Pinar 1958 Serie B Rothschild

Reviews17 Comments on Pinar 1958 Serie B Rothschild

Pinar 1958 Serie B Rothschild

A couple of weeks back we discussed an interesting question about a legal pre-embargo Cuban cigar. The cigar in question was, I believe, the Pinar P3000. Supposedly, this cigar was made completely of pre-embargo Cuban tobacco. Understandably we were skeptical. The embargo has been in place for 45 years, and we’re talking about an organic product that steadily degrades with time, even in ideal conditions. What are the chances that tobacco pushing it’s fifties was stored in proper conditions all these years. And what are the chances it’d smoke-able even if it was?

Well, luck was on my side. I couldn’t find the P3000 anywhere, but I was able to pick up the Pinar 1958 Serie B on a well know cigar auction website. (Website URL withheld for the protection of your wallet. You can thank me later.) What’s the difference? Well the word is that this one isn’t a pre-embargo Cuban puro. It’s a fifty-fifty split of allegedly ancient Cuban tobacco and much younger Dominican Republic.

But is it really Cuban tobacco? Is it really that old? I can’t answer either question with any certainty. In a brief non-scientific survey of people’s opinions online (i.e. I Googled it), I found that like the Cuban-Dominican blend, people were split as to whether or not this cigar was for real. Maybe a review will help shed some light. It couldn’t hurt. And since it’s my turn for a review anyway, let’s check it out.

Can’t read it? Don’t worry, neither can I.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. The five pack I bought came with an incredibly bad photocopy of a “Certificate of Provenance.” I guess that will come in handy with the agents of the ATF break down my front door looking for contraband. Talk about a Family Guy moment. (“Oh. Oh! You have a Certificate of Provenance?! Wow. Totally our bad. Have a good day sir. Lovely place you have here. Terribly sorry about the door.”) Now onto the review. This time for sure.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 4.5 x 48
Wrapper: Cuban
Binder: Cuban
Filler: 1/2 Cuban, 1/2 Dominican
Smoking Time: 1 hour
Beverage: Water
Price: ~$3.80

See any Cuban tobacco in there?

The Pre-Smoke
Visually nothing about the cigar says to me, “Hi, I’m Cuban tobacco.” It has a triple cap, but that doesn’t prove anything. In fact, the wrapper doesn’t visually appear to be that old, making me wonder if my second hand information on the wrapper leaf was correct. Perhaps it’s actually the younger Dominican leaf. From a cosmetic standpoint, that might make more sense.

What really surprised me about my pre-smoke inspection was the scent of the wrapper. Wow. Very, very pungent compost. We talking about a drive through Tillamook, Oregon here. (Tillamook, by the way, is a huge cheese producer on the west coast, which is accordingly surrounded by hundreds of famously, ahem, aromatic farms. You smell the city 30 minutes before you get there.) It surprises me that tobacco this old would have such an intense smell. This again makes me suspicious of the wrapper. If this is truly is tobacco that qualifies for a senior discount, it must have been aged in somewhere with very little airflow. Perhaps in a barrel or some sort of sealed crate or something. Or maybe it was actually aged on the floor of a barn on a cheese farm. But hey, the worse it smells, the better it smokes, right?

Also noteworthy was this cigar was softer than most cigars, which is the only thing in the inspection that seems consistent with delicate aged tobacco. But that could also be the result of poorly rolled tobacco.

The Burn
This cigar wasn’t very well behaved in the burn department. It would burn evenly for a little while, and then it would stray, frequently needing a touch up to even out again. I never actually canoed or anything, but you had to keep an eye on it and keep rotating the cigar to manage the burn.

The ash, while a lovely shade of white, tended to be flaky. Often it looked more like an ice sculpture of a palm tree trunk than cigar ash. (The one photographed below had the most impressive ash of the bunch.) In spite of the obvious instability of the ash, one cigar was able to hold a surprising inch and a half length.

Don’t stare into the psychedelic spiral burn…

The Flavor
The flavors of this cigar were both interesting and inconsistent from one cigar to another. The cigar opened up with a creamy, earthy flavor, but in one cigar, I got an unpleasant stale tobacco flavor. Fortunately, this flavor didn’t last too long. The first third quickly settled into an earthy vegetal flavor with a salty finish.

The second third became more creamy and leathery in one cigar, and more like charred wood in another. In both cigars, I found this third to be more pleasant than the rest of the cigar. Though the charred wood flavor had a bit of a harsh edge to it.
In the final third the flavors became more bitter and harsh. The profile was pretty similar to the previous third; a combination of pungent leather and bitter vegetal flavor that reminds me of some of the leaves of a dry mixed salad. One of those up-scale ones without iceberg lettuce. Both cigars also got to be considerably more salty.

The Price
The price I paid seemed reasonable. Actually, it was too cheap for such old and theoretically valuable tobacco. From that you can conclude one of two things about the “pre-embargo Cuban” tobacco. Either it wasn’t stored in the right conditions (i.e. forgotten in the back of a warehouse) or its bogus. Well, OK, there is a third option: Maybe it just wasn’t a very good cigar to begin with, and just didn’t sell. I’m not sure if you can actually buy these cigars anywhere but at auction, but I’m thinking you probably wouldn’t want to pay whatever the original MSRP was.

The Verdict
This cigar is kind of like sea salt and vinegar potato chips. I’m never sure if I actually like them, but I keep eating them to find out. Likewise with this cigar, I found myself liking some aspects of the cigar, but being put off by other aspects. The fuller flavor and saltiness plays differently with my palate at different times. Generally, I liked that. What I didn’t care for was the bitter edge, and the harshness of some of the flavors, particularly in the first and last thirds.

