Review: Pinar del Rio Exclusivo Reserva Limitada

Pinar del Rio Exclusivo Reserva Limitada
Wrapper – Dominican Habano
Binder – Criollo ’98, Brazilian Habano
Filler – Nicaraguan Jalapa and Esteli, Dominican Criollo ’98, Dominican Corojo, Dominican Negrita Canca Habano.
Sizes – Churchill, Gordo, Robusto, Toro, Torpedo
Size for Review – Robusto (5×50)
retail – ~$4

Two bands cover up a good portion of this stick

Two bands cover up a good portion of this stick

After just talking about smaller gauge sticks, I was a bit apprehensive about smoking a robusto and writing about it so soon. I may have had cause to worry. I would share with you what PDR has to say about this cigar, but the Pinar del Rio website does not have it listed. I’m assuming at this point that it has been discontinued. As you can see, though, there is a huge variety of tobaccos in this cigar. Five different tobaccos from Nicaragua and Dominican Republic make up the filler. Two more Nicaraguan and Brazilian tobaccos make up the binder. Finally it is wrapped in a Dominican Habano leaf.

cap troubles

cap troubles

Looking over the PDR Reserva Limitada it looks decent. The leathery dark wrapper is enticing and there are not any big veins or other apparent issues. The cap, though, is just a single, and right out of the cello it shows some wear. Along the length of the cigar it feels nicely firm. The foot of the cigar smells of a barnyard, but not in a good way. Instead of lush fields, think of a dairy farm with crap churning into mud. This might be a sign.

I punched the cap and the draw was nice. There was a bit of the same barnyard smell manifesting itself in a similar flavor with a bit of cinnamon spice mixed in.

I toasted the foot and with the first couple puffs the cap came away cleanly from the cigar. The head now circumcised, I knew I was going to have some issues with the wrapper as I went along. I did my best to apply some moisture to stick the wrapper back in place.

Nearing the end of the first third

Nearing the end of the first third

The flavors were next to unbearable. There was, momentarily, a nice woody note, but it was quickly replaced with an acrid bitterness. Remember the last time you were on the road and picked up that nasty burned truck-stop coffee? Then remember when you left it in your cupholder and accidentally took a swig a couple days later? Yeah, it was like that. I gave the cigar a purge and the half inch of ash that had built up fell away. That helped take care of the bitterness, but I was then left with a rather flavorless cigar for a number of puffs. Finally some oaky wood notes paired with a hint of cream came through. The body was rather full, and I was happy with the amount of smoke that was being produced. At rest it almost seemed like the PDR Reserva Limitada might smoke itself. So far the burn has been wavy, but I haven’t felt the need to touch it up at all.

Moving along the second third

Moving along the second third

The ash fell away from the cigar as I removed the second band that labelled this as the Reserva Limitada. This helped even out the burn and it was fairly straight and crisp. Mouth fulls of smoke gave a delightfully woody retrohale, but things were not so nice on the palate. Again I was being assaulted by burned out, over produced, bitter coffee. Purging gave nary relief. I begrudgingly trudged along. This is a Pinar del Rio. It’s supposed to be a great boutique cigar. The main band was somewhat loose on the cigar as things warmed, so I moved it to help support the wrapper leaf that was also causing headache with each puff.

Yes, I'm still smoking this cigar. I'm doing it for you.

Yes, I’m still smoking this cigar. I’m doing it for you.

The ash fell at the end of the second third, and I tore away the final band to keep on smoking. In all honesty, at this point I wanted to throw the cigar away. The only reason I hadn’t is because of this review. That’s it. I had carefully peeled away the most offensive part of the wrapper. Somehow the smoke output increased even more in the last third. It was curling around my fingers and drifting across the yard. The retrohale retained the wonderful woody aromas of the second third, and my palate was finally greeted with the same. Then, a couple puffs later, a wonderful savory tobacco flavor. That was very nice. But then, again. The bitterness returned. I purged. Nothing. Ug. Purge again. Still tastes horrible.

I give! Uncle!

I give! Uncle!

Suffice it to say, I won’t be in a rush to ever try the Pinar del Rio Exclusivo Reserva Limitada again. Hopefully, for you, it has been discontinued and you won’t have to suffer through finding these. If you find yourself enjoying this cigar already, let me introduce you to the most horrible cigar I ever had, the Duque. They run less than $1 so you can save yourself some dough. The only redeeming quality of the PDR is the wonderful retro, and that’s the only reason it’s slightly better than the Duque.

About the author

Isaac Miller is a stay at home dad, kayak fisherman and a cigar fiend.