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Cigar Review: Drew Estate Nica Rustica

30 Jul 2013

When I visited Drew Estate three months ago it was clear that the My Uzi Weighs a Ton Kentucky Fire Cured (MUWAT KFC) would be released at the (then-upcoming) 2013 IPCPR Trade Show. For the blend called Nica Rustica, the immediate future seemed far less clear.

Nica-RusticaAt the time, I was given a pre-release sample which I described as “gritty, rustic, slightly vegetable, and even a bit grating.” That blend included a unique and nontraditional (for cigars) strain of tobacco that grows wild in Nicaragua. I’m told that tobacco has been eliminated from the final release.

Nica Rustica is being introduced in trunk-like boxes of 48 comprised of two 24-count bundles. Retailers, I was told at the Trade Show, could order full boxes or simply refill bundles of 24. Frankly, this strategy is pretty smart on Drew Estate’s part. Retailers essentially get to sell the cigar in bundle form (I say that in the purely packaging sense) without it actually being a bundle cigar (which, fair or not, carries certain prejudices).

The cigar comes in just one size (at least for now; Liga Privada was also first introduced in just one size): 6 inches with a 52 ring gauge with a pigtail cap  and a closed foot. The cigar’s suggested retail price is $6.95. (I smoked two for this review, both given to me at the Trade Show.)

The cigar uses Connecticut Broadleaf “mediums” for its wrapper, as compared to “No. 1 Darks” for the Liga Privada No. 9. The binder is Mexican San Andres Negro (the same type used as wrapper on the Undercrown) while the fillers are Nicaraguan, from Estelí and Jalapa.

Drew Estate says the strength is medium to full and I’m inclined to agree. It’s full of flavor with dry cocoa, wood, and black pepper, along with a hint of vegetal flavors that grates on the roof of your mouth. As you might expect from the blend, it shares many qualities with both the Liga No. 9 blend and Undercrown. But the flavor isn’t nearly as refined or dense as the Liga No. 9, nor are the flavors as  balanced or sweet as Undercrown.

Construction is absolutely impeccable, something it shares with both the other aforementioned Drew Estate cigars. The draw is flawless (something Jonathan Drew calls critical to Drew Estate’s success) and I’m always amazed at the volume of aromatic smoke Drew Estate’s cigars produce, even when just perched on the side of my ashtray between draws.

Nica Rustica is billed as “rustic, un-polished, un-refined,” and that’s pretty spot-on. It lacks balance and harmony, but attempts to make up for those deficiencies with plenty of strong, dominant flavors. Drew Estate is upfront about this trade-off. The similarity to Drew Estate’s other popular lines, combined with the price, nearly guarantees it will be a hit.

I place high value on balance and nuance, which is what amazes me about Liga Privada, which so flawlessly marries balance and complexity with intensity of flavor and strength. To that end, I’d trade some of Nica Rustica’s forcefulness for a little more balance, but I also know that, for many people, this will be right up their alley. Rustic and formidable, if lacking slightly in balance, Nica Rustica earns three and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

4 Responses to “Cigar Review: Drew Estate Nica Rustica”

  1. mphxaz Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    Can't wait to give one of these (& the MUWAT-KFC) a try!

    • Patrick Semmens Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

      Look for it to be on shelves in the Fall.

      • mphxaz Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

        Hmmm….. Something to put on my Santa's wish list maybe?

  2. Andy Gray Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    Man, I'm impatient. I don't want to wait but I guess I will have to.