Undercrown

Undercrown Flying Pig

This cigar was released in 2012, in The Netherlands. The name was Undercrown Flying Pig XRL. XLF stood for Extremely Rare Limited. Less than 200 boxes of 12 were released. And flew off the shelves like hotcakes. it was a release for Compaenen. Compaenen is a cooperation of independent tobacco shops in The Netherlands. They combine their buying power to negotiate exclusive releases for the participating shop. Pre-releases, private label cigars and limited editions such as the Undercrown Flying Pig XLR.

Two years later, Drew Estate released the Undercrown Flying Pig in the United States. And the cigar has been a hit there as well. And everywhere else where it’s been released. At first, it was a limited edition, now it’s a regular production cigar. The wrapper is a Mexican San Andres Maduro leaf. The binder is a stalk cut Habano from the Connecticut River Valley in the United States. The fillers come from Nicaragua and Brazil.

The cigar looks great. That shape, as we mentioned in the reviews of the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig and the Undercrown Sun Grown Flying Pig, is a favorite. And again, the color scheme of the ring fits the wrapper like a glove. The dark, matte, blue with the gold on that dark wrapper is a perfect match. The pigtail is a nice touch. The wrapper is leathery. The aroma is of dark chocolate and spices.

The cold draw is perfect. It has a flavor of raw tobacco. Once lit, it’s leather, chocolate, green herbs, and coffee. After a few puffs, leather and pepper are the main flavors. But on the background, there’s still faint dark chocolate as well. The flavors open up and become stronger. Pepper, wood, leather, chocolate, and hay. The flavors are spicy and full, with a mild buttery mouthfeel.

The draw is great and this is a classic Drew Estate smoke bomb. Thick, white, full smoke. Enough to get a response from the fire department. The burn isn’t perfect, but also not bad. The salt and pepper colored ash is firm. The cigar is full flavored and full bodied. The smoke time is two hours and ten minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

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

Undercrown Sun Grown Flying Pig

After the huge success of the Liga Privada offspring Undercrown, Drew Estate decided to build on that brand. So a few years later, the Undercrown Shade was released. I reviewed that cigar a few days ago.

So it wasn’t a question if there would be a third Undercrown blend. The question was “what will it be?”. And the follow-up question was “when will it be released?”. Well, it became the Undercrown Sun Grown. And it was released in 2017.

Just like the Liga Privada blends and the regular Undercrown, the Sun Grown utilizes stalk-cut tobacco. That means that the leaves are not picked from the plant. The whole plant is cut down and then hung to try, upside down. Only the Undercrown Shade doesn’t use stalk-cut tobacco. A flying pig in the new Undercrown blend was a must. So the rollers at the Gran Fabrica Drew Estate made the signature shape for the new blend as well.

The cigar looks amazing. The shape is cool. The pigtail is the icing on the cake. The ring is beautiful. And just like with the shade, the color scheme fits the wrapper. The Colorado colored wrapper matches well with the burgundy and gold rings. The wrapper has a mild shine from natural oils. A few thin veins, and it’s a looker. The aroma is strong. It smells like hay, straw, and sheep.

The cold draw is easy. With a spicy fried grass flavor. Once lit its classic espresso, leather, and pepper. All with a drop of citrus. The flavors then change to hay, leather, wood and some nutmeg. The mouthfeel is dry. Caramel like sweetness on the background. When the burn reaches the wider part of the cigars, the flavors burst out. A nice lemon acidity, pepper, toast, wood, and leather. And then some dark chocolate with pepper. And later even some nuts. The flavors are full but refined. No harshness, well rounded. After a third, the mouthfeel becomes a little creamy. The sweetness is mild. With the pepper, it supports the nutty flavor.

The draw is great. The cigar is a classic Drew Estate smoke bomb. Don’t smoke this cigar in an unventilated room. The light-colored ash is firm. This is a full bodied, full flavored cigar. The smoke time is an amazing two and a half hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes

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Categories: 93, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Undercrown Shade Flying Pig

By now, the story of the Flying Pig is probably known. When Drew Estate started making cigars, people said that they would only become successful when pigs would fly. And successful they became. Then Steve Saka, back then CEO of Drew Estate, found the Flying Pig vitola. He was in Tampa and found a 100-year-old catalog from an old cigar factory., That catalog had the Flying Pig vitola, but under another name. Saka decided to make the cigars, in the Liga Privada #9 blend as a limited edition. And as a salute to the naysayers, the cigars were called Flying Pigs.

