Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Ecuadorian Corojo and Jalapa Habano (2 binders)
Filler: Dominican Corojo, Condegan Criollo ’98 (Nicaragua)
Brand: PDR Flores y Rodriguez
Factory: PDR Cigars
Price Range: $15-$19
Availability: Somewhat limited (27,000 cigars)
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Connecticut Valley Reserve – First Thoughts
I smoked one of these back when it was cold and my thoughts were somewhat mixed. I had heard great things about it and really wanted to enjoy it, but couldn’t help feel that it was overpriced.
The cigar itself is nothing short of beautiful. Everything is working for it, including the foot band that I want to dislike but can’t. Seeing these cigars on the shelf in a lounge is also impressive – saw it for the first time at the Underground last week and the box is it’s own showcase.
The look, feel, and smell of this cigar is pure quality.
Connecticut Valley Reserve – First Third
Earth, Cocoa Powder, Spice, Coffee, Wood, Earth, Nuttiness, Charred Meat, Burnt Popcorn, Chocolate, Cherry
The very first few puffs are of earth and cocoa powder. Mild spice lingers between draws with a subtle sinus kick through the nose.
Several things are happening at roughly half an inch into this cigar. Coffee, wood, earth, nuttiness, spice, and charred meat come together to form a semi-interesting experience. There’s an underlying sweetness that I can’t quite pinpoint but milk chocolate resonates if I had to label it. Charred meat quickly establishes itself as the dominant flavor.
The smoke output of this cigar has to be my favorite quality so far. Thankfully I’m outside, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to see for this review. The mouthfeel of the smoke is also noteworthy. It’s slightly oily and coats the palate. And yet, while the smoke is billowing on the porch, it doesn’t translate into the draw. I keep feeling like it’s moments away from going out.
At an inch in, the chocolate factor begins developing more relevant flavor to combat the charred meat and, sometimes, burnt popcorn notes. Towards the end of the first third, hints of cherry come and go also. It started with an odd “wtf” moment as something sour came through, then evolved to tart cherry, then more of a subdued cherry flavor.
Connecticut Valley Reserve – Second Third
Charred Meat, Ammonia, Raisin Bran, Bitter Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Whipping Cream, Bread
After dropping the ash, I just tried removing the secondary band by sliding it off. Nope! Just like the foot band these little bastards are stuck like chuck.
The second third hasn’t began like I wanted it to. Initial puffs were of charred meat with a slight ammonia presence. The charred meat with intermittent burnt popcorn linger for a while. Eventually a raisin bran sweetness develops on the finish.
Bitter black coffee is emerging as well. Reminds me of breakfast in high school: coffee and raisin bran. And just like that, our out-of-place sour note comes back in. Those memories were short-lived, though, as bitter coffee quickly takes the wheel.
Relight. Smells like hotdogs on the porch.
Surprisingly, this cigar just got better after a relight. Now we’re talking dark chocolate, heavy whipping cream, and the faintest trace of some sort of bread.
Connecticut Valley Reserve – Last Third
Soft Chocolate, Cream, Peanuts, Oak
Oddly enough, the last third may just may be my favorite. Immediately I’m hit with soft chocolate notes, cream, and a tiny bit of weak coffee. Bitterness, for whatever reason, has exited stage left. Thankfully. Right this moment it’s like smoking a homemade latte.
Peanuts work their way into the mix right before I have to stoke it back to life with more flame.
On a side note, I’ve paired the Connecticut Valley Reserve with a Chocolate Stout, Rum, Coffee, Water, and Bourbon. Coffee seems to be the best choice even though I would’ve guessed that the Chocolate Stout would perform the best.
Relight. Again. The last third seems to be having serious issues staying lit and seems consistent with the only other Connecticut Valley Reserve I’ve smoked.
It’s no surprise that we’ve taken a bitter turn again. Through the cloud of bitterness, oak emerges and plays off bitter chocolate, other nuances of wood, and cream until the end.
Priced out of it's League
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