Archive for the ‘Jonathan Drew’ Tag

ACID Remi Kuba Kuba by Drew Estate – Cigar Review

I’ve had many ACID Kuba Kuba cigars, but I have yet to do a review on one. Since it is one of the higher referring searches on my blog I decided to light one up this week and kick out this review.

Drew Estate ACID Kuba Kuba

Drew Estate ACID Kuba Kuba

The Good Stuff: The ACID Kuba Kuba is the most popular infused cigar in the ACID line, and the first ACID infused cigar fully embraced by the United States. It is part of ACID’s Remi, or blue banded selection. Accordingly, The Remi line is Drew Estate’s most popular line if ACID cigars holding cigars such as the Kuba Kuba, the Kong, the Blondie, Krush, and my personal favorite, the 1400cc.

Size: 5 x 54  –  Wrapper: Natural Sumatra  –  Flavor: Medium – Full Bodied

Prelight: The ACID Kuba Kuba is a chubby, toothy robusto cigar. The first characteristic I noticed was the dark, very oily, sumatra wrapper. In infused cigars 60% – 70% of a cigars taste comes from the wrapper alone. VERY floral scents, mixed with spices, coffee, and tobacco could be smelt even through the cellophane wrapper, and only increased in strength once the Kuba Kuba is removed from the wrapper. The cigar is very soft, and loosely wrapped. There were no signs of defects. The Kuba Kuba had very little veins. My only complaint is the wrapper seems a bit thing although, I haven’t had problems with this cigar in the past I could see some future un-wrapping complications.

First Smoke: The ACID Kuba Kuba is a VERY flavorful cigar, more so than most people prefer. The first tastes are that of floral arrangements mixed with soft spice, clove, cinnimon, and even a mist of mocha. The draw is extremely large, and very very thick. This may annoy most traditional cigar smokers, keep that in mind when choosing the right time to light one of these up. This Kuba Kuba carries such thick, infused oil that the wrapper even looked a bit sticky, although it didn’t feel that way in my hand. The cigar lit right away, and had a very even burn. I got about an inch of loose ash before it gave out.

Drew Estate ACID Kuba Kuba

Drew Estate ACID Kuba Kuba

Halfway There: An earlier concern of mine was the thin wrapper. As you can see on the top image it became a problem. Luckily it was near the burn and it only happened for a short period of time. The cigar is still burning evenly, and the draw is still just as huge as it was when I started smoking the cigar. The taste is still pretty much the same, its just hard to nail down. Thing about getting a Hawaiian tiki dancer in full uniform, throwing her in a boiling pot, add a couple of green tea bags, some ground coffee, and some cinnamon for good measure. That didn’t sound too enticing but you get the jist of it. It is a VERY great tasting cigar, just a bit over-powering at times.

Finish: The finish of this cigar is always a bit rough. Since the Kuba Kuba isn’t wrapped very tight (personally, I prefer this) the tobacco towards the end of the smoke is always a tad bitter, and strong. I didn’t have any other problems with the unwrapping of the cigar, but I could see that as a trend in the Kuba Kubas. The Kuba Kuba is a bit strong for a medium bodied cigar, and very flavorful.

Overview: The Kuba Kuba is a great cigar for anyone looking for infused selections. It carries with it a great balance, not too strong, not too smooth. The flavor is a bit much, but that’s what makes the Kuba Kuba such a popular cigar. I would steer clear of these if you don’t enjoy smoking aromatics, but if you are looking to start, or already enjoy them the ACID Kuba Kuba would sit well with you.

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Ambrosia Vann Reef by Drew Estate Cigar Review

Finally getting around to finishing up the review for the Ambrosia – Vann Reef cigar from Drew Estate I had recently.

Drew Estate Ambrosia Vann Reef

Drew Estate Ambrosia Vann Reef

These were part of a gift sent over to me. Prior to receiving them I had yet to hear of the Ambrosia line which struck me odd as I am such a huge Drew Estate follower.

The Good Stuff: Jonathan Drew, founder and  Production Director of Drew Estate is always looking for new blends, spices, oils, and aromas to concoct his next infused cigar. The Ambrosia line is nothing short of his best. Ambrosia is very similar to the ACID line in construction but is infused with only the best spices and botanicals found throughout Europe and Asia giving it a very unique taste. From Clove to Star Anise, Ambrosia cigars are nothing short of masterpiece.  Each Ambrosia Vann Reef Cameroon Cigar is carefully blended with sweet, mild tobaccos from Drew Estates’ own hand – tended fields in the mountains near Esteli, Nicaragua and wrapped with rich Cameroon tobacco. It is said that these infused cigars are in fact the toughest blends produced by Drew Estate to date.

