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Cigar Review: Drew Estate Herrera Estelí TAA Exclusive

30 May 2016

Herrera 1

In early March, it was announced Drew Estate would be expanding its popular Herrera Estelí line by launching the Herrera Estelí TAA Exclusive, which began shipping to Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA) members in April. (TAA works to “maximize professionalism and success” among its 80 associated retailers through training and the sharing of best practices; you can find a TAA shop near you here.)

Herrera 2The Drew Estate Herrera Estelí TAA Exclusive is presented in a single vitola, a toro (6 x 52) that retails for $144 per 12-count box, or $12 per cigar. Whereas the original Herrera Estelí features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper around a Honduran binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua, the TAA Exclusive—also blended by Willy Herrera—sports a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Brazilian Mata Fina binder, and Nicaraguan fillers.

“This is my first blend since joining Drew Estate that utilizes Connecticut Broadleaf tobacco,” said Herrera in a press release. “Drew Estate fans know that we’re famous for our use of Connecticut Broadleaf tobaccos, especially in our Liga Privada No. 9 and Nica Rustica lines. I’ve been experimenting with blends that incorporate this incredible wrapper since coming on board and finally have a blend I’m really excited about.”

The Herrera Estelí TAA Exclusive is handsomely appointed with dual bands of red and gold that make this extension easily differentiated from the original Herrera Estelí blend. Even without the bands, though, you’d never confuse the two. The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper on the core line is light and golden, whereas the TAA Exclusive is dark. In typical Drew Estate fashion, the cold draw is ultra-easy. The pre-light notes remind me of chocolate and cedar.

Once underway, I find cocoa with black pepper spice and abundant leather. The texture is coarse and gritty. The potent vegetal notes that are so common among Connecticut Broadleaf smokes from Drew Estate are also apparent, especially in the plentiful resting smoke. Other noticeable flavors include damp earth, vanilla, cream, and a dash of cinnamon. At the midway point and beyond, I start to notice some sour, meaty notes from time to time—nothing terribly concerning, but certainly worth pointing out.

As far as the physical properties are concerned, this cigar is expertly rolled and a complete joy to smoke. The burn line is straight and true throughout, the smoke production well above average, the draw smooth, and the gray ash holds very firmly off the foot.

If Willy Herrera’s objective was to blend a full-bodied cigar that smokes cool with plentiful flavor, I’d consider the Herrera Estelí TAA Exclusive a job well done. I especially appreciate the fleeting tastes I uniquely associate with Drew Estate Connecticut Broadleaf tobaccos, and how they are coupled with an overall profile that’s differentiated from the likes of Liga Privada No. 9 or Nica Rustica. This well-crafted cigar is worth seeking out—even with its lofty price tag—and deserving of an admirable rating of four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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