Gran Fabrica Drew Estate

Drew Estate, Esteli, Nicaragua

Herrera Esteli Maduro Toro Especial

Herrera Esteli Maduro Toro Especial. Another blend by master blender Willy Herrera for Drew Estate. This blend was released in 2018, 7 years after his move to the big cigar manufacturer. But he rose to fame as a blender at the small Miami based El Titan de Bronze. That small factory in Little Havana is owned and operated by his in-laws and that’s where Jonathan Drew found Herrera. One of the promises that Drew made was a cigar with the Herrera name, although that did take some time and effort as Frank Herrera, the cigar lawyer, had registered his name and used it for cigars as well.


The Herrera Esteli Maduro is made in Nicaragua, at the Gran Fabrica Drew Estate. For the blend, Herrera took Nicaraguan filler from Drew Estate’s tobacco library. He blended that with a Connecticut Broadleaf binder from the Connecticut River Valley and a Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper. There are five sizes available, but for this review, we decided on the 6×52 Toro Especial.


The cigar has that typical Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper. Dark but kind of rough looking, with a few veins. For a Mata Fina, it’s actually quite smooth, but it’s rougher than the average Maduro. The blue and golden ring with white letters is a copy of the original Herrera Esteli, just in a different color scheme. The cigar feels well rolled. The triple cap is beautiful. And the cigar has a strong aroma. Sweet straw with some charred wood comes to mind.

The cold draw is fine, with a mild yet intense dark chocolate taste. The first flavors are salty wood with a bit of leather. Slowly the cigar develops some leaf flavors as well, and mild chocolate. The expected sweetness from the Brazilian wrapper is lacking though. The mouthfeel is meaty, chewy. After a third, the flavors become more complex. It’s wood and grass, but then with a mix of sugar, pepper, spices, leather, soil, and toast. All those flavors are mild and balanced. Halfway the cigar gets a nice roasted coffee bean flavor with spices, pepper, and leather.


The draw is superb. And the ash is white and dense. The burn is good, not straight as an arrow but no corrections are needed. And the smoke is thick and full, a Drew Estate trademark. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes. This cigar is full-bodied, full-flavored.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I enjoyed it
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Categories: 90, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Herrera Esteli, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Liga Privada Unico Year of the Rat

Liga Privada Unico Year of the Rat. Although this is a special one and not released because of the Chinese Zodiac Calendar. This cigar was released in 2016. And it is made for the lounge that Drew Estate opened that year at the BB&T Center in Sunrise Florida. The BB&T Center is the home base of the Florida Panthers, an NHL team. And this Liga Privada Year of the Rat is a commemorative cigar for the 1996 Championship. In 1996, the Florida Panthers won the Stanley Cup, the most prestigious prize in ice hockey. And according to the legend, one of the players killed a rat with his stick in the dressing room before the first match of the season. And then scored two goals. The rat became a good luck talisman for the season, and 1996 was ‘the year of the rat’ for the Florida Panthers.


The 5½x46 Grand Corona was given to us a few years ago by Jessi Flores. Back then, Flores was still part of the Drew Estate family, before venturing out on his own. At one of the Intertabac Trade Shows, Flores shared a few Liga Privada Unico cigars with us. This Liga Privada Unico Year of the Rat is made at the famous Gran Fabrica Drew Estate. For the filler, tobaccos from Nicaragua and Honduras are used. The binder comes from Brazil. The wrapper is the famous Connecticut Broadleaf that Drew Estate loves to use. The cigars were sold for $14 per piece and were packed in boxes of 10.


The cellophane was starting to turn yellow by the oil in the wrapper. The cigar looks great, dark and oily. The wrapper looks thick, yet the veins are thin. The cap looks odd, it has a flag tail but the cap is prolonged and looks like a hat on top of the cigar. The regular Liga Privada ring is used, but as always with the Unico series, the text has been altered. This says Year of the Rat. The construction feels flawless. The aroma is strong, oak and roasted coffee beans.


The cold draw is perfect with quite some pepper in the flavor profile. A little salt as well. Once lit there is coffee with a slightly salty flavor. Then there is dark chocolate, the 80% pure type accompanied by some leather and cedar. There is some sweetness, nuttiness, and a mild buttery mouthfeel. After a while, a mild black pepper shows up as well, with some grassy flavors. The flavors then evolve to black coffee, leather, soil with a mild peppery aftertaste. The nut flavor is making a comeback, with the pepper and some sweetness. In the last third, the flavors are pretty much the same. Leather, coffee, wood, dark chocolate, and pepper.


