Posts Tagged With: Undercrown

Mi Querida SakaKhan

When I met Steve Saka at the Intertabac Trade show he gave me two cigars, the Sobremesa Short Churchill, which I reviewed back in January and rated 93, and this 7×50 Mi Querida Churchill nicknamed SakaKhan. Now I’m looking forward to smoke this beautiful looking cigar with the Connecticut River Valley broadleaf wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos but for this review I decided to google some background information and I glad I did otherwise I would have been writing some wrong information here, for example naming the wrong manufacturer.


I know Steve has tight connections with the guys at Joya de Nicaragua, I know Juan Martinez pretty well and he always praised working with Steve. When Steve Saka was CEO at Drew Estate they started working together with a distribution deal in the USA where Drew Estate up till today is distributing Joya as well and Joya producing some cigars for Drew Estate at their facilities, and once he started his Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust he went to Joya for the Sobremesa. So I was surprised to find out that the Mi Querida isn’t produced by Joya but by NACSA, a manufacturer that produces for more companies, for example they also produce Asylum for Christian Eiroa & Tom Lazuka’s Asylum Cigars. I asked Steve why and he explained that he picks the factory that suits the best for that specific blend, and in this case it was NACSA.


The cigar looks majestic, the combination of the length, the dark smooth wrapper with the flattened veins, the beautiful triple cap and the simple yet tasteful ring just scream elegance yet power. This is a cigar I would pick at the cigar shop if I didn’t know anything about cigars and just shopped on appearance. The ring is dark blue with thick golden outline and a swirly font saying Mi Querida in gold as well. The ring has gear wheel like edges that set it apart from all other simple bands and can only be done on thick paper. The construction feels great, evenly filled, not too soft or too hard. The cigar has a mild ammonia and forest aroma. I punched the cigar and get a good cold draw with a peppery flavor. My trusted Ronson varaflame lit the cigar.


Right from the start i taste a very pleasant coffee flavor with sweetness, like espresso with a sugar cube. After a centimeter the flavor is woody, with some caramel and some pepper. Slowly i start to taste spices too. After a third the cigar gets sweeter. The flavors are not strong but so beautifully balanced, it’s amazing. Halfway I taste chocolate with a little cayenne pepper. There is also a honey like sweetness along with the other flavors. The sweet chocolate is getting stronger. After two thirds I taste some dark wood again, mild spicy, honey and a very mild citrus. Near the end the flavors all grow in strength with a nice, balanced dose of pepper. The last centimeter is pepper and nuts.


The smoke is medium thick at the start but is slowly gets thicker. The draw is great. The white ash is beautifully layered with some black smears. The burn is slow and just a little bit off. This medium full bodied and full flavored, extremely well balanced cigar gave me two and a half hours of cigar enjoyment.

Would I buy this cigar again? Without a doubt, I thought there wasn’t much room for improvement at the Sobremesa but this Mi Querido is even better.

Score: 94

94
edit: Steve Saka responded to the review on Facebook: “The manufacturer is NACSA – a very well known factory in our industry for producing value priced cigars. About 2 years ago they decided they really wanted to step up their game which included a total retrofit of their facility, a wholesale change over of their top and key personnel and the decision to work with a total pain in the a$$ – me. Many people in the industry said I was crazy, but imo they are just lazy and do not understand potential or what is needed to push a factory into being its best. I got the wacky-tabacy factory to make Liga Privada, while JDN has been a great factory on their own merits I was able to get them to expand their horizons flavor and blending wise, so working to improve an economy factory into becoming a factory that could craft true premiums was a walk-in-the-park particularly since they wanted to change, to do more and they took aggressive action to do so… many people forget that master cigar makers like Fuente and Padron originally started out as bundle cigar operations. And through hard work and dedication to the craft they have become two of the very best in the world. IMO, Mi Querida is the finest cigar every produced at NACSA, but it will not be their last – they have the right people and practices in place now to make exceptional handmade premiums in addition to maintaining their value priced production cigars.”

Categories: 94, Mi Querida, Nicaragua American Cigars S.A., Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

Cigar of the month March

Over the last month I reviewed 9 cigars and the cigar of the month march is:

Undercrown Flying Pig XLR with a 92 score.

March was the first month I rated a cigar below 80 points, but then again, the Undercrown Flying Pig XLR was a very pleasant surprise so overall it was a good month with two cigars that let me down.

