Drew Estate Liga Privada JD#4
Anyone who reads this blog knows of my love for Drew Estate’s Liga Privada lines. When word started getting out that there was an unreleased blend out there, I was all over it, and lucky for me our good friend Jonathan Drew and Drew Estate were kind enough to shoot a few of these unreleased sticks our way. Needless to say, this review, as well as any reviews on our site and completely unbiased. If a cigar rocks, it rocks, but if this new Liga Privada blows, believe me, I’ll be the first to wave red flags.
The Good Stuff: The newest, un-released blend is called the Liga Privada JD#4. The Liga Privada line was originally created for the sole purpose of Steve Saka’s (Drew Estate’s President) personal enjoyment. After massive amounts of pressure from Drew Estate’s sale staff, Saka was forced to release his personal blend, the Liga Privada No.9 to the public. The Connecticut Broadleaf used on the Liga Privada No.9 is so limited, and the No.9 was in such high demand that Drew Estate was forced to come out with yet another Liga Privada blend that they could produce year round. Hence where the Stalk Cut Habano wrapped Liga Privada T52 comes into play.
I can only assume that the success of each of these blends had caused Drew Estate’s Production Director and Saka’s partner in crime Jonathan Drew to create a Liga Privada blend of his very own. Alas, the Liga Privada JD#4 was born. I’m not entirely sure where the “#4” comes from, but I can only assume it was similar to the “No.9” and is the actually blend number assigned during tasting.
The specifics of this blend are still extremely fuzzy. The only details I have is that the blend has been around for about 2 years, and Jonathan Drew has been smoking them religiously and the release date, if it ever does get released won’t but until at least sometime next year. The blend carries the same Havana Seed Connecticut grown stalk-cut wrapper as the T52 but has a completely different core with an even more ramped up body. The samples sent to me are toros, and look to be 6 x 52/54 The ring gauge seems bigger than 52 but not quite 54.
Prelight: The Liga Privada JD#4 is hefty, toro sized cigar. The wrapper is very toothy, with a consistent dark chocolaty brown mixed with a few lighter orange shades. The JD#4 is pretty much identical in it’s physical appearance as the Liga Privada T52, with what I can assume is the same stalk-cut Habano wrapper that the T52 carries. Topped off with a nicely round double cap, the JD#4 has only one noticeable vein that I don’t foresee pestering the experience. The wrapper feels much like a softer sand-paper with no soft spots at all or any signs of mis-construction. The wrapper of the JD#4 gives off a massive cedar scent with hints of cinnamon, cocoa, and a very, very interesting almost cologne scent that I have never picked up from a Liga Privada cigar before. Whatever it is, it smells damn good. The foot gives off a totally different scent, one more composed of natural tobacco, and earth tones. In this case, the wrapper is the more dominant player. The cap clipped off with ease using my double bladed Liga Privada cutter. The cold draw producing a surprising organic, earthy, and musky flavor. Totally different than the cedar-heavy Liga Privada blends I am used to.
First Smoke: The Liga Privada JD#4 started out with the same power punch of pepper as I have grown to expect from the Liga Privada lines. Caught off guard yet again is the fact that the most prominent flavor is actually the cedar that I didn’t think came through much in the cold draw. Other strong notes are organic tobacco and cocoa mixed in with hints of spice, cinnamon, and even a tiny bit of citrus off the aftertaste. The JD#4 is really starting off with a bang, if the body stays as strong as it is right now this cigar just might knock me on my ass. The draw is effortless and pumps out a massive amount of extremely thick, dark brown, cedar scented smoke as well as a crap load of stationary smoke. You can actually see the oils burning off the wrapper. I really don’t think the scent of the smoke will bother anyone that doesn’t smoke cigars, but the amount of smoke just might. The burnline is perfect, sharp, and even and the ash left behind is a medium grey, and tightly packed with only slight flakes. The ash held on for a little over an inch before tumbling into my ashtray.
Halfway There: Wow, the strength of this cigar is already starting to hit me. The best part about it though, is its very balance with the flavor, smoothness, and creamy experience of this cigar. I think there are a lot of blends out right now that are just boasting power but lack in the flavor department, luckily up till now the JD#4 isn’t a casualty of this trend. The dominant flavor is still cedar but I am starting to get a sharp raisin, cocoa and coffee mixture in there as well as strong tobacco. The retrohale primed my nasal passage with a very enjoyable bold cedar. The burnline is still rockin’ sharp and perfectly even.
Finish: Well into the final third of this Liga Privada JD#4 and the flavors had an interesting switch up. The cedar began to fade just slightly enough to product a very creamy mocha flavor backed up by raisin, leather, tobacco, and even a slight return of spice. Then, within the last inch the cedar ramped the hell up and came on full force. Usually I’m not one for the final inch of a cigar. But the JD#4 kicked ass with a completely smooth experience with no harsh build up. Well into the last inch and my fingers didn’t even get warm which I didn’t expect with a cigar with such a huge draw. The strength? Dead on. I would compare it to something like the Oliva Serie V just without all the harsh Ligero. I’m sure there is some in here, but it takes the backburner to the flavor. After all was said and done, the JD#4 took about 2 hours to smoke.
Overview: The Liga Privada JD#4 is something quite different than the T52 and the No. 9 but still holds true to the rest of the Liga Privada line. As if the other twp blends didn’t already have enough strength the JD#4 comes in with a perfectly balanced powerhoused flavor bomb. This isn’t a beginner’s cigar. The body is too ramped up for a novice, or even an experienced medium bodied smoker. But I think it goes without saying that Drew Estate has another winner on it’s hands. I still think the No.9 trumps both the JD#4 and the T52, but the JD#4 is right up there with the T52. From what I have seen the reviews are torn between which one is favorited, and I am sure that the JD#4 will be adding another strong contender to the competition.
Pairing: I decided to pair this cigar with a cup of sweet tea. See the picture? That’s cause I didn’t post one. We all know what tea looks like. Not to mention I really don’t want to do the dishes so I drank out of a plastic cup that wasn’t very photogenic. Sweet tea is probably one of my absolute favorite pairings for a cigar. The brisk tea notes really help pick apart the tobacco while the sugar helps calm the nicotine kick produced by stronger cigars. The Liga Privada JD#4 would pair perfect with any strong whiskey or scotch, port, stout, porter, or coffee.