The draw is flawless. The smoke is a classic Drew Estate smoke. Thick, full, white and there is plenty of it. The ash is white and nice. The burn is pretty straight. Because the cigar has aged, the flavors are well rounded while still packing strength. Both in flavor and strength. The smoke time is two hours and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I would

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

Liga Privada Unico Feral Flying Pig

Liga Privada Unico Feral Flying Pig. Ever since the launch of the Flying Pig series, the cigars have been extremely popular. So popular that they became a regular production cigar. It started with the Liga Privada #9 Flying Pig, then the Liga Privada T52 Flying pig and in 2012, Drew Estate released a bigger version. That’s the Liga Privada Unico Feral Flying Pig. A 5⅜x60 version of the Flying Pig with a blend of his own. That’s why it’s part of the Unico series. Unico cigars are Liga Privada blends, tweaks from the #9 and T52 blends but still belong to the Liga Privada family.


Nowadays, almost all Drew Estate blends come out with a flying pig. The three different Undercrowns have Flying Pigs. I reviewed the Undercrown Shade, Sun Grown and Maduro Flying Pigs. But there are Flying Pigs for the Kentucky Fire Cured series and Herrera Esteli blends as well. But there is only one Feral Flying Pig, all the others are much smaller than this Feral Flying Pig. There’s only one illusive Feral Flying Pig Basher, which is a regular Feral Flying Pig with a different ring. That one was released for the wedding of Marvin Samel, one of the Drew Estate founders.

The cigar looks great. The shape is amazing and the pigtail finishes the cigar in style. A thick, oily, toothy, Colorado Maduro colored wrapper with a simple yet clear ring. Just a simple white with light gray backdrop for a dark gray FERAL print. Simple, effective, stylish. On the back of the ring, the Liga Privada logo is printed. There are also a few veins on the backside of the cigar. The cigar feels well constructed. The aroma is medium in strength. Dark wood, sawdust, and some dark chocolate aromas are coming from the cigar.

The cold draw is great. The flavors from the cold draw are raw tobacco and dark chocolate. At first, the mouthfeel is dry. The bitterness of coffee and soil, with some acidity. The coffee gets stronger while the mouthfeel gets a bit creamy. The Nicaraguan pepper shows up too. Once the burn passes the thinner part of the foot, other flavors start to emerge. The coffee and pepper remain, but there are hints of wood, leather, spices, and sweetness as well. After an inch, a metallic flavor shows up with leather and pepper. The flavors then evolve to oak, leather, tobacco, and coffee. And a slight hint of chocolate in the background. After a third, a mild sweet candy flavor is noticeable for a little while. A rare flavor that I never tasted in cigars before. It’s hard to pinpoint what it resembles, but puffy rice candy comes close. That flavor disappears soon though. Halfway it’s back to espresso, leather and some sweetness. The coffee, leather, and pepper remain the same until the end. The sweetness slowly turns into marzipan.

The draw is great. And the smoke is Drew Estate famous. Thick, full, copious amounts. The burn is pretty straight. The light gray ash is quite firm, yet a bit flaky. This is a full-flavored, full-bodied cigar. But balanced, so it’s not overpowering. The smoke time is four hours exactly

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I will

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

ACID Kuba Arte

Drew Estate Acid Kuba Arte. A limited edition Drew Estate Acid to commemorate 20 years of Drew Estate Acid Kuba. And they come packed in pieces of art. Water towers containing 20 cigars and a boveda pack. All the water towers are hand pained by New York based street artists. That is a tribute to the art side that Drew Estate always had, from day one. The company was founded in Brooklyn, and the 5 artists all have roots in that burrough of New York as well. Back in the day, Jonathan Drew was sitting on a rooftop in Brooklyn, and he saw water towers and graffiti. Now he brings it back together.

The cigar is infused. Premium tobaccos have been used though. From a beautiful American grown broadleaf Maduro wrapper to the hearty Nicaraguan fillers. Add am Indonesian binder and you have the blend. Drew Estate uses a unique infusion method, one of the best kept secrets in the industry to turn the cigars into the ACID lines. People love it, or hate it. There is no in-between. They sell like hotcakes, yet a lot of natural cigar smokers look down on the acid lines.


