Cigar Reviews

Pinar Del Rio Clasico Exclusivo Lancero

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Firstly, thanks to everyone who posted comments on the La Aurora contest for the upcoming Para Japon cigar. As always, we really appreciate your support, especially for such a good cause. All the winners have been contacted via email already. If you weren’t one of the lucky winners, we encourage you to seek you the Para Japon when it goes for sale! Keep in mind that the Virtual Release Party for the Para Japon cigar will be on April 27th, 2011 at 7PM EST. Check out www.ParaJapon.com for more details.

Up for review today is the Pinar Del Rio. A fairly new brand to me and probably to many but they have been making a pretty big splash in the boutique cigar market. Pinar Del rio is actually the name of a City and Province in Cuba but despite the name, the company is not based in Cuba and does not roll Cuban cigars. In fact, the Pinar Del Rio company is based out of the Dominican Republic.

The creator behind the Pinar Del Rio lines is Abe Flores. There’s also a deep seated family tie to him for this company. At this moment they are up to 5 different blends with one more new one coming to IPCPR 2011 this year. The Clasico Exclusivo line is one of the milder of their offerings being wrapped with a Connecticut leaf. The company and it’s cigars have received a lot of positive press so I thought it was time we featured one of their cigars.

The vitola up for review today will be the lancero. The Clasico Exclusivo line is also available in a variety of other vitolas ranging from a Corona all the way up to Churchill and Double Magnum. Their 9 available sizes should make it easy for anyone with a vitola preference to find their own ‘sweet spot’. The cigars are adorned with a blue and gold band carrying the Pinar Del Rio name and accented with an additional deep red and silver band with the Exclusivo words on it.

Cigar: Pinar Del Rio Clasico Exclusivo
Drink: Coffee
Vitola: Lancero (7.25 x 38)
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Binder: Criollo 98 / Dominican Republic
Filler: Nicaraguan / Dominican Republic
Price: $5.00-5.50
Burn Time: A little over 1.5 hours

Construction:
• A nice honey and orange colored wrapper surrounds this cigar
• The wrapper itself is somewhat bumpy and a little rough to the touch
• There are a lot of small veins running along the cigar and some seem to have a greenish color to them
• Only a tiny spring can be felt while squeezing the cigar, it’s fairly firm form end to end
• The clean triple cap is finished with a small pigtail
• A well packed foot finishes off the bottom of this cigar
• Cap clipped very easily and fell neatly into the ashtray

Burn:
• Toasting took a little longer than I would have expected given the smaller ring gauge and my Creme Brulee torch, but still lit up evenly
• Initial burn has been pretty straight and steady
• Through the first half and no burn issues at all, also staying lit easily with no need for extra draws
• May have spoke too soon… right after I wrote the above point I picked up the cigar for another draw and it was completely out… relight and off we go again
• Resting smoke really picked up around the halfway mark

Smoke & Ash:
• Right from the first puff I’m getting a nice mouthful of smoke from each draw
• Even though I get so much smoke on each draw the resting smoke is fairly minimal
• The ash is a nice light grey color and keeps fairly clean
• Although looking strong, the ash falls off in less than a half inch, but it is a lancero so I usually don’t see very long ash on these anyway
• May have spoke to soon about the neatness, the next ash portion looked like a flower blossoming!
• Ash got a little longer and cleaner as the cigar progressed, only split the one time

