Drew Estate Undercrown Shade Belicoso – Smoke Notes Cigar Review
Undercrown Shade Belicoso (6×52)
W: Shade-Grown Connecticut, Ecuador
F: Criollo ‘98 (Dom. Rep.), Corojo & Criollo (Nicaragua)
Factory: La Gran Fabrica, Esteli, Nicaragua
Created by Drew Estate’s reigning blend king Willy Herrera, the Undercrown Shade follows up the company’s smash hit Undercrown cigar with a lighter wrap that’s medium in body and lush with ultra-smooth flavor. Toasty, woody, bready, nutty, creamy, peppery, and sweet, this is one Connecticut stick that you can safely categorize as “non-traditional.”
- Prior to lighting up, the cigar drew me in with a potent, sweet and cedary aroma that was detectable from 5 or 6 inches away, even before cutting the cap.
- Opening puffs were creamy in both flavor and texture, with leading notes of crisp cedar and a pinch of white pepper spice on the finish.
- As I burned through the 1st third the flavors took on a new “toastiness” and the spice intensified with each puff, eventually spilling over from the finish into the primary profile. A nice, thick ash was holding on strong at the 2-inch mark.
- An awesome burnt caramel sweetness joined the fold in the 2nd third, replacing the pepper and offsetting the cream and wood perfectly. I found myself grinning on the exhale. The aforementioned fat ash remained intact here but began to get a little wild with flakiness, and my OCD forced me to roll it off in the ashtray. “It will look better for the photos this way, “ I rationalized.
- The final third was where the real fireworks occurred, with notes of grass/hay, nougat, and black pepper mingling nicely with the wood, cream, and sweetness. The smoke itself was extra-full and “chewy” in this portion – a trait I usually wouldn’t associate with a Connecticut-wrapped cigar. After reaching peak complexity with an inch to spare, the cigar got a little hot for my taste and I decided to end the session.
Flavor Report: cedar, cream, white pepper, toasted bread, burnt caramel, grass/hay, nougat, smoky wood, black pepper
Along with the Drew Estate name comes certain expectations, and the Undercrown Shade lived up to them. In addition to the creamy and woody vibes you’d expect from a cigar with this type of wrapper, the Shade dished out formidable complexity and a full taste that elevated it well beyond its weight class in terms of flavor. Instincts tell me to call it “a fantastic golf cigar,” but truth be told, this engaging profile may be a little distracting if you’re trying to lower your handicap. The burn, however, would be no distraction at all, as it was spot-on from start to finito.