Last year, PDR Cigars released a blend made specifically for the European market: El Criollito.

While it was released in Europe last year as a regular item, it’s limited to just 400 boxes of 24 cigars in each of the four sizes for the U.S.

As the name indicates, the four-viola line’s blend is based around criollo tobacco: an Ecuadorian rosado variant criollo wrapper covering a Mexican San Andrés binder and two criollo 98 fillers sourced from the Dominican Republic and Jalapa, Nicaragua.

While the above is a bundle, the cigars are sold in boxes.

There are four vitolas available in the El Criollito line.

  • El Criollito Half Corona (3 1/2 x 50) — $4.25 (Boxes of 24, $102)
  • El Criollito Robusto (5 x 54) — $5.65 (Boxes of 24, $135.60)
  • El Criollito Double Magnum (6 x 60) — $6.95 (Boxes of 24, $166.80)
  • El Criollito Sentential (7 x 70) — $7.25 (Boxes of 24, $174)

  • Cigar Reviewed: El Criollito Double Magnum
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: PDR Cigars
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Criollo Rosado
  • Binder: Mexican San Andrés
  • Filler: Dominican Criollo & Nicaraguan Criollo
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 60
  • Vitola: Gordo
  • MSRP: $6.95 (Boxes of 24, $166.80)
  • Release Date: December 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: 400 Boxes of 24 Cigars (9,600 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The El Criollito Double Magnum is physically impressive when held in my hand, with a milk chocolate wrapper that is quite smooth to the touch, although there are a number of very prominent veins as well. In addition, there is very little oil present, and the cigar is extremely spongy when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of manure, dark chocolate, gritty earth, black pepper and mild vanilla sweetness, while the cold draw brings flavors of creamy hay, cinnamon, sawdust, leather and sweet nutmeg.

Starting out, the first third of the El Criollito Double Magnum opens with distinct creamy almonds and hay as the somewhat dominant flavors, followed immediately by notes of leather, cocoa nibs, espresso beans and floral. There is some very obvious white pepper on the retrohale that begins to dissipate as the first third burns down, as well as some slight spice on my tongue that is gone almost before I can place it. I am also picking up a nice nutmeg sweetness that seems to have been carried over from the cold draw, albeit not overly strong as of yet. Construction-wise, the El Criollito features an excellent draw after a simple straight cut as well that while not razor sharp, is also not anywhere close to needing correcting as of yet. In addition, there is plenty of dense, white smoke coming from the foot and the strength hits a point about halfway between the mild and medium mark by the end of the first third.

Unfortunately, while noticeable, the nutmeg sweetness from the first third continues to be much too light to make much of an impact in the profile of the second third of the El Criollito Double Magnum. The dominant flavors continue to be the same creamy almonds and hay combination, followed by licorice, ground coffee beans, yeast, cedar and slight cinnamon. Both the spice and the white pepper have been reduced noticeably by the halfway point, and while the draw continues to impress, the burn has to be touched up once to keep it from getting out of control. The smoke production remains both copious and dense, while the overall strength rises enough to come close to the medium mark by the time the second third comes to an end.

The final third of the El Criollito Double Magnum continues on a very similar path to both the first and second thirds, albeit with a somewhat stronger hay and less almond combination leading the way, followed by flavors of hay, espresso beans, dark cocoa powder, dried tea leaves and cinnamon. Thankfully, the burn has evened up, and while the draw is as wonderful as ever, the smoke production has decreased noticeably. The strength continues along along the same path, putting the El Criollito Double Magnum very close to the medium mark but never quite making it over by the time I put the nub down with a little more than an inch to go.

Final Notes

  • Interestingly, a simple Google search shows that there is a small machine made cigar made with Puerto Rican short filler tobacco named Criollitos sold by JFC International Co.
  • While it is a bit more oval and uses a different font, the color scheme and layout of the band on the El Criollito bears a striking resemblance to one used for the Rafael Gonzalez marca.
  • Having said the above, both the color scheme and the general layout have been seen before in the past, most notably in Tatuaje’s original El Triunfador release.
  • I can’t say enough about the construction on these, as I only had to touch up two of the samples once each, and the draw was excellent on all three cigars, albeit after only taking a tiny amount off of the cap each time.
  • You can see my portrait of PDR Cigars owner Abe Flores—which was taken in Cuba—here.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were given to halfwheel by PDR Cigars.
  • The final smoking time for all three samples averaged two hours and five minutes.
86 Overall Score

While the profile of the El Criollito Double Magnum is extremely smooth, the flavors are somewhat muted, leading to a point where I tended to get bored around the start of the final third on each sample. Having said that, it does have some good qualities: the profile is smooth and creamy, while the flavors that are present are nicely balanced with both the strength and the slight white pepper that is noticeable on the retrohale for most of the smoke. In addition, the construction was excellent overall and the price point is fantastic. In the end, ff you like medium-bodied, price conscious 6 x 60 cigars, the El Criollito Double Magnum would be very good choice to track down and try, but anyone looking for an abundance of distinct flavors will most likely be disappointed.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.