The Liga Privada lines were so popular that Drew Estate asked the rollers to stop smoking them. So the rollers switched some tobaccos, leaving out the rare ones. That line became the Undercrown. And the Undercrown got so popular that offshoots appeared. The second Undercrown blend to be released was the Undercrown Shade. That’s a milder version of the Undercrown blend, with a Connecticut Shade wrapper from Ecuador. The binder is Sumatra. The fillers come from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Drew Estate released a sampler with three different Undercrown Flying Pigs. Royal Agio, the distributor of Drew Estate in several European countries, provided me with a sampler.

The cigar looks great. The shape is unique and the pigtail is the icing on the cake when it comes to looks. The cigar feels good. The Connecticut Shade wrapper has a mild shine. The veins are thin. The white with the gold color scheme for the rings are well chosen. It fits the color of the wrapper. The logo is great too, an upside-down crown with a lion’s face. The aroma isn’t mild. It’s spicy, herbal and strong. But also smells like straw.

The cold draw is good, with a raw tobacco flavor. Once lit, a mild coffee and leather flavor is tasted. With salt that is. There’s also some cedar wood. But the flavors are smooth like the volume isn’t cracked open. Elevator music in a cigar, that idea. After a few puffs, there is some acidity and grass. The mouthfeel is mild creamy. Once the cigar opens up when the burn is passed the small foot, the flavors get stronger. Nutmeg, a bit of pepper, leather but also that Connecticut Shade mustiness. And that last part is the downside of all Connecticut Shade cigars. After a third some marzipan sweetness shows up, faint and on the background. The final third packs a little more power. Sweetness, pepper, leather, and wood. But still creamy with a little salt. The mustiness tones down a lot.

The draw is good. The burn is great. The ash is white and firm. The smoke is nothing like other Drew Estate products. Drew Estate is known for its smoke bombs. But this Undercrown Shade Flying Pig produces just a medium volume of smoke. It is not very thick, and gray instead of white. The cigar is mild to medium flavored. It’s also medium bodied. The smoke time is two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I will never buy any Connecticut Shade cigars again.

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Undercrown Sun Grown Belicoso

As I wrote in my review of the Undercrown Sungrown Flying Pig, this cigar was given to me by the man himself, Willy Herrera, at the intertabac trade show last year. I met Willy years ago, when he just started working for Drew Estate and have met him several times since mostly at the factory of his inlaws and the place where he got his claim to fame: El Titan de Bronze, a must see if you’re ever in Miami.


I have been to the Drew Estate HQ in Miami a few times, I have been to the factory in Esteli a few times and I can only say that I have mad respect for the company that Jonathan Drew built, starting from a push cart at the World Trade Center to one of the biggest and most modern factories in the world, from just cigar sales to being a major manufacturer and then rebranding yourself from a infused cigar manufacturer to a well respected and loved brand by serious cigar smokers, all the while being different then others with incorporating art, the style, the culture and of course the immense social media coverage. Kudos.


As the cigar, its a 6×52 Belicoso. The Ecuadorian Sumatra sun grown wrapper has a little tooth and a little oil. Maybe because the wrapper is bigger than on the Flying Pig, but it looks a little rougher and less smooth. The ring is the same, the classic Undercrown logo in gold on a red background and the foot ring is in the same color scheme. The construction feels good with a nice round head on the belicoso. The aroma is barnyard with manure, medium to full in strength.


Due to the shape cutting the cigar is my only option. The cold draw is great, with quite some pepper on my lips. After lighting I taste coffee. I also taste a little citrus and wood. After a quarter of an inch I taste more cinnamon and lemon, the coffee is gone. Some pepper shows up too. After a third it’s wood, pepper and some lime. Halfway I taste a mild peanut with lime and pepper. The final third is wood with pepper and a mild floral flavor.


