12 Jun 2013
When I visited Drew Estate’s operations in Estelí in May 2012, Willy Herrera was the tall, soft-spoken individual who was anything but the center of attention. At the time, he was still new to Drew Estate, fresh off his tenure as master blender at El Titan de Bronze in Miami’s Little Havana. He was nice enough to hang around the Cigar Safari crew for much of the trip, but he seemed content to let Jonathan Drew and Steve Saka do most of the talking.
I couldn’t personally make it to this year’s Cigar Safari (though my colleague did attend). I imagine Willy was a little more in the spotlight this time around. After all, now his inaugural blend for Drew Estate—Herrera Estelí—is on the market, and by every measure I can find, it seems to be a resounding success. The online cigar community has overwhelmingly embraced it, and even the mainstream media is starting to give it the attention it deserves. Cigar Aficionado recently awarded the Piramide Fino a score of 93.
So it will come as no surprise that I’m a big fan of the blend. True, Drew Estate is an advertiser with StogieGuys.com. And true, Drew Estate did provide samples of the Short Corona to me to make this review possible. But anyone who dismisses my praise of the cigar on these grounds (neither impacts my review, of course) is doing himself a disservice. I highly suggest you seek out Herrera Estelí. I wouldn’t be surprised if it makes it to my list of the top smokes of 2013.
When you do locate the cigar, the Short Corona (4.9 x 46) will be a good choice. One of five vitolas, this blend of Ecuadoran, Honduran, and Nicaraguan tobaccos has a clean, golden wrapper, a gorgeous cap, a moderately firm feel, and pre-light notes of hay and molasses. A simple punch cut clears the way for a smooth draw.
Right off the bat, it’s easy to see how Herrera Estelí is a departure from other Drew Estate creations like Liga Privada No. 9, T52, and Undercrown. While there’s plenty of flavor, the spice and body are toned down significantly. Syrup, creamy nut, dry wood, and white pepper characterize the profile. At no point do I grow bored. In fact, this is one of those cigars you’ll smoke and then consider lighting up another right away. I don’t get that feeling too often.
Construction is predictably excellent, as is to be expected from La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate. The burn line is straight with a thick, black mascara, the white ash holds firm, and the entubado rolling technique results in an easy draw and thick smoke with each puff.
We recently reported that a maduro variation of the Herrera Estelí is in the works at Drew Estate. That will be something to keep an eye out for, and we’ll provide more details as they become available. For now, this “Cubanesque” Short Corona is a wonderful buy for the going rate of $8, and it’s definitely worthy of a rare rating of four and a half stogies out of five.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys