 6 cigars from the Gran Habano line including 2 from the STK line “Zulu Zulu”.
Gran Habano #1 Churchill is filled and bound with Nicaraguan tobacco and wrapped in an Ecuadorian Connecticut leaf. It is mild to medium but don’t confuse strength with flavor of creamy and nuttiness with toasty flavors. Perfect with a Bailys or our new Qream Liquor.
Gran Habano #3 Shorty Robusto is a medium to full bodied cigar with Nicaraguan, Mexican and Costa Rican fillers, bound with Nicaraguan Habano and wrapped in a Nicaraguan Habano leaf. It is a rich blend that is complex and will be one of our favorite smokes. Because of the fuller body, this should match well with some of the lighter single malt scotches like Glenlivet.
Gran Habano #5 Rothchild is the strongest blend in the bunch using Nicaraguan, Mexican and Costa Rican tobaccos but more ligero leaves in the blend. It is held together with a Nicaraguan Habano binder and wrapped in a Nicaraguan Habano leaf. It has a noticeably red tint on the wrapper that we like and the power of this cigar really shows. If you like full flavor/full strength cigars, have it with a smoky, peaty, scotch like Ardbeg or Laphroaig!
Zulu Zulu STK Lancero is a personal blend made by George Rico that was created just for him to smoke. He decided to release a limited number to select retailers across the country in two different wrappers. The one we fell in love with was the Connecticut. We had the pleasure of being invited to George’s suite at the Venetian where we were introduced to the new cigar. After a whole day of smoking (about 5-7 cigars) at the IPCPR, we thought that the cigar was not going to show well. To our surprise, they not only did it come through on the strength but had great flavor! It was so good that we smoked it down to the very nub! This is a cigar that measures 7.5 inches by 40 ring gauge. We don’t know any of the details of this cigar as the filler or binder but it is one of the best Lancero sized cigars that we smoked.
These may well be the value smoke in the humidor for us as the pricing for the Gran Habano is going to be $4.99 for the Rothchild #5, $5.99 for the Churchill #1 and Shorty Robusto #3. the Zulu Zulu will be at $9.99 and we are only getting 2 boxes.
Smokin’ Swings Cigar Event Information
Category : Cigars &Reviews Posted on September 7, 2011