Size: 5×50  –  Wrapper: Cameroon  –  Flavor: Medium  –  Country: Nicaragua

Prelight: Upon unwrapping the cellophane you are hammered with a smell of fresh cloves, hints of pine, and sweet ginger. The wrapper is a creamy medium brown with very small veins. The construction is as close to perfect as it gets. There are no soft spots. The Ambrosia Vann Reef cigar sports a very rounded cap and its wrapped very tight, maybe even a bit to tight for my liking. The construction reminds me very much of the ACID liquid.

Drew Estate Ambrosia Vann Reef

Drew Estate Ambrosia Vann Reef

First Smoke: One noticeable difference between the ACID Liquid and the Ambrosia Vann Reef is lighting. The Liquid took quite a bit outta my little colibri butane torch to get started where as the Vann Reef lit up right away. The first tastes are a little hard to nail. The clove by far is the most overpowering flavor, followed closely by notes of ginger, pine, toasted nuts, and even green tea. The draw is really tight, which I am not a fan of. I’d rather burn the heck out of my hands than deal with a tight draw, but for sake of the review I’ll deal with it. The draw itself is pretty large and incredibly thick, this part I do like. The Vann Reef isn’t very strong at the beginning, hopefully that adjusts a bit further in the smoke as well. The cigar begins burning very evenly. I got over an inch and a half before the ash first gave way which was pretty far considering it was a windy day out on my patio. This cigar was paired up with a Lindeman’s Peche Peach Lambic beer. An almost perfect combination. One note is the Ambrosia line banding is very un-like all the other Drew Estate cigar lines. Most of the others are very detailed, and embossed with hints of metallic silver and gold ink. A lot of time goes into their banding. The Ambrosia line, not so much. I can totally see where he was going with it (tiki – india, asia, Eurpoe spices) but it caught me a bit off guard.

Drew Estate Ambrosia Vann Reef

Drew Estate Ambrosia Vann Reef

Halfway There: There are still absolutely no signs of any flaws. Drew Estate is known for the perfection in construction and this cigar represents that to its fullest. The strength has increased a bit, but not too much. The draw is still very creamy but much too tight. At this point I ended up giving the cigar another quick cut, increasing the draw drastically. Now that’s what I am talking about. The flavor doubled. More clove, Pine, and tea but what taste almost paired up with floral and leather-ish notes. It’s incredibly tasty. The draw has increased as well. I have yet to have to touch up this cigar and it is still burning perfectly. No unwrapping or cigar flaws whatsoever.

Finish: I took this cigar relatively close to the nub. My head began to hurt so I gave in a bit earlier than usual. The only taste that still remains is the clove, and it is strong. I’m not a huge clove fan, but I did enjoy this cigar. A big brownie point was the fact that I didn’t have to touch this cigar up once. Perfect burn. The Vann Reef finished off creamy, and didn’t increase in strength a whole lot throughout the cigar. All in all it was a great aromatic.

Drew Estate Ambrosia Vann Reef

Drew Estate Ambrosia Vann Reef

Overview: The ambrosia line is definitely an acquired taste. I really enjoyed this cigar, however I wouldn’t recommend it if you weren’t a fan of infused cigars, or strong flavors period. The Ambrosia line is a great step-up alternative to clove smokers.

Drew Estate Natural Root Cigar Review

Finally grinding down the gears and getting to a few reviews I have been neglecting. Not that they are bad cigars, I’ve just had so many since I started reviewing. Today I am reviewing Drew Estate’s Natural Root.

Drew Estate Natural Root

Drew Estate Natural Root

Natural is a long-time running blend from Drew Estate’s Production Director Jonathan Drew’s insane mind. There are many different blends, wrappers, and shapes to this line, each one very different from the other, all equally enjoyable.

The Good Stuff: Each cigar from the Natural line is composed of all-natural black smoking tobacco leaves farmed in Syria, Turkey, St. James Parish, and other exotic South-American countries, and then combined with the finest Nicaraguan leaf, mostly grown in Drew Estate’s own farms in Esteli Nicaragua.

