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Drew Estate recruited renowned cigar blender Willy Herrera, formerly of El Titan de Bronze in Miami, to create Herrera Esteli, the company’s latest entry into the non-infused cigar category. Rolled in the Cuban Entubado style using a blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran filler tobaccos beneath an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, these sticks have been called “Drew Estates version of a Cuban cigar.” Packed in traditional Cabinet-style boxes of 25 and adorned in vintage Cuban-style bands, Herrera Esteli is a homage to the Cuban stogies of old, and has garnered rave reviews all across the interwebs since its release. Today I finally had the opportunity to sample the Robusto Extra (5 x 52.)

This was a nice-looking stick covered in a smooth, delicate-looking wrapper with some fine tooth and thin veins throughout. The side of the neat, Cuban-esque band on the cigar reads “We guarantee the tobacco used in Herrera Esteli are the finest vintage aged air cured black cigar leaf.” Pre-light draws produced a warm taste of rich maple-like sweetness.

The cigar lit up to a full taste of cedar and white pepper along with some nutmeggy baking spice and a syrupy sweetness through a fluid draw with loads of creamy smoke. In just the first few puffs this smoke had a layered and well-balanced profile at a level that that most cigars do not achieve even at their “sweet spot.”

Going into the second third I began to pick up added notes of cocoa and molasses as the spice level dropped from a 9 out of 10 to about a 4 with the sweetness now more pronounced. Hints of anise and cinnamon also began to surface during this portion. The woody flavor from the intro had shifted from cedar to more of an oak, continuing the parade of dazzling flavor transitions at play.

In the final third both burn and draw remained exemplary as the flavors turned a bit darker and the spice made a bit of a comeback. This was all quite delicious and I soon found myself in the rare situation where I really didn’t want the smoke to end.

After finishing the Robusto Extra the first word that comes to mind is “wow.” Based on what I had read I expected this to be good, but I was really blown away by the variety and quality of flavors I found here and how well they worked together. Add a perfect burn and easy draw into the equation and you’re looking at one of Drew Estates most successful creations to date. The onslaught of slam-dunk blends he’s been pumping out in recent years has me wondering: Has Jonathan Drew entered into some sort of secret black magic pact that allows him to produce unparalleled flavorful blends at will? If so, kudos to him. He’s got the cigar world by the cajones putting out stuff like this. The Herrera Esteli Robusto Extra gets an A+ in my book, this was an impressive smoke in every regard and anyone with a working set of taste buds is sure to appreciate it.

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