Now as for the complete list of cigars I smoked in March for Cigarguideblog:

1) Undercrown Flying Pig XLR (Nicaragua) 92 points
2) Rocky Patel Super Ligero Lancero (Honduras) 92 points
3) La Flor Dominicana NOX Toro (Dominican Republic) 92 points
4) Kristoff Pistoff Corona Gorda (Dominican Republic) 91 points
5) Alec Bradley Black Market Robusto (Honduras) 90 points
6) Don Labalet Robusto (Netherlands) 89 points
7) Fratello Boxer Torpedo (Nicaragua) 89 points
8) Viaje Circa 45 #1 Robusto (Dominican Republic) 83 points
9) Plasencia Reserva Organica Limitada 2001 Torpedo (Nicaragua) 77 points

The Undercrown Flying Pig was a huge surprise as it was not the gimmick I suspected it was.

Categories: Cigar of the month | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a 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

Sobremesa Short Churchill

Back in 1996, years before I smoked my first premium cigar (that was a Cuban Cohiba in Indonesia late 2005) Steve Saka started what was most likely the first consumer oriented website on cigars ever. As I mentioned, it was years before I lit my first premium cigar so I missed that Steve started working for JR Cigars as a dedicated consultant for sales, marketing and product development. Actually, the first time I ever heard his name was after he moved to Drew Estate and created the cigar that was a game changer for Drew Estate, Liga Privada no.9, and the follow ups like the T52 and undercrown lines.

After leaving Drew Estate Steve took a hiatus before returning with his own company, Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust and his first line: Sobremesa. This cigar is made by Joya de Nicaragua but the blend is made by Saka and he actually owns the tobacco himself instead of using Joya’s tobacco. I heard and read a lot of the cigar and finally met Steve at intertabac last September. We chatted a bit and he gave me two cigars, his new blend Mi Querida and this 4 3/4 x48 Sobremesa short Churchill.

The wrapper is an Ecuadorean Habano rosado with a Mexican Matacapan binder and a filler consisting from Nicaraguan tobacco and Pennsylvania Broadleaf. The band is awesome, the shape is unique, it’s a crown, not a picture of a crown but completely shaped as a crown, very detailed and the brown of the ‘gaps’ in the crown matches the color of the wrapper perfectly. The simple yet matching foot band spells the name Sobremesa is beautiful curly letters. The wrapper is beautiful, shiny and I only see one vein. The construction feels good and the cigar has a medium strong barnyard aroma with also a hint of burned wood. I punched the cigar and found a great cold draw with some pepper and raisin.

After lighting the cigar with my Ronson varaflame I taste espresso with a woody background and a little sweetness. Soon the sweetness is stronger with wood, the espresso is gone.

After a third the sweetness is gone, the cigar now tastes like smooth oak with a little citrus aftertaste. Halfway I taste a little bit of sweetness again. The wood also changed a bit in flavor but it’s still wood. I also taste a very mild dark, mildly sweet, chocolate but is disappears quickly.

The smoke is white, thick and I get a medium amount of it. The burn starts of a bit crooked but it’s corrected itself. The ash is silver gray and beautifully layered. It’s also firm. The draw is great, no plugs and the right resistance. This is a great medium bodied yet full flavored cigar. The smoke time is about 90 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Hell yeah!

Score: 93

93

Categories: 93, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars, Sobremesa | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Norteño lonsdale

Norteño means northerner and that’s the term Nicaraguans use for the people from the Esteli region and it became a term where Norteños are proud of, the nickname of Real Esteli is ‘el tren del norte’. Norteño is also the second cigar Willy Herrera made under the Herrera Esteli brand for Drew Estate. I got this cigar when visiting the Drew Estate factory in Esteli last May and I’ve been waiting to light it for a review, that time arrived now.
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First thing that I notice is the weird shape, it’s a ring 44 cigar but it ring 50 wide so automatically it’s thin, an unusual shape and I hope pictures do it justice. The Mexican San Andres wrapper, which wrapped a Honduran binder and Nicaraguan filler, has a few veins that make it rustic. The band is simple. The cigar has a very pleasure and quite strong hay aroma. The predraw is fine, I taste some spices and some sweetness.
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A sharp pepper taste, mixed with espresso, that’s my first thought after lighting this cigar. After a few puffs I taste wood and spices, including some pepper. It reminds me of the Herrera Esteli although it’s definitely not the same. Close to a third it’s spices with some sweetness.
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After a third I get a little bit of dark chocolate with pepper. Halfway I also taste wood, the pepper disappears, it’s wood with a salty flavor now. The saltiness disappears, pepper returns again.
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The draw is amazing and as you can expect from Drew Estate, the smoke is thick and copious. The ash is light colored. The burn on this full bodied, full flavored cigar is good. I had to clip the cigar again after two thirds due to some tar built up. And the weird shape? Didn’t bother me at all during the the hour and forty minute smoke.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Yeah, solid cigar, not the best one I smoked but still very pleasant.

