Drew Estate

Debonaire Sagita Petite Lancero

Debonaire Petite LanceroI’ve been enjoying the Debonaire line for a while now and with the new distributorship from Drew Estate it’s thankfully making them much more accessible to everyone. I managed to get my hands on some of the Sagita Petite Lancero and enjoyed it so much I wanted to get an article up about it. The Sagita offers a medium-plus strength profile with the rich, deep sweetness we all look for out of the thick and durable broadleaf wrapper. Blender and owner Philip S. Zanghi III says, ” the dried fruit flavors, like currants and raisins, really stand out in this particular size. The Lancero is a size I love, however I love this one just a bit more because it comes in at a 5.5 inch length; its size, along with its balanced strength and refined flavor remind me of an arrow and what the arrow represents in an archers quiver.” Sagita is in fact a Latin word for arrow, which is traditionally spelled Sagitta, but when Phil presented it as a production item in the Dominican Republic it was spelled Sagita, missing a “t“. Phil chose to keep it this way as a celebration of the Dominican’s spelling of the word.Debonaire Petite Lancero

The construction of the cigar is firm and full to the touch but not hard and gives to pressure between the fingers. There is some noticeable veining which adds to the overall rustic look of the cigar. The seems are nice and tight and when the light pigtail cap is cut the cigar is unaffected. The color is of dark rich coffee beans.

The smell form the body had a lovely leather and cedar aroma with a hint of sweetness. From the foot these were more noticeable along with a nice punch of spices. The pre-light notes offer the usual tobacco flavors that always makes me think of unsweetened tea.

Debonaire Petite LanceroThe cigar lights easily and at first has a slightly bitter citric flavor. This quickly disappears and becomes an espresso with lemon flavor for the next couple of draws then settles into a rich coffee flavor with plenty of pepper. The cigar produces plenty of nice heavy smoke that weighs on the tongue. It has an easy draw that gives just a touch of resistance. The ash falls easily and has a dark gray color with solid bands.

This flavor stays through to the halfway point while the dried fruit flavors that Phil had mentioned become more apparent. Continuing on through the cigar the flavor begins to intensify and become more of a smooth tobacco with a nice peppery kick. By the end of the smoke it has a much fuller flavor than expected from something this size.

For a small sized cigar really has a full flavor, starting off somewhat timid but ramping up to a large taste by the midpoint made this an interesting smoke. Not sure if I would recommend this to novice smokers out there but for all you maduro smokers out there that want to be surprised by the flavor you can get out of a 38 ring gauge this is one you should pick up.

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf (USA)

Binder: San Vicente (DR)

Filler: Nicaraguan & Dominican (ft. Reñe Ligero)

Website: Debonairerum.com

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 pints

Drew Estate Undercrown Sun Grown

Drew Estate Sun GrownWith the Undercrown Maduro on one end of the spectrum and the Shade on the other people were left wondering if there would be something to bridge the flavor gap. In walks the Undercrown Sun Grown. Released at ICPCR 2017, the Undercrown Sun Grown is the third full release from Drew Estate in their Undercrown series and it offers the same use of the T52 leaf for the binder, an extensively aged ligero in the filler from Nicaragua and of course the Ecuadorian Sumatra seed sun grown wrapper. Following the same story line as the other Undercrowns it was blended on the factory floor but with the help of Willy Herrera.

The appearance of the cigar is great as always. The wrapper is the color of coffee beans with medium veining but still wrapped smoothly and with tight seams. It is full filled cigar that doesn’t offer much give when pressed between the fingers.

The smell from the body gives notes of cedar, leather and cocoa and from the foot hints of chocolate and a punch of leather. The pre-light draw has a medium pull with a touch of sweetness and the distinct flavor of raisins. The cap cuts easily with no damage to the wrapper as well as it lights easily and evenly.

First half gives flavors that are peaty and earthy with a bit of barnyard. It’s a bit tighter on the draw then I prefer but manageable. Smoke production is light until about a third of the way down where is begins to produce a rich thick smoke you can almost chew on. To me the flavor intensifies slightly while smoking the first half but note enough to make note of.