So is this real, pre-embargo Cuban tobacco? Well, I don’t know, I’m still skeptical. I think there is some old tobacco in it but how old and where it came from I can’t say. Some people seem to really love these smokes. So if you’re interested in trying them out, I would advise you to buy them not for their glamorous (and dubious) pre-embargo status but because you enjoy the flavors.

Liked It: Yes and no. Mostly no.
Buy It Again: Probably not, there’s just too many good things out there to smoke.
Recommend It: Maybe. Like sea salt and vinegar potato chips?

Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.

enjoying cigars since 1997

17 thoughts on “Pinar 1958 Serie B Rothschild

  1. “This cigar is kind of like sea salt and vinegar potato chips. I’m never sure if I actually like them, but I keep eating them to find out.”

    I love that quote. Nice review Brian.

  2. Thanks Steve,
    Is it wrong that I chuckled myself after I wrote it? In any case, it’s absolutely accurate. I still don’t know if I like sea salt and vinegar potato chips, and I’m not 100% sure I don’t like this cigar.

  3. Hey! What’s wrong with Salt and Vinegar Chips? Yeah if you have to use the whole “Pre-Embargo” schtick to push the cigars I’m cautious about them. I’ve tried some 3000’s in the past I don’t recall being too impressed with them.

  4. Far be it from me to back salt and vinegar chips! I just have a love-hate relationship with them.

    I’m really thinking the “Pre-Embargo” thing is a scam. I just don’t believe there’s that much old smoke-able tobacco left. My guess is that somebody (or many sombodies) figured out a loophole in the laws allowing them to declare old tobacco pre-embargo cuban. Who would be able to prove otherwise?

  5. Hi Brian, I’ve had many of the Pinar 3000s, as a tobacco shop near me in New Jersey carries them. Skeptical as well, I did a lot of research on the ‘net before purchasing one, and at least found the story to be authentic and consistent. The secret to the price was the distribution method by the LLC that bought the tobacco: straight to retailers, cutting out middlemen and large distributors. They actually do have a copy of a certification that justifies the claim, and its legible in English.
    I’m not as sure-footed in describing cigars as I am single-malt Scotch, but I found them to be very enjoyable: not harsh, smooth, burns well and even, with a slightly spicy, nutty flavor.

  6. Thanks for the info guys.

    Robin Robinson: I’ve actually been looking around for the P3000 to smoke for comparison. When you replace the Dominican leaf, there should be a clear difference. I’d be intrigued if that actually turns out to be a better cigar. Apparently it was popular enough to make Pinar craft a similarly flavored cigar out of non-Cuban tobacco.

    Hayward: Great timing on this review, huh? No sooner than I smoke it but you read about Pinar coming out with a whole new line, the P4000. You’d think I planned it! (I’m happy to let people believe that this was all a well orchestrated plan.)

    Anyway, thanks for the link. Very interesting article.

  7. I met the guys that own the company that produces pinar cigars. They were at Cigar international awhile back. They only had pinar 2000s there at that time. These are like the series b as in they have a percend of pre embargo cuban tobacco and then the rest is from other countries. I was less than please with these cigars and will not be buying anymore. From what I could make out from the guys was that they basically blended them in house to keep costs down, and after smoking them you could tell. Say there really was some pre embargo tobacco, I think it would have been better used had someone such as DPG been given the ability to blend it. But we can only dream.

  8. That’s an intriguing thought Matt. Say there really was some decent pre-embargo Cuban tobacco left out there. It would be very interesting to see what Pepin could cook up! (Though I suspect he’d refuse if asked. I don’t think this tobacco is up to his standard.)

  9. I bought some from the website you are speaking of over a year ago. Those were decent cigars that gave me a real buzz. The ones I bought recently, convinced me to never buy them again. I guess the batch they are selling now is getting low on Cuban and more on whatever they mix it with now, something out of a compost pile would be my guess.
    Horrible, Dog Rocket would be a disgrace to call this thing now.

  10. howdy, new to this review thing, I must add my 2 penny’s.In the hope for something extra for price. I took these gar”s to the CRYSTAL stage. Should have known better. Well did I bid on those- fever stroke me, Beware those who visit that devil site.(c-bid) . Butt noo. these are one of the worst smoke i had! Plzz don’t fall for the pig in the poke .

  11. Robert and Art,
    Yeah, I think the trend of opinion seems to be that the Pinar 3000’s were decent a few years ago, but those are long gone. The remaining “pre-embargo” cigars are not worth the hype.

    Recently, I heard that the majority of the “pre-embargo” tobacco out there today is actually reconstituted. Essentially, put through a blender, and then spread out in sheets to dry. Sounds appealing, huh? Recycling may be a good thing when it comes to beer bottles and newspapers, but it’s not a good thing when it comes to tobacco!

  12. I smoked the Pinar 3000s when they first came out several years ago. They were excellent. However, I recently bought some that were not very good at all. Why the difference? I have no idea.

  13. my cigar smoking consist mostly from cuban cigars (legal here) and i happen to try a few of the pinar last year since im curious about a grandma age cigar…. turns out… inconsistent.. some are good some are just weird, but they do have at least a little faint cuban taste to it…

  14. I purchased numerous boxes of Pinar-3000’s in 2004 and again in 2005 and the last boxes of them in 2006. The last purchase contained petite Salmon and Gran Salmon Maduro. I still have a number of boxes to this date. The cigars have always been consistent, full of Cuban flavor, and when they change during the period of six months, there always interesting and inviting. I sometimes contemplate selling some sticks or a few boxes of ten (at a kings ransom). My, my they are great!

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