Drew Estate – Nica Rustica Cigar Review
We’re experiencing another perfect weather weekend here in El Paso. High’s of mid 70’s and lows of high 40’s. Perfect. And the perfect way to enjoy perfect weather is out on the patio firing up a cigar and having a drink. This week my choice is Drew Estate’s new Nica Rustica paired with Boulevard Brewing Company’s Dark Truth Imperial Stout.
The Good Stuff: While we were in Nicaragua earlier this year I got to sample Drew Estate’s newest release, the Nica Rustica which was later featured at this year’s IPCPR event in Las Vegas. The Nica Rustica isn’t a spin off of any Liga Privada, nor any other cigars currently in the Drew Estate profile, instead it’s a completely new blend created to showcase Nicaraguan tobacco as it’s best. The sample that I smoked was actually a pre-production run and Nick Melillo (Drew Estate’s Executive Director of Tobaccos), actually tweaked the blend between then and the final production as he was unhappy with the flavor profile. I wonder how it will compare to what we smoked in Nicaragua. Only one way to find out, but before we do, here is a bit more information on the cigar taken from Drew Estate’s website.
Nica Rustica is a medium to full strength cigar that is blended to showcase native Nicaraguan tobaccos from Esteli and Jalapa. Aficionados will enjoy this rustic smoke that is robust and deeply satisfying. Genuine Connecticut Broadleaf encases Nica Rustica and imparts a subtle natural tobacco sweetness and spice.
Additional Info: This is a medium to full bodied smoke – it is blended to be rustic – un-polished, un-refined, for hard core tobacco lovers. Con Orgullo (with pride) is embedded deep within the people and the culture of Esteli, Nicaragua. Estelianos have embraced the image of “El Brujito” as a sign of pride and display it though-out their city in iron works, graffiti and sculpture. Carved into stone over 6,000 years ago by a flourishing Pre-Columbian civilization, “El Brujito” literally means “Witch Doctor” or to the locals “the Shaman”. Early Shamanic practices included the use of tobacco in ceremonial and medicinal rituals.
The lid of the display box is made to be hung in your shop. It has a pre-cut notch for you to easily hang it on a nail or hook. Show it with pride in your shop and home!
This cigar is just now hitting retailer shelves across the country. It’s a regular production blend which will come in only one size, 6 x 52 and will be packaged in 25 count trapezoid bundles running $6.95 a cigar.
Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Mediums
Binder: Mexican San Andreas Negro
Pairing: Boulevard Brewing Company Dark Truth Stout (Imperial Stout 9.7% ABV)
Prelight: The Nica Rustica’s name is very fitting considering how rough, and rustic this cigar looks. Starting with the wrapper which is very gaudy, thick, spotty dark and medium browns with lots of orangish spots which is then gently laid over the foot of the cigar adding to the rustic feel. The wrapper is very tough, extremely oily, and mildly toothy as it leads up to a twisted, tailed cap. Everything about this cigar screams handmade. The cigar is polished off with an awesome yellow, and black band with the words “NICA RUSTICA” spread across the front along with the Nica Rustica monster and a quick introduction of the cigar on the back. The Nica Rustica is a very thick, meaty cigar with a good weight to it. There are no soft spots and the cigar gives very little as I squeeze it between my fingers.
The wrapper of the cigar lets loose a tone of sweet, cedary, molasses notes while the foot of the cigar carries much of the same as the filler tobacco has been covered by the wrapper leaf. The wrapper cut extremely easily using my Palio double bladed cutter. The cold draw produced very sweet, earthy, flavors with just a hint of black pepper.
First Smoke: The Nica Rustica started out with some nice, subtle black pepper. Much less then I expected. After a few puffs the pepper was gone and I was left with a very sweet medley of molasses, cherry, cedar, natural tobaccos, cocoa and spice. The cherryish flavor became much more pronounced as I smoked through the first third. The draw on this cigar could not be any better. Each Nica Rustica that I have smoked has pumped out mouthful after mouthful of very thick, white smoke with every little puff. Let’s not forget about the little smoke factory going on in my ashtray as this Nica Rustica is just pumping out so much stationary smoke it’s insane. The burnline is dead even and razor sharp which is impressive considering I haven’t had to touch it up since I let the unfinished foot and usually I have trouble with how consistent they light up. The ash left behind is decently compact, bright white with darker gray spots and held on for an inch before giving way.
Halfway There: Into the second third of the Nica Rustica the sweetness has really taken a step back and the rich cocoa has amped up it’s flavor game. The cedar and natural tobaccos are still there with just a touch of spice and even a bit of a peat flavor coming into play. No, I don’t know exactly what peat tastes like but I’d assume it tastes a lot like the wet, mossy, earthy flavors I am picking up. The retrohale is awesome bringing out a lot of the spices in the experience while not being so strong that it burns my nasal passage. The draw has still been exceptional as well as the burn while I am feeling absolutely no nicotine at all while closing out the second third.
Finish: Into the final third of the Nica Rustica the flavors have remained very similar to what I experienced in the second third. Lots of rich cocoa, cedar and spice with some subtle sweetness, earthy notes, and black cherry. This sucker burns VERY slow. It’s taken me about 2 hours to get it down to the final inch. The burnline and draw were perfect then entire experience and I never had to touch it up or relight. I experience absolutely no harshness, and no nicotine kick as I close out the cigar.
Overview: When I first smoked the Nica Rustic sample I was given in Nicaragua I noted that I felt it was lacking definition and complexity. It wasn’t a bad cigar, but it just seemed like it was missing something that would complete it. Well, I’m not tobacco expert so I have no idea what Nick actually change but whatever he did worked, and worked well. I was expecting a similar experience with the final blend of the Nica Rustica and I was pleasantly surprised with how flavorful, and complex this cigar was. It’s not an overly complex cigar by any means but whatever was missing from my test blend has been added/adjusted and the cigar is now solid. The flavors are spot on with what I look for in a cigar leading with lots of chocolate, coffee, and sweetness while maintaining a creamy composure without being overpowering. As solid as this cigar is you would expect a bigger price tag so I’d gladly pay the $6.95 for this cigar. It’s bundle worthy for sure and the best part about it? It’s not limited, and it’s not retailer exclusive meaning you will be able to find it anywhere, anytime.
Pairing: Yay! Another stout. This time I paired my Nica Rustic with Boulevard Brewing Company’s Dark Truth Stout. Brewed at Boulevard’s brewery in Missouri, this Imperial stout clocks in at a rockin’ 9.7% ABV. One of the reasons why I love the winter ales is the natural ramp up in ABV. The Dark Truth Stout leads off with a ton of rich, dark, bittersweet chocolate followed up by lots of smoky, malty goodness before finishing with a creamy, coffee type finish. Perfect pairing for the Nica Rustica as the chocolates and cream really helped compliment each other before adding one another layer of complexity with the coffee. I think this cigar is an ideal pairing for most porters and stouts as well as the average black coffee. Just make sure whatever you pair it with has a decent amount of flavor or the cigar could easily overtake the experience.