Appearance: 7
Construction: 8
Draw: 9
Burn: 8
Smoke & ash: 8
Aroma first part: 7
Aroma second part: 7
Aroma third part: 7

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

Herrera Esteli Short Corona Gorda

I had smoked some of Willy Herrera’s blends when he was still at my favorite Miami cigar factory, El Titan de Bronze, so I was really happy when Jonathan Drew gave me a box of the Herrera Esteli corona gorda when I visited the gran fabrica Drew Estate back in February of 2014. When I smoked the cigar I was a bit disappointed and didn’t touch the box for a year. When I gave it a second chance I liked it a lot and now I have to do a review before this box is empty.
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This nice little cigar looks great, a nice smooth and pale wrapper, a classic ‘old fashioned’ cigar band, only a few thin veins and a beautiful cap. The cigar has an odd cardboard aroma. The construction feels good. The predraw is fine and I taste spicy raisin.
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At first I taste coffee, slightly bitter but a pleasant bitter. The bitterness disappears almost immediately and I taste some dry wood with the coffee. This cigar is very cubanesque in flavor, but with flawless construction.
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After a third I taste meaty wood with some pepper in the aftertaste. Later some spices show up too, green herbs like parsley. After two thirds the coffee makes a surprising return. Wood is still the main flavor though, a little spicy.
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The smoke is plentiful as you can expect from a Drew Estate cigar, although it’s no undercrown or liga privada. The smoke is beautiful light blue with gray. The ash is almost white and firm.The draw is flawless, just like the burn. The cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The cigar lasted me for an hour and twenty minutes.
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Would I buy this cigar again? You betcha.

Appearance: 8
Construction: 9
Draw: 9
Burn: 9
Smoke & ash: 8
Aroma first part: 8
Aroma second part: 7
Aroma third part: 7

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

Tabak Especial belicoso negro

Now I swore never to smoke a flavored or infused cigar anymore after smoking the horrible Gorillafinger by Lars Tetens, but people kept saying that the Tabak especial negro was worth trying so I gave the Tabak Especial negro belicoso a try. I got this 5×52 cigar at the Intertabac trade show.
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I smell a chemical chocolate smell, the smell is quite strong too. I do like the band on this almost black cigar with a big vein on the wrapper. The construction feels good. The wrapper tastes disgustingly sweet. The predraw is tight and all I taste is that nasty chemical sweetness from the wrapper.
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I taste an earthy flavor with chemical sweetness. I also taste some leather. After three quarters of an inch I taste leather with that chemical sweetness. The earthy flavors have gone. After an inch the cigar gets less chemical and the sweetness turns floral. Slowly some spicy herbs show up too.
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Halfway I taste spicy herbs with a floral sweetness. I also taste a bit of red pepper. After two thirds I still taste the floral flavors, a hint of nuts and a peppery and herbal aftertaste. Near the end I taste pepper with a nasty chemical floral flavor.
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This cigar lasted me for an hour and five horrible minutes. The draw is great and I got a decent amount of smoke. The smell is chemical. The light gray ash is compact and firm. This cigar is medium flavored and medium bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Not a chance in the world

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 6 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 6 / 10

Categories: Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaraguan cigars, Tabak especial | Tags: , , , , | Leave a 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

My uzi weighs a ton 5×60

My uzi weighs a ton, yes, that is a Public Enemy song but it is also the latest creation of Drew Estate in cooperation with Joya de Nicaragua. All three sizes have a 60 ring gauge, the only difference is the length, 5 inch, 6 inch and 7 inch. I smoked the 5 inch version which I got from Jonathan Drew at the Intertabac tradeshow in Germany a few weeks ago. Even though it is a 60 ring cigar I was really looking forward to try it as I am a fan of the Liga Privada #9, Liga Privada T52 and the Undercrown.
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The cellophane wrapped cigar comes with a big, modern yet simple and therefore pretty band. The greasy dark wrapper is oily. The construction feels good. I smell a mild wood smell. The predraw is fine and I taste raisin.
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I taste an earthy flavor with spicy herbs although the spice tones down almost immediately. After half an inch I taste a mild sweetness too. After a third I taste some herbs, a bit of wood and a little bit of sugar. There isn’t much development in flavors.
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Halfway the cigar gets a little sweeter and soon after the cigar gets spicy too. I taste spicy herbs with a bit of pepper. After two thirds I also taste some spices. Near the end I taste wood and some herbs.
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This cigar lasted me for two hours. The draw is great and I got a lot of smoke. The pepper and salt colored ash is firm. I had some problems with the burn. This cigar is medium flavored, medium bodied and a bit boring.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Nope!

Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 6 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 6 / 10
Aroma second part: 6 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

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

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