Drew Estate – Liga Privada Dirty Rat “Rata Sucia”
Right on target this week I am excited to bring you a review of Drew Estate’s Dirt Rat aka “Rata Sucia”.
Steve Saka at Drew Estate was kind enough to have a few of these sent my way, and I couldn’t be more thankful. Again, I am a Liga Privada fanboy so just knowing that there was a vitola out there that I haven’t had the chance to smoke was eating me up from the inside.
This is going to be more of a “first look” type deal rather than an actual review. I won’t go in as detailed as I usually do since this cigar is still in pre-production, and there is a real good chance it may never even make it to mass market. This will be more of just a collaboration of what you MAY expect if these little guys do happen to hit the streets.
Everyone who knows of the Liga Privada line of cigars should basically already know why exactly they are so exclusive and sought after. Basically, the Liga Privada cigars came about as a personal blend for Drew Estate’s president Steve Saka’s own smoking pleasure (you can read more detail in my review of the Liga Privada T52). This got me thinking, “why exactly, would such a great cigar that Steve holds so dearly to him be let out into the market”. So I decided to ask Steve Saka personally and here is his response:
The decision to release the LP No. 9 was something I was “forced” into… When it was originally blended we had very little leaf on hand to make it, but it didn’t matter as it was a cigar we were just crafting for me to smoke and we had plenty of leaf to make me a couple of thousand of special cigars.
Because it was so good, there was a lot of internal pressure from our sales guys to make it for retail sale, which I caved to with the caveat that we could only open 20 or so accounts and that we would have to slowly grow the brand, basically ten stores at time while we bought and fermented the needed leaf to make more as I was unwilling to let the consistency or quality slip in anyway. Liga Privada was and remains very personal to me.
So as we have increased our leaf stock, we have slowly increased our account base on the brand… to date we have grown the account base to some 200 or so stores. We are still limited by the very specific and tip-top quality leaf needed, but each year we buy more, which allows us to ferment and age more, and in turn make more cigars.
Same is true of T52, except we intended from nearly day one to add the blend/brand to the sales portfolio.
I loved how he states that the “Liga Privada was and remains very personal to me”. I feel the exact same to the few that I have lingering in my humidor alone.
That being said, the biggest difference between the Dirty Rat and the rest of the Liga Privada line is the mass amounts of 7 different types of tobacco used to create a single Dirty Rat. Keeping that in mind you can see right away the hesitation on mass producing the Dirty Rat (costly, time consuming, labor consuming).
Size: Corona 5×44 – Wrapper: Stalk-Cut Sungrown Connecticut Valley Habano – Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina – Filler: 5 different Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos
Prelight: The Dirty Rat shares a similar extremely dark, oily, toothy wrapper as the No. 9. The wrapper is extremely thick and firm to the touch with slight veins, and excellent construction. The Dirty Rat has a distinct “rat tail” resting on top of its rounded triple capped head. The Dirty Rat is pretty firm to the touch, and give a great bounce back once it is squeezed. The wrapper itself smells strongly of cedar and tobacco with underlying chocolate and a hint of spice. The foot of the cigar resembles with similar, more pronounced aromas. I didn’t pluck the tail off this guy as I would kill myself if I ruined it. Instead I went with my trusty double bladed palio which took to the Rat very nicely. The cold draw produced subtle flavors of cedar and spice.
First Smoke: The Dirty Rat lit up instantly under my tri-flame butane torch. At first, I was a bit bummed out as my first few puffs seemed a bit plugged. But after about the fourth hit I was thrown into the pepper front that the Liga Privada cigars throw at you. Just as soon as the pepper came it started to dissipate, leaving a very strong, sweet cedar taste up front with hints of spice and tobacco. The draw on the Dirty Rat was effortless, and massive. The smoke smelled of straight burning cedar. The Liga Privada has always produced great smelling smoke. The stationary smoke from the rat was immense, and just doesn’t quit. I don’t mind this at all as I was smoking alone, but I would be weary of it if smoking in a group. The burnline was razor sharp, and dead even leaving behind a medium grey ash that was a bit looser than I was used to from a liga privada. I got about an inch and a half through before the ash gave way.
Halfway There: At this point the Dirty Rat has smoothed out a bit and the pepper is completely gone. Cedar and tobacco are main stage, but a really smooth, sweet almost floral/tea type flavor has been thrown into the mix. I don’t want to scare you off by saying it was somewhat floral, but that’s the best way to describe it. Not overpowering at all, and very subtle. Along with a flavor change up came my first hints of nicotine. For such a small cigar the Dirty Rat definitely packs a punch. The burnline has widened just slightly, but is still burning dead even.
Finish: One big difference I was able to notice was that the Dirty Rat didn’t finish as smooth as the other Liga Privadas. I think some of it had to do with the fact that I was hitting it a bit harder than needed for the size, and some of it had to do with how hot the tobacco actually burned. The Dirty Rat seemed to burn a lot hotter than I am used to. The pepper made it’s triumphant return towards the last inch or so of the cigar, and the cedar and floral flavor dampened. The burn was absolutely perfect all the way though, as well as the ash. The nicotine is definitely present. Don’t be fooled by this little guys small stature, this is a very strong cigar.
Overview: Quite honestly, this is one hell of a cigar. Corona of choice? Better believe it! I’m not quite sure what the price tag would be on this stick but I would imagine it to be at least $10, and I would pay it in a heartbeat. I smoked through every single one of these bad boys that Drew Estate sent over and it just left me craving for more. Hopefully this is something that eventually does hit the market as I don’t know how much longer I will be able to hold out, not to mention I think it would be an incredible addition to Drew Estate’s profile, and the cigar community as a whole.