The AFR-75 is one of two new blends released by PDR Cigars at IPCPR 2013. I was able to sit down with Abe Flores to talk about his new blend at the IPCPR show (video is below). The AFR-75 is available in three sizes favoring the larger ring gauge. For this review I smoked the Sublime, which was 5 x 56. I’m not a fan of larger ring gauges, but I didn’t mind the size on this one. The Edmundo (6 x 58) and the Inmenso (7 x 60) are the two additional sizes. The thing about the AFR-75 that caught my eye was the packaging. The box, as you can see at the 4:00 mark of the video, is actually a humidor!
Size: 5 x 56
Vitola: Edmundo (robusto)
Wrapper: San Andres Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo 98
Filler: Dominican Habano, Connecticut Broadleaf, and Nicaraguan criollo 98
MSRP: $14-$16 per stick
Release Date: Mid-September 2013
Samples for review provided by PDR Cigars
Pre-Light: The AFR-75 has a clean and (somehow) aggressive look to it. The band features black and gold artwork on a white background with a three-leaf logo in the center. The white band provides contrast from the dark chocolate wrapper and the black and gold artwork.
The San Andres Maduro wrapper was a deep chocolate brown (almost black) and, while it looked very smooth, it had a toothy texture. The construction was solid with a pigtail cap and no soft spots. The wrapper smelled strongly of cedar with undertones of leather, while the foot offered a doughy, sweet baking spice note. The cold draw was a little snug and tasted of cedar and a sweet fruit note that reminded me of a ripe plum.
Beginning: There is a seldom talked about phenomenon in the cigar world that I like to call the “First Puff Double-Take.” It occurs when you take the first puff off of a freshly lit cigar and it’s so good that you catch yourself looking at the cigar in your hand. The AFR-75 prompted a “First Puff Double-Take.” In that first puff, I was hit with a beautifully earthy, molasses sweetness and undertones of oak. That sweetness reminded me of ginger snap cookie dough and came from the San Andres Maduro wrapper.
The sweetness ran the show as I progressed through the first few inches of the AFR-75. There were some earthy notes of leather and wood in the background and a very mild spice on the retrohale. All of these flavors combined to create a rich and balanced beginning to the AFR-75.
Middle: The strength of the AFR-75 picked up as I reached the middle portion. Heat developed on the retrohale, while a mild black pepper spice built up on the back of the tongue. The earthy and sweet notes carried over and, with the added pepper, provided a unique balance of sweet, earth and mild spice. As I approached the final portion of the AFR-75, the strength was at a medium-plus and the burn remained precise.
End: I found very little change as the AFR-75 reached its nub. The black pepper spice, which never got past the point of mild, began to die away. The sweet molasses notes took on the doughy flavor that they started out with and the notes of oak returned. The flavors basically returned to where they started, which I can’t say I have experienced before.