Undercrown

Undercrown Manifesto

Now here’s a cigar that needs a little bit of an introduction, well, not the cigar itself but how I got it and where I smoked it. The cigar itself is just a Undercrown in an incredible vitola, 11 inch long with a ring gauge of 40, so sort of a double lancero, but it’s a unique size and only available at events so rare. And even though I worked for the Dutch Drew Estate distributer before Agio took over and that I spend a lot of hours with JD in the car, visited his home, the Drew Estate offices in Miami and the factory in Esteli several times I never was able to get my hands on this cigar. Not that i’m complaining though as Jonathan and the other guys from DE have always been very generous with me.


So, as I said, I worked for a cigar distributor and one day I heard about a convenience shop, a franchiser part of a group of shops called Primera in the pittoresk town of Hoorn was thinking about a walk-in humidor so I dropped by. Owner Bjorn didn’t know a lot back then but had great plans and a few months later he had build a fantastic walk-in humidor in his shop, he visited Nicaragua and Cuba too and is now a knowledgeable and passionate tobacconist. Together we picked a nice assortment for his shop and promised to be easy with exchanging cigars if they wouldn’t sell as I wanted him to succeed. Well, he did, he turned an empty space on the attic into a smoke lounge but that happened after I lost the job. Last week someone posted a picture of the Manifesto in the Balmoral/Drew Estate group on Facebook and I replied that I had never smoked that cigar. Two days later Bjorn reached out to me, said he had a coffin of two Manifestos and said “come see my new lounge and we will both smoke the manifesto”, an offer I couldn’t refuse for four reasons: the manifesto, my curiosity about his smoke lounge, it’s nice to smoke a cigar with people that are passionate about tobacco and Bjorn is a nice guy. So here I am, at the lounge of Primera Grooteman in Hoorn, about to light and review the Undercrown Manifesto.


The cigars come in a pair in a coffin and when you open it you see two cigars completely wrapped in a blue paper. The cigar is long and thin, the binder has a lot of veins and it shows under the wrapper. The wrapper is mild oily with a reddish glow. The construction feelers great and I love pig tails. The blue and golden ring is pretty with the lion on top of an upside down crown, the drew estate logo on the side and the Undercrown name at the back. The aroma reminds me of a barnyard and is medium strong.


Due to the thin size I had to cut the cigar. I used my Joya de Nicaragua branded xikar cutter. The cold draw is flawless and I taste raisin with a spicy and peppery aftertaste. I lit the cigar with a classic soft flame, this long and thin cigar deserves some class over a jet flame. I taste a sweet yet spicy coffee flavor, very tasty. After half an inch I taste a strong mix of cedar, nutmeg and walnuts with a nice hint of pepper. The walnuts grow stronger with some spices with a little vanilla. I love the cool smoke because of the length of the cigar. After a third the cigar gets a little stronger. Halfway I taste some pepper, not overpowering though, with green herbs, spices and a faint mint. The pepper slowly grows in strength. Near the end it’s pepper and cedar with pepper as the main flavor. Right before I put the cigar away the pepper disappears and I taste a nice wood with cinnamon flavor.


The draw is amazing, especially when you consider the difficult vitola. This shows excellent skills of the torcedor. The smoke is classic Drew Estate, that means there is a lot of thick smoke, only the color isn’t perfectly white but I’m not bothered. The light colored ash is pretty but not too firm. The burn is fantastic. This is a medium full bodied and full flavored cigar. The evolution and complexity it great. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wish, the vitola makes this cigar more subtle and complex than the regular Undercrown without losing strength or flavor. Thank you Bjorn for sharing this cigar with me!

Score: 94
number94

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Categories: 94, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Undercrown Flying Pig XLR

Now years ago, before Agio (Balmoral) and Drew Estate partnered up and decided to distribute each others products on their home market, the company I worked for was the official Drew Estate distributer in The Netherlands. Now, don’t think Drew Estate dumped us for Agio, months before Drew Estate and Agio partnered up we decided to stop distributing Drew Estate. Even though we stopped distributing we still maintain a very friendly relationship with everybody at Drew Estate, I’ve been at Jonathans house in Miami, I’ve been to the factory in Esteli twice and all after our professional relationship ended, so we are good.


Jonathan loves The Netherlands and because of that we were able to get something cool, exclusive for the Dutch market back in 2012. We decided to go with Undercrown Flying Pigs, the Flying Pigs made their appearance in the No.9 and T52 blends but were never done in the Undercrown blend. Drew Estate made little less than 200 boxes of 12, just for the Dutch market and they sold out quick. Being close to the fire I snagged a few boxes myself but up till today I have not smoked one myself, time to change that. These cigars have had almost 5 years of age to them. The Flying Pig is a unique shape, a short little perfecto 4 1/2×60 with a pig tail (how can you call it a flying pig if it doesn’t have a pig tail right?). The name comes from the early days of Drew Estate when people said Drew Estate would make it as a company ‘when pigs fly’ and the flying pig series is their answer to the skeptics. The blend is a little tweaked from the regular Undercrown and consist from a San Andres Negro wrapper, a double binder (Connecticut River Valley Stalk Cut & Sun Grown Habano) and filler from Brazil (Mata Fina) and Nicaragua (Habano).