Size: 5 x 50  –  Wrapper: Maduro  – Filler: Nicaraguan  –  Strength: Medium – Full Bodied

Prelight: Much like the Natural Dirt Torpedo, the first characteristic you notice about this cigar is its dark, chocolate colored wrapper. The cigar itself carries a few larger veins, but not anything that will get in the way of enjoyment. I have had more than 3/4 of Drew Estate’s Natural line and I must say that I am deeply impressed which each and every cigar. This cigar is as usual, perfectly constructed with no signs of soft spots, unwrapping or any overall flaws. The head sports a large rounded cap, and the foot is yet another “shaggy foot” profile. I enjoy lighting these. The cigar itself smells VERY sweet with hints of brown sugar and creamy cocoa. As usual I am using a Cuban Crafters “Perfecto” double bladed cutter, and a standard single flame colibri torch.

First Smoke: Because of the shaggy foot the cigar is incredibly easy to light. It takes the pain out of having to constantly rotate the foot of the cigar under the flame. Instantaneously a strong smell of creamy mocha, herbs, brown sugar, with hints of fruit and wine fill the area. The cigar itself is incredibly sweet, not as sweet as the Dirt Torpedo, but pretty damn close. The cigar at the point is burning perfectly. The Root puts out a large draw, and it is very, very, thick and smooth. This may annoy some second-hand smokers, but the pleasant scent makes up for it. I got a good inch of ash before it gave way.

Halfway There: The Natural Root is still very flavorful and is getting more and more creamy by the draw. This is one of the first cigars I have had that started out strong, but became smoother as it progressed. At this time the fruit taste has vanished, but the mocha/brown sugar still remains. I am showing no signs of unwrapping, and the cigar is still burning as clean as ever.

Finish: About halfway through the cigar got a lot smoother, and stayed smooth all the way through the nub. The fruit and wine tastes are completely gone at this point, but the mocha brown sugar and almost espresso taste are still very present, but not over-powering. There were absolutely no signs of mis-construction. The cigar took me just over an hour to smoke, and that had to be the only bad part about it. Not that is burned fast, it was just a smaller sized cigar.

Overview:

Would I try it again? In a heartbeat.

Would I suggest it? To anyone and everyone who enjoys cigars. One great thing about the natural line is it’s not as powerful in taste as the ACID infused line. So not only aromatic smokes, but more traditional smokers and both enjoy and appreciate it. These cigars are VERY easy to fine, and at a very reasonable price.

Drew Estate ACID Def Sea Subculture Cigar Review

I have had a Drew Estate ACID – Subculture Def Sea perfecto sitting in my humidor for quite sometime. Due to the strong following of this guy I have picked it up numerous times when looking for that perfect smoke, but then placed it back into my humidor for lack of a day “worthy” of taking this one down.

Drew Estate ACID Subculture Def Sea Perfecto

Drew Estate ACID Subculture Def Sea Perfecto

If I am not mistaken the only place you can get these are through Cigars International. They’re awesome, and provide super quick shipping out of Pennsylvania.

I would imagine most other subculture blends will be equally hard to find. I have been blessed to have stumbled across 2 other subculture cigars. One was the largest cigar I have ever had. The ACID Hawg. This one was found in my hometown of El Paso, Texas at Kern Place cigars. The place is great, and Brad, the owner is an amazing conversationalist. They have two locations on the West side, one in the Cincinnat Entertainment disctrict and the other a bit further down mesa. They also have one (in which I frequent most often) snuggly hidden just off Lee Trevino on the east side.

The other is the ACID Toast. This I was lucky enough to receive in an infamous Acid Tin. Contents of these tins vary, but they are incredibly easy to find.

The Good Stuff: The entire subculture line boasts “taking cigar manufacturing to new limits”. Each small batch cigar is not only aged an extra year, but is also the most intuitive of infused blends. The ACID Def Sea is no exception. The Def Sea is a smoothly blended cigar wrapped in Sumatra seeded tobacco leaves and infused with the insane blend of flavors from honey water, to jasmine.

Size: 6 x 52  –  Wrapper: Sumatran  –  Strength: Medium  –  Shape: Perfecto  –  Country: Nicaragua

Prelight: The ACID def sea is a perfecto shaped cigar. This means it holds a torpedo shape at both the foot, and the head. Torpedos have to be my favorite shapes as they burn almost perfect every time. The cigar holds a very oily, creamy, dark Sumatra wrapper. It’s very close to a maduro, but no where near as sweet. Sadly from the picture above you can see that my cigar didn’t come in the best condition. Not only does it have a few cracks but the head of the cigar looks like its been smashed one time too many. Outside of that the cigar is great in construction, I can’t image how hard it is to roll one of these.

