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Cigar Review: Drew Estate Liga Privada Único Serie Papas Fritas

26 Dec 2018

By now, we all know the story. Former Drew Estate chief Steve Saka, now owner of the acclaimed boutique Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, began work in 2005 on a personal blend for his own enjoyment. After over 50 blends of testing with Jonathan Drew and Nick Melillo (now owner of Foundation Cigar Co.), a final recipe was arrived at: a dark Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper fermented for at least 18 months, a Brazilian Mata Fina binder, and filler tobaccos from Honduras and Nicaragua.

The cigar became known as Liga Privada No. 9. It forever changed the way the cigar world thinks about Drew Estate, which had formerly been known for its infused cigars.

Despite being on the market for over a decade, Liga No. 9 production is still limited (due to tobacco availability) so the cigars can be both tough to find and expensive. In 2012, to help satisfy sky-high demand and capitalize on what would otherwise be waste, Drew Estate launched Papas Fritas, a small cigar (4.5 x 44) that employs cuttings from Liga No. 9 production. Like Liga No.9, it has the same Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Mata Fina binder, and Honduran and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos.

Spanish for “French fries,” one of Saka’s favorite foods, Papas Fritas is a mixed-filler cigar that, while not on par with the elegance or complexity of the original No. 9, is a quick, cost-effective way to get the core Liga flavors that made that line so successful.

Those flavors include a medium- to full-bodied combination of spice, cocoa powder, espresso, cream, and white pepper. The texture is leathery. The trademark Liga flavor that’s as noticeable as it is hard to describe—the best I can do is “sweet grassiness”—is also present, though it tends to drift in and out.

True to Drew Estate’s reputation, Papas Fritas has an incredibly easy draw with voluminous smoke production. The other combustion properties are also impressive, especially for a mixed-filler cigar. The burn light is straight, and the white ash holds well.

In 2015, to make the cigar cheaper, Drew Estate rolled out new packaging. Papas Fritas can now be found in 50-count boxes, instead of 4-count tins or 28-count boxes. As a result, the per-cigar cost was reduced from $6.40 to $5.25. “We needed something for fans of Papas Fritas who already had plenty of tins and wanted a better value, so now we’re offering the cigar with no tin,” said then-president Michael Cellucci.

If you look around, you can actually pay about $4.70 per cigar, if you buy a box of 50. And why wouldn’t you? Papas Fritas enables you to get your Liga fix in a quick, price-efficient way, and you won’t feel bad about discarding one halfway through. For that, I’m awarding this cigar three and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

One Response to “Cigar Review: Drew Estate Liga Privada Único Serie Papas Fritas”

  1. Stan Walker Wednesday, December 26, 2018 at 6:30 pm #

    Love the Liga #9 and feel about the same for the Papa. Haven’t smoked a tone of small cigars and the only small, comparable cigar, for me, is the Cracker Crumb. Love both of these for a quick, cold weather smoke. Or, sitting at the lounge and the Bear’s game isn’t quite over and just need another cigar that will last until the game is done.
    Appreciate the article.