Pinar Del Rio El Trovador Maduro | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan, Nicaraguan Corojo
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 5 x 50 Robusto
Strength: Medium
Price: $8.20 MSRP

Today we take a look at the Pinar Del Rio El Trovador Maduro.
I’m not a big PDR fan. I was at one time but it was early in their distribution of new blends. Had to try them all. And I reviewed those years ago. But to be honest, I find the brand uninterested in developing very complex premiums. They found a comfort zone of producing inexpensive blends; mostly in the $5+ range and they are good yard ‘gars.
Couldn’t find a single review of this blend. No one to crib from. Drat.

Cigar Coop said it best:
“At the 2017 IPCPR Trade Show, PDR Cigars unveiled the El Trovador Maduro. As the name indicates, this is a maduro version of the original El Trovador which was introduced at the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show.

“El Trovador is a line for which PDR Cigars owner and master blender Abe Flores took inspiration from two sources: a recent trip he took to Cuba; and his background in the music business (he was a bass player). On his trip to Cuba, Flores saw an old vintage cigar band with the name “Trovador”. The name Trovador translates to Troubadour. While a Troubadour is a French minstrel, it is also the name of the legendary night club in Los Angeles, California. Given his background in music, Flores thought it would be a good name for a cigar and last year El Trovador was launched.

“Like the original El Trovador, the El Trovador Maduro uses a double binder and a filler of Nicaraguan tobaccos. The main difference is the El Trovador Maduro replaces Ecuadorian Rosado wrapper found on the original El Trovador with a San Andres Maduro wrapper. The El Trovador Maduro is also available in the same four sizes as the original.”

Petit Robusto: 4.5 x 50 $7.75
Robusto: 5 x 52 $8.20
Corona Gorda: 6 x 46 $8.75
Gran Toro: 6 x 54 $9.20

Another rustic looking cigar. With lots of veins, sloppy construction, visible seams with some a bit sloppier than others, and a very sloppy approach to applying the triple cap.
The stick is rock solid. The box press differs from one cigar to another. Some are square and others rectangular and others semi-round. It does have a gorgeous very oily wrapper sporting a truly dark espresso bean color. And smooth as glass.

From the shaft, I can smell the usual suspects from a Nic blend with a Mexican wrapper: Chocolate, coffee, generic sweetness, black pepper, vanilla, cream, cedar, caramel, nuts, and fresh pears.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell malt, cream, caramel, chocolate, coffee, caramel, popcorn, black pepper, vanilla, cedar, peppermint, and raw cashews.

The cold draw presents flavors of coffee, hot chocolate, malt, black pepper, fresh pears, vanilla, a strong woody presence, and sweet nuts.

The draw is a bit tight so I grab my PerfecDraw cigar poker and make a tunnel.
Sweetness hits my palate first; followed by a nuclear blast of black pepper. The list continues with potato chips (That’s a first), big dose of malt, espresso, black licorice, hot cocoa, lime citrus, black tea, raisins, caramel, black walnuts, raw cashews, cedar, and strong vanilla.
Yikes. That’s a whole lotta love from the first half inch.

By the way, I’ve had these sticks for around 2 months or more.
There is a lovely balance between sweet and savory. Creaminess puts the hook into the fish’s mouth and pulls the flavor profile into its direction.

Less than an inch in, the blend takes off. Complexity hits hard and fast without warning. Transitions are pumping pure gold. The finish is spreading like a wild fire.
This ain’t your daddy’s PDR blend. This is something special. Haven’t tasted anything like this from Abe Flores. Good for him. Don’t be afraid to charge a little more as long as you put your heart and soul into it.
This stick is heading towards near perfection.

A quick 20 minute smoke time.
Strength is an even keeled medium. But very full bodied.

I’m beginning to have wrapper issues near the foot. Pisses me off. Damn Wisconsin weather. I’ve tried everything but once the cigar leaves my humidor, it gets slammed against a wall. I have to keep the windows cracked for air flow and with it, brings in the cold air. It is a lovely 23 degrees outside. Warmer than normal for this time of year. But this weekend, expecting sub-arctic weather.

