Herrera Esteli was the first cigar to bear Willie Herrera's name once he joined the Drew Estate team after running El Titan De Bronze for over six years. Assisted by Steve Saka and Nicholas Melillo during this time, Willie has since become a driving force in the industry and is respected by many as only a handful of people that have the capacity to run a factory and be considered a Master Blender and a Torcedor.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Vitola: Lonsdale Deluxe (6 x 44)
Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
Production: Regular Production
Summary: The fist third of the cigar had what I am going to call, "primary" flavors. Wood, walnut, leather and cinnamon all made a showing with some very light floral notes rounding things out. While I wouldn't label the first third as complex, I will call it interesting. None of the flavors really dominated the profile so it was really ever changing on my palate. I spent the first third just enjoying the flavors shuffling back and forth. The retro hale was a combination of cedar and sharp white pepper for me. The burn on the cigar earns a B- for being wavy, but relatively sharp. The smoke earns an A for great production and a nice creamy texture.
The middle third featured some nice changes. The prominent flavors were cedar, almond, leather, cream and some light floral notes rounding things out again. The retro hale experience became more complex with cedar returning but towing along cinnamon, cream and leather. The middle third was very nice. Again, the smoke earned an A for heavy production and smooth, creamy mouth feel. The burn of the cigar stepped up it's game a little, earning an A- as it walked the straight and narrow.
The final third tapered off for me. Cedar, cinnamon, mild tobacco and leather dominated the profile. The whole thing was rounded off with a little pepper spice and in the middle of the final section I found a ginger note on the tongue which was really nice. Unfortunately, the back third of my cigar was slightly underfilled and I fought a tunneling issue. The cigar got hot and the flavors became harsh. Consequently, both the burn and smoke production suffered. The retrohale in the final third remained pretty decent: cream, leather, cedar and black pepper rolled through the sinuses nicely.
If You Like That, You Might Like This: If you like a great IPA, even out of a dirty glass, you'll like this cigar.
Pairing Suggestion: I think the sky is the limit with this stick. I can see ginger beer, a 40% bourbon or an IPA working just fine. Depends on your own personal beverage preferences.
Purchase Recommendation to a Friend: I'd say this cigar is worthy of a 5 pack purchase. It would give you a chance to try some different pairings and see what works best for you!
Summary: This cigar started out like dessert. It had creamy, bready notes and a distinctive sweetness. Brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla were all there. I was reminded of eating cake, which is a flavor reference I'll never be unhappy with. Then the cedar picked up, eventually drowning out the other flavors. The pepper and spice level grew as the cigar went on. An earthy finish developed. The sweetness that I loved near the beginning kept coming back in short spurts, teasing my taste buds into wanting more. But it never fully developed those early notes again. I was in love with the beginning of this cigar and disappointed in how it progressed. I'd like to smoke this cigar again to see if it consistently takes this much of a turn or if this particular cigar wasn't quite what the manufacturer intended.
Construction-wise, the draw was right on. My burn line became uneven several times, needing correction. Smoke output was about average.
If You Like That, You Might Like This: Strong cedar notes.
Pairing Suggestion: I think this would pair really nicely with mead or a white wine.
Purchase Recommendation to a Friend: A box of the first inch, a single of everything past that. I'd like to smoke 3-5 of these, personally, to see if there was something about this sample that was off or if that's how the cigar actually is.
Summary: Starting off nutty with pepper in the retrohale. As it's heating up I'm getting a subtle berry sweetness and some warm spices. Is that a thing? Because it's not cinnamon but it's somewhere in that wheelhouse. Whoa. Homemade chocolate chip cookies (but with half the amount of chocolate chips).
Starting the second third now and I'm definitely getting sunburnt. Speaking of baking, the chocolate chip cookie flavors have transitioned to starlight sugar crisps. If you're unfamiliar with that cookie, think buttery, sweet vanilla. Touching up the burn.
The final third is giving me red pepper and a faint light brown sugar sweetness.
If You Like That, You Might Like This: If you think applying sunscreen on bikini models would be a fun job, you'll like this cigar.
Pairing Suggestion: A Boulvardier
Purchase Recommendation to a Friend: I'm a fan of this smoke and would buy a fiver without thinking twice.
Participants in this blind review were completely unaware of the cigar they were evaluating until all submissions were received and processed. Each participant was asked to answer a summary paragraph, an if/than statement, a pairing suggestion, and a purchase suggestion. Cigars were provided by Small Batch with only the expectations of candid responses. All pictures, information, and formatting were completed by a Coordinator outside of the reviewing process.
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