2021 marked the 25th Anniversary of the opening of the first Smoke Inn premium cigar store, and on Friday 05/06/22 Drew Estate and Smoke Inn’s owner, Abe Dababneh, celebrated the landmark achievement with the launch of a special cigar that not only commemorates Smoke Inn’s historic birthday but also honors Abe’s father and mentor, Raji Dababneh. This cigar was blended by Drew Estate Master Blender Willy Herrera and produced at El Titan De Bronze, the Little Havana boutique cigar factory that’s owned by Herrera’s family and where all Herrera Estelí Miami cigars are made. While the top band is visually the same as the Miami release it is a completely new blend and something Willy says is unlike anything else he has blended. Also every Herrera Estelí Miami Smoke Inn 25th Anniversary Raji cigar (yeah I know, it’s a mouthful, deal with it) features a commemorative band around its foot. I was fortunate enough to make it to the event and pick up a couple of boxes so you know a review had to happen, so let’s get into this thing.
The wrapper is the color of dark roasted coffee beans with a fair amount of mottling, some noticeable veins running along the body and a soft powder coat finish. The cigar was firm to the touch but a bit bumpy giving it an overall rustic appearance. The odor from the body is cedar, barnyard and hay. From the foot the hay really stays out and notes of sweet tobacco. The cap cuts easily causing no damage to the body. The cold draw is a little on the firm side but not tight, I get flavors of Licorice, heavy cream some bread and a hint of spice. After all the preliminary things it is time to light this thing.
Straight away the cigar starts off with the taste of well seasoned meat with a nice briny flavor that gets your salivation going when you press your young to the roof of your mouth and a pepper finish that lingers. Smoke production is ample and has a medium weight mouth feel. On the retrohale I notice more of the pepper and a sneaky sweetness hiding.
Moving into the second third of this cigar the meatiness is still present with the spices picking up a bit and the flavor of well aged tobacco that has a slightly sweet floral taste. The burn stays even with no need for touch ups and the smoke continues to billow out leaving a lovely aroma in the room.
In the final third, which is almost always my favorite, the flavor really picks up. At this point the cigar basically becomes a meal with a taste you can nearly chew on. The meat flavor becomes dense and is akin to eating a steak that was prepared just right and finishing with a rich spiciness. The burn line stays even for the duration and the smoke production was like a freight train.
This ended up being a phenomenal cigar that I took down to a nub I really can’t say enough good things. It finished out to a medium/medium full flavor that stayed with me for while after smoking that kept reminding me how good the cigar was. It would pair well with just about anything but my suggestion for a non-alcoholic drink would be a black tea and for booze definitely a nice bourbon on the rocks or bring out the subtle sweetness in the cigar with an old fashioned. If you’re not in Florida to pick one up in person they will be available on Smoke Inn’s website while supplies last and with how good these are they won’t last long. In fact I’m going there now to pick up another box.
FOOT NOTE: The Herrera Estelí Miami Smoke Inn 25th Anniversary The Raji cigars are packaged in 10-count boxes that are adorned with the Smoke Inn logo. Ramping up the celebration and honoring Raji Dababneh even more, Raji’s signature is emblazoned on the bottom of every box. Along with a commemorative Raji ashtray every box purchased between now and the end of August (if stock holds out that long) will give you an automatic entry into the Smoke Inn/Drew Estate Little Havana Weekend Drawing that will be done on September 14th. (The trip time will be determined in October.) Winners will experience a celebratory Dinner Thursday Night Near Smoke Inn’s Headquarters in Boynton Beach. Friday the group will depart to Little Havana where we will tour the legendary El Titan de Bronze Factory where the Raji Cigar was made along with other Little Havana Sites, Plus a Special DE Experience. Lunch and dinner will be provided. The experience will end with a Saturday Morning Special LIVE broadcast of KMA Radio from Smoke Inn HQ with a specially catered Brunch. If you’re not in Florida to pick one up in person they will be available on Smoke Inn’s website while supplies last and with how good these are they won’t last long. In fact I’m going there now to pick up another box.
Wrapper – Mexican San Andrés
Binder – Nicaraguan
Filler – Nicaragua /Dominican Republic
Rating: 4.7 out of 5 pints.
- Mitch Rockwell AKA El Prez is the founder of Distinguished Ruffian. While starting out as a chef at a young age he was introduced to cigars while cooking for various people. He left that industry and became a Licensed Optician and Hearing Instrument Specialist but, cigars and cooking are his real passion.