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I’m a big fan of the Drew Estate Java Natural (the one with the ‘Latte’ foot band) so I was already expecting to enjoy the Maduro version immensely. What I didn’t expect were the 50MPH gusts of wind and bursts of rain on the golf course this weekend. Despite the challenges, I perservered with a great smoking experience (and a pretty decent golf score.)

To me, subjecting a cigar to extreme weather is the ultimate construction test. I thought it would be impossible to smoke any cigar outside on a day like last Saturday, but this box-pressed beauty kept burning despite the ash blowing away with the wind. I had to touch it up a few times to get the burn back to even, but I was amazed at how well this stick held up.

I can’t say I prefer the Maduro over the Natural, but that’s just my personal taste. The Natural is absolutely amazing for its top-quality tobacco and flavors of coffee con leche, cocoa and creaminess. The Maduro errs more toward a conventional smoke as the trademark woody core starts to develop along with the sweeter flavors. In comparison to the Natural, the Maduro has a slightly fuller body, less coffee creaminess and more tobacco richness. I would highly recommend them both, but which type I’d recommend would depend on the smoker’s preferences. It’s pretty obvious who would like which cigar, so no need to elaborate. Back to the course…

Well, no cigar stands up to water, so when the rain started falling I set it down in the cart. It remained unlit for about three holes, but by the time I got to the ninth I just couldn’t bear the sight of a half-smoked cigar any longer. As the sky cleared, this stick lit right back up like it had never been out. After a brief bout with bitterness, it quickly reverted back to its pre-extinguished flavor profile. I was very glad I had stoked the stogie back up because the latter half of this cigar was even better than the first.

Burning closer to the nub produced much richer flavors. It could have just been the wind not giving the first half a chance to stay fully lit, but I really enjoyed the Java Maduro’s finale. I ripped the band off and finished the smoke at the clubhouse as we reflected on the burst of extreme weather that had threatened our round, not to mention this very cigar review.

As I said, I’d recommend this cigar on flavor alone. But one thing’s for sure: damn, this is a finely constructed cigar. Even those who don’t care for it have to admit it’s a fanstastic roll. If you were only there to witness my pitch shot land twenty feet off the green only to have the wind blow it ten feet from the hole — all the while puffing on the Java Maduro — you’d be in awe too.

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