Cigar

Liga Privada Dirty Rat

Liga Privada Dirty Rat

Good day, Distinguished Ruffian family. T Money back for another cigar review, just for your reading pleasure. This is a well-known cigar but has become kind of a unicorn due to availability and after-market pricing. I’m sure you all know the name and brand. As legend has it, Steve Saka created this cigar to have with his espresso while in Nicaragua. He has said to have over 50 boxes in his humidor and won’t smoke any that were made after his departure from Drew Estate. He even created the Sobremesa Short Churchill to replace this cigar so he could hoard his precious stash. I’m talking of course about the Liga Privada Unico Series Dirty Rat.

This has been a go-to early morning smoke for me, but they are hard to come by. This cigar has been aging since 2012. I have only a few left and wanted to get my notes down before I ran out. When I first started smoking cigars, finding the Unico Series on the shelves, was like finding the Holy Grail. The first one I had was the Feral Flying Pig. I’ve since stashed a couple of boxes of those away for a rainy day. The L40 was the next one I tried and being a hater of Lanceros, it didn’t do much for me. Then, this one came along. The corona size is also one that I had to grow to love and this is the one that sealed the deal for me. So without further ado, let’s get into it. It is a 5×44 Corona that comes with the same wrapper that is on the T-52. If you like the T-52, you’ll love this cigar. It has a Brazilian binder with Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers. It comes in a box of 12 with an MSRP of $12, but as you know, there is a huge markup on these hard-to-find Ligas. I bought this box from Jerry’s Cigars in Tucson, back in 2012. I cut it with the trusty Palio and fired it up with the DuPont DeFi Xtreme.

Liga Privada Unico Series Dirty Rat

Starting off, the smoke output is absolutely crazy, as with all Liga Privada cigars. There is a TON of earth right off the bat. Slight amount of pepper on the retrohale, but nothing crazy. Getting further in, it has some semi-sweet chocolate coming to the forefront. The sweetness and the earth just meld really well together. The strength and body are at the lower end of medium as I reach the second third.

The second third starts to really show that semi-sweet chocolate flavor. Earth is now barely hanging on, but it is still noticeable. The retrohale is still about the same with some slight spice with a bit of cherry wood. I had a tunnel starting and had to let it go out. After letting it go out and a relight, it seemed to fix itself. It’s tough with these corona-sized cigars to fix a tunnel, but this didn’t have a problem. Strength and body are about medium for both.

Finishing up the last third, there isn’t a whole lot of change. A bit more bite on the retrohale, but that is to be expected with the smaller ring gauge. Semi-sweet chocolate,

dark earth, and a touch of leather round out the cigar. I nubbed it at about the hour and 20-minute mark.

Overall, I think the age really smoothed out this blend and melded the flavors together. I remember there being much more transitions when I first smoked the cigar. This one was crazy smooth and even the retrohale didn’t make me sneeze or eyes water as I remember the younger versions doing. I haven’t been able to find any lately, so I have no frame of comparison, other than my original notes. If you like a corona size cigar and want something with coffee in the morning, this is your go-to. Great burn, only a small issue with the tunnel and huge smoke output.

T Money score: 4/5 rebuy box. If you can find these at, or close to MSRP, grab them. You definitely won’t be disappointed.

Wrapper –  Connecticut Broadleaf

Binder – Brazilian Mata Fina

Filler – Nicaraguan & Honduran

Website: www.drewestate.com

Rating: 4.0 out of 5 pints.

  • Travis Peterson AKA T Money is the Co-Captain of the Arizona/New Mexico Chapter of Distinguished Ruffians. He started his cigar journey in 2007 and hasn’t looked back. Outside of cigars he has a passion for brewing beer, playing guitar, bowling and golf. He is also a self proclaimed grilling and smoking expert. 

601 Black From Espinosa Cigars

601 Black

With Valentine’s Day upon us, it’s a day that can bring back the memories that we love and sometimes within the cigar industry a certain cigar may be brought back to remind us how much we missed and loved that particular cigar. 

Here we have the 601 Black Connecticut.  The 601 Black had been out of production for several years.  In 2020 this cigar was reintroduced as an annual limited editiion.  The 601 Black is a cigar that traces back to EO Brands, the partnership between Espinosa Cigars founder Erik Espinosa and Eddie Ortega.  601 Black was one of the original 601 blends released in the EO portfolios.  At the time it was released, it was considered a groundbreaking cigar in that it was one of the early Connecticut Shade blends to break the mold of traditional, milder Connecticut Shades and as Espinosa Cigars Director of Operations Hector Alfonso quoted, “the 601 Black was a cigar ahead of its time”. 