Charlotte’s surgery was put off because they found some nicotine in her system. She had to go cold turkey. No nicotine allowed in her system. But the doc said it just takes longer for some folks; especially old broads like my dear wife. So she is sucking the shit out of Tootsie Roll Pops and being very cranky. Sort of like the late 90’s when she had her period twice a month….for TWO years. I deserve a medal. It was like living with Linda Blair.

The Pinar Del Rio El Trovador Maduro is a winner. Without even getting to the second half, I recommend you search out deals for this cigar. I have a couple natural blends that I now want to review as well.
I need to put my socks on.

I rail constantly on cigar pricing and its outrageous greed quotient. Here is an excellent example of how we jump into the Way Back Machine, Mr. Peabody and find a high premium at a price point that would have seen as being expensive 5 years ago; but not now. Take your $12, $16, and $24 cigars and shove them where daylight does not exist. I would take 3 Pinar Del Rio El Trovador Maduros over one expensive Padron.

Flavors: A beautiful balance of spiciness that rarely occurs, malts that brag, creaminess that oozes decadence, mocha java that is a killer, tea, licorice, raisins, nuts, caramel, lime zest, cedar, and a host of small nuanced flavors that can only add to the mix but which remain nameless for this puny brain.

Complex. Hell yeah! I keep expecting this blend to rouse from its sleepy medium strength and go hog wild but it does not…which is OK. This is a beautiful morning cigar. I’m digging it big time. A perfect blend for newbies. Perfect.

I have only smoked one prior to review and wasn’t all that impressed. I was dreading this review in case it didn’t perform. Instead, I got tasered. Good ol’ Abe.

Halfway point slows the process down and finds itself at 40 minutes.

If I had money like you guys, I’d buy a box.

The Byrds are playing “My Back Pages.” One of my all-time favorite songs. A Dylan composition naturally. I dug out my Byrds story and will publish it soon.

Balance is everything. It is something that a lot of us take for granted until you get a cigar that is the perfect poster child for that description. Cigar blends tend to be mercurial and balance is the first thing to go by the wayside. Not here. It is splendid and I have a stupid grin on my puss.

I burned right through the wrapper problem area and all is good. Did I just jinx it?

Godamm the Pusherman…Thank goodness I still have some sticks left. I will enjoy them. A 5 pack purchase is the right thing to do. I was sent these cigars anonymously and I want to lay in front of that friend’s front porch, prostrate, and offer my brain to his pet chimp needing a brain transplant. Poor chimp.

Smooth as my tush. Glistening with….wait…that disgusts even me and you know I’m a disgusting bloke.

Flavors morph. They become almost indistinguishable from each other creating a whole greater than its parts.

This is a premium blend and then some. The Pinar Del Rio El Trovador Maduro started out like a swan and kicked it up with every puff. No blank stares from the blend. An impressive climb to the top…never descending into boredom.

I don’t understand why no one reviewed the Maduro. Lots of natural reviews but this one got lost in the mix. Too bad. Usually, I’m the last guy to get around to reviewing a cigar that everyone and his brother has already reviewed. Sometimes it’s good to be the king. I have another story about a gay guy sitting on a throne in Amsterdam on his barge on the canal. Another time.

Smoke time is one hour 5 minutes.
I’m freezing my ass off by this open window.
Still a solid medium strength.

If you come across this blend in your travels, leave them alone for at least two months.
Malt, coffee, creaminess, black pepper, and chocolate reign supreme. An exquisite blend of balance and nuance.

Grand Funk Railroad. Big fan in the early 70’s…and my band, Homegrown, did killer versions of some of their tunes. I was a huge fan of their bassist. Of all the musical projects I participated in over the decades, Homegrown still stands as my favorite band. A different time and we were all friends…no dictatorship, no egos…just the camaraderie that musicians crave and rarely achieve.

My first char line run but fixed quickly. No wrapper issues. Never needed my PerfecRepair cigar glue.
The bottom line here is that Abe took a chance and decided to target experienced cigar smokers. It was the right choice. I wish he took more chances. He hit it out of the park with the Pinar Del Rio El Trovador Maduro.

The last third is a work of art. Each puff plie’s on my palate like a ballerina. A symbiotic dance of flavor, body, balance, complexity, and intensity.
For some reason, the Maduro version is harder to find than the Natural. I’m sure that will change soon.
Bob Seger. Am I the only person who needs to clear his throat when I listen to him? I want to get rid of that loogy in his voice.
I’m nubbing the Pinar Del Rio El Trovador Maduro. Don’t do that very often.
Final smoke time is one hour 20 minutes.