The second half has a touch more bite of salt to the tongue; sweetness and fruit kick in a bit more with pepper stalking the other flavors shortly after. By the last third the cigar really comes into its own, the smoke produced becomes lighter and all the flavors begin to mesh into each other making for a relaxed warm tasting smoke. The flavor overall, to me, is medium to medium heavy with a dark chocolate flavor accompanied with a hint roasted almonds and a slightly spicy finish.

Over all I enjoyed the stick although I didn’t notice a very large difference between the Undercrown Maduro and the Undercrown Sun Grown. I will say the main difference I noticed with this stick is that depending on what you choose to pair it with will have a heavy influence in what notes you pick up in the cigar. (And yes before everybody chimes in this is usually the case HOWEVER with this particular blend I found it to be more so than usual. The flavor profile seemed to change so much that I went through several of these before finally making the decision to smoke one with just a glass of water to write this article.) Be sure to pair what you’re drinking when you smoke this to the taste you want at that time. My personal favorite was having a strong bourbon on the rocks, which really brought out the spicy notes. The price point is more than reasonable and the overall construction makes it a solid win for your next cigar purchase.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra Sun Grown

Binder and Filler: Connecticut River Valley Stalk Cut/Cured Sun Grown Habano, Nicaraguan

Size smoked for this article: Corona 5 5/8 x 46

Price: $8.00-$9.00 depending on size and area.

Website: Drewestate.com

Rating: 4.1 out if 5 pints

Pappy Van Winkle Tradition

Pappy Van Winkle TraditionAs someone who drinks bourbon on a daily basis the idea of the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition cigar was an exciting event for me. Whether it had anything to do with the whiskey itself really didn’t matter it was the idea that a blend had been made for us whiskey drinkers and gotten the seal of approval from Julian Van Winkle himself. I might have been a little over zealous in texting photos to everyone I knew once I got them using the unicorn emoji and #bejealous but like I said I was excided. (What can I say, my friends and I are all immature.)

Willy Herrera made this particular blend during his tour of the Drew Estate factory in Nicaragua while deciding to join the Drew Estate team. Several other blends where given to Julian to sample and ultimately this was the one he found himself going back to and like that the Tradition was born. Now that we have the quick history behind it, on to the important stuff.

Construction of the cigar is solid as is the case with pretty much anything you get from Drew Estate. The seams on the wrapper are tight and even and the feel of the cigar throughout the body is full with no dead spots. The wrapper itself has very minimal veining giving it a smooth complexion. The color is a light roasted coffee bean with a just a hint of the oily sheen you’d expect from an Oscuro. The feel of the cigar is full but yielding to pressure between the fingers

The smell from the body is woodsy and semi-sweet. From the foot there is the distinct smell of raisins, leather and, perhaps it’s my imagination because of the excitement but bourbon as well. I choose a straight cut for this cigar and the cap comes off easily and has no effect on the integrity of the cigar. The pre-light draw is firm but not to the point that you feel you’re fighting with it. The pre-light flavor is that of fresh brewed tea and hay.

It lights easily and burns evenly as it starts with mild resistance on the draw. The cigar produced plenty of smoke that had a light mouth feel and had a nice sweet scent. The initial flavors to me were spice and pepper with a citrus finish but remained mellow making this an easy to smoke cigar and paired well bourbon. This flavor carries on for the first half of the stick.

The second half of the smoke shows the peppery flavor becoming slightly more prominent with the taste of fresh bread and hints of leather nudging its way on to the pallet. The ash was light grey and held tightly for the duration of the smoke, only falling off when requested. The burn stayed consistent and even through the duration of the cigar.

The overall construction of this cigar was top notch and the Belicoso size was perfect for me. The flavors were fantastic and were blended to the point that none of the flavors were overpowering but mingle together to as a great smoke. This made for a rich, complex smoke that you could either pay attention to all of the subtle nuances or just sit back and relax and enjoy. Not surprisingly this cigar paired very well with bourbon but could easily be enjoyed with coffee or sparkling water. If you happen to come across these pick up whatever you can because you will not be disappointed.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro

Filler: Indonesian and Dominican

Sizes: Coronita 4 x 46, Robusto Grande 5.5 x 54, Toro 6 x 50, Belicoso Fino 5 x 50

Also available in these sizes but only available in certain ways.