First Smoke: Kinda funny, but every time I smoke a cigar my wife takes the shaving from the head left on my cutter and sucks on it. Since she isn’t a cigar smoker this is how she bases her reviews. Oddly enough she looked at me with a sad face. She obviously gave this one a thumbs down. Being a man, I felt my review would be much different. The first hit was enormous. That had to be the best part of this cigar outside of the shape. It sports a very large, thick draw. Not nearly as big as the Ambrosia Kaya I reviewed recently, but large none the less. The taste. This is what caught me by surprise. Maybe I’m not a Jasmine fan but I really didn’t like the flavor produced by this cigar. It was really sweet (a good thing), with hints of honey, jasmine, pine, and cedar. The cigar itself wasn’t that flavorful at all and actually felt more like I was smoking a traditional cigar than an aromatic. The cigar was very easy to light, and burned very clean.

Halfway There: Another surprise was the fact that shortly after the first few draws not only did the cigar ash off (not even a half inch in, this may be due to the condition the cigar was in), but the burn seemed to have a mind of its own as you can see here:

Drew Estate Acid Subculture Def Sea Perfecto

Drew Estate Acid Subculture Def Sea Perfecto

One minute its burning great, the next its powerful on one side, then the other. It was kinda interesting to watch. Also note in the picture you can see the wrapping beginning to come undone.

The flavor is still there and hasn’t increased as of yet. As much as I would like it to. The draw has increased a bit and again, its the best part so far.

Finish: On a good note, outside of the image above there were no further defects in the wrapping. The cigar finished very smooth, but still lacked in flavor. I didn’t take it to the nub, but close enough to call it quits. This cigar just wasn’t as “Action-Packed” as I was hoping for. The cigar was still very smooth, and did not increase in strength as I smoked along.

Overview: Would I try this cigar again? Probably not. Would I suggest it to anyone else? Yes, especially if it is someone that solely smokes traditional cigars, or has a fear of infused cigars. I’m not at all unimpressed with this cigar. A lot of work goes into the subculture line and it clearly shows. The flavors in this guy just wasn’t my cup of tea. I still have the “Toast” in my humidor, and the “Hawg” was one hell of a cigar. It actually took me two days to smoke that one down (thank god, and my wife for my Cigar Savor).

Drew Estate Ambrosia Kaya Cigar Review

I know this is the second cigar review this week, but by pounded out his review I will be all caught up. Not to mention its hard to contain the excitement of not only spreading the word of these cigars, but its getting really tough to fight the urge to smoke the next one.

The cigar I am talking about is Drew Estate’s Ambrosia – Kaya.

Drew Estate Ambrosia Kaya

Drew Estate Ambrosia Kaya

The Good Stuff: Jonathan Drew, the founder and production director of Drew Estate is known for his remarkable ability to stretch cigar infusions to new, never before heard of lengths. From the ACID lines, to the coffee infused Tabak Especial lines, no other cigar manufacturer can parallel Drew Estate. The ambrosia line is no exception. These cigars are a VERY complex mixture of the rarest spices from South Asia, and Europe infused with aged Honduran and Nicaraguan tobacco grown at the Drew Estate farm in Esteli Nicaragua. It is said that these infused cigars are in fact the toughest blends produced by Drew Estate to date.

Size: 4 x 38  –  Strength: Full Bodied  –  Wrapper: Colorado Claro  –  Country: Nicaragua

Prelight: The first thing you notice about this cigar is its small size. Don’t let that fool you, this is one powerhouse cigar and packs a MASSIVE punch. The Kaya would be best classified as the “ACID Bondie” of the Ambrosia line. It’s comparable shade, wrapper, size, and cut are hard to overlook. Along with the round cap this cigar carries with it a small, entwined end. Although it looks a bit silly, I’m sure because of the size of this cigar it is necessary in order to protect against unwrapping. The Kaya is a very consistent cigar, it shows no visible veins, and absolutely no soft spots, and a very loose wrapping. As soon as you remove the cellophane you are engulfed with a massive clove scent, along with several spice, and botanical hints.

First Smoke: HOLY CRAP!! That about sums it up. This tiny little cigar produces the largest draw I have ever hit off of any cigar. HUGE clouds of very thick smoke. The flavor is much the same. The first flavor to hit the pallet is clove, followed closely by nutmeg, and even a bit of Cinnamon. The taste may be a bit over-powering, but that is the way I like it. Because of the cigars small stature I don’t foresee burning to be an issue, it’s going very even at this point. The cigar is VERY strong but overall smooth.

