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Cigar Geeks Geek Critique

Drew Estate Herrera Esteli Norteno Belicoso Fino
Written by Cigar Geeks Member: Brian (ninfiction)
89
Cigar Geeks Rating

Welcome to another Member sponsored Geek Critique.  This one has been generously sponsored by our member 05Venturer (Kent).  The cigar provided for this round is the Drew Estate Herrera Esteli Norteno Belicoso Fino.

Herrera Esteli Norteño was the first blend released from the Drew Estate factory after Willy Herrera was named Master Blender in June, 2014. A sequel of sorts to the popular Herrera Esteli cigar, which earned a spot in 2013's Top 25 Cigars of the Year, the “Norteño” showcases extensively aged tobaccos from the Estelí and Jalapa growing regions of Nicaragua, coupled with a spicy Honduran binder and a rich, bold Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper, offering medium to full body and strength. The band design features the Guardabarranco, the national bird of Nicaragua, the country where the cigar is produced.


Length:
5
Ring Gauge:
50
Country Manufactured:
Nicaragua
Filler:
Nicaragua
Binder:
Honduras
Wrapper:
Mexico
Color:
Maduro
Strength:
Medium-Full
Shape:
Torpedo

This cigar was enjoyed with Water

Pre-Light: 8 Points of 10 Possible

Love a Belicoso, and this one is box pressed which I also enjoy. The cigar is a bit lumpy but no veins in the wrapper. Cutting the tip provides a very open draw. The cold draw has flavors resembling a musty wood. The cigar is firm. The wrapper is like a dry cocoa. I always thought the band on the Norteno were simple but very cool. Aside from the lumpy look, the cigar is a gem to look at.

Light & Burn: 15 Points of 15 Possible

In true Drew Estate fashion, the volume of smoke is massive. The burn line barely wavers during the entire smoke. The ash is dark grey and tight, holding on for more than an inch before even thinking of falling off...into my lap.

Total smoke time was about an hour 25 minutes.

No relights or touch-ups required. More often than not, Drew Estate cigars perform magnificently and this one is no different.

Construction: 27 Points of 30 Possible

I like a box pressed cigar, this is a wonderful example. The wrapper is lumpy but I think it's caused by the binder underneath, otherwise there are no veins and the seem is barely noticeable. The torpedo cap is smooth and cutting just the very end off provides a nice open draw.

My only complaint would be that the cigar looked lumpy. This didn't cause any issues with the performance of the cigar however. The performance was near perfect. The draw was open, right to the point that any more would have been too much and I barely cut the tip off.

Flavor: 39 Points of 45 Possible

1st half: The cigars starts out with a bit of pepper kick, the retro is smooth though so the pepper is just on the tongue. Cedar and campfire accompany the pepper. Hints of the musty wood might be more of an earth note. Occasional sweetness pops in from behind the pepper and earth. Not overly complex but pleasant.

2nd Half: The pepper mellows just a bit making for a better mix of flavors with the earth notes and hints of sweetness. There aren't additional notes just the change in blend of flavors. The second half of the cigar was better in my opinion than the first. Less pepper, better blend of flavors and smoother.

If the sweetness had more of a dominant position this cigar would be spectacular. Time to smoke the regular Herrera again to compare.

Summary

Thank you to Kent 05Venturer for providing the the cigar for this critique.

I don't reach for Drew Estate as often as I did prior to the Swisher purchase but maybe I should revisit them. This cigar performed perfectly and while the flavors weren't overly complex it was an enjoyable smoke.



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