In 2010, PDR Cigars created a special cigar for members of the forum, the Pinar Del Río Small Batch 2010, a 6 x 46 corona gorda limited to just 200 boxes. Last year, the cigar returned, once again in the 6 x 46 size, limited to 200 boxes and sold through Tim Podwika, a retailer who is also a member of the forum.

While I had great experiences with the first cigar, the follow-up was less than impressive. Here’s what I said in November:

I have not been more interested to see what gets written below the score in a while. I smoked five cigars, all had defining amounts of harshness, at this point, problematic signs of harshness. As a habit, I try to avoid at all cost reading or gathering people’s opinions about a review I’m working on until the review is done, and that’s been the story here. Perhaps it’s a sick period, perhaps it needs more time—all possible explanations, but it’s hard for me to recommend the cigar at this moment. I never smoked the original release fresh, so perhaps that’s why when comparing them it’s no contest. The good news is, there’s plenty of flavor there right now, just a lot masked by a piercing harshness.

While rummaging through my box of cigars to revisit, I ran across this, which I hadn’t smoked since late last year.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Pinar Del Río Small Batch 2013
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: PDR Cigars
  • Wrapper: Brazilian Bahía
  • Binder: Dominican Criollo 98
  • Filler: Dominican Habano & Nicaragua Corojo
  • Size: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 46
  • Vitola: Corona Gorda
  • MSRP: $7.00 (Boxes of 20, $124.00)
  • Date Released: May 28, 2013
  • Number of Cigars Released: 200 Boxes of 20 Cigars (4,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Redux: 1

Not a ton of flavor from the wrapper other than cedar, which may or may not have been intrinsic to the cigar originally—it’s not according to my notes from last year. I pick up barbecue, hickory, an array of spices and mint from the foot, a good indication there’s plenty of life. The cold draw presents clean peanuts, a more generic nuttiness and a ton of sweetness that ends up creating a profile that remind me of some H. Upmanns.

Things are quite full at the beginning of the PDR 2013, which is familiar. What’s changed is the refinement of the flavors as a nuttiness and cedar mixture developing after a few puffs. There’s some harshness, particularly through the nose, but the most concerning part of the PDR is the finish, which has some soapy and wheat notes. Fortunately, neither last much past the first third. There’s an increased cedar in the second third as things continue to become more and more refined. Baker’s spices and cinnamon add themselves to the mixture, which is getting sweeter, but there’s not a ton of flavors numerically-speaking, even if it’s full. With an inch and a half left, the nuttiness from the first third returns, although the crisp cedar is still dominant.

Pinar Del Rio BOTL org Small Batch 2013


Strength-wise, the PDR is medium-plus, at times getting to be medium-full. Inch-long chunks of even ash form until the final two inches when I begin to remove it in half-inch segments. The draw of the PDR 2013 is fine and allows for pretty good smoke production, although it’s very thin and hard to pick up on camera.

87 Overall Score

The cigar that I reviewed in November was well beyond the point of simply being “not very good.” There was lots of flavor, just none of it very redeeming. I still am not sure what was wrong with the cigar, but it’s significantly better now. A lot has changed—the cigar is quite different, I'm not sure what happened to Tim Podwika and as such, while I would definitely recommend smoking these, buying them from a retailer that seems to have gone AWOL seems concerning.

Original Score (November 2013)
Redux Score (August 2014)

Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.