Drew Estate Herrera Esteli Maduro TAA Exclusive
I’ve been a bit absent as of late as I have been tied up with a massive project at work that’s be absorbing a bulk of my free time. The project has finally come to a stopping point on Friday so I hope to be a bit more regular going forward. This week, I decided to take on Drew Estate’s Herrera Esteli TAA Maduro paired with a bottle of Modern Times City of the Dead.
The Good Stuff:
The next Tobacconist’s Association of America release to hit the shelves is Drew Estate’s Herrera Esteli TAA exclusive. As I spoke about during my last review, the TAA is a small group of retailers (about 80) across the United states who meet up every year to discuss issues that the cigar industry faces, and this blend is only sold in those few shops to help support their cause. The Herrera Esteli is a variant of the original Herrera Esteli and is the first blend that Willy Herrera, Drew Estate’s master blender, has created for Drew Estate which utilizes Connecticut Broadleaf. Following the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is a Brazilian Mata Fina binder surrounded Nicaraguan fillers. The Herrera Esteli TAA Maduro comes packaged in boxes of 12 and runs $12 per cigar. Big thanks goes out to the Drew Estate team for sending a couple of these our way to review.
Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
Pairing: Modern Times City of the Dead (Imperial Coffee Stout 7.5% ABV)
The Herrera Esteli TAA Maduro starts out with an absolutely gorgeous, consistent, dark brown wrapper. The wrapper’s color is very deep in most areas with a few lighter spots around the soft veins, and a bit of a darker shade coating the cigar’s cap. The texture of the wrapper is very, very toothy with a good amount of oils. The wrapper is very hard, and dense. It almost feels like it would take a chainsaw to get through it. The Herrera Esteli TAA Maduro’s body is beefy, round, and incredibly tightly packed. The cigar is very heavy as it leads up to a perfectly round double cap. The cigar is polished off with the red version of the Herrera Esteli band as well as a red and gold secondary band with the “TAA Exclusive” label on the front.
The wrapper on the Herrera Esteli TAA Maduro gives off a very pungent cocoa and cedar aroma while the foot of the cigar carries much more spice and natural tobacco scents. The cap cut surprisingly easily and clean using my Xikar double bladed cutter. The cold draw produces some great grainy/earthy flavors buried beneath a great sweetness and cedar.
The Herrera Esteli TAA Maduro starts out with a nice, big cayenne pepper blast along with some really bold, dank, tobacco flavors. As the pepper fades the cigar unleashes some very bold coffee, chocolate, cedar, and musk all with a very sweet overtone. I wasn’t expecting the cigar to start off as bold as it did, but I’m not complaining. As i continue into the first third a nice, subtle black cherry fades in and out as well. The draw is perfect. Each tiny puff kicks out a great amount of thick, white smoke while the cigar unleashes a huge amount of stationary smoke as it rests in my ashtray. The burn line is a bit wavy, but not too concerning as it leaves behind a beautiful trail of solid white ash which held on for over an inch before falling into my ashtray.
Into the second third of the Herrera Esteli TAA Maduro and this cigar is still pouring on the flavors. The cigar now leads with a bold dark chocolate, espresso, and sweetness with some nutty, cedar, spice flavors backing it. The retrohale coats my nasal passage with even more dark chocolate as well as some sharp spice and cedar. The burn line is now burning flawlessly without the need of my torch while I close out the second third with only a very mild nicotine kick.
The final third of the Herrera Esteli is much of the same, and there is nothing wrong with that. Strong dark chocolate, coffee, and cedar lead the way with a very sweet overtone and subtle nut, and spice. The flavor profile of this cigar is incredible. The body ramped up a bit in the final third, and barely reached into the medium/full zone. It took me an hour and a half to take this cigar down and I enjoyed every second of it.
Willy has always been great at putting a classic touch into all of his blends. The Herrera Esteli TAA Maduro is no exception. The blend is as close as you can get to a classic maduro while utilizing modern tobacco. The Connecticut Broadleaf adds more sweetness, and a nice little tarty tang to the equation while helping the cigar reach a medium/full body experience. The price is a bit high on this cigar, but it wont stop be from stocking up. It seems like the manufacturers who have taken the time to create TAA exclusive blends have really kicking out some incredible blends, for a worthy cause. Do your part by supporting them, you won’t regret it.
Modern Times is a small brewery in San Diego, California that has created some of my absolutely favorite beers. The city of the dead is a 7.5% stout which includes Guatemalan coffee aged in bourbon barrels. That’s right, the coffee is aged, not the beer. Modern Times claims that this is the first time a beer had been created with barrel aged coffee (that they know of). Modern Times knows two things really well, coffee, and beer. Pair them both together and the outcome is outstanding. The beer leads with a ton of sweetness, dark chocolate, coffee, malt, and milk with a heavy mouthfeel before finishing smooth with even more coffee, chocolate and sweetness. This beer is way easy to drink, and only leaves behind a slight bit of the coffee acidity and a bit of bourbon. The beer and cigar were a match made in heaven as they both carried almost identical flavor profiles. I’d also pair this cigar with a sweet, spice rum, bourbon, or Belgian quad.