Tasting Notes:
• The cigars wrapper doesn’t have a strong aroma, just a mild tobacco and hay-like hint
• The foot of the cigar brings more hay aroma paired with a bit of earthiness
• Pre-light draw brings more hay and earth, definitely a good helping of a “dirt” flavor in there
• Initial draws bring more of the earthy flavors and offer a nice smooth finish
• The body has started off mild and the retrohale has a smooth creamy finish to it with no bite
• Getting quite a bit of dryness on the back of my throat from this cigar
• As I hit the halfway mark, I’m still getting a mostly earthy flavor with a touch of cedar here and there
• I’m getting a touch of white pepper as the cigar progresses, possibly form the binder, an interesting touch to a Connecticut cigar
• As the cigar moves along, I’m really enjoying the slight pepper hint and the creamy finish, it’s an interesting combo and very well balanced
• As I get into the last third, the intensity of the flavors seemed to pick up a bit and the cigar started burning a little hotter, the body also picked up tad to medium
• I’m getting a bit of a sugar cookie type of flavor here and there, I wish it would stick around a bit more
• The pepper flavors are definitely developing in the last bit of this cigar and the retrohale has a nice little bite to it too, all while maintaining a fairly smooth finish
• The earthy flavor seems to have stuck around for the entire cigar, always playing a part in it’s flavor profile
• Near the nub the body continued to pick up, almost approaching full but no bitterness which is nice

Final Thoughts:
The Pinar Del Rio Clasico Exclusivo hit the spot for me today as an early day smoke. It brings something a little different to the typical Connecticut world but doesn’t shy away from still being mild enough to enjoy in the morning with a coffee. The price on these is very fair and the construction and burn was very good for the most part. It wasn’t overly complex but also not boring making it a good cigar for almost anyone to pick up and enjoy. I think a larger vitola may not be the best selection for this cigar but I could be wrong depending on how the added filler changes the flavor of the cigar. I think I’ll have to pick up a few more in other vitolas and experiment but I’m pretty happy with this one. If you want to add something a little different to your Connecticut line up, give this one a try.

Pairings:
Today I just went with plain old coffee for my pairing. It’s nothing fancy or freshly ground, there was already a pot made that was nice and hot and I’ll admit, I was just too lazy to make anything else. Plus it smelled good so that’s that. It paired nicely with the creamy and mild flavors of the cigar, I wouldn’t suggest going for a strong coffee here as it could drown out some of the mellower flavors. Other than a coffee, I think a dark soda, amber or wheat beer, or even just simple water would also make a good pairing.

Daniel T. (a.k.a. Dalamscius) is an IT Professional from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He enjoys cigars, scuba diving, hockey, fishing, nature and anything that challenges his mind. If he’s not sitting on his big comfy couch or at work you can usually find him in a boat on top of the water or 100ft under the water enjoying a dive. He is engaged to a wonderful Fiance and looking forward to his wedding. Feel free to contact Daniel anytime via email (dalamscius[at]gmail[dot]com). And make sure to follow him on twitter http://twitter.com/Dalamscius

8 Comments

  1. jaredwharton

    April 25, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Great review of one of my old favorites DT. I really get a roasted peanut flavor from them. Funny, I think Tony gave me my first one. Havent had a bad PDR yet but the BOTL exclusive ROCKS!

  2. Dalamscius

    April 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Thanks Jared! I think I need to discover more PDR’s. Any of the other ones you would recommend?

  3. Jay

    April 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Nice review, Daniel !

    I had couple PDRs but they didn’t wow me. I need to try lancero format one of those days. Digging pix as well !!! Keep up the good work.

  4. danistalking

    April 25, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Nice review! The band on that stick is huge! lol

  5. Tadd

    April 26, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I am with Jay, PDR is good, it just doens’t make me neeed to have another…..

  6. Dalamscius

    April 28, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Jay & Tadd, I hear what you guys are saying. I think I need to try a few more blends first. I’ve heard some good stuff about their other blends. Which other ones didn’t wow you guys?

  7. Danny P

    April 28, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Sounds like an interesting smoke. I’ll have to see if I can find a few and see how it stacks up to the EP Carrillo NWC.

  8. jjo

    June 4, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Thanks for the great, in depth, review, Daniel. I haven’t had a chance to try this blend yet, but I will, since I have a megasampler (toros) coming soon. I only wish I could find this in the lancero size. I see that both Tony and Walt at Stogie Review liked it. Sounds like a good morning smoke.

    I like the Habano Sun Grown version, as well as the old Seleccion 2007 (I haven’t tried the new, reblended version yet). I think these are solid value cigars that seem to go on sale and at auction often, at least online.

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