The wrapper is gorgeous, dark, almost no veins, the pig tail is beautiful. The ring is the regular Undercrown right with the up side down crown with a lion head on top in blue and gold, the sides say undercrown but the nice detail is that on one side it’s mirrored and the back of the band shows the Drew Estate logo, the famous Manhattan Bridge. The construction is flawless and thats a testament to the quality of the rollers since this vitola is a pain in the ass to make according to Jonathan. The cigar has a strange but pleasant aroma, a medium strong aroma of a forest after rainfall in the autumn.


Because of the pigtail punching the cigar is out of the question so I used a flat cut to cut the cigar. The cold draw gives me the right amount of resistance, with a hay and pepper flavor. I used a soft flame to light the cigar and straight on I taste some coffee, not bitter though and not too strong with a little pepper and a little wood. Soon I taste a wonderful cedar, a warm cedar with cinnamon, nutmeg and cocoa. Slowly the cocoa is taking the overhand and I also taste some cumin. Soon the nutmeg comes back with some lime.

After a third I taste dry leaves, hay and a little citrus and a little salt. The cocoa is back too, mild and on the background. The citrus is growing halfway. The cedar returns after two thirds again with a little cocoa on the background. Near the end, after I used my nub tool, I taste a nice amount of pepper with the cocoa.


The draw is very good. The smoke starts out medium thin and that surprises me since all Liga Privada and Undercrowns I smoked so far were smoke bombs. The smoke slowly gets thicker though. The ash is snow white and dense. The burn is good, not razor sharp but good enough not correct the burn.

Would I buy this cigar again? I’m glad I gave a few boxes left. I always thought that this was just a gimmick cigar but I like it better than the regular undercrown. This full flavored cigar is full bodied. The smoke time is about 90 minutes.

Score: 92

92

Categories: 92, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Liga Privada Undercrown belicoso

The Liga Privada Undercrown is the long awaited new release from Drew Estate. The other Liga Privadas, the No.9 and the T52, are hard to find due to limited supplies and this ‘Liga with a twist’ as Jonathan Drew calls them should be more easily available due to the use of a more accessible wrapper. I got this cigar at Intertabac, this belicoso measures 6×52.
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The cigar looks great, the wrapper is almost flawless, the band is awesome and the cigar has a beautiful and unique blunt head. The construction feels good. I smell wood and chocolate. The predraw is fine, I taste a fresh flavor with chocolate and pepper. The wrapper is leathery and thick.
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I taste coffee, earthy flavors and a pepper on my tongue. After half an inch I taste white pepper with some chocolate. I also get some wood flavors. After an inch I taste wood with cacao, the pepper has gone. After a third I taste wood with some cacao and some white pepper.
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Halfway I taste the same flavors but with a fresh acidic flavor, very mild, and some sweetness. The pepper moves to the aftertaste. At the two third mark I taste some cacao on the background with some nuts, herbs and a hint of white pepper. The aftertaste is peppery and mild fresh, like a minty freshness.
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This cigar lasted me for two hours. The draw is great just like the burn. I got a lot of smoke. The white ash is firm. This cigar is full flavored and medium to full bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Whatcha think?

Appearance: 9 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

Categories: Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Liga Privada Undercrown robusto

The Undercrown, there are many stories about the creation of this cigar but the one that I hear most is that the rollers at the Drew Estate factory tweaked the Liga Privada with a new wrapper so that they could smoke a great cigar after they weren’t allowed to smoke the Liga Privada anymore because of the limited available wrapper. I like the story and I was very curious about the cigar as I am a big Liga Privada fan. I got this cigar at the Intertabac trade show from Jonathan Drew as they aren’t available in Europe yet. The Undercrown robusto will make a European debut on the Dutch Big Smoke on october 30th.
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This 5×54 robusto is wrapped in cellophane and will get a € 6,50 price tag for The Netherlands. The band looks like a signet ring and the wrapper is dark and mild oily with just a few small veins. The construction feels good and the predraw tastes like sweet tobacco with some peanuts. The cigar smells like a barnyard with some added sweetness.
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I taste a spicy and mild peppery earth flavor with some coffee and a mild sweetness. Soon I taste spicy earth with herbs and some pepper on the background. After half an inch I taste wood with herbs, the pepper is almost completely gone, the sweetness is completely gone and there is a mild freshness in the flavors. After three quarters of an inch I taste herbs with a mild fresh aftertaste. There is some wood on the background. After an inch the flavors are herbs which are getting more spicy and I taste pepper too. There is a peppery but fresh aftertaste.
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Halfway I taste some sweetness with the herbs and the pepper. The freshness in the aftertaste is getting more pronounced. Soon after I taste a beautiful and well balanced mixture of cedar, pepper, herbs and some sweetness with a fresh and peppery aftertaste. After two thirds the cigar gets a bit more spicy. The flavors are now herbs with pepper, the aftertaste is still fresh and peppery. I also taste some sweetness and a toasted flavor.
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This cigar lasted me for ninety minutes. The draw is great and I got a lot of thick smoke. The burn is beautiful and straight. The light colored ash is firm. This cigar is full flavored and medium to full bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Oh yeah!

Appearance: 9 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

Categories: Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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