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Dictador Rum had a small range of cigars hand rolled in Colombia and was looking to expand their line. In early 2014 they turned to one of their distributors, Australian Jason Nelson. Jason reached out to his long term friend, Abe Flores of PDR Cigars. You may know Abe Flores from his cigar the A. Flores 1975 Serie Privada Capa Habano SP52, which was #10 on Cigar Aficionado’s top 25 of 2015. Together Abe and Jason created three blends for the Dictador cigar portfolio and this review focuses on the J. Nelson 1974. This is a personal favorite of Jason and was developed to pair with Dictador rum. Let’s have a look at this full bodied cigar……

Information and Appearance:

Brand: Dictador J. Nelson 1974 – PDR

How did I get it: Jason Nelson provided this cigar and other samples for review.

Length of Smoke: This cigar lasted a bit over an hour. I think an average smoker would smoke this cigar for 70 – 80 minutes. Anything faster than 60 minutes means that you are probably burning it too hot.

Cigar Info:

  • This cigar comes in a number of vitolas:
    • 6 x 54 Grand Toro
    • 5 / 52 Robusto (This review)
    • 5 1/2 x 54 Double Robusto
    • 7 x 50 Churchill
  • Cigar Blend
    • Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Maduro
    • Binder: Dominican Republic
    • Filler: Dominican Republic

The cigar has a flawless dark San Andres wrapper. I have found that I am smoking more and more San Andres and I love that dark brown wrapper, which verges on black. The wrapper has some small veins and is fairly smooth with a nice oily feel. Great dry draw with flavors of syrup and spice. I am very excited to light this up.

Burn and Draw:

The draw begins nice and smooth with just the right amount of resistance. The most important point is that the draw remains consistent throughout the entire smoke. Some cigars will either become too tight or too loose as the smoke goes on. The J. Nelson 1974 does not suffer from this issue and keeps a consistent and smooth draw all the way to the nub. The burn begins very even and sharp. Over time after the first third the burn will get a bit wayward and can become jagged. I made slight corrections, but nothing so major that it impacted my cigar experience. Slight corrections continue in the final two thirds; however, nothing really impacted the smoke.

Score: 92

Construction:

First of all, the cigar looks amazing. The wrapper is flawless and the cigar itself is firm, but not too tight. Once lit the cigar keeps its shape well and does not soften up too much in the final third. The burn rate is right on and it puts out a lot of smoke. The combustion rate gives the cigar a nice pace. The J. Nelson 1974 does not smoke too fast, but it is not so slow that I had to worry about relighting it. This is a well made cigar and a joy to smoke.

Score: 91

First Third:

There was a great hit of spice on the front end, which felt like a cayenne pepper on the back of my throat. This was a bold wake up call to start the cigar. After the first few minutes a nice rich and deep texture develops. Wrapped within this texture was a nice layered finish. I picked up coffee and chocolate notes up front with a nice spice hit on the back end. There is a nice lip tingle with this cigar, which I love. This third concludes with some nice maduro sweetness. Overall, this is a nice start to the cigar and is well balanced. The draw and burn are both performing well at this point.

Score: 88

Second Third:

The second third continues with the maduro sweetness found at the end of the first third. Hints of coffee remain, which are nice additions to the sweetness and tobacco flavors. There is almost a floral quality to the sweet flavor, which is difficult to describe. The spice seems to die down and the finish lacks some of the depth found in the first third. However, the finish is very smooth and changes throughout this portion of the cigar. The end of the second third is marked by more earth and spice flavors. The spice really opens up at this point and is balanced well against the other flavors. This cigar has a great strength profile between medium and full. The strength is well balanced against the cigar’s rich and smooth flavors. The draw is still performing really well; however, the burn is beginning to wander and needs slight corrections. Combustion rate and overall construction are performing well.

Score: 87

Final Third:

There is a wonderful initial few drags to this third. You are greeted with a nice coffee and dark chocolate sweetness. There is a mix of sweetness and dark chocolate bitterness with a nice kick. This combination of flavors with the cigar’s strength is fantastic. As this third continues the balance is thrown a bit off and the finish has a bit of an edge to it. This final 10 minutes or so lacks the smoothness found in the first 60 minutes of the smoke. The coffee, spice, earth and dark chocolate flavors are there, but they are not fully developed. I think that some age on this cigar will bring these flavors out more and this third will balance out well. As it is, this cigar might be a little young for this review. Having said that, there are some wonderful flavors to be found in this final third.

Score: 85

Overall:

This is a solid cigar that not only has a nice kick to it, but has the flavor to match. Spice, coffee, dark chocolate, earth and tobacco flavors are all balanced well with each other. This balance is lost in the final third; however, I think some age will really improve this third. This is a solid cigar that has me excited to see what Jason and Abe come up with in the future.

Overall Score: 88 – 89 / Very Good

Recommendation:

This is a very solid cigar, which was a joy to smoke. I would get a pack of 5 to have in the humidor. There are some great flavors to have young and I think setting a few to age will really take this cigar up another level. I am looking forward to picking a few up to age and revisit.

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