Early 2014 I flew to Nicaragua to visit some factories and to get to know the country a little. I went to visit Joya de Nicaragua, My Father, Oliva and we visited Drew Estate too. It was a memorable trip, we went to Condega with Gilberto Oliva, partied at the hotel with Jose Ortega (My Father Cigars) and had a great time in Esteli. During our visit to Drew Estate Jonathan asked me if I had tried the then quite new Kentucky Fire Cured and I said no, since they weren’t available outside the USA and I didn’t have time to visit a cigar shop during my transfer to Nicaragua.
Jonathan said to me “don’t give your opinion after one cigar, smoke a few before you say you like it or not, because it is something special, something different” and he handed me a hand full of the 5×56 cigars, that are actually made for Drew Estate at the Joya de Nicaragua factory. I smoked a few while in Nicaragua and smoked another one at the sun deck of my hotel in Fort Lauderdale a week later and made up my mind, this is not my cigar. A year later JD gave me a Pappy van Winkle cigar at Intertabac, and said “light it in front of me, I want to see your reaction” and the moment I lit the cigar I yelled “you MF, this has that fire cured leaf in it”. Why are you still reviewing this cigar you might ask? Well, it was a gift, it’s a few years later now and maybe my preferences have changed, I might find it enjoyable now. I used to hate Connecticut Shade, now I like some, maybe my palate tolerates fire cured tobacco now too.
The wrapper is dark, thick, leathery with some tooth and a few veins that fit with the dark and mean theme. The construction feels good with a nice cap, that has a darker smear on the wrapper. The ring is simple yet effective, brown paper, simple and clear black lettering which, again, fit the theme. And then the aroma, ultra strong the moment you release it from its wrapper. Hickory, barbecue, meat, smoke, fire, tar, those kinds of aroma come from the cigar and that makes the looks of the cigar, the simplicity of the ring and the aroma all fit together. Big points for that.
I cut the cigar with a xikar cutter. The cold draw is great and I taste barbecue, smoked ribs with sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. After lighting I taste barbecue, like the cigar has been dipped in a barbecue spice rub. After half an inch I taste sweet boiled peanuts with some barbecue spices. Halfway I taste wood, pepper and the typical smoke flavor of fire cured tobacco. The pepper grows in the final third, the wood and barbecue flavors are still going strong too. Near the end I taste peanuts again with a hefty dose of pepper.
The draw is just great and the smoke is typical Drew Estate, thick, white and a smokescreen big enough to hide a house from satellites. The white ash doesn’t hold very well. The burn is okay but needed one touch up halfway. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? I might for after a barbecue, I guess my preferences have changed.