Drew Estate took its time easing into a milestone that few achieve in the modern era of premium cigars—a 20th anniversary for an individual brand. The brand at hand—ACID—is of particular interest, being the entity that not only catapulted Drew Estate to its current level of dominance, not only carved the path for all other non-traditional cigars in the market, but is now the best-selling brand in the U.S. As mentioned, Drew Estate didn’t simply rush into celebration mode as calendars flipped to 2019; instead, the company brought back popular ACID cigars from the brand’s past and introduced a new ACID regional series. Such releases built to a grand finale during the 2019 IPCPR trade show, revealing two of the most premium offerings ever contained under the ACID lineup: ACID 20 and ACID KUBA ARTE.
Since their debut, both ACID 20 and KUBA ARTE have been praised for offering more premium ingredients than conventional ACID cigars, with the KUBA ARTE being the more limited of the two. The latter cigars have been packaged in collectable jar-style containers, with Drew Estate commissioning the talents of five prominent graffiti artists from Brooklyn, NY (i.e. the birthplace of Drew Estate) to showcase seven custom water-tower designs.
KUBA ARTE Breakdown
- Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
- Binder: Indonesia
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate (Nicaragua)
- Production: Limited Edition (12,250 jars of 20 cigars)
- Vitola: 5 13/16” x 54 (Torpedo)
- Price: $11.90 (MSRP)
ACID KUBA ARTE has been rolled in a singular 5 13/16” x 54 torpedo format. The cigars make use of a Connecticut Broadleaf maduro wrapper, secured over an Indonesian binder and all-Nicaraguan filler leaves. As expected, the blend is infused and features a sweetened cap.
Each of the seven water tower designs are pictured below, designed by CHINO (1 & 2), DOC (3), KEO (4 & 5), QUEEN ANDREA (6), and VERS (7).
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KUBA ARTE has a much more sophisticated look than standard ACID offerings. The torpedo feels well-made, with a fine tooth across the wrapper and a sharp torpedo head. Loads of fruity aromas emanate from the wrapper—a sensation like walking into a Teavana shop. With a straight cut, the cigar leaves an extra sugary sensation on the lips, providing a glimpse at the experience that’s soon to follow.
While the tip is cloyingly sweet, the cigar itself is surprisingly restrained as the experience begins. It is less infused than anticipated, taking its time to reveal flavors of peach skin (not as sweet/juicy as the fruit itself), barnyard, natural tobacco, and a vegetal quality that takes its time to fully develop.
The aroma is archetypal ACID—a sensation reminiscent of the perfume-like aroma that blasts through the nostrils upon entering a Las Vegas casino. Clove, clove, and more clove emerges as the dominant flavor (like an amped-up version of the clove cigarettes many smokers may remember from their youth). While the sweetened tip may be a bit too much at the cigar’s start, the infused aspect of the smoke is not. Unfortunately, as the sweetness eventually fades (around the halfway mark), the flavor profile darkens quite drastically in tandem.
Final flavor notes can be identified as wild herbs, an onslaught of clove, eucalyptus (the vegetal component after complete metamorphosis), and a unique concoction of cola and Raspberry Brisk tea (a mixture I performed on more than a few occasions as a kid). But these qualities lead into the darker territory of the cigar’s final half/third, which brings notes of burnt toast, black pepper, clove, earth, and menthol. In this stage, the infused aroma is perhaps the only relief from a flavor profile past its prime.
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Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Going forward, if I’m in the mood for something atypical (whether as a palate cleanser or otherwise), I’ll be turning to either the KUBA ARTE or ACID 20—plain and simple.
- Flavor: Full
- Strength: Medium
- Body: Medium
- Fruit-infused tea
- Peppered toast
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Barrel-aged dark sour | Citrus-infused chamomile tea | Low-proof bourbon
- Purchase Recommendation: Try one
- Deeper flavors than a conventional infused cigar
- Billowing smoke output
- Unique flavor components
- Slightly firm draw
- Second half drops off in flavor
- Cloyingly sweet on lips