17 Dec 2014
Back in May, on the heels of Nick Melillo’s departure, Drew Estate named Willy Herrera “master blender,” a role where he would help maintain current blends, produce new cigar lines, and report directly to Jonathan Drew.
It remains to be seen how Swisher International’s purchase of Drew Estate may change Herrera’s position at one of the world’s largest handmade cigar manufacturers. But we know that Drew Estate management—including Jonathan Drew, Marvin Samel, and Michael Cellucci—are remaining at the company for the time being. And we know these individuals have a great deal of confidence in Herrera.
That confidence stems in large part from the success of Herrera’s debut line at Drew Estate, Herrera Estelí. This “Cubanesque” blend not only diversified the Drew Estate portfolio (which lacked a visible, more traditional, non-maduro cigar,), but it also earned widespread acclaim from the online cigar community, and claimed the number eight slot on Cigar Aficionado’s list of the best smokes of 2013.
To date, my experience with Herrera Estelí has been mostly limited to the Short Corona, a cigar that’s small in stature but big in quality. Lately, I’ve fired up a few Piramide Finos (6 x 52), one of the other four sizes in the series. Like the Short Corona, the Piramide Fino is a handsome, golden-colored smoke comprised of Ecuadoran, Honduran, and Nicaraguan tobaccos with pre-light notes of hay and molasses. Only the slightest puncture of the gorgeous cap is all that’s needed to open up a smooth cold draw.
Once lit, the belicoso yields a medium-bodied, balanced taste of cream, cashew, white pepper, and dry wood. There’s a lingering sweetness in the background, and the finish is characterized by a sharp, zesty spice on the tip of the tongue. At times a cinnamon spice can take control. Other times, an earthiness that reminds me of truffle comes to the foreground.
Throughout, construction is impeccable. Drew Estate prides itself on ease of draw and high smoke production, and the Piramide Fino is no exception. Additionally, the burn line is straight and the white ash holds superbly well.
I may have to give a very slight edge to the Short Corona, simply because I think the flavors pop a little more in that smaller format. But this is an outstanding belicoso, and one of the many Drew Estate creations I hope stays consistent once the Swisher International acquisition is complete. In my book, the Herrera Estelí Piramide Fino is a truly wonderful value at $10 and worthy of four and a half stogies out of five.
[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]
photo credit: Stogie Guys