- Vitola: Robusto
- 5” x 50 ring gauge
- Purchased at Burns Tobacconist
A few days ago I reviewed the Members Only Habano from PDR Cigars. I included the background for this release in that review and nothing really changes for this one. The only additional factoid I know is that Abe mentioned the Maduro version uses a Mexican San Andres wrapper. Other than that…this is what I wrote for the previous review:
Basically, the PDR factory in the Dominican Republic rolls a lot of cigars for their own brands, plus a lot of brands you would immediately recognize, like La Palina and Gurkha. They are also a great resource for small batch cigars from a relatively wide variety of companies. But after commissioning cigars, those companies don’t always purchase the entire run…so what to do? Originally, Abe was selling these to members of a group he ran on Facebook (hence the name he adopted), but later he decided to make them a bargain-priced offering for a small number of retailers. Depending on what is in the aging room, the exact blends may change from time to time, but the Members Only name will continually signal small batch production using all long-filler tobaccos for a bargain price.
I bought this at Burns Tobacconist and it’s at least my third time smoking the Maduro version of Members Only, although it’s my first time smoking this size.
The packaging for this release is pretty much exactly the same as the Habano version. The difference being that the dark brown background of the band matches the dark chocolate brown of the wrapper leaf almost perfectly, making for a fairly striking appearance.
The wrapper leaf was oily to the eye and to the touch and had strong leathery aroma to it, along with a pungent earthiness. The foot gave off much the same mix of smells. In terms of construction appearance, this one looked to be every bit as well made as the Habano…and both of the Robustos (Habano and Maduro) appear better made than the Maduro box-pressed Toros that I’ve smoked, which have tended to have some shoddy cap application.
The cold draw was very good on this stick.The prelight flavors tended to be of bitter earth with touches of wood and anise.
When lighting the Members Only Maduro a few thoughts came to my mind…strong earth, espresso bean, hints of black cherries, anise and cedar. Though the first puff or two seemed more bitter than I would prefer, subsequent puffs had a more pronounced sweetness that brought balance to the blend. Although a Maduro and a having fairly strong flavors, I found the body to be straight-ahead medium at first. Also unusual for a Mexican wrapper leaf, I got almost no pepper on the palate and only a small, quick hit of it on the nose.
As I got into the second third, the body bumped up to a more medium-to-full range, I started getting some notes of bread typical of some Dominican leaf, and the overall flavor turned more toward bitter, strong coffee with lots of anise. The pepper had dissipated, even on the retrohale.
During the final third, the pepper did come back, especially on the lips and palate. I still got a dark coffee note along with anise. The cherry sweetness had faded to almost nothing, but there was still a little bread flavor in the mix balancing out the more bitter notes.
I had a great draw, very even burn line and ash that was still flaky, but not as bad as the Habano version.
Yes, again! A very nice Mexican Maduro for less than the average price of a cigar!
In the end, the overall rating of the Habano and Maduro versions is the same, but the flavor of the Habano was superior to me. I enjoyed the Maduro very much, though, and will buy more before they disappear from the store’s shelves. I also enjoyed the Robusto more than the Toro versions I had smoked.