Similar to both the AFR-75 and the A. Flores Gran Reserva, the A. Flores 1975 Serie Privada line has the privileged of baring its creators name. That man is PDR mastermind, Abe Flores. Abe has had his hand in the cigar industry for a long while, but only really started making a splash in the boutique scene in 2004, with the launch of PDR Cigars. Slowly but surely, Abe has garnered the respect of enthusiasts across board.
First launched at the IPCPR Tradeshow in 2012, the Serie Privada comes in two wrapper variants; a Ecuadorian Habano Maduro as well as an Ecuadorian Habano. The leaves are pulled from the oldest and most mature tobacco that the PDR Factory has in its reserves. There is no romantic story here, Abe Flores simply wanted to release a blend that elegantly delivers a creamy, medium-bodied smoke, full of flavor, with a pinch of pepper on the finish to keep things interesting.
Cigar: A. Flores Serie 1975 Privada Capa Maduro
Size: Toro 6×54
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan Habano, Dominican Corojo
Appearance and Pre-light Aroma:
There is no skirting around this one; this is not an attractive looking cigar – at all. The industry-friendly term for this is “rustic”, but even that is a bit generous. The wrapper is brutish from top to bottom. Thick veins, coarse and oily texture, its dark color being splotchy at best. The cap is grotesquely applied, similar in appearance to a bandage wrapper around a head wound. The wrapper is fairly dark for the most part, but there is a distinctly copper hue to it.
Aromatically speaking, the A. Flores 1975 Serie Privada smells of damp earth, categorized by soft coco and muted oriental spice. There is a grassy barnyard note as well. Sniffing deeper, there is a sensation/aroma that can really only be described as ‘fresh’. It’s difficult to put into words; but it elicits a similar sort of experience as when you first walk out on to a wooden patio after it has freshly rained.
*The cigar used for these pictures is one of the better looking cigars I’ve seen from this line.
The first puffs set the tone at a steady medium + across strength, body, and aroma. Classic rich maduro flavors of sweet coco and bold earth stand out almost immediately. Layered in further is a really tasty red velvet flavor, most pronounced in the finish. A bit of black pepper and burnt coffee pervade upfront, both of which are fairly common characteristics from Abe Flores’ blends. The roll on this box press is top-notch, and delivers a high volume of smoke. For me, the actual physical sense of smoking a cigar is an important factor that isn’t typically talked about, particularly in reviews. There is a distinct pleasure in a cigar that yields a voluminous mouthful of smoke smoothly and without fuss. Simply put, it’s gratifying.
Heavy dark notes and pepper dominate most of the profile in the second third. While not outright bitter, the A. Flores 1975 Serie Privada possesses quite a bit of bold coffee and soil notes. Combined with a wealth of black pepper, you’ve got yourself an experience that certainly grabs the attention of the palate. Those who enjoy a dark roast coffee served black will find the initial bite and accompanying flavors familiar. Much the same as on the palate, a retrohale puts some legitimate fury through the nostrils. Red velvet sweetness, which was quite prevalent in the first third, has receded to more of an undertone. As of right now, the A. Flores 1975 Serie Privada is sitting at roughly a Full -.
Into the final third of the A. Flores 1975 Serie Privada, we see a lot of familiar faces, but with a few shifts. While still a prominent characteristic, the bolder coffee and scorched earth notes have relaxed in intensity, allowing a cedar note to emerge. The cedar is slightly on the sharp side with the way in which it hits the palate, while a more subtle and linear oak note is layered rather modestly underneath. Creamy pepper and a bit of velvet chocolate flow right through the mid-range. Strength of the A. Flores 1975 Serie Privada has made the shift down from full – to medium +, which granted isn’t a huge change, but noticeable enough to be noted. Oddly enough, the A. Flores 1975 Serie Privada seems to be the fullest it has been through the nose, eliciting a definite sting in the nose.
Burn and Construction:
The A. Flores 1975 Serie Privada stays lit well enough from start to finish, but the burn line gets a bit wavy and will need periodic corrections. As mentioned earlier; the draw and smoke production is fantastic. The draw is on the looser side of the spectrum, but that’s not terribly uncommon when dealing with a box press.
While the cigar is flat-out vulgar in appearance, the actual structural rigidity of the cigar is solid. The cigar is on the lighter side as far as weight, as well as being rolled a bit on the looser side. It’s not under-filled by any means though.
This is a great, great cigar that truly flies under the radar. It has a few things going against it – While PDR and Pinar Del Rio are both large enough names in the boutique scene to have a following, the A. Flores line is a name that is unknown to all but serious enthusiasts. Its band bares no resemblance to the core PDR lines, and the only reference to their relations is a small “Fabrica PDR Cigars” along the top of the band (I’ll be damned if those aren’t some classy looking bands though). Then you have the fact that the cigar is visually vulgar and unappealing, looking as if it just got out of a bar fight, and wasn’t too handsome to begin with. Add on the price point – a bit over $13 for the toro. At this juncture; you’ve strategically positioned yourself to be looked at on the shelf and promptly forgotten. It doesn’t take long to beg the question; why should you smoke a seemingly random, ugly cigar that carries a premium price tag?
I’ll tell you why. Despite aspects of the A. Flores 1975 Serie Privada which may seem off-putting at first glance, this cigar is something truly special. It’s rich, it’s complex, and it’s superbly balanced. Plenty of great cigars meet that criteria, what sets Abe Flores’ 1975 Serie Privada line apart is this; this cigar has vision, this cigar has passion, this cigar has purpose and direction. Most importantly – it sets down the path of being something distinct and exceptional. A cigar unmistakably recognizable as something all its own.
* Worth noting, both wrappers offer distinctly different experiences. While the maduro is a bold flavor bomb, the Ecuadorian Habano “Natural” wrapper packs quite a bit of flavor, but in a much more smooth and creamy fashion. The core blend lends itself really well to either approach. Both are fantastic, and they’re unique enough from each other to warrant smoking both.
4.25 out of 5
Interested in trying the A. Flores Serie Privada line? You should be, you can pick up a 5 pack or treat yourself to a box here.