The cigar looks great. A dark, oily wrapper. No visible veins. The cigar is slightly box-pressed. The ring is in graffiti style, and mentions it’s a limited edition. The aroma is strong, once removed from the cellophane you can immediately smell a chemical aroma that is unusual for cigars. It reminded us of toilet cakes, liquid soap and flowers. The cigar looks and feels well constructed. While wetting the cap, before cutting it, the chemical taste is pretty strong.


The cold draw is pretty good. The wrapper leaves a sweet flavor on the lips, the tobacco itself has some pepper. The first puffs are overpowered by the sweetness of the wrapper. The unnatural sweetness. Once the initial shock of the unnatural sweetness is gone, it’s not that bad. Sweetness, with some spices and pepper. A little coffee shows up, and the pepper mellows out. The floral, chemical sweetness is still very dominant. There are hints of dried leaves and leather on the background as well. After a third it’s still sweet, floral sweet, with pepper, leather, and toast on the background. Halfway the sweetness is at a level where it’s actually pleasant, although still a bit too strong. The flavors remain the same, with that dominant sweetness, some pepper, leather and toast.


The draw is fantastic. And the smoke is plentiful, like with the natural premium cigars from the same factory. The light colored ash isn’t very firm. The cigar is medium bodied, yet full flavored although the flavor isn’t very natural.

Would I buy this cigar again? I prefer natural cigars but this wasn’t bad

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Categories: 90, ACID, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , ,

Orchant Selección by Drew Estate Heavyweight

This is the third size of the Orchant Seleccion by Drew Estate and it’s called Heavyweight. The line is a limited edition, exclusively for C.Gars Ltd and will be sold online and in their Turmeaus shops. Managing Director for C.Gars Ltd is Mitchell Orchant and he’s been giving his name to hand selected boxes of Cuban cigars for a few years. And since 2014, a Non-Cuban limited edition is made for the Orchant Seleccion. In the past, Oliva, Davidoff, Regios, Alec Bradley and now the Orchant Seleccion by Drew Estate. In three sizes, all with a 46 ring. The Lightweight was reviewed two days ago. Yesterday Ministry of Cigars reviewed the Mediumweight. And this is the review of the Heavyweight.

The cigars are made at the La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in Esteli, Nicaragua. That’s the same factory that’s used to make the highly-rated Liga Privada lines as well. For the blend, Drew Estate and Mitchel Orchant sourced tobaccos from Latin America, North America, and Southeast Asia. The wrapper is a stalk-cut Habano from the United States. Stalk Cut means that the leaves aren’t harvested separately but the whole tobacco plant is cut down and hung to dry. The binder comes from the South East Asian Indonesia, from the island of Sumatra. For the filler, some USA grown and some Indonesian tobacco was blended with tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

The cigar looks great. It has a dark, oily wrapper, which looks like leather. It feels good when touched, with the right amount of bounce. No real veins visible so the cigar looks smooth, yet dangerous due to the color. The aroma is quite strong. It has hints of soil, wet soil, and barnyard. The cigar that we are smoking has the factory ring, not the rings that they will be sold with.


The cold draw is great. The flavors are raw tobacco with some spice and sweetness. In the beginning, there is coffee, leather, and salt. The flavors are quite mild. Even the pepper isn’t ‘in your face’. After a few puffs, the flavors get more pronounced. And that’s when some hay and cinnamon show up too. Slowly some leather shows up and the pepper is dominant. After a centimeter, the cigar turns to toast, leather, wood, and pepper. The toast, with some slight cinnamon, and lots of pepper are the dominant flavors now. The cigar leans heavy to the leather, toast and pepper part of the flavor wheel, yet with very mild citrus and sweetness to balance it out. Halfway the toast turns to coffee, the cinnamon disappears. Coffee with pepper and a slight leathery flavor. In the final third, a nutty flavor shows up under the pepper.

