Redux: Liga Privada T52 by Drew Estate Friday, Mar 19 2010 

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Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Stalk Cut Sungrown Habano
Binder: Brazilian
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Honduran
Size: Toro 6.0″x52 Ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

Drew Estate has been making quite the splash as of late on the cigar world and especially in the online cigar community and it is not for a type of cigar you would typically associate with the brand.  Recently they have had two very successful and very well received lines of cigars and they are not flavored or infused in any way.  They are traditional cigars and they are sold under the name Liga Privada.  First came the No.9 and most recently the T52 which a lot of cigar smokers are raving about.  Not that long ago I was able to smoke and review a pre-production version of the T52.  Specifically “blend #3” which was supposedly selected as the final blend for what would become the production version of the T52.  Now I have heard second and third had, that Drew Estate actually tweaked that final blend a bit at the last minute using a hybrid of the pre-production blends #3 and #4.  I have no idea how accurate that is if at all but I heard it said often enough that I thought it worth mentioning.

Since I smoked that pre-production version of the T52 I have been looking forward to revisiting the smoke in its final off the shelf incarnation.  I was very surprised by that first T52 and thought it to be a stellar cigar.  You can read my review of it by clicking here.  One of the unique features of this cigar is it’s wrapper.   It is a one of kind wrapper leaf not used on any other cigar.  It is grown in Connecticut and it is harvested in a unique fashion.  You can read all about it in that review of the pre-production stick.

Visually this cigar is just as beautiful as the pre-production version.  Dark and oily, and virtually flawless.  This one was a little different in the flavor department though, and that is not a bad thing.  This T52 starts off with very full and robust meaty flavors.  You feel like you just sat down and began eating a four course meal.  It was wonderful, but I knew if it kept up for the entire smoke it would be too much.  Thankfully it calmed down a bit after the first inch or two.  The I was treated to rich and decadent notes of chocolate and espresso with the occasional flash of licorice.   I don’t recall ever smoking a cigar with such a distinct chocolaty flavor to it.  It would switch back and forth between the thick meaty flavors and the slightly lighter chocolate and espresso.  Towards the end it became very full and robust again with a bit of black pepper on the finish.  I smoked this one down to the nub.  Construction was absolute perfection .  Perfect burn, perfect draw, perfect ash.  I don’t think you could construct a cigar any better than this. I have to say I enjoyed the T52 immensely and found it to be even better than I remember the pre-production blend #3 to be.  This is a must try for any lover of stout, full bodied cigars.  It has earned a spot on my “Matt’s Favs” list.

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Liga Privada No.9 Parejo Oscuro Wednesday, Sep 16 2009 

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…by Drew Estate
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Oscuro
Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Honduran and Nicaraguan
Size: Toro 6.0 x 52 ring

I want to start off on this review by thanking a very generous BOTL over at SocialCigar.com for giving me this cigar.  JohnLongIsland is a first class brother of the leaf and a 1st class individual as well.  John is a big supporter of my fundraising efforts for the Ride for Kids and his generosity is always very much appreciated.  He sent me a little gift a short while back that included this fine cigar.  Thanks John.

It seems to be a trend that has developed over the last year or so.  A cigar comes out and it is proclaimed as a private blend created just for the owner of the brand, or as a “personal blend” made for someone high ranking officer in the company, and now for the first time it is going to be made available to the public.  The Tatuaje Black Label is probably the highest profile example of one of these “private cigars made public”.  This one was supposedly made for Steve Saka of Drew Estate and was intended to be a strictly private stock cigar .  The “no.9” supposedly denotes that this cigar was the 9th blend in a series of prototypes made when creating this cigar.  I have no idea how or why it became available for public sale.  Truth or hype, I leave it to you to decide if you care to do so.  Truth is, it is kind of irrelevant in the end.  What matter is… Is it any good?

If nothing else, this cigar is beautiful to behold much like it’s newer brother, the soon to be release Liga Privada T52.  The wrapper has a naturally dark brown appearance with a silky, oily sheen.  It is toothy,  a little bumpy, and veiny, but the wrapper is so perfectly applied and the cigar is so handsome you cannot call it rustic.  Say what you will about Drew Estate and their reputation among cigar purists, but they make some of the most visually beautiful cigars you can buy.  Speaking of their reputation, although known primarily for flavored and infused cigars, the Liga Privada is a traditional offering from Drew Estate.  It is not flavored or infused, and it doesn’t use any non traditional tobacco like pipe tobaccos in its blend.  This is a straight-up stogie and an excellently constructed one at that.

The Liga Privada No.9 starts off smooth and rich with a nice meaty flavor.  It mellows a little once you get past the first inch or so.  At first I though this cigar was going to be a full bodied smoke, but as it turns out it isn’t quite that robust.  It is a solid medium bodied cigar that delivers nice flavors of chocolate and espresso with a little black pepper on the finish.  The construction could not be better with a perfect draw and a razor sharp burn.  The salt and pepper ash is a very well formed and holds firm for more than an inch before needing to be tapped.

Overall this is a really enjoyable smoke with some great, easily discernable flavors.  However, there isn’t much complexity here.  Once it settles in after that first inch, the cigar never really changes again so it ends up being a bit of a one dimensional smoke.  Still, what it does deliver is quite good.  I think this cigar makes for an excellent social smoke when you are looking for a tasty smoke that you may not be giving your full attention, but when you want that smoke to be  better than some yard ‘gar.

Rating – B

Some other takes:

Drew Estate Liga Privada T52 Tuesday, Jul 21 2009 

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Drew Estates’ Liga Privada No. 9 has received a fair amount of hype.  Know mostly for flavored and infused cigars, when Drew Estates ventures into more traditional lines of cigars it always raises some eyebrows and draws attention.  Their Liga Privada line of cigars seems to be their best received offering of traditional smokes.  The T-52 is a new cigar in the line that hasn’t even been released yet.  It is set to be released at this years IPCPRA convention.  T.G., a very generous brother at The Herf Hut Cigar Forum, offered to share one of these new cigars that he was lucky enough to get his hands on a little early.  Thanks T.G., I really appreciate it.

The really special thing about this new cigar is the wrapper.  It is a new, never used before and exclusive wrapper that the folks at Drew Estate has dubbed “Stalk Cut Habano”.  Rather that trying to tell the story myself I’ll just quote the information that T.G. sent me that he got from Jonathan Drew.  In this explanation the wrapper is referred to as American Habano, but apparently they have changed their minds a decided to refer to it as Stalk Cut Habano.  Read on… (more…)

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