So I was rummaging around in one of my humidors the other day and I found this cigar. At the time I put it down and grabbed something else, but I still remembered it. Of course when I laid it down it was on the top shelf, and that is why I am reviewing it as we speak. This cigar has been sitting in my humidor for several months, close to a year, so I am surprised to see how age will take a factor on this ever so popular cigar. All of the Liga Privadas by Drew Estate have really captured the attention of cigar smokers on the market, and they are one of the lines in production that are hard to get your hand on. (Up there with Opus X and others.) Typically when retailers get them they are all gone, but I will say however that I have seen numerous tobacconists that have an abundance of them in stock, and they tend to remain in stock as well. Any way, I am here today to review a cigar that has been reviewed countless times in the past, both positive and negative, and to offer my insight into the cigar.
The story behind the Liga Privada T52 begins when Jonathan Drew and others were up in Connecticut on the mission of purchasing some Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and they came across a farmer who was growing a unique wrapper. It was called American Habano, and the tobacco was being cured differently than normal. The tobacco was being stalk-cut, which means that the entire tobacco plants were being chopped down at the bottom of the stalk. The leaves are not removed in this process, and the entire plant is then flipped upside down and the leaves cure while still attached to the plant. What this does is it allows the stalk to continue feed the leaves nutrients throughout the entire curing process until the stalk is completely stripped of its minerals and flavor characteristics. This process of curing takes a lot longer than traditional methods, but creates a more potent and robust leaf. Drew Estate decided to purchase the tobacco and hold on to it for a future blend.
It was in 2009 that the tobacco was finally released in a blend, and when the blend was released it moved! That American Stalk-Cut Habano leaf was used as the wrapper for the cigar, and underneath that they put a Brazilian Mata-Fina binder. The filler tobacco was composed of tobacco from the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua, and like the Liga Privada No. 9, utilized tobacco from all over the world and was constructed by only the best rollers in their factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. I chose the Toro vitola, which is the classic vitola to the Liga Privada line/brand, and it measures 6″ with a 52 ring gauge. The cigar has a lovely wrapper that is dark and oily to touch. I would say it falls between Colorado and Maduro in coloring, and it has this color of dark soil with hints of red clay. There is a toothy texture to the wrapper with some veins present and is very firm. The aroma at the foot and on the wrapper is that of damp wood, rich earth, leather and cocoa, and I am getting some soft spices as well.
As you light up the cigar you are first greeted by some damp wood notes, and there is this slow and steady start to the spices. Eventually you begin to pick up more flavors, and I am getting some dark cocoa/earth and some coffee beans with some cinnamon notes present. The flavor profile is very warm and comforting, and while it is very rich and dark as a cigar, it is not overpowering but balanced. There are some subtle molasses flavors present, but they are more towards the end of the first third. I would say the cigar is heavy in terms of the flavors, similar a heavy meal. The strength of the cigar however is really cruising between medium and medium full in body, and it pairing wonderfully with this glass of red I have. The flavors are heavy, but the strength is more medium. The burn line is slightly wavy right now, possibly due to the wrapper, but the ash is really this dark gray coloring that is pretty sweet. Entering the second third of the cigar, it continues delivering those core and enjoyable flavors from the first third. The coffee, cocoa, cinnamon and damp wood flavor profile is that core flavor profile, and there are hints of cloves as well emerging in this third. The molasses flavor profile is much more present in this third, and it is pairing wonderfully with the spice and wood notes. There are some flavors that are just right there on your palate and easy to identify, but a majority of them are playing softly in the background and subtly showing you the wonderful flavor profile. The burn line is also very similar to that of the first third in that it is somewhat wavy, and it is keeping that dark gray ash. I had to relight the cigar in this third, but once re-lit it continues smoking well. The strength is really at that medium full level in this third, and I would say that the cigar itself would be perfect for those looking for complex, balanced and somewhat stronger cigar, not too strong though. I am in the final third of the cigar now, and the cigar is finishing very pleasantly. As to be expected, it is showing those core flavors of damp wood, warm spices, cocoa, coffee and rich earth, and iows similar flavors from the beginning to end, t really has been holding on to those flavors from the get go. It’s a cigar that continuously shbut complex enough not to be boring. There is a bit of jammy/fruit flavor profiles in the final third of the cigar, and I would say that has replaced the molasses flavor profile which is no more. The cigar began to correct itself somewhat in the final third of the cigar in terms of the burn line, and it kept that dark gray ash to the end. I found that the finish of the cigar was still at that medium full level, and even on the last puff it was cool and pleasant.
I enjoyed this smoke, and I think age has really done a great thing to this cigar. I have found that the T52 and No. 9 can vary in quality, some really great and others not so much, but this one really showed how they are meant to be. The flavors were really welcoming, though dark, and it was a nice evening cigar. I had to make some touch ups occasionally throughout the smoke, but that was really due to the oily wrapper. I think it is the best of the Liga Privada smokes, but then again I prefer the Undercrown to any Liga. I have often thought, and others I have spoken to as well, that you will either love this cigar or not care for it, and I am sticking to that. I know some smokers are No. 9 fans, and others are T52 fans, and I would have to strive to the T52 side. I give this cigar a 91. This was a cigar that had a unique blend and some lovely flavors that were consistent but enjoyable throughout.
|Liga Privada T52 Toro|