One thing that can be hard about being a cigar lover is keeping all those different sub-lines straight. There’s nothing complicated about knowing a cigar brand like Drew Estate
or a line like Liga Privada
. But when they break it out into T52, H99, Unico (with its own sub-sub-lines!), things get challenging to track.
We just want good smokes, right? Is that too much to ask?
Well, the thing is, these guys are experimenting all the time
to produce high-quality blends and products. And it can help you decide what to buy if you know what grouping they’re working on. So each of the cigars in this article is a product of the great continuing project known as Liga Privada, which all started with…
It was only supposed to be a nice little private blend for the house. But the problem is, some products are too good to keep a secret. So when the world found out that the Drew Estate team had a glorious private stash cigar that they couldn’t stop smoking day and night, the world wanted in.
If you know nothing else about the original Liga Privada seven-tobacco blend, it can be summed up in a single word: “satisfying.” This smoke satisfies, every time. The problem is, you can never find it. Only four pairs of Torcedores are allowed to make it, and they can only make 250 each day.
Ironically, this amount is never enough to satisfy.
If you don’t give a heck about cigar lore, we’ll keep it short: the Drew Estate Liga Privada T52 was made to be stronger than it’s Liga Privada brethren. And it is.
For those who are interested in cigar lore:
As the story goes, the Drew Estate boys went up to Connecticut, lookin’ for a soul to steal… wait, wrong story. No. In this story, they were after a barn of Broadleaf and stumbled upon some unique stalk-cut tobacco. The farmer called it “American Habano.” And because it looked so nice and finally had the thickness the boys were after, they decided to commit to buying crops of it.
But that’s not the end of things. Broadleaf, as the Drew Estate boys put it, is a “pain in the ass.” You see, most tobacco is primed – taken off the plant a few leaves at a time for processing. Stalk-cut tobacco on the other hand (like Broadleaf), is lopped off at the stalk, with the leaves still on it. It’s left out to wilt in the sun a bit, and then it’s speared on lathes and hung up in the barn to think for a while about turning into a cigar someday. While there, it continues to draw nutrition from the stalk, which gives it the qualities for which it is prized.
It takes a month to go from green to brown
It’s not over yet, though!
Those leaves are full of ammonia and other nasty stuff that makes it no good for smoking. Like everything good in life, it has to ferment
to become the rich delicacy we know and love. Here’s another big difference between Broadleaf and other tobaccos: while more delicate leaves might ferment for a few months, Broadleaf can take years
, often with rounds of aging in between.
Like they said, it’s a pain in the ass.
This leaf really has to be beaten into submission – broken like a wild bronco - and the ultimate usable product is sometimes an underwhelming percentage of the total crop (less than half for premium sticks). The result, however, can be an exquisite treat, as in the case of the T52.
Next time you light one up, you’ll know how much trouble went into making your smoke.
This sub-line is where Drew Estate’s mad scientists put all the cigars that come out of the lab. But that can’t be made into their own standing lines because of a variety of business issues. They’re magicians, but they’re not omnipotent, apparently. In the Liga Privada Unico sub—sub-lines, you’ll find things like the Ratzilla, Feral Flying Pig, and Nasty Fritas. It’s like getting to be close to the blending team without having to actually work in a cigar factory, which may or may not be a plus for you. Nevertheless, this is more fruit from the Liga Privada tree – or leaves from the stalk, if you like.
A cigar this good had to be celebrated, and the 10-Year Anniversario is an evolved take on the same Connecticut River Valley leaf that makes Liga Privada so special.
Master blender Willy Herrera was tasked with putting a fresh spin on it. What he came up with features a “San Andres Otapan Negro Último Corte” capote (this cigar is a mouthful even in written form. In addition to smokable form), along with a “core blend of well-aged Nicaraguan and Honduran Tripa leaf.”
As each crop is worked with, the team continues to improve their methods. One false move during the long process can ruin the crop. So, the 10-Year Anniversario is the result of a decent amount of experience working with this particular leaf.
We hope we’re around long enough to enjoy the 25-Year Anniversario (and lucky enough to get our hands on a few dozen boxes)!
We’ll skip the roundabout description. This version has a Corojo wrapper, but still one grown in the Connecticut River Valley. It’s quite hard to grow outside of its home climates in Florida, Nicaragua, and Honduras, but with hybridization, all things are possible. The end product is a red, oily wrap that conceals inner leaves that produce “sweet tobacco spice with dense earthy layers a luxuriously rich smoke.”
So hopefully, that clears things up. Pick one that you can get a stick of, kickback. And puff away on the fine tradition that makes up the Drew Estate Liga Privada differences.