Drew Estate made some big announcements leading up to this year’s show. Many of these opened the brand’s most popular and sought-after limited releases to a wider audience, such as Liga Privada Flying Pigs and Velvet Rat. But perhaps most surprising was their newfound openness to collaborations with other brands and factories, working with Caldwell Cigar Co. on the closely-watched All Out Kings project, a new cigar for Ventura Cigar, and even a Drew Estate release not rolled at their acclaimed La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate factory in Estelí, Nicaragua…
The booth itself was largely the same as the past two years, only expanding the base by about 40%. Familiar faces such as Joya de Nicaragua, Agio, and Cigars for Warriors made camp within DE’s large compound, only now there was adequate space for each to have their own “booths within a booth”.
All Out Kings
This was among the most anticipated and talked about cigars at the show. The cigar is actually marketed as a Caldwell cigar, therefore it was not at the DE booth. It was blended by Willy Herrera and Robert Caldwell and crafted at the Joya de Nicaragua factory, using tobaccos from DE’s La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate factory inventory.
SEE ALSO: All Out Kings Cigar Review & Rating
Willy Herrera was recruited by Drew Estate from his family-run El Titan de Bronze factory in 2011. Since then, he’s gone on to become DE’s Master Blender and has two core-line cigars for Drew Estate (Herrera Estelí & Herrera Estelí Norteño). The Herrera Estelí line has seen limited runs of tweaked blends recently, with the 2016 TAA maduro and Herrera Estelí Inktome earlier this year. But the new Herrera Estelí Miami will be a much more prominent and significant release for the brand – the first DE cigar made outside La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate since the brand’s early days.
Herrera Estelí Miami brings Willy Herrera back to his roots, blending the cigar out of his family’s ETDB factory in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. The cigars will be rolled in small batches at ETDB, which employs only category 9 rollers – the best in the world.
There will also be updated packaging arrangements for Herrera Estelí, making it easier for retailers to refill their tray displays with new bundle configurations.
Herrera Estelí Miami
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
- Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
- Filler: Dominican | Nicaraguan
- Factory: El Titan de Bronze (USA)
- Production: Small batch
- Packaging: 10-ct box
- Vitola: 5¾” × 48 corona
- Price: $13.00 ($130/box MSRP)
Among the most legendary releases ever made by Drew Estate is the original Flying Pig cigars in the No. 9 and T52 blends. The LP No. 9 Flying Pig was released in 2009, using a unique 4½ x 60 perfecto vitola with a fitting, oversized pigtail cap. The T52 version was then released in 2010. The cigars were both limited to 3,000 boxes and under, making them some of the most limited projects by DE.
The size has since been extended to Undercrown and Kentucky Fire-Cured cigars, leaving fans wondering if the originals would return… They have. 4,000 boxes of each will be made in stages and will soon be arriving at Drew Estate “Drew Diplomat” retailers.
Liga Privada Unico Serie Velvet Rat is another of DE’s more limited and sought-after releases. The cigars have previously been introduced in 2012 (100 bundles) and 2015 (Connecticut River Valley Barn Smoker). The blend is marketed as a tamer, smoother, and “velvety” version of the popular Dirty Rat – using a 6½ x 46 lonsdale size. These will also be available to Drew Diplomat retailers in similar, small batch rollouts.
- Liga Privada No. 9 Flying Pig: 4,000 boxes of 12
- Liga Privada T52 Flying Pig: 4,000 boxes of 12
- Liga Privada Velvet Rat: 10-ct bundles
Swamp Thang and Swamp Rat are new blends under the MUWAT Kentucky Fire Cured lineup. A new Candela wrapper has been applied to the Fire Cured blend, transitioning back to the original at the cigar’s band. The mixture of Fire-Cured tobaccos and a Candela wrapper is a first in the industry. The cigars will be available in three sizes, debuting at the Kentucky Barn Smoker in Hopkinsville, Kentucky on October 1, 2016.
The cigars are packaged in 10-ct paper bundles, similar to other MUWAT releases. They will also be available in larger, refillable retailer display boxes.
- Swamp Thang Toro: 6 x 52 (MSRP $8.75)
- Swamp Thang Robusto: 5 x 54 (MSRP $8.29)
- Swamp Rat: 6 x 46 (MSRP $7.50)
Undercrown was released in 2011 as a more affordable alternative to the Liga Privada lineup. The cigars were blended by a team of DE factory rollers, looking to get a similar smoking experience, when they were told to limit their Liga consumption. DE introduced the Connecticut shade edition, Undercrown Shade, to the lineup in 2015.
The cigars received a host of size updates this year. Undercrown Shade Tubos, Undercrown Shade Churchill, Undercrown Shade 10-count Metal Tins, Undercrown Maduro Churchill, Undercrown Maduro Tubos, and Undercrown Maduro 10-count Metal Tins will now be available. But most notably, Undercrown Shade is now available in the elusive Flying Pig size. The cigars had been seen at DE’s factory over the past year by Safari trips but were kept secret up until the show.
- Flying Pig: 3 15/16 x 60 | $12.88
- Tubo: 6 x 50 | $10.56
- Churchill 7 x 48 | $9.27
- 10 Count Tin: 4 x 32 | $18.00/Tin
Drew Estate is making Deadwood’s Three Yummy Bitches line a national release. The line includes Sweet Jane, Fat Bottom Betty, and Crazy Alice – previously a shop-exclusive for Deadwood Tobacco Co. in South Dakota. The cigars incorporate a sweetened tip but are not infused, making an enjoyable, sweeter smoke that still feels somewhat traditional.
Packaging updates to Tabak Especial – with both the Tabak Especial Negra Colada and Tabak Especial Dulce Corona coming in 24-ct boxes for 5 sizes and 10-ct tins for the 4 x 32 petit sizes.
Packaging updates to many ACID cigars – there will be 10-ct tins and new “G-Fresh” single-count packs, Drew Estate describes as “guaranteed-fresh foil pouches”.
A new Pappy Van Winkle-inspired project was on display, titled “Tradition”. The cigars featured 10-count boxes in a variety of sizes. The blend is one of Willy Herrera’s first creations after moving to Nicaragua in 2011, described as a “traditional” blend (as opposed to the barrel-fermented process of the first Pappy cigars). The release date has not yet been set. Bands were not ready for the show and little information was available.