Just like there is more than one way to sheer a sheep, there are various ways to roll a cigar. Different shapes or vitolas will require special techniques during rolling, but what about the innards? What's going on in there? No, the torcedor doesn't simply grab a handful of leaves and slap a binder on them. There are different techniques that are used during this step. The easiest and most cost effective way to create a little bundle of joy is Lieberman bunching (machine bunching). It's basically one of those ZigZag rolling machines that's used for the wacky tobaccy, except it's much larger and has a lever that magically rolls it up in one swoop. Book Bunching is a bit how it sounds. The filler leaves get stacked on top of each other and then folded over, ya know, like a book. With the accordion method, the leaves get folded inward from the outside and stacked before the binder is applied. This form of bunching is more time consuming, and therefore more expensive, but will allow the air to flow more evenly. Similar to the accordion style is the classic method called entubado. This is the method used at the PDR factory and it's also the one that requires the most experience. Each individual leaf is rolled up like a scroll before being added to the bunch. Entubado bunching takes the most amount of time to construct, but supposedly provides the best burn & draw when done correctly. All that said, regardless of the bunching method, there is always a chance that the cigar will end up with a tight draw if the wrapper isn't rolled on properly. Does the entubado method shine on this blend? Let's check it out.
Cigar: A. Flores 1975 Gran Reserva Maduro Robusto
Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: PDR Cigars - Tamboril, DR
Size: 5 x 52
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Maduro
Binder: Dominican Olor
Filler: Nicaraguan Habano, Dominican Corojo
One thing I noticed right off the bat is that the wrapper feels thick & rugged. The beefiness makes the cap look like a Band-Aid was wrapped around it. Some veins were bumpin, but nothing outrageous. The embossed band is nice and the additional protective band gives the overall appearance a classy look. One thing that grinds my gears though is tape was used to secure the secondary band. I know that many companies use tape on certain bands, but for me, I hate it. The sight of tape on any cigar makes it look cheap in my eyes. Am I in the minority here? I know I know, who cares right? It gets pulled off anyway before lighting and doesn't get smoked. Still though. Stop with the damn tape and find another method of securing the band....Aside from whining about tape, it looked purdy!
I'm not sure what happened here with the entubado, because it certainly didn't provide the draw that anyone is looking for. One cigar was very tight and required numerous prison shanks to open it up. The other one started out well, but halfway in it puckered up. I managed to get through them; it just took more effort than I'd like.
Somewhat of a rocky road in this category too. Both samples had alignment issues and kept veering off to the side. Plenty of touchup fuel was needed. One of the cigars had some wrapper flowering just below the burn line for roughly half the session. There were some ash splitting too. None of these issues were totally out of control, but they were a nuisance.
1/3 - Dry hay and green veggies are thrown up front. There is also a clean, dark earth note with a super mild black pepper retro. Moving past the 1" mark brings in baking cocoa, grass, and coffee cake without the beloved crumb topping. The 1st third is pleasant, but as the 2nd third approaches there is a mineral taste on the retro and finish. It's mild though and tolerable.
2/3 - Dollar store hot chocolate appears. When it does though it also brings in beef jerky with a mild hickory flavor and some saltiness. Those and hot chocolate seemed to be an odd combination. The grassy note ramps up to spicy grass. Juicy leather and fig become louder and help round out the strange hot choco jerky. That funky mineral finish keeps creeping up and by the end of the 2nd it is starting to wear out its welcome.
3/3 - The final third becomes very straight forward with dry cocoa and spicy grass. Any complexity is now gone and background notes have skipped town. The mineral finish is now so strong that I find myself smacking my lips over it. Not an enjoyable conclusion.
All that entubado work and the draw was still bunk. Few issues will ruin a session like a bad draw will. Although, even if the draw was better I don't think it would have helped much flavor wise. Starts out ok, but morphs into a mineral cesspool. For this particular blend, I'd say start with a single first. Maybe the Serie Privada Maduro will be better? Stay tuned for Part 3 to find out!
**Number of cigars smoked for the review: 2