Gran Toro (Toro), 6 x 52
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Negro
|Cigar age||0 yr. 3.4 mo.|
BACKGROUND: Today’s featured stick is blended on the Drew Estate factory floor by the best of the company’s Liga Privada torcedores, or rollers. The problem, which led to the development of this cigar was the fact that the factory rollers loved the Liga Privada cigars so much that they were rolling and smoking, way too many to maintain the supply of that limited production stick.
Therefore Drew Estate co-founder Jonathan Drew and company president Steve Saka, came up with a solution; create a new blend for yourselves, without using the same tobacco used in the Liga Privada. Well, as the saying goes… “Necessity is the mother of invention.” The rollers, incorporating many of the same rare tobaccos, but of different vintages and primings, created their own “liga privada” (private blend).
It was called the Undercrown and was no mere replacement for the Liga
Privada, but was itself an exceptional smoke with the same uncompromising
quality as its predecessor.
The wrapper is a unique strain of Mexican San Andreas Negro seed whose harvest is intentionally delayed by 4+ weeks to allow for additional field and sun time resulting in a higher natural sugar content and a richer, creamier flavor. “Otapan” is the name of the farm on which the wrapper is grown. The leaf priming is referred to as, “Último Corte,” which translates to “last cut”; a reference to its delayed harvesting.
The cigars come in unfinished boxes of 25 cigars, and in five sizes: This week’s featured stogie is the 6-inch by 52 ring gauge Gran Toro.
TASTING NOTES: This stick is nothing if not dark and sultry looking. The USA Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is thick and rustic and has the texture of fine sandpaper. That said, this wrapper appears gorgeous to the cigar-lover because it typifies the tobacco varietal.
The flavors immediately remind me of dark roast coffee, but without any bitterness that is associated with some coffees. On the contrary, the Undercrown has good tobacco sweetness that balances the more earthy components of the flavor. There is a yummy toasted wood character when retrohaled and it finishes with coffee and bakers chocolate on the palate.
The cigar weighs in at medium body and medium-full flavor. It is not strong; I would say it's medium in the strength category, which is much my preferred style. The draw on this stick was just about right and I was able to get good volumes of smoke with minimal puffing. The burn line was razor sharp and the pearl white ash struck a nice contrast to the dark wrapper leaf. The ash was firm and allowed me to tap off in nicely formed 1-inch chunks.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The Undercrown is a cigar worthy of your attention. It is the everyman’s Liga Privada, meaning that it is a good representation of the Liga Privada, but with a price tag that is nearly $3 cheaper per stick. Though I still like the Liga No. 9 and the T52 better than this cigar, the Undercrown could easily become one of my go-to smokes. It is full of flavor and the retrohale is smoky with a bourbon tinge to the aroma. This is an easy cigar to smoke and I think it would appeal to a wide range of cigar smokers. And, at a price of just over $7.00 per stick, this is a good buy and a real alternative to the more expensive Liga Privada No. 9.
These dark beauties are kept in their original box in my Aristocrat M+ cabinet humidor. The active-humidification system is set at 68%RH and the wintertime temperatures range between 65-70°F.
With a little over 3 months under their belt, I brought out a couple of samples for my first podcast review.
Cigar Info Page » for Drew Estate, Undercrown
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