The 601 Black is certainly a cigar that might change your view on Connecticut Shade cigars.  Underneath the Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper leaf is a core of perfectly aged Nicaraguan long filler and binder tobaccos, yielding a more powerful and bolder smoke than an old-school Connecticut smoke. 

Getting ready to light this cigar up I take a few dry pulls to get the FULL aspect of the experience I am about to have.  In my dry draws I was able to pick up some caramel, toasted nuts, and cedar notes.  The cigar definitely started to get my glands active with saliva which was all before the cigar was even lit. 

As I began to light up, right off the rip, I was getting some very rich and flavorful pepper, cream, cedar, toasted nuts and dried fruit.  I can immediately understand why this cigar is typically not your traditional Connecticut Shade cigar.  As I continue to smoke the first 1/3 of the cigar it was staying strong with robust flavors of caramel, toasted nuts, cedar with a hint of floral notes to enhance my experience.  Continuing on with the second 1/3 of the cigar a nice frothy latte with some cocoa powder came to mind; coffee, cocoa, hints of sweetness, and molasses certainly surprised me yet the transition was certainly enjoyable.  As I continue with the last 1/3 of the 601 Black the strength and flavor really became prominent; molasses, espresso, cocoa, with hints of brown sugar.  

This cigar certainly illustrates why it stands out above most traditional Connecticut Shade cigars.  This cigar will absolutely pair well with your drink of choice.  The 601 Black is offered in boxes of 10 and ONLY in a Toro Size.  This cigar is most certainly one you want to hunt for. I would rate this cigar 4.9 out of 5 which say’s a lot because I can be quite picky on a cigar from start to finish but this cigar was absolutely delicious and almost flawless.  I did have one tiny burn issue half way through but it didn’t last long and the flavor profile was impeccable. Check out your local B&M to track some of these down!

Wrapper –  Ecuadorian Connecticut

Binder – Nicaragua 

Filler – Nicaragua

Price: Around $9.00 a stick

Website: www.espinosacigars.com

Rating: 4.9 out of 5 pints.

Plasencia Reserva Original

The Reserva Original from Plasencia had been staring at me through the glass door in one of my humidors for a while now so, I decided it was time to light it up and see what I thought. Touted by Plasencia as the first and only cigar on the market made solely with tobacco certified by the Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) and in the same way Nicarao Indians did over 500 years ago. It debuted at, the then named, IPCPR show in 2017 but was originally an exclusive cigar for Famous Smoke Shop for years prior. Plasencia has been around for ages, growing and rolling tobacco for a variety of big name companies, which I touched on this in the Alma Del Fuego review written a while back, but as they continue to produce more and more blends for themselves there’s always something new to try.

Taking a good look at the cigar the wrapper is dark brown in color with small but noticeable veining and some mottling. The seams are visible but tight, it is smooth to the touch, firm when pressed and no dead spots could be found in the construction. The smell from the body was chocolate, roasted coffee beans and hay. From the foot I picked up a distinct odor of sweet dried fruit.

The triple cap cuts easily and does not damage the construction of the cigar. Of the few I smoked pre-light draw varied between light and medium in resistance. It has as a rich sweet tobacco flavor along with hints of spice.

The first third of the cigar started off creamy with a bit of spice and cedar flavors that linger on the tongue. The burn was even and it produced a fair amount of pleasant smelling light weighted smoke.

Creeping into the second third the creamy flavor stays but now I’m getting the sweeter flavors of the dried fruit noticed when smelling the foot. There is still spice and cedar on the retro hail (if you like doing that sort of thing). The burn continues in an even manner and smoke production is ample.

In the final third the flavors become a bit more difficult to describe. The cedar and spice are present but also salt and sweet when pressing the tongue to the roof of the mouth. Over all it finishes as a nice mellow smoke. The burn stays even for the duration and the smoke doesn’t fail to satisfy and fill the room.

From start to finish this was a thoroughly enjoyable cigar. As it has a medium body it’s an easy smoke and could be paired with just about anything. With its intriguing story of the tobacco used it makes this Nicaraguan puro both a great cigar as well as a novelty. Priced reasonably I would definitely recommend grabbing a handful next time you’re in your local B&M shop and see them, if you don’t see them ask them to bring them in, it doesn’t disappoint.

Wrapper – Nicaraguan

Binder – Nicaraguan

Filler – Nicaraguan

Price: $7.50 – $10.00 depending on vitola

Website: https://www.plasenciacigars.com

Rating: 4.6 out of 5 pints