Halfway There: At this point this cigar is still a beast. The only downfall is due to it loose wrapping the sucker is burning QUICK. You may want to carry another one with you. The flavors continue to pound the pallet leaving the smoking craving more. The draw is even thicker as you progress and the burn is impeccable. I got almost halfway through the cigar before it finally ashed off. The cigar is still VERY strong at this point, but it is not bothersome in the least. It actually makes the draw quite creamy.

Finish: Incredibly this cigar has yet to loose its strength, its draw, or its powerful flavor. I really wish I had take another one with me as this cigar went much too fast (about 35 minutes). I smoked this one passed the nub, passed the danger zone, and all the way down until I could no longer hold the guy without burning my fingertips.

Overview: This is one hell of a cigar. I would consider it again, any day, anytime. It is VERY similar to the acid line in smoke, and quality. The main difference will be these taste. ACID cigars are pretty flavorful as is, most non-aromatic smokers despise them and should stay as far away from this cigar as possible. But any aromatic or ACID friendly smoker NEEDS to pick a couple of these up wherever they happen to find them available.

Drew Estate ACID Opulence 3 Cigar Review

Before reading please understand this review was based on the batch of these bad boys that cigar.com had sent me. They were pretty dried out upon arrival and this is no way reflects flaws caused by Drew Estate

As stated earlier in this blog that I tend to ignore as I tend to more “life threatening” situations (such as pizza and tv), I wanted to not only blog about design and work related issues, but breakdown some of my favorite cigars, and beers as well.

Fortunately I had the pleasure of getting my hands on a couple (5 to be exact) of Drew Estate’s ACID Opulence 3’s.

When the cigar first appeared it caught me off guard as the banding is not consistent with the rest of ACID line:

Acid Opulence 3

Acid Opulence 3 (image courtesy of Cigar.com)

Luckily for me, I know how to read and quickly added this to my “cigars I need to buy STAT!” list.

I ordered these from cigar.com on Thursday of last week, considering the fact that I live on the other side of the US, and they were shipped USPS, I was pleasantly surprised when they came in the following Monday. They packaged them in a Ziploc-air-tight cigar bag, along with a proper humi-care pouch which is why I do not understand the dry condition these cigars were in. I quickly placed them in my humidor. Again, this review is based off this batch which were pretty dried out, this is NOT Drew Estate’s shortcoming in any way, shape, or form. I’m hoping that my humidor will condition these cigars giving me the chance to review the review.

On to the good stuff:

Robusto  –  Size: 5 x 54  –  Wrapper: Maduro  –  Country: Nicaragua

Opulence 3 is labeled the “rarest” ACID cigar in production. They are constructed from 3 different Esteli, Nicaraguan tobacco crops from the years 2005, 2006, and 2007. Each leaf (from my understanding) is then carefully infused with aromas, and oils as only Drew Estates can do. After this, the tobacco is then wrapped with a surprising dark, and heavily flavorful oily maduro wrapper from San Andres, Mexico.

Prelight: Shortly after removing the cellophane the aroma of what smelled very similar to the ACID Blues filled the room. The construction of the cigar was impeccable. One of the most solid I have ever seen.  There were no visible veins or soft spots. The cigar sports a very rounded cap so I decided a cutter would be my best approach.

First Smoke: I used a standard single flame colibri butane torch to light this cigar. I was expecting the smooth, soft, flavorful taste of the ACID blue due to the aroma, but surprisingly I was smacked in the face with a VERY strong, spicy, floral taste of the Opulence 3. Needless to say this surprise was more than welcomed. The first third of the cigar was EXTREMELY powerful, great draw, not a whole lot of smoke (but very thick), with an almost perfectly even burn. I got a little over an inch of ash before it finally gave way. The aroma was extremely pleasant (even my neighbor pointed this out).

Halfway There:The second third definitely kept its flavor and spice. Not to mention strength. This had to be one of the stronger ACID’s I’ve had the pleasure of smoking. Sadly at this point the dryness of the cigar began to take over. The wrapping began to come undone, and very flaky. The draw began to lessen quite drastically, but oddly kept its flavor. Needless to say the ash was all over the place.

Finish:I am sill pretty sad that the cigar was so dry, the finish would have been remarkable. The nub was increasingly power-packed with strength and flavor, the only downfall was at this point the wrapper was almost completely diminished. I’m not usually a fan of the nub, but I couldn’t help but love this one. The increase of flavor kept me wanting more.

OverView:This is a GREAT Acid cigar. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who hasn’t had an ACID before, but for those of you who have, grab these while they are still available. The burn was mere perfect, as well was the flawless construction. Very powerful strength combined with immense spice, and floral flavors.