Royal Agio is hardly a new company—it was founded in 1904—however, the company’s focus has neither been on premium cigars nor the American market. That changed less than two years ago when Agio decided—after years of having other companies distribute its products—to establish its own U.S. operations. Since then, few companies have expanded their portfolios quite like Agio.
Last year, the company introduced a pair of lines under the San Pedro de Macorís brand and earlier this year it added two more. The San Pedro de Macorís Sun Grown uses a wrapper from Ecuador, while the San Pedro de Macorís Nicaragua predictably uses a Nicaraguan wrapper, one derived from a habano seed. Underneath that is a Domincian olor binder over four fillers: Brazilian mata fina fillers, Dominican olor and piloto, and Nicaraguan viso. The filler is almost identical to the original San Pedro de Macorís lines except for the added Nicaraguan viso.
It is offered in the same three sizes as the rest of the brand and began shipping to retailers in early April.
- San Pedro de Macorís Nicaragua Perla (4 1/8 x 40) — $4.75 (Boxes of 20, $90)
- San Pedro de Macorís Nicaragua Corona (5 7/8 x 42) — $5 (Boxes of 20, $100)
- San Pedro de Macorís Nicaragua Robusto (5 1/8 x 52) — $5.50 (Boxes of 20, $110)
- Cigar Reviewed: San Pedro de Macorís Nicaragua Robusto
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Royal Agio Cigars Factory
- Wrapper: Nicaragua (Habano)
- Binder: Dominican Republic (Olor)
- Filler: Brazil (Mata Fina), Dominican Republic (Olor & Piloto) & Nicaragua
- Length: 5 1/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Robusto
- MSRP: $5.50 (Boxes of 20, $110)
- Release Date: April 2, 2019
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
I’ve liked the San Pedro de Macorís packaging so far, though this color scheme is probably not at the top of my list amongst the group. The aroma from the dark chocolate wrapper has sweet chocolate, some wet leaves and a bit of artificial vanilla, which reminds me of a Starbucks Vanilla Bean Frappuccino. The foot also has cocoa, now joined by some Nilla wafers and something that reminds me of chlorine. The latter isn’t the most aggressive of flavors, but it does a great job affecting every other part of the profile. The cold draw is medium-plus with some black pepper, chocolate milk, and red pepper. Stronger cold draw pulls produce the familiar chlorine flavor along with more red pepper and some kiwi. The draws on all three cigars are a bit open.
The first puffs of the San Pedro de Macorís Nicaragua Robusto begin somewhat surprising with a lot of fruitiness, cedar, creaminess and a bit of white pepper on the tongue. The flavor is medium-full and the first puffs would suggest a decent bit of strength. The profile settles to a mixture of hay and fruitiness with minority and pepper on the tongue. Retrohales produce even more fruitiness, now sweeter and more akin to ketchup. I really wish the pepper was somewhat more restrained as it throws everything out of balance even though it is only found in the center part of my tongue. Flavor is full, body is medium-full and strength is near medium-full. At times I find myself needing to take back-to-back puffs in order to keep the cigar burning, something that I imagine is directly related to the somewhat open draw.
For better and worse, the profile in the second third takes a pretty big shift. The good news is the pepper loses a lot of the harshness it had in the first third, greatly improving the balance. Unfortunately, the sweet fruitiness from the first third is also gone. Instead, there’s quite a bit of tree bark, a familiar minerality and some earthiness. Retrohales have a bizarre creaminess that I am not able to identify along with some lavender. The finish is a mixture of a normal creaminess, hay, nuttiness and a black pepper sensation towards the back of my throat. Flavor remains full, body is still medium-full and the strength has now picked up to medium-full. Touch ups are needed on two of the cigars to help them continue to burn.
The final third of the San Pedro de Macorís Nicaragua sees a nearly completely different set of flavors compared to the first two thirds. Flavors in the mouth are a mixture of nuttiness, charred earth and a bit of salt. Retrohales deliver a buttery creaminess, some toasted flavors and a sharp white pepper. While I don’t think there are any additional pepper flavors going to the mouth, the cumulative effect of the first two thirds means that I can still feel quite a bit of pepper on the back of my throat. Flavor and body both finish full, while strength remains medium-full.
- While I understand the need for consistency, I wish the colors were inverted on this band.
- There aren’t any warning labels on the boxes, but there is a shelftalker included that does have a warning label. I’m not really sure why given there aren’t special rules for warning labels on shelftalkers versus boxes.
- I have mentioned this before, but Royal Agio Cigars USA’s portfolio has gotten comically large in a rather quick period of time. I’m actually somewhat surprised the company only has two new lines coming out at the upcoming IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
- There’s a lot of parts of this strategy that I’m not sure about, but I also don’t have access to sales numbers, so perhaps they are working. One thing that I do not understand is why the company wouldn’t try to space these releases out more. For example, introducing one of the two new San Pedro de Macorís lines in January, another in March, etc.
- Given just how prevalent chocolate was on the pre-light process, I was surprised not to find any chocolate on any of the three cigars I smoked once they were lit.
- I was also a bit surprised by the strength. This is certainly the strongest Agio cigar I’ve ever had.
- Cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by Royal Agio Cigars USA.
- Royal Agio Cigars USA advertises on halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 35 minutes on average, largely thanks for a very slow-burning first third.
- Site sponsors Famous Smoke Shop and JR Cigar have the San Pedro de Macorís Nicaragua Robusto in stock.
I am fairly certain that every review of the entire San Pedro de Macorís series will include some version of the following: for $5.50, this is a great value. And that’s because it’s true. The San Pedro de Macorís Nicaragua’s profile is confusing, but the three samples I smoked for this review are the best San Pedro de Macorís-branded products I’ve had so far. I wish the pepper wasn’t as harsh in the first third, the draw was a bit better and the flavors were more balanced but these days it’s pretty challenging to find new cigars—let alone ones I would smoke again—at this price point.