Saturday, November 19, 2011

Liga Undercrown Robusto by Drew Estate

My friend Kris has been inquiring as to why I haven't sampled this new release from Drew Estates yet, as he knows that one of the top sticks in my rotation is the Liga Privada T52.  The price point is a bit lower than the LP #9 and T52 lines, and I'm thinking that these might be a little easier to get your hands on too.  The Undercrown has a beautiful dark chocolate colored wrapper and a prestigious looking navy blue and gold band.  It appears to be fully packed with no soft spots.  It smells nice and rich, reminiscent of those T52's that I love.

The story here is that the torcedores (rollers) were smoking up the Liga Privadas, which are limited in production.  A similarly dark Mexican San Andres Negro wrapper was used instead of the stalk cut Connecticut on the LP blends.  I read that Jonathan Drew describes this line as an "inverse Liga Privada" because the Undercrown blend shares many of the same tobaccos as the No. 9 and T52, but put together in a different way.  The T52's wrapper serves as the binder in the Undercrown, and while the leaves are the same, different primings and vintages are used. 

I've paired this smoke with a bottle of water.  Straight clip, toast the foot, and here we go.

1/3: Perfect draw.  Cedar notes on the light.  There's a nice visual contrast between the white ash and the dark wrapper.  As I continue, I'm presented with notes of peppercorn just before the taste shifts to mild and creamy.  As you can probably see in the photo below, there is plenty of "at rest" smoke. 

2/3: Very good burn so far, and the smoke is quite plentiful.  The ash dropped at about 1.5".  In the 2nd third, I would describe the experience as full-bodied and medium strength.  Notes of roasted coffee beans are present.  It's starting to smoke a little on the hot side, so I will reduce my speed for a little bit.

3/3: In the final third, some spice is present.  It is now back to near full strength.  For a brief time, the smoke is what I describe as "icey."  There's some spice on the tongue, and the draw has gotten just a little difficult.  The cigar has not gone out, but a relight has certainly brought it back to life.  With an inch and a half to go, the heat and the oiliness of the wrapper make their presence known, as my fingers feel almost wet (they're not though) due to the silkiness of the oily wrapper.  Total time: ~1.75 hours!

Verdict:  Good cigar!  With the popularity of the other Liga Privada lines, this cigar gives some of that taste and quality, but at the lower price point (around $7). 

*A special thanks to Mr. Jonathan Drew, who checked out this post, and left a comment faster than I could post the review to go along with the photo!

Size: 5 x 54
Wrapper: San Andreas Maduro
Binder: T52 Connecticut stalk cut & cured Habano
Filler: Brazilian Mata Fina and Nicaraguan

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Avion Perfecto

Pete Johnson (of Tatuaje) brings us the Avion.  This perfecto is box-pressed with a tapered foot, much like the Fuente Hemingway cigars.  There's plenty of information out there about the Avion line, which I believe was introduced this year at the 2011 IPCPR as an extension of the Fausto line.  The Avion is a partnership with Jaime Garcia at the My Father factory in Nicaragua. 

It is smooth, oily, and gives off a nice, rich scent of wood and caramel. 

I gave it a clip, and torched it up with my Xikar.  The draw is loose with some slight resistance. 

1/3: Spicy kick at the start, certainly a reminder that this is a "Garcia" stick.  My taste buds tell me that there is some cinnamon and a faint spice taste to start things off.  As I get further into the Avion Perfecto, the strength becomes more evident.  I wouldn't recommend this stick for newbies or lightweights.  The light gray ash held firm, but crooked at 1.5", so I gently knocked it off. 

2/3: Faint black pepper appears in the 2nd third.  The cigar still lets you know it is there, however its power has subsided somewhat.  Smooth, peppery smoke.

3/3: More pepper here.  Some strength returns. 

I picked up this vitola because they didn't have my normal preference of robusto or toro sizes.  Occasionally, it's nice to try something out of one's comfort zone.  Different vitolas provide a different experience, even with the same blends.  I'd like to get my hands on one of the aforementioned sizes for another go. 

Size: 6-3/4 x 48/52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan (Jalapa/Esteli Ligero)
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