And now for something completely different:
1984…I’d had it with the music industry. An entire decade at the top of my game artistically. And an entire decade of the industry financially fucking me in the ass.

My Eddie Munster project went down in flames. My recording studio partner was embezzling while I was on the road with Butch promoting the record doing radio, TV, and special appearances.

Here is how the downfall began: I wanted a production deal with the record company; Rocshire Records. (Google it) This was a real shit hole of a company it turned out.

A production deal means that instead of signing a standard recording deal, I had my entertainment lawyer draw up my own contract.

What all this shit means is that I put every cent of my own money into this music project. I was done signing record deals where I had to beg for royalties, pay back all expenses related to recording costs, touring costs, traveling costs, sound system costs, lighting system costs, roadies, etc. Record companies ALWAYS cooked their books to make sure that the artist received no dough.

My purpose, at my cost, was to do everything. Hand the record company a finished product…Final mixed tunes, artwork for the single sleeve, and music video. All they had to do was press the 45 single, promote it, and distribute it.

On the first return in the record’s first quarter of sales, I got a check. We sold 3600 records in less than a week and then the quarter changed. I got 25¢ per single. It was 1983. My first check was for $900. Know how much I got in Curved Air? 5¢ per album. And now the cocksuckers are telling me there isn’t enough royalties on the albums I played on to issue me a check. All those Curved Air albums I made and never got more than 1% of what was owed me. Meanwhile, the sale of these albums is prolific. Not to mention, I played on countless compilation albums. Rat bastards.

Then it took off. We sold 181,000 units before Rocshire was shut down by the F.B.I.
That would have been $45,250. It would have covered my nut; plus some.

Even though the records continued to sell, the FBI confiscated all funds. I was now broke. My house disappeared. They tried to get my car but I became homeless and lived out of it for a while. Friends put me up here and there.

I got out of Dodge…so to speak (later)…
I walked away from my cheating studio partner. I tried to get a restraining order to stop him from selling valuable recording equipment to feed his habit; but my lawyer fucked up. I had thought of just killing him. Comme ci comme ça…

I ran into an old friend. He had a working band. The foursome was fantastic. I became their manager. I did their sound. After all, I had just produced a few thousand bands so live sound was a walk in the park. And I got to party. And get laid a whole lot more than being stuck in a dark recording studio 7 days a week. Although, being the boss has a certain patina to it that attracts some women.

Still young and good looking, I thought I had a lot of friends….oops…not true. While I was a rock star, they were friends. After the previous disaster, no one took my phone call. I was a pariah as if this was my entire fault.

I moved up to South Lake Tahoe with the band and hung out for the summer of ’84.
I met Charlotte there. We hit it off. I became a kept man even though the band was paying me like a 5th member.

The keys player and the drummer were brothers…in their mid/late 20’s. Handsome lady killers. And they knew it.
The bassist was a nerdy geek. Naturally. And the guitarist/violinist/keys player/vocalist was the leader. I knew him from 16 years earlier in high school.
Four part harmonies. Great players. Always had dates to play.

The brothers were from Dodge City, Kansas.
And the band was going to play as headliners for Dodge City Days.
We drove from SoCal with all the equipment. And planned to stay two weeks.
The brothers had family there. We stayed with their uncle who owned a buffalo ranch in Ensign…outside of Dodge.

He had a large barn that he divided into two parts. One was your typical barn a rancher must have. The other half was a playroom. Pool table, video games, pin ball, full kitchen, and lots of old couches.
There was a shoe box on the fridge full of weed. The uncle had a small garden of veggies out behind the house and he hid his plants amongst those veggie plants and tall corn plants.
Plus, the local sheriff always brought the uncle any weed the cops confiscated.

We were encouraged to take handfuls of weed any time we wanted. It was never hidden. Always open for the taking.
But man, it was fucking hot! Over 100° every single day. Thank God it was a very dry heat.

We did the 2 hour tourist tour of Dodge. Boring. Poor man’s Knott’s Berry Farm. So tourist driven that it was embarrassing.
They had a Dairy Queen.