The draw is great and the smoke is typical Drew Estate, thick, white and plentiful. The light gray ash is firm and dense. The burn is straight. The cigar starts medium bodied but turns full bodied, full flavored along the way. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Hell yeah

Score: 91
number91

Categories: 91, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , , ,

MUWAT Baitfish Gary

This undercrown spin-off was originally named ‘my uzi’ but when Jonathan Drew got his hands on the cigar he noticed the weight and said ‘my uzi weighs a ton’, which happens to be a song from fellow New Yorkers Public NME and that name stuck.


At first the line was ment to be a 60 ring gauge line with a 5×60, 6×60 and 7×60 but the market demanded thinner sizes to Drew Estate released a corona, named Corona Viva and a 4×44 named after JD’s father Gary, baitfish Gary. And I met Gary on several occasions, at Jonathan’s House in Miami, at the factory in Estelí, Nicaragua and at the Intertabac trade show in Dortmund Germany where he gave me this cigar to smoke.


The wrapper is dark and feels leathery, it has a tough look on it. The ring is cool, black with silver text all over it, and a lot of text in different size fonts, vertical instead of horizontal. The cigar feels evenly packed, has a well rounded head and a a decent triple cap. The aroma is medium full and reminds me of wet woods after a rainfall mixed with stable aromas.


I cut the cigar with my Xikar butterfly cutter. The cold draw is good and I taste a spicy, meaty raisin flavor. After lighting I taste a sweet yet strong coffee. After a few puffs I taste a spicy dry cedar with cinnamon and vanilla. Halfway the cigar is spicy with some lemon, cinnamon, vanilla and pepper.


The draw is great and the smoke is typical Drew Estate, thick, full and extremely much. The burn is pretty straight and the white ash is dense and firm. This cigar is medium full bodied and flavored. The smoke time is forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I’m glad I have a few five packs.

Score: 92
number92

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

Undercrown Shade Gordito

One, this is going to be a tricky one, straight from the start this cigar has two things against it: It’s a 60 ring gauge and it has a Connecticut shade wrapper, although that last part isn’t a problem as it used to be anymore since my preferences are changing and my hate for Connecticut Shade wrappers has faded a little, there are even some Connecticut Shade cigars that I like including the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig.


The Undercrown lines all have a different blend, it’s not just a different wrapper but a whole new blend to begin with, both for the Undercrown Shade as the Undercrown Sun Grown. The Shade is made from Dominican Criollo, Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo with a Sumatra binder and an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper. While all the blends differ, the vitolas in all the lines are the same.


The wrapper is pale and smooth, as a Connecticut Shade should be and a little shiny. The ring is the regular undercrown ring in white and gold, that means a golden lion on a turned around crown on a white background. The foot ring is white with golden letters shade and golden outlines. The construction feels good and the cigar is well shaped, a well rounded head. The cigar has a distinct aroma of grass and those broth cubes you can buy at the supermarket to make soup.


I punched the cigar as I tend to do with big ring gauges. The cold draw is perfect. The cold draw is almost flavorless, just a hint of raisin. After lighting with a soft flame I taste a mild leather and peanuts flavor. After a few puffs I taste sugar too. And then I get that typical Connecticut Shade mustiness. After an inch I taste a mild leather with sugar and that mustiness. Only halfway the flavor changes a little, a bit of pepper joins. The pepper slowly gains some strength. With an inch to to the cigar turns.


The draw is great. The light colored ash is dense and firm. The burn needed some corrections. The white smoke is medium in thickness and volume. This cigar is mild to medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty five minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, The wrapper and the vitola are a no.

Score: 86


number86

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Undercrown Sun Grown Flying Pig

When I was at the intertabac trade show Willy Herrera, whom I had not seen in a few years, the last time was at El Titan de Bronze in Miami in 2014, handed me one of his latest creations, the Undercrown Sun Grown in a belicoso format (review will follow in a few months) but the next day one of my sources gave me the same blen
d in the legendary Flying Pig format. I thought of keeping the cigar in my humidor, with the other Flying Pigs I have but decided to light it anyway since cigars are meant to me smoked.


