Archive for the ‘star anise’ Tag

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.

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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.