Churchill 7 x 48: Exclusively available at Drew Diplomat Spirits Retailers

Lonsdale 6.5 x 44: Box Exclusively at Drew Diplomat Rewards Events in October, November and December 2017

Corona 5.5 x 44: Available exclusively from Jonathan Drew and Julian Van Winkle

Price: $21.00-$26.00

Website: Drewestate.com

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 pints


IMG_7955Knowing that Willy Herrera was making this cigar and it was being made in a more traditional Cuban style I was excited to try it. I did a little bit of investigating before the package arrived to know what I would be getting into. All of the Herrera Estelis are rolled in the entubado style with a triple cap. This is the bunching technique, which rolls each filler leaf into itself, almost like a small scroll. Each individually “scrolled” leaf is then placed together to form the bunch. This skillful rolling technique creates a more firmly packed cigar, which allows air to travel between all of the leaves, carrying more aromatics/flavors to the palate. Entubado rolling is the most difficult and complex bunching method and is therefore rarely employed in large-scale manufacturing. (Thank you T.U. for providing a well-explained definition). After having several of these this is what I found.

The cigar is covered in an Ecuadorian wrapper that is light milk chocolate in color. The veining is minimal and the seams are tight and is toped off with a classic Cuban style simple band. The over all feel of the body is giving to the touch but obviously well constructed with no noticeable dead spots. The smell from the body is mild and is bread like with notes of coffee. From the foot it is a bit stringer and has the smells of licorice, aged leather and sugared ginger.

The cap cut easily and with no distress to the construction. Lighting was easily done with two matches and the initial draws provided good amounts of medium weighted smoke. The first third of the cigar burned evenly with the ash holding tight for up to almost an inch before asking to be knocked off. The flavor is a little sweet with a bit of pepper as well as the ginger on the back end.

The second third becomes a bit heavier with the flavor getting stronger. The sweetness begins to dissipate while the pepper and spice remains. The burn continues to be even and construction appears flawless at this point.

The last third stays close to the second third in flavor with just a bit more of the spice notes. The sweetness makes a small reappearance but is quickly gone again and covered by the spice along with a small amount of coffee flavor. The burn stayed consistent throughout the whole smoke as well as no faults in construction could be found.

Along with most items from Drew Estate I would recommend this cigar to anyone looking for a fuller bodied smoke. The build of this cigar is solid and hard to find in any other cigar available to the American market right now and the effort is clearly recognizable when smoking. Go grab a couple a let me know what you think.

On a side note Famous Smoke Shop has started a new cigar and spirits online pairing guide. Go check it out at https://www.famous-smoke.com/cigar-pairing/


Strength: Full

Shape: Toro

Size: 6 x 52

Country: Nicaragua

Wrapper Color: Natural

Wrapper Origin: Ecuadorian

Wrapper Leaf: Habano

Website: Famous-smoke.com

Price: $37.99 for a 5 pack or $185.99 for a box of 25

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 pints





So, it’s time for a KFC. No, not the greasy chicken meal! A Kentucky Fire Cured by Drew Estate. Slightly larger than it’s Baitfish cousin, the KFC is a decent 4X46. In a mazo of 10, this is a perfect size for a short smoke.
Drew Estate have broken the mould here. By smoking the wrapper over hickory and oak. It infuses the leaf with a scent reminiscent of burning leaves in the autumn.
Nicaraguan long fillers bind this all together and give an extremely pleasant smoke. Not too mild, punchy in places, and never losing that smokey aroma that’s prevalent throughout.
This is a taste sensation, totally different to anything that’s on the market right now. Kudos to Drew Estate for breaking away from the norm, and bringing us something totally unique. There’s no Colonels secret recipe here, just a mighty fine taste that’s more than finger lickin good, it’s broken the mould!


From Distinguished Ruffian Member @1an300