Drew Estate Liga Privada Unico Series L40 Lancero
Now that IPCPR has passed, and slacker Daniel is back from vacation, we should be back to our normally scheduled 2 reviews a week. This week I am reviewing a cigar that I just couldn’t wait any longer to light up. Drew Estate’s Liga Privada Unico Serie L40.
The Good Stuff: The L40 name actually comes from the format, and ring gauge. Traditionally, Lanceros are sized at 7 x 38. Steve Saka, being the pain in the ass he is, didn’t feel that the 38 ring gauge gave room to create a cigar that he personally could deem worthy of the Liga Privada stamp. It’s this perfection that has always made Drew Estate and their Liga Privada lines stand out. After all, the line was originally created solely for the enjoyment of Saka himself. Anyhow, cheating just a bit Saka decided that a 40 ring gauged lancero complimented the blend much more and decided to run with it. Thus, the L40 was created. These cigars made their debut at this year’s IPCPR trade show and are due out “soon”. Not sure how soon, but judging by how much Drew Estate has been kicking out lately, it wouldn’t surprise me if they start hitting shops in the next few months. They should retail at about $13 a stick I’ll let this information pulled form the L40’s product sheet explain the blend in detail as it says it all better than I could.
In our ongoing creation of the Liga Privada line, hundreds of different, distinct blends and vitolas are crafted in our ceaseless search for the perfect smoke. Most samples are dismissed with only a rare, select few being deemed worthy, but regretfully due to tobacco limitations, costs, construction limitations, etc. most of these blends can not be made into a their own stand-alone line. However, they are so perfect in flavor and aroma, we continue to selfishly make them for ourselves to smoke. This is not our desire, we want the Liga Privada connoisseur to enjoy the very same cigars our “El Jefe” smokes regardless of any reason. And with this in mind, we have created the Único Serie – a home for these unique ones. All of the cigars within this series are not only different in size and recipe, but they are extra special, extremely limited and exceptionally delicious.
Blend Summary for Único Serie “L40” Lancero:
Capa: CT River Valley Stalk Cut & Cured Habano Leaf
Capote: Plantation-Grown Brazilian Mata Fina
Tripa: 3 Extra-Choice Nicaraguan Cuban Seed
Packaging: 15-ct SBN Cabinet Boxes
– The “L40” Lancero is a unique blend, differing from other LP blends.
– “L40” refers to the slightly larger ring size than is typical of a lancero format. This additional girth was necessary to accommodate the desired blend of tobaccos. Contains 5 different tobaccos – extremely unusual for this vitola.
– Most lanceros are “one note”, this one is a symphony.
– Its recipe was in development for 2+ years prior to release.
The being said, it’s time to get into this review.
Size: 7 x 40 – Wrapper: Stalk Cut Habano – Binder: Brazilian Mata-Fina – Filler: Nicaraguan
Prelight: The Liga Privada Unico L40 is a toothy little beast. Rubbing my fingers down the body of the cigar feels almost like fiving a stick of sandpaper a massage. Not only is it toothy, but man is this cigar oily. Every time I handle the cigar I am left with a nice, silky, layer of oil on my fingertips. This cigar looks awesome in the sun. I sweat it looks like it’s wet from all the reflection of the oil. The wrapper feels very durable and tough, and shows lots of smaller veins. The wrapper is a very, very dark brown with lots of darker, almost black spots throughout the body leading up to its round triple cap. Maybe it was just me, but I was really expecting this cigar to have a pigtail. Maybe I am just stuck on the Dirty Rat, but I personally feel it would have gave some nice character to the visual aspect of this cigar. Anyways….. The L40 is a lot softer than I thought it would be. I am probably used to the smaller ring gauges in lanceros making for a much stronger cigar. Each time I compress the cigar it feels almost spongy, resulting in a lot of give. I doubt this will really effect the overall experience, but I do hope it doesn’t mean this will result in a overly-loose draw.
Right away, as soon as I removed the L40 from it’s cellophane, I could smell the strong, pungent aromas of the cigar. The powerful smell of the wrapper gives off this really sharp, spice, herb, and potpourri smell while the foot is more of a sweet cedar. Wow, I really don’t think I have ever smelled a cigar with this much aroma before lighting up. The L40 cut very easy and clean using my Liga Privada Double bladed cutter. Strangely enough I am getting a really woodsy, earthy flavor from the cold draw. I was expecting something much more spicier. But the draw is clean, and a not really loose at all.
