Posts Tagged With: Willy Herrera

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

Herrera Esteli Short Corona Gorda

Whenever I am in Miami, and that used to be once a year, I would always stop by El Titan de Bronze to say hi to Sandy Cobas. And every time I said I went to El Titan people would ask me “did you see Willy, their master blender?” and the answer would always be “no”. For some reason, I always missed Willy when I went to that beautiful, cozy, wonderful and small factory on Calle Ocho that I love so much. And then Willy left, Drew Estate made him an offer he couldn’t refuse so he made the transfer. Then I met Willy, at the Drew Estate offices when I dropped by to say hello to Jonathan. Ever since, whenever I’m at El Titan de Bronze I run into Willy there too, it’s weird but funny.


Now back in february 2014 I went to Nicaragua and at the time my then employer had dropped Drew Estate, they didn’t sign with Agio yet so all the new stuff was not distributed in The Netherlands. While at the Gran Fabrica Drew Estate JD gave me a box of the Herrera Esteli Short Corona Gorda with the words “you can’t get these, enjoy them”. Jonathan is a great and generous person and not just because he gave me a box of cigars. These Nicaraguan made cigars with an Ecuadorean habano wrapper didn’t do it for me so fresh but now that I aged them a bit they became much better, so it’s time to do a review.


The wrapper is actually quite mild for a habano wrapper, but I guess the clouds in Ecuador that make their connecticut naturally shade grown did their work on this habano too. I see a thin veil from the bottom almost to the top and it gives the cigar some character, like a scar can make someone more attractive. The aroma is quite strong, it reminds me of hay and a sweaty horse smell. The ring is simple yet beautiful, its a square, white with simple red letters saying Herrera Esteli imported from Nicaragua with a thick golden outline. On the sides there is a whole bunch of text about the cigar being made with the best tobacco at the Gran Fabrica Drew Estate and its too much to copy it all. If you want to read it, go buy a Herrera Esteli.


I punched the cigar, the cold draw is good with a flavor of hay and quite some pepper. I lit the cigar with a soft flame and taste a strong yet mildly sweet espresso. After a few puffs there is also a mild salty flavor to the cigar, which is quite nice. After an inch I taste a mild caramel, some nuts, pepper and cedar. There is a mild harshness to the flavors in the front of my mouth. Right before the halfway point the nutty flavor is getting a little stronger just like the pepper. After two thirds the nuttiness is gaining strength and is now up to par with the pepper. In the aftertaste I get a very mild minty flavor. The nuts are a mix of salted peanuts, walnuts and macadamia.


The smoke is fantastic, just like all Drew Estate cigar this Herrera Estelí has a lot of thick smoke. The ash is white too, dense and firm. The draw is flawless. The burn is good, not perfect though but good. The smoke time is a hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, and I know there is a limited edition lancero out there somewhere, I want one or two to try

Score: 90

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

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
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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: , , , , , , ,

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: , , , ,

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: , , , , ,

El Titan de Bronze redemption sun grown robusto

I used google to find some background info on this cigar and learned that this cigar is made in Miami with Nicaraguan filler, binder and Ecuadorian Sun Grown Habano wrapper and is made by Pablo Romay. Upon feeling this 5 x 50 robusto I found some softer spots in the cigar, which made me worry about the burn. The wrapper has a lot of veins, including a big fat one, and feels dry. The veins are covered by 2 bands, so the appearance is still acceptable. The predraw is just fine and gives me a bit of a dry woody flavor.
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I light the cigar and taste a full coffee flavor combined with a little pepper. The flavor is definitely full. After about an inch, the coffee turns into leather and some wood and I can taste an aftertaste of pepper in the back of my throat. But leather is the main flavor.
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After a third, the cigar becomes somewhat bitter and harsh, I don’t like this at all, but since I set my mind on reviewing this sucker I keep on smoking. Right at the halfway point there is a creamy chocolate flavor fighting the bitterness and that fight continues right till the turning point.
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The smoke on this cigar is just fine, full & thick. I have absolutely no complaints on the razor sharp burn, but the ash is a bit frayed. I consider this to be a full flavored medium bodied cigar.
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Would I buy this cigar again? No, it started out nice, but the second part of the cigar wasn’t good enough and the cigar didn’t recover enough in the last part to make up for the bitter taste in the middle.

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 5 / 10
Aroma third part: 6 / 10

Categories: American cigars, El Titan de Bronze, Tabacalera El Titan de Bronze | Tags: , , , , ,

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