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Staff Reviews

Liga Undercrown Sun Grown Robusto Staff Review

Zack D. D's picture

Zack D.

I’m smoking a 5 by 54 Robusto beloved by boutique enthusiasts: Liga Undercrown Sun Grown. More than a decade ago, Drew Estate, best known for producing the infused Acid brand, launched a pair of non-flavored cigars – Liga Privada No. 9 and Liga Privada T52 – that quickly became big hits with fans of small-batch cigars, but supplies were limited and they sold out fast. To keep up with demand, the folks at Drew Estate tweaked the blend and debuted a less expensive version called Liga Undercrown, which I detailed a while back in a previous staff review. Two other blends have been added to the Undercrown franchise, Liga Undercrown Shade and the one I’m smoking now, Liga Undercrown Sun Grown.

All Liga Undercrown cigars are handmade at the sprawling Drew Estate factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. Liga Undercrown Sun Grown is drafted from a complex blend of premium long-fillers from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and Indonesia, and the cigar is finished in an oily Sun Grown wrapper cultivated in the fertile soils of Ecuador. The collection is crafted in a handful of traditional sizes, as well as the insanely popular Flying Pig – a short fat Perfecto that, well, flies off the shelves when we get them in stock. A maroon and gold cigar band with the brand’s lion and crown logo adorns each smoke with a secondary label over the foot.

Liga Undercrown Sun Grown is right in my wheelhouse because I smoke a lot of full-bodied Nicaraguan cigars. The slightly chunky Robusto I’m firing up looks promising with a graham-cracker-brown wrapper leaf that shows a thin vein structure and a consistently firm density when I give the cigar a soft pinch from the head to the foot. The cap comes off swiftly with a razor-sharp clip from my new Xikar Enso cutter. Cold aromas of hickory, cinnamon, and pepper fill my nasal cavity while notes of damp earth, baking spices, and leather mingle in a palatable preview of what’s to come.

I’m smoking in my man cave today, aka the attic. Some days it’s safer than the front porch where a parade of neighborhood husbands inevitably gathers in search of handouts when they get a whiff of my cigar smoking. Laying out my take on a cigar for a staff review isn’t simply smoking, though. It’s serious business, and I need to concentrate. I plop one of my favorite G. Love records on the turntable and position my ashtray for an hour of solace because a good cigar always tastes best with the right preparation. The flame from my lighter leaps up and down when I hit the foot and start puffing. After I twist the cigar in my mouth a few times, full combustion is achieved.

I get a great draw from the get-go on Liga Undercrown Sun Grown. Leathery and spicy flavors reveal hints of cinnamon and pie crust on the retrohale.  Big, white billows of earthy and peppery smoke float into the rafters. The zest is bit overwhelming initially, but it calms down when a more agreeable sweetness comes into play. Notes of cocoa, honey, and coffee break up the stringent spices that shocked my nose hairs at first. I tap off a stable ash in inch-and-a-half-long increments throughout the first twenty minutes. Undercrown Sun Grown may be a bit harsh in the beginning, but it’s a well-made cigar. I wouldn’t hand this blend to a beginner, but it’s not a bad choice if you’re accustomed to other beefy Nicaraguans like Cain Habano or Punch Diablo.

Notes of black pepper and leather continue to stand out through the middle of this potent Robusto. Hints of corn flakes, wheat, molasses, and assorted nuts balance out the cigar’s tangy aftertaste. I haven’t had to relight the cigar a single time, compliments of smoking indoors, although the ash did exhibit a flakey quality in a few places but not enough to cause concern.

I’m comfortable peeling the band off Liga Undercrown Sun Grown and powering through the nub. Chewy notes of hickory and cayenne characterize a lingering finale that’s just a touch on the musty side. When you’re craving a stiff Nicaraguan smoke, give Undercrown Sun Grown a shot. It’s easier to get your hands on one of these than the standard Liga Privadas, and if you like it, you can sample the other two Undercrown blends with a pair of Herrera Estelí Toros in the Drew Estate Tubos Sampler.


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