First Smoke: The Liga Privada L40 leads in with just a hint of pepper, backed by some nice spice, coffee, chocolate, very sweet tobacco, and the nice earthy undertones. I can actually pull out this nice nutmeg/wheat flavor. The starting of this cigar doesn’t disappoint. I know the draw was a worry for me since the cigar felt so lightly packed, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem at all. Each draw delivers a massive amount of smoke. I am only hitting this cigar once or twice, usually I’m a three draw guy. The stationary smoke, like any Liga Privada is very plentiful. I really think it has a lot to do with all the oils on these wrappers. You can literally see the oil burning off the wrapper as the cigar sits in my ashtray. The burnline is a bit thick, but dead even leaving behind a very nice trail of tightly compacted black and dark grey ash which held on for a little under an inch before giving way.
Halfway There: Into the second third of this Liga Privada Unico L40 and I am already starting to experience some nice change up in the flavor profile. The more earthy notes have really began to fade out while there is a nice, sweet cedar coming in pairing excellent with the sweet tobacco, coffee, and chocolate notes. There are a few hints of the potpourri I picked up in the cold draw too, although they are a bit hard to pick apart. The burnline is still rocking dead even. The retrohale on this cigar is incredible. It coats the nasal passage with this really warm cedar and leaves behind this neat coffee priming. The L40 is milder than I expected. I am feeling a little nicotine kick in the second third, but not nearly as much as I expected.
Finish: Wow, the cedar is REALLY taking command into this final third of this L40. Another neat addition is the reappearance of the pepper that only lasted a few draws into the beginning of this Liga Privada L40. I am still picking up some really nice chocolate and coffee notes but they are only an afterthought compared to the sweet cedar that dominates the final third. I am actually feeling quite a bit of nicotine at this point, but it isn’t anything like what I get form the Liga Privada No.9. This is a full cigar, but seems much more toned down. All in all it took me about an hour and a half to take this cigar down. The cigar finished smooth and creamy with absolutely no signs of harshness. On a side note, I had to relight this cigar twice during the entire experience. This isn’t anything that bothers me at all, in fact, I think simple touch-ups and relights are part of any cigar smoking experience. But it also makes me thing that I need to monitor my humidity levels in my humidors a bit better. They might be a bit high. A local cigar lounge owner actually let me know that Boveda has a subscription based option where they will actually send you Boveda packs routinely so you never really have to pay attention to your humidity levels. Has anyone tried this? I’m really considering this but I would love to hear your thoughts.
Overview: Although a Liga Privada in a lancero format seemed a bit odd to me, Drew Estate really did a heck of a job creating a blend that not only lives up to the Liga Privada standards, but also has the flavor and build, to stand alone as part of their Unico Series. I really can’t compare the L40 to the 9 or the T52. It’s a completely different cigar. It doesn’t have nearly the strength of pepper of either of the two blends, but does share a lot of sweet, woodsy, and spice flavors from both. If anything, the L40 tasted similar to a more premium Undercrown on crack. The price is right where I expected it to be, and although I don’t think the L40 holds a candle to my personal favorites the no. 9 and Dirty Rat, I would openly say this is very box worthy and a great cigar to have around when you are looking for a medium/full flavor bomb in lancero format.
Pairing: The L40 is a treat of a cigar. With that in mind I wanted to make sure I did the cigar justice by pairing it with a treat of a drink. This is where one of my all time favorite beers come into play. Liefmans Goudenband. This 8% Flander’s style Bruin ale is brewed at the famous Brouwerij Liefmans in Belgium. This beer is another one that may require an acquired taste. The beer boasts of very tart cherries, tea, and tart citrus malt and caramel. It’s got a lot of flavor so you really need to make sure that you pair it with a cigar that can compliment the beer, or it will be easily overpowered. Outside of a Bruin or strong brown ale, this cigar would go great with any amber, or abbey. I hate to say it but a great pairing would probably be one of Daniel’s ports. The L40 has would compliment a port incredibly well.