There were so many family members at the ranch that sleeping arrangements were doled out helter skelter. I got to sleep in an old trailer. No electricity; so I had to run a single extension cord. I had two choices. The first was to use it for TV. Or…to use it to run the A/C. Couldn’t do both.

The Summer Olympics were on in L.A. So I spent my time stoned and watching the games. I’m not kidding when I say there was nothing to do in this God forsaken place.

I actually had a part in the prep for the Olympic Games through my recording studio. That’s another story I need to tell. Long Beach hosted 4 sporting events.

Every day, the trailer was swarmed with Amazonian sized flying bugs. They liked to crawl under the sheets of my bed. Every night, I pulled back the bedding only to find a few dozen banana sized bugs. Good thing I wasn’t armed.

Word got out that “Californians” were in town. We would just be hanging out under a tree shooing giant, jungle sized bugs away in the ferocious heat when we got visitors.
Pickup trucks only. I don’t think anyone within a 100 mile radius owned a car.
These strange visitors were roughly our age. Cowboy hats. Big belt buckles. Chawin’ tobaccy.

And each and every one of them pulled out some joints saying, “I betcha’ you city boys never smoked shit like this here stuff befo’.”
They were right every time.

I spent the entire two weeks blasted out of my mind. Everyone wanted to impress us and those two weeks are now a blur.

We did the concert in the park. The whole town of Dodge, and surrounding farming communities, showed up to see the city slickers play rock n roll. That was the only fun time of the two weeks.

…One last memory of that time.
The brothers’ mom lived in Colorado but made the trip with her lesbian partner.
Mom was a beautiful, sweet woman. Kind and considerate. Sense of humor.
Her partner was rude, crude, and obnoxious.

Charlotte had officially become my girlfriend by then. We wrote. (Remember…this was 1984…no smart phones).
I was excited one day as I got a letter. The lesbo started asking me, in front of Mom, “What kind of lay is she? Is she good? I bet she is. What does her vagina feel like? Does she fuck good?”
Mom was outraged and while sweet; not brain surgeon material, said, “Oh I’m sure she is a good fuck. You don’t have to say that to him. He’s such a nice boy.”

All we ate was buffalo and corn on the cob. Hundreds of acres of corn. And hundreds of head of buffalo.
We ate buffalo steaks, hamburgers, roasts, jerky, stew, liver, and blood sausage.
I haven’t eaten buffalo since. Besides, it is too dry. No fat…that’s why it is so healthy.

I was ready to leave on the 3rd day. The smell of buffalo goes a long way. Hundreds of buffalo make it a garbage pit.
Two fucking weeks in Kansas. Why Dorothy wanted to go home is beyond me.


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7 replies

  1. Great review grandpa Kat! I can’t wait to stalk some of these cigars.. (oops, can’t say “stalk” in today’s poltical climate)!

    This story is new to me, the Kansas trip part, thoroughly enjoyed it! I was barely entering my freshman year in high school, but I remember that summer, with the Olympics going on.

  2. You may want to clear the loogy out of Bob Segar’s throat, but I just want to clear him out of all classic rock stations in general. He recently came out with a cover of Lou Reed’s “Busload of Faith”. This, to me, is sacrilege. You know I love me some Lou.

  3. Great review!

    The flavour profile, combined with the the candy-bar maduro wrapper, made me assume it would be a major strength bomb. Since there were no reports of spinning/fallen-off toupees, I might just pick up a fiver!

    I’m pretty sensitive to nicotine; so much so that the very thought of a JdN Antaño just about triggers a taste aversion.

    • I really feel like the mild-medium maduro has an underserved market. I recently had a Fuente 858 maduro, and though it’s nobody’s idea of 95 point cigar, it was so pleasant and enjoyable.

      • The 8-5-8 in candela is actually one of my go-tos! Perfect for light work on a hot weekend afternoon, paired with an iced sweet tea. I don’t think I’ve ever tried the maduro version. It’s on my wishlist now though, with your recommendation. Thanks!

        I totally agree on the underserved market. There are a lot of blends that I would love to smoke regularly, if only there was some way to “de-nicotinise” the stronger leaves while retaining the inimitable richness and flavour of the smoke.

  4. Thanks for the review on my mission to score some.. Best with Charlotte


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