February 3, 2018

Cigar Review: Undercrown by Drew Estate (Gran Toro)

Undercrown Gran Toro
One thing that I always give Drew Estate credit for is that they are not afraid to use tobacco. They are very experimental with the tobacco the purchase, and because of that they get some very enjoyable cigars. While they are known for their infused cigars, they have currently been capturing the attention of the non-infused cigar market with recent products. We all know of the successful Liga Privada No. 9 and the Liga Privada T52, but I think there greatest achievement was with one of their newest lines, the Undercrown. Since the success of the Liga Privada line, Drew Estate had to cut down its consumption of the Liga Privada Cigars in house, and the result was the Undercrown. The rollers began making this cigar for themselves to smoke, and used the same type of tobacco that was in the Liga Privada line, just used different primings. With the great success it had at home, and I imagine with test samples, the company decided to launch the line in 2017, and what a treat it has been.

Undercrown band
The Undercrown is one the latest and greatest from Drew Estate, and I know they have been a huge hit among smokers since its release.Though not a member of the Liga Privada Series, the cigar does feature some of the best qualities of the T52 and No. 9. The Undercrown line begins with a beautiful wrapper that just looks delicious. The wrapper is grown in Mexican of San Andreas seed, and is a unique strain of San Andreas Negro Maduro. The seed is grown only for Drew Estate,  and the harvest of the tobacco is delayed by several weeks to allow for more sun time resulting in more sugar content in the tobacco. The result is a wrapper that is very rich and creamy. The technical name for the wrapper is Otapan Negro Ultimo Corte. The binder is from the Connecticut River Valley in Connecticut, and is Stalk Cut Habano. This is the same tobacco leaf that is used as the wrapper on the T52. Underneath those two great tobacco leaves is a combination of filler tobacco from Nicaragua, that is all Cuban Seed, and Brazilian Mata Fina. Wow, that is a lot of tobacco, and a lot of flavors!   

The Gran Toro vitola is your standard toro, and measures 6" with a 52 ring gauge. Every one of the cigars I smoked had beautiful caps to them, and the cigars wrapper were dark and smooth. Firm in hand, the cigar does not have an oily wrapper, but there are very few veins present throughout the cigar. It is almost as if there are no veins present, and has the coloring is almost Obsidian to the eye. It is definitely Oscuro in coloring, and just gorgeous to look at. These cigars are just packed with great tobacco, and so well rolled that you can tell the amount of time put in to them. The cigar has wonderful aromas of leather, rich earth and coffee at the foot, and the wrapper also shows some cocoa notes with those flavors. One cool thing about these cigars is the band of the cigar. I love the Undercrown band! I think it is one of the coolest bands on cigars right now.
The beautiful San Andreas Otapan Negro Ultimo Corte wrapper.
The cigar begins wonderfully, and like all the cigars in the Undercrown line it has a fantastic burn line, with the smoke crawling up the cigar. No other cigar does this, and I have taken a photo, but the best way to see what I mean is to smoke the cigar. The ash throughout the first third is practically white in coloring, and it has a razor sharp burn line. There are an abundance of flavors in this cigar, but the main flavor is this cafe mocha cream flavor. The coffee, cocoa and cream notes are really dominant, and there is a finish of light spices and wood. There is a herbal finish to the cigar which is very cooling, almost menthol like. I would say the cigar is at a solid medium in terms of strength, and it is a cigar that I could smoke one after another.

When I get into the second third of the cigar, I am finding the flavors to still be very similar to that of the first third and the smoke to be kicking ass. No matter what these cigars are incredibly consistent in terms of construction, and with every one I get a beautiful burn line, a solid ash, and a great draw. This cigar has all those great qualities, and I love all the smoke the cigar is producing. There is a lot of rich cream notes in this third, and the coffee beans have become more like espresso beans. I am still picking up some nice cocoa notes with the cigar, and there is a finish of cinnamon, anise and wood. The flavors have been so great in this third, and the whole cigar. The strength is still at a solid medium level for me, and I think any smoker could enjoy this cigar.

The cigar is finishing up soon, and I wish this final third was the first. Throughout this whole smoke the cigar has performed excellently, and there are very few issues I have encountered. The flavors have been very enjoyable, the cigar has performed wonderfully, and overall it has left me wanting to smoke another cigar. The flavors of cream, coffee and cocoa have been very enjoyable in this third, and I have even picked up a bit of stone fruit as well. The stone fruit notes are really that of dark cherries and hints of dates, and very enjoyable. There is a finish of wood and spice to the cigar, and it is finishing right up my alley. As I smoke the cigar down to the nub the draw is still cool and lush, and the burn line still razor sharp. I am left with a very small nub of the cigar, and a nice grouping of solid white ashes in the tray.

Though the cigar did not make it into my Top 25 list as of last year, I must say that this cigar has been nothing but enjoyable, stick after stick. I personally find the cigar to be the best of all that Drew Estate has made, and what a great release it was for them in 2017. The cigar has allowed them to be a part of the non-infused cigar market, and to be readily available. Yes the cigar is going to move very fast, as to be expected, but unlike the Liga Privada line, it will be back in stock fairly quick. I give this cigar a 92, and find it to be just as great as the Belicoso vitola. Each and every size in the line I have smoked has performed wonderfully, and produced a great amount of flavor. If you are looking for a better San Andreas seed Mexican wrapper, you will struggle, and with all the other great tobacco in this cigar you will not be disappointed one bit.
Burn line in the first third. Yeah, I cut my finger.