noun, often capitalized \nir-ˈvä-nə, (ˌ)nər-\
: the state of perfect happiness and peace in Buddhism where there is release from all forms of suffering
: a state or place of great happiness and peace
I thought I would start with the definition of Nirvana to see if this cigar lives up to its namesake. But before we get into the review lets cover some groundwork.
The Back Story: So if you don’t know, Swisher Sweets is a mass produced machine made cigar brand that comes in just about every flavor under the sun. Swisher International Inc. accounts for a one-third of cigar sales in the United States and is America’s largest cigar exporter. Whether you agree or not, Swisher Internal is a leader in the cigar tobacco industry. Why is that significant information to you? Well, Swisher International wanted to create a premium cigar division and brought in Alex Goldman to head this division, and the Royal Gold Cigars brand was born. Alex Goldman knew there was going to be an uphill battle trying to convince diehard lovers of the leaf like you and I to buy his products. He knew he had to collaborate with some of the best cigar blenders in the business (and in the process elevate his company’s street cred). A partnership was struck with Jonathan Drew and the Drew Estate Factory. Hence the birth of the Nirvana line.
Drew Estate Nirvana Cameroon Selection for Royal Gold Cigars
The Specs: Nirvana is offered in five vitolas, which includes a 6×46 Corona Gorda, 5×52 Robusto, 6×52 Toro, 6×54 Torpedo, and finally a 4×44 size called the “Silencio”.
Retail from $9.15 to $10.85.
- Wrapper: African Cameroon
- Binder: Mexican San Andres.
- Filler: Nicaraguan from Esteli and Jalapa
For this review I sampled the 6×52 Toro:
Initial examination of the Cameroon wrapper has a nice cinnamon/ rosado color. I did notice some minor dark spots throughout the cigar. Wrapper is seamless with minimal veins. I took a whiff of the foot and I’m greeted with rush of sweetness. Straight cut executed and the pre-light draw was an eyebrow raiser with notes of honeysuckle (or maybe Honey Dew melon).
The Side Note: So I have this thing that I do. I retrohale approximately 4-5 times throughout my cigar smoking experience. Once, as soon as I light my cigar and at the beginning of each third. I do this to pick up on changes in complexity and flavor notes.
The Main Event: So she’s toasted and lit. The draw on this cigar is effortless. It immediately emits a sweet creamy smoke. Retro notes are vanilla and a sweet nuttiness I can’t place just yet. So far I’m blown away by the richness in flavor within the first two minutes. I’m diggin’ this! And just when I say that out loud, the unthinkable happens: I take a draw and I hear a crackling sound??
The wrapper on this Cameroon beauty splits open around the 2nd third area. What the ____! Luckily I have trained for such catastrophes like this. I recall my sushi chopstick holding days and I pin down the cracked wrapper with a firm thumb clamp. (Dojo brother Gene would be proud of my technique.) Disaster averted! Moving on…
During the course of the first third, she is opening up beautifully. The smoke is now taking on a full buttermilk creamy taste. The sweet toasted nuttiness I couldn’t identify earlier has manifested itself into roasted almonds coated in sugary sweetness. Retro notes are warm spice, butter, toast and faint floral notes along the peripheral. The smoke is a nice milky white color. The flavor profile on the Nirvana seems to be doing an elegant waltz across my palate, leaving behind a sweet medium finish in its wake.
In the 2nd third, buttery notes are still present but the toasted nuts take a step forward creating a nice even balance between the two. The floral notes mentioned earlier have registered as sweet jasmine, and she has fully joined the party. There are other notes that I am picking up but I can’t really identify them. Retro notes are nutmeg and buttered toast bread. Despite the cracking in the wrapper, the ash held on deep into the 2nd third of the cigar (and that was while smoking outside in 18 mph winds). I believe that demonstrates the true testament of the overall construction of this cigar.
The flavor profile in the final third was pretty consistent with the last but it started to mellow out a bit. Spice transitioned into the leading note on this phase of the cigar. Retro became a bit more spicy and intense as I expected in the final third.
According to my research, Drew Estate rarely works with Cameroon because it’s expensive and has a tendency to be on the fragile side. This is why it’s not as prominent as other wrappers used on the market. With that said, I feel as though JD sprinkled his magic fairy dust over this blend and created a successful cigar and it certainly lives up to its namesake.
Would I smoke this cigar again?
Absolutely! Based on my cracked wrapper experience I’m not sure if I would go all in on a box right away. But to be fair to this cigar, I was given this sample by a rep at my local B&M. I’m not sure how they have their samples stored when they are on the road. But I let the Nirvana sit in my humi for about a week before this review. So my wrapper experience could simply be a dramatic change in climate, temperature and RH. But I would smoke this cigar many times over without any hesitation. Lastly, I think Cameroon lovers would really enjoy this cigar.
- Natural sweetness
- Effortless draw
- Fragile wrapper