February 3, 2013

Cigar Review: Herrera Esteli Lonsdale

Herrera  Esteli
Most of you who are reading this know who Willy Herrera is; let us all face the fact that we are passionate cigar smokers and follow cigar news daily. If you are unaware of who he is though, Will Herrera is a new and exciting addition to the Drew Estate team. He actually joined the company in mid 2011, but we are now seeing his first release hit the shelves a little after 18 months. He has been catching a lot of press for the company lately, and I would say fitting into the company wonderfully. Before working for/with Drew Estate he was down in Miami at El Titan de Bronze. While there he worked on projects such as the Casa Miranda, La Palina Goldie and more. While he still has close ties with his family at El Titan de Bronze, he is now down in Nicaragua at La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate doing what he has always done and does best, making great cigars.

The Lonsdale
His first release out of La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, and his first personal release, is the Herrera Esteli. The cigar comes in five vitola offerings and if you ever wondered what Cuban packaging looks like, buy a box of these cigars. The cigar is rolled in the traditional Cuban entubar method, and is finished with a triple cap. No other cigars at La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate are rolled in this manner. The cigar is currently limited to only 63 retailers nationally, and there are some states that are not even getting the smokes. The smoke will be a regular production item, and will be like nothing Drew Estate has ever released. You could say this fills in the gaps for cigars on the market for Drew Estate.

For this review I chose the Lonsdale vitola, and the cigar measures 6" with a 44 ring gauge. The filler tobacco in the cigar is all Nicaraguan, and is finished with a Honduran binder.  The filler tobacco I have read and been told comes from Esteli and Jalapa, and those are two of the best regions in my opinion. The cigar is then finished with a Habano seed wrapper Ecuador, and is simply beautiful in hand. The cigar is very firm, and there is a few amount of oils present on the wrapper. It has some veins present, but is very smooth to touch. It has a solid Colorado wrapper, and it has a natural brown coloring. The aroma shows some wood notes, nutty qualities, bits of spices and peppers, and also some lovely leather notes.  
Ecuadorian Habano
The first third begins like any great cigar should, and that is with a plethora of flavors. I am picking up a lot vanilla and oak notes, and it is accompanied by some bits of white pepper and spices. There are some leather notes with that, and it is also showing some orange peel flavors with that. I am picking up a very soft pear flavor profile to the cigar, but it is fairly soft. Overall the cigar is a flavor bomb, and blended wonderfully. The strength is at a solid medium body level in my opinion, and it is a cigar that I could smoke anytime of day. With a great strength level and a terrific flavor profile, the cigar is performing wonderfully in terms of construction, and it is producing a solid ash that is holding on to the cigar firmly. The ash is this solid charcoal color, and it is a firm and even ash that is not flaky at all.
Lovely beginning
In the second third of the cigar the flavors are still out of this world, and it is a cigar that is focused on flavors. I am getting those vanilla bean flavors up front, and it is accompanied by notes of almonds and oak. The spice flavor has faded some, but the white pepper notes are still there and enjoyable. The orange citrus flavors are still playing well in the background, and it is has a smooth finish. The cigar is still smoking at a solid medium body level and it has a solid burn line with that. The ash is holding on to the cigar firmly, and it is still that charcoal coloring with no signs of falling of or flaky qualities. It is simply a great cigar that is focused on flavors and meant to be enjoyed by any smoker at almost anytime. This is a cigar that will be my daily cigar, that is when I can get it, and I will always have in my humidor.

When I get into the final third the flavor profile finishes strong, and it is showing the oak, spice and citrus notes on the forefront. There is a nice bit of coffee bean and almond notes following that and it has a spicy and white peppery finish. It has a nice leathery and barnyard finish to the cigar, and it is a very flavorful cigar. The construction in the final third is terrific, and it has been similar to this from the beginning. The ash has kept that firmness which it has had throughout, and with that the charcoal coloring as well. The strength level has been remaining at that medium full level in this third, and from beginning to end the cigar has been a solid medium bodied cigar. As I smoke the cigar down to the nub the flavors remain to be wonderful and the last draw to the smoke is cool and very enjoyable.
Finishing great
This was a terrific cigar, and it excelled in every area. The construction was great from beginning to end, and with that a lovely ash that held on to the cigar firmly. The flavor profile was very complex and enjoyable, and it was a complex smoke that many types of cigar smokers would enjoy. The fact that the strength level on the cigar was a solid medium body throughout made it a cigar that many smokers could enjoy, and it is a cigar that I could have anytime of day. Personally I loved this cigar, and to my main man Cigar Coop, you were right. This is definitely a cigar that I loved, and to me this was a cigar that when I was done smoking I believed  it was made for me because of everything it offered me. I believe you all know what I am talking about when I say that. I have often heard some compare it to a Cuban, and I would agree with that comment in the sense that it is an American Cuban. It shares all of those great Cuban qualities while being a cigar for the US market. I would call it an American Market Cuban. I give the smoke a solid 94, and believe it to be the best thing to come out of Drew Estate. Last year it was the Viva, but that was replaced with this smoke.
Herrera Esteli
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