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Staff Reviews

Liga Undercrown Robusto by Drew Estate Staff Review

Zack D. D's picture

Zack D.

I am reviewing the original version of Liga Undercrown by Drew Estate in a 5 x 54 Robusto format. Drew Estate is one of the more interesting companies in the cigar business. The company is not founded by a family with Cuban roots or centuries of cigar-making tradition in its history. But, the Drew Estate backstory is equally fascinating.

In the mid-90s, two friends, Jonathan Drew and Marvin Samel, sold a few cigars out of a tiny kiosk in the Twin Towers in New York City. After gaining success in New York, they began producing cigars in Nicaragua and created the notable cult brand, Acid – a collection of infused (or flavored) cigars with exotic aromas and tasting notes reminiscent of incense. Acid cigars became popular quickly and Drew Estate became a sizeable cigar company in just a few years.

In the mid-2000s, the company branched out from making its infused Acid line and released a more traditional premium brand, Liga Privada. There are two primary versions: Liga Privada No. 9 and Liga Privada T52. Both tend to sell out quickly when they’re shipped to stores. To ease demand, Drew Estate released a more budget-friendly line called Liga Undercrown. Today, there are multiple Undercrown blends to choose from – all are handmade at Drew Estate’s massive factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.

The original Liga Undercrown line is made with an oily and thick San Andrés Maduro wrapper over a unique blend of Brazilian and Nicaraguan long-filler tobaccos with a stalk-cut Connecticut-grown Habano binder.

The first thing I notice about the cigar is just how firm it is. The wrapper is very oily with a beautiful sheen and a complex vein structure. Notes of sweet chocolate, dried fruit, coffee, and cedar are prevalent in the pre-light aroma, while the cold draw adds layers of birch beer, cherry, and cracked black pepper.

As soon as I fire up the foot, a sucker-punch of pepper and black coffee notes greets the palate. As the aged tobacco gets hot, hints of oak, cedar, and moss enter the picture. Near the halfway mark, the profile delivers campfire-like aromas with sweet, underlying notes of dried cranberry. As the second half of the cigar progresses, its sweetness is the most noticeable characteristic. The spices are reduced to a minimum by the time I reach the last two inches. A complex finish results as the initial notes of birch beer in the cold draw return.

The cigar produces a tremendous amount of smoke – far more than any cigar I have ever smoked before. Its wavy burn required two separate touch ups. Despite being tightly packed, the draw was satisfying. Liga Undercrown is certainly a cigar you should sit down to smoke. The blend starts out medium-bodied but slowly amps its way up. At its strongest, Undercrown hits a solid 8 out of 10. Thanks to its San Andrés Maduro wrapper, I am personally a bigger fan of the Undercrown than the Liga Privada No. 9 and T52 editions. Smoke a few yourself and let us know how the different Ligas stack up in your book.

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