Created by master blender, Willy Herrera, Drew Estate has released the Herrera Estelí Norteno, a full-bodied, bold stogie that is reminiscent of pre-Castro Cubans. This is the second collaboration between Herrera and Drew, with the Ecuadorian Habano Herrera Estelí Nicaraguan being their first. Their follow-up is a nod to the region that helped the company achieve their cigar making dreams. Known as the “Crazy Gringo” after moving to Nicaragua in 1998, Jonathan Drew had little money, spoke almost no Spanish, and slept in a small room above the dilapidated factory floor. Today, they are the epitome of a true success story with their massive new 96,000 sq. ft. factory and luxury cigar brands. 

When Drew Estate announced the release of Norteno, it was the culmination of numerous years of work. This cigar features a bold San Andres Maduro wrapper encompassing a zesty Honduran binder and a mix of well-aged fillers sourced from both Estelí and Jalapa. It comes in six different vitolas: Belicoso Fino (5 x50), Corona Extra (4 ¾ x48), Coronita (4 x46), Lonsdale (6 ½ x44), Robusto Grande (5 ½ x54), Toro Especial (6 x50). The wrapper is a chocolate color which reviewers stated feels soft and velvety to the touch. The pre-lit aroma is reminiscent of summer nights with notes of leather and hay. After lighting, the first draw brings a dry, earthen pepper note. The first-third is dominated by the cherry and pepper notes with hints of coffee. Aficionados loved the balance between the flavors and how the hit of spicy pepper punctuated the notes every so often. The second-third is sweeter with a s’mores-like flavor of fudge brownie and toasted marshmallows with hints of sea salt and tobacco. The complexity of the stogie is unusual with its yin-yang of sweet and salty flavors. The final third evolves into the full-bodied smoke it has claimed to be while it ramps up in strength. The marshmallow and brownie flavors are still present with a new sugar cookie note and hints of anise seed adding an excellent finish to the smoking experience.

Aficionados love what Willy Herrera and Drew Estate have created with the Norteno. It is the perfect stogie to have after an Italian dinner. It burns nicely and requires no touchups. It has a fantastic draw with a slight resistance and an abundant production of aromatic smoke. The salt and pepper colored ash is firm with the reviewers saying the stogie burns for a good hour or so. This is not a Maduro version of the Herrera Estelí; it is its own distinctive blend. With reviewers giving the cigar a solid nine out of ten, Herrera’s sophomore effort follows in the successful footsteps of its predecessor.

POSTED ON Oct 14, 2017


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