The smoke is super thick and plentiful as you can expect from Drew Estate. The draw is good, a little tighter than the two other Orchant Seleccion by Drew Estate sizes. The ash is light-colored with darker smears. The burn is good. The cigar is full-bodied, full-flavored yet balanced. And it doesn’t feel as strong as the lightweight. The smoke time is two hours fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I want a box

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

Orchant Selección by Drew Estate Lightweight

Orchant Seleccion by Drew Estate Lightweight. Mitchel Orchant is the managing director of C.Gars Limited, the leading cigar retailer in the U.K. With several shops, a great online presence and regular auctions of hard to find, aged, and vintage cigars. And he has loaned his name to the Orchant Seleccion series. It started with limited numbers of boxes with Cuban cigars that were handpicked by Orchant in cooperation with the U.K. Habanos distributor. But in recent years, Orchant worked with Davidoff, Regius, Oliva, and Alec Bradley for limited editions carrying his seal of approval. And the 2019 release is a collaboration between Orchant and Drew Estate. The cigars will be released soon, in three sizes. Ministry of Cigars will review all three of them, starting with the 3½x46 Lightweight.

The Orchant Seleccion by Drew Estate comes in three sizes. At the moment of reviewing them, the cigars have not been released. Our samples came with factory rings. Yet in our article of July 13th, some artwork is shown that might end up being used on the ring. All three cigars share the same blend and have the same 46 ring gauge. And it’s refreshing to see a full line with small ring gauges and only small ring gauges. The cigars are made in Nicaragua and will be sold exclusively by C.Gars LTD on their website and in their Turmeaus shops all over England. The blend consists of Indonesian, Dominican, Nicaraguan and American grown tobacco. The binder comes from the Indonesian island Sumatra. The wrapper is grown in Connecticut. It’s a Habano variety, harvested with the Stalk Cut method which is also used for the Liga Privada.

The cigar looks good. Small yet dark, with a leathery toothy wrapper. The wrapper is quite oily as well. No thick veins are visible and the shape is good. The cigar feels evenly spongy. The aroma is strong, oak and hay.


The cold draw is good, raw tobacco with a little bit of black pepper is the cold draw flavor. The first puffs are Cuban coffee, strong and sweet. The cigar is spicy, peppery. The flavors remain in the wood, animal, coffee, and pepper part of the flavor wheel. There’s even a very mind dark chocolate flavor, on the background. Halfway the cigar gets some floral and vanilla notes, with strong pepper and a mild fresh aftertaste. The wood is still there with some nuts. In the final third, the pepper becomes really strong.

 

The draw is flawless. The ash is white as snow. And the smoke is typical Drew Estate. Thick, full and plentiful. The burn is razor-sharp. The cigar is full-bodied and full-flavored. Don’t let the lightweight name fool you, there is nothing light about this cigar. It’s strong. The smoke time is one hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? I would like more yes.

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

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

number92

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

number93

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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Categories: 88, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Undercrown | Tags: , , , , , ,

Blue Ribbon Robusto

A few years ago I was at Corona Cigar in Orlando smoking cigars with friends and one of them said “you like Drew Estate right? Try this one” and hands me a cigar I had never heard of, Blue Ribbon, and says “these are bundle cigars by Drew Estate, they are nice” but somehow this cigar ended up in my stash instead of being smoked, that will change today as I’m about to review the cigars.


I googled them to see the blend, which is all Nicaraguan filler and binder with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper and I’m shocked by the price. A bundle of 20 of these 5×50 robusto cigars will set you back little over 30 dollars, that’s $1.50 each so if these cigars score high they are a great humidor filler.


The wrapper is dark, it almost looks like a maduro wrapper, oily and smooth. This looks much better than the average cheap bundle cigar. The construction feels good with a nicely placed cap. The ring is simple yet nice, blue with silver, rigged edges, clear silver letters and a nice print quality. Just based on the looks these cigars could be boxed up and sold for more than a $1.50 a piece bundle. The aroma is strong, mint, tar and manure.


I used my Xikar butterfly cutter to decap the cigar and the cold draw is perfect. The flavors I taste are quite sour. After lichting I taste lemon, coffee and icing sugar. The sugar is becoming the dominant flavor with pepper on the background. After a third it’s sweetness, wood and a little pepper. Slowly the cigar gets spicier and stronger. The final third starts with more wood, the icing sugar is less strong. The end is very peppery.


The draw is perfect. The light colored ash is white and firm. The burn is razor sharp. The smoke is medium in thickness and volume, very unlike the smoke bombs Drew Estate usually drops. This is a medium bodied cigar, medium flavored too. The evolution is subtle and the balance is good. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? If I can find them! Fantastic budget cigar.

Score: 90

number90

Categories: 90, Blue Ribbon, Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , ,

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