The Undercrown Sun Grown is made from Nicaraguan filler, a stalk cut binder from the Connecticut River Valley and a Sun Grown Sumatra wrapper from Ecuador. It’s the third line under the Undercrown label, the first was created by the rollers at the Drew Estate factory after they got told that they couldn’t smoke Liga Privada no more, the second was the Shade. I wonder what the next will be, a Maduro? Oscuro? Cameroon? Rosado? Time will tell.


The shape of the cigar is ace, a little bomb shape with a pig tale, it looks funny and even though other companies use the same shape, everybody recognizes it as “that flying pig shape”.  The wrapper is oily and smooth, dark brown with a reddish glow that’s being enhanced by the red and golden rings. It’s the same ring as on the regular Undercrown and on the Undercrown Shade but in red instead of blue or white. The foot ring is in the same colors and says sun grown. The aroma is quite strong, I smell herbs, straw and some barnyard.


I cut the cigar, punching was no option because of the pigtail. The cold draw is good, i taste spicy raisin, portobello and pepper. After lighting I taste a nice, fresh citrus with coffee. After a few puffs I taste the citrus but now with cedar, nutmeg, a little cinnamon and some dried chilies. After a third I taste vanilla, cedar, the red skin that you find on peanuts and toast, with a citrus and peppery aftertaste. Halfway the cigar is cedar with nutmeg and cumin again. The final third is woody with a sweetness that is best described as icing sugar.


The draw is flawless. The smoke is typical Drew Estate, full, thick, plentiful. The light colored ash is firm and dense. The burn is uneven, not too much though but it’s not straight. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. There is a lot of evolution. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I hope they will become available again.

Score: 93
number93
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Categories: 93, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Undercrown Shade Flying Pig

Last march I published a review of the Undercrown Flying Pig, original release, and it became the Cigar of the month march. Soon after that someone with ties either to Drew Estate or their local distributer Royal Agio contacted me (I of course know who he is and for whom he works, but I won’t disclose that information on his request) and asked me if he could use that review since the cigar was being re-released in The Netherlands and that was fine by me, as it would help promote my blog too so a fine win-win.


During our chat he asked me if I had smoked the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig and since they haven’t been released in The Netherlands I could only reply negative. He offered to send me one as a thank you which I gladly accepted. A few months earlier I would have declined due to the wrapper but recently I’ve been starting to enjoy Connecticut Shade wrappers and this cigar is made with an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper, a Sumatra binder and filler from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Not too long after a package arrived with 2 Balmoral Anejo Lanceros (cigar of the month May), two Kentucky Fire Cured Robusto and two of the Undercrown Shade Flying Pigs.


Lets start with the construction, it is immaculate and there are bonus points for the unique shape.  I love the little bomb size with the pig tail. The name is an inside joke, when Drew Estate started a lof of people in the industry said that “this company will make it when pigs fly” so after Drew Estate became an established company JD decided to name a cigar ‘Flying Pig” as a nod to the people that expected him to fail. The wrapper is pale with quite some shine and a few veins. I love the ring, I like the color scheme better than on the original Underground. The ring is white with the logo and all the details in gold and a second white ring with a golden outline and golden letters Shade. The ring print quality is high too. The aroma quite strong for a Connecticut Shade cigar with hints of straw, hay, leafs and grass.


I cut the cigar with my xikar butterfly cutter since punching wasn’t an option due to the pig tail. The cold draw is fantastic and tastes like raisin and hay. After lighting I taste a earthy flavor with a hint of pepper. I also taste some freshness and sweetness. After a third the cigar gets spicy and quite strong for a Shade cigar. I still taste the earthy flavor but with a little mustiness that belongs to Connecticut Shade wrappers with some lemon, salt and a strong pepper aftertaste. These flavors stick with the cigar till the end.


The smoke is typical Drew Estate, full, thick and a lot of it. And I love it. The draw is great, almost perfect. The burn needed a little touch up though. The white ash is firm and beautiful. The cigar is medium bodied and full flavored, stronger than I expected from a Connecticut Shade cigar. The smoke time is almost an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? They aren’t available here, and I prefer the Undercrown Flying Pig but this is a good stick.

Score: 91
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Categories: 91, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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
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Undercrown Flying Pig XLR

Now years ago, before Agio (Balmoral) and Drew Estate partnered up and decided to distribute each other’s 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 Jonathan’s 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: , , , , , ,

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