If I had to list companies that I would describe as in tune with market trends, PDR Cigars would not have made the list two years ago. However, the more I think about it, Abe Flores’ company deserves to be on the list.

It started last year when the company reintroduced Devil’s Weed as a brand of packaged, humidified tobacco leaf, i.e. a premium blunt wrap. It might not be the most prestigious of products, but anyone paying attention to market trends of the marijuana industry would probably come to the conclusion that it was a pretty good idea. Talking to Flores, it seems like that’s very much the case.

Then came this year when the company launched a trio of coffee-infused cigars. Again, it’s not some story of 25-year-old tobacco aged for another seven years and then packaged in a French-made humidor. However, a quick glance at the premium cigar market would suggest that coffee-infused cigars is a large market with not a lot of competitors.

The PDR 1878 Roast brand is offered in three varieties. The red-banded Natural Roast Cafe uses an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, the blue-banded Dark Roast Cafe uses a Brazilian maduro wrapper. Right in the middle is the green-banded, Medium Roast Cafe, which uses an Ecuadorian sun grown claro wrapper.

All three cigars use a Dominican criollo 98 binder and Domincian criollo 98 and Nicaraguan criollo 98 fillers.

Each of the three blends are also offered in three sizes.

  • PDR 1878 Medium Roast Cafe Corona (5 1/4 x 44) — $5.25 (Boxes of 20, $105)
  • PDR 1878 Medium Roast Cafe Robusto (5 x 52) — $6.11 (Boxes of 20, $122.20)
  • PDR 1878 Medium Roast Cafe Toro (6 x 52) — $6.44 (Boxes of 20, $128.80)

  • Cigar Reviewed: PDR 1878 Medium Roast Cafe Toro
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: PDR Cigars
  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Sun Grown Claro)
  • Binder: Dominican Republic (Criollo 98)
  • Filler: Dominican Republic (Criollo 98) & Nicaragua (Criollo 98)
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $6.44 (Boxes of 20, $128.80)
  • Release Date: July 2018
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The wrapper is super soft, but not particularly pretty. Aroma from the wrapper is not particularly surprising: some artificial chocolate, coffee, vanilla and cocoa butter. The foot has an even stronger aroma: it smells like a waffle cone. The cold draw has a fair amount of the artificial flavors, but I think most of that is actually just radiating from the wrapper. Flavor has the waffle cone over some orange peels and bananas. It’s sweet, but not clawing sweet, right at the medium-full level.

Things start off somewhat similar to the cold draw, there’s some artificial flavors, though I’m able to pick up some decent nuttiness and bread. The PDR 1878 Medium Roast Cafe is similar to a lot of other flavored cigars. There’s an artificial chocolate and cocoa flavor, though it’s mainly around the lips. The main flavor is a mixture of woodiness, some creaminess and, at times, apple. The somewhat misplaced apple flavor is stronger on the retrohales. Flavor is medium-full, body is medium-plus and strength is non-existent. On one sample, the burn is super uneven, though the other two cigars get through the first third without needing the lighter.

Predictably, the sweetness on the lips is reduced in the second third, though it’s still largely on the lips. Flavor-wise, there’s some burnt popcorn, creaminess, macadamia nuts, club soda, and earthiness. It’s quite similar to the first third, though there’s not anywhere close to the amount of sweetness as the first third, including the creaminess and apple. Flavor remains medium-full, body increases to medium-full and strength is medium. The sample being photographed, the one that needed the massive touch-up, requires another touch-up, while the other two remain fine.

I somewhat wonder if there was an added dose of flavor added just below the two-inch mark as there’s a blast of the artificial chocolate flavor that emerges right at the final third. While the flavor is present on all three samples, it’s not consistently there in the final third as at times the PDR 1878 Medium Roast Cafe tastes just like a burning sensation. The one sample that has struggled burning continues to require assistance, while the other two remain fine.

Final Notes

  • There is no question cigar companies are deciding to go after Java. The coffee flavored cigar, made by Drew Estate for Rocky Patel, is one of the best selling cigars in America and hasn’t seen a ton of competition. That changed this year with the new coffee-flavored Macanudo, a new Isla del Sol Maduro from Drew Estate and this PDR, all three of which are priced cheaper than Java. What’s interesting about this is whether cigar retailers will want to offer these cheaper alternatives. It’s not in cigar retailer’s businesses to see Java customers switch to say this PDR or the Macanudo M.
  • I wrote the following while smoking one of the samples, “I cannot help but think this is a great cigar for those wanting to get into cigars which is probably the main point.”

  • These cigars are produced at Blue Star Cigars, a factory within the larger PDR factory. The above picture was taken within the new factory.
  • For those wondering, Flores told us that the factory is sealed off from the rest of the factory to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was a relatively quick one hour and 35 minutes.
  • Site sponsor JR Cigar carries the PDR 1878 Cafe Medium Roast Toro.
84 Overall Score

I should start by saying, I do not regularly smoke flavored cigars. However, I’ve smoked most of the flavored cigars on the market so that I can provide some context to reviews like this. On that note, I think the PDR 1878 Medium Roast is a solid alternative to Java, however, Java is a better cigar. However, many of the flavored cigar smokers I see are people that are recreational smokers buying one at a time and never in a consistent pattern. In that regard, the PDR will likely find a lot of fans given it’s a third cheaper.

Avatar photo

Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.