Some years are very special, and it’s not until well after the fact that we fully understand its significance. Twenty eleven was one of those years, and for this reason, I’m going to ask that all of you read this next section of the review in the voice of Not Morgan Freeman, as only he can narrate it properly.
Take a trip with me. We are about to enter a wormhole through time and space that will take us back to the year 2011. It’s going to be a little disorienting, so please be sure to stay seated for the duration of the ride. Now that we have arrived, I’d like you to show you some of the significant happenings during this year.
Our handsome reviewer (Scott, not Morgan Freeman) is currently overwhelmed with starting a new life with his family in Colorado, having three children (including twins) who are under the age of two. Oh my… stay strong, my friend.
SEAL Team Six is about to control/alt/delete the terrorist Osama bin Laden from existence. Oorah!
Cigar Dojo is but a twinkle in Master Sensei’s eye, and we have yet to hear the iconic slogan,”Never Smoke Alone.”
And in Nicaragua, an up-and-coming cigar brand—Drew Estate—is finalizing the blend that their torcedores have created to mimic the characteristics of Liga Privada cigars they’ve become so fond of. This is due to the fact that the tobacco needed for Liga Privada is extremely limited, and they have been smoking so many that they are starting to affect production. The ingenuity of these talented rollers brings about the release of the Undercrown cigar line. Modern problems require modern solutions. Bravo.
Now I’m going to turn it back over to our reviewer. Thank you for taking this trip through the wormhole with me. I’m Not Morgan Freeman.
Ten years seems like just the other day to me, but in the cigar industry, ten years is a milestone that is not easily achieved. The Undercrown line of cigars started with a single style: a dark and oily Mexican San Andrés-wrapped cigar filled with flavorful Connecticut stalk-cut Habano, Brazilian Mata Fina, and Nicaraguan tobaccos. As the years have passed, the Undercrown lineup has expanded greatly, including different variations of the original Undercrown Maduro (as it is now known). This began with the Corona ¡Viva! (an amped up version of the original blend), and later included Cigar Dojo’s own Undercrown Dogma collaboration, as well as the Undercrown Shady, specifically blended for Shady Records (notably founded by rapper Eminem and his manager Paul Rosenberg). While each of these variations feature the same wrapper and similar binder/fillers, later additions to the Undercrown brand ventured further, including the Connecticut-wrapped Undercrown Shade and Sumatra-wrapped Undercrown Sun Grown (followed by the Undercrown Dogma Sun Grown). All of these blends have been met with accolades and praises by the premium cigar community and gained many followers over the years.
In celebration of what Drew Estate has called “A decade of dedication,” they have released the Undercrown 10. This cigar is best summed up by the man himself, Jonathan Drew:
“Undercrown is a noble prince of a brand, both humble and loyal, who is now to become a king. The new UC10 expression represents its super-premium platform, sealing the brand’s destiny … as the good king whose brand promise is gratitude for our talented team at La Gran Fabrica. The new UC10 is so incredibly important to Drew Estate that we gave it two slogans, ‘A Decade of Dedication’ and ‘All Dekked Out.’ Add those two slogans to ‘Born on the Factory Floor,’ and the Shakespeare really unfolds.”
Undercrown 10 Factory Floor Edition Breakdown
- Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
- Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate (Nicaragua)
- Production: Limited
- Vitola: 6″ × 46 (Lonsdale)
- Price: $13.60 (MSRP)
The Undercrown 10 sets itself apart from the core blend with a new recipe, albeit tipping the cap to the original throughout. This begins with the signature San Andrés wrapper, though it is a more select leaf, sourced from the highest priming of the plant. The binder swaps Habano for Connecticut Broadleaf, and the filler is now entirely Nicaraguan.
The cigars were announced (and shipped) in May, including six unique formats. Three such sizes were of particular interest, including the fan-favorite Corona ¡Viva! and the more limited Factory Floor Edition and event-exclusive Tuani. But the Factory Floor Edition drew the most buzz, being a limited offering that is rolled in a connoisseur-minded Lonsdale format. This cigar pays tribute to the factory team behind the original Undercrown cigars, boasting upgraded packaging that includes a “tobacco leaf library,” which are rolled cylinders comprised of the leaves that make up the Undercrown 10 blend. The Undercrown 10 Factory Floor Edition later shipped in Oct. of 2021.
- Corona ¡Viva!: 5″ x 43 | $10.50 (20-ct box | $210)
- Robusto: 5″ x 50 | $11.75 (20-ct box | $235)
- Toro: 6″ x 52 | $12.00 (20-ct box | $240)
- Corona Doble: 7″ x 50 | $13.50 (20-ct box | $270)
- Factory Floor Edition: 6″ x 46 | $13.60 (20-ct limited-edition box | $272)
- Tuani: 6″ x 52 | N/A (event only)
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With such humble beginnings at the rolling table, it is only fitting that today I review the Factory Floor Edition of the Undercrown 10. They aren’t kidding when they say it’s “All Dekk’d Out.” Gold ribbon runs from behind the banding and crosses vertically over the head of the cigar. The classic Undercrown lion’s head atop an inverted crown band has received a couple of upgrades, including the number 10 now appearing below the logo, as well as additional embossing details and an added black background. This band now sits atop a wide sub band that carries various text in shadow. It’s a classy look, giving you the feeling that this is something special; the bands are placed with such accuracy that the first time I went to remove them, I was surprised to find that they were two separate bands.
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Giving this cigar a good olfactory once-over, I can easily pick up a light pepper profile with raisiny sweetness and a dry manure/barnyard scent. The cigar itself is quite heavy for its size, and the bunch is very firm yet flexes when pressure is applied. My attention is immediately drawn to the San Andrés wrapper, as it appears noticeably darker than the regular-production Undercrown Maduro. To be certain that it wasn’t the banding causing my eyes to see things, I went to my humidor for an OG to compare. The oil of the wrapper is noticeable on my finger tips, with only the gritty texture hiding the shine. Veins, though noticeable on the wrapper, are not obtrusive and allow for an even placement of tight and symmetrical seams.
A quick straight cut with a double-bladed guillotine shows more of the quality of construction, with a draw that rates a solid 9/10. The air flows easily, yet has a slight resistance. I’m relieved, as such a heavy, firm pack can sometimes have draw issues. The cold draw notes include cocoa powder, black pepper, and a leather note that I would describe as old horse tack (musky and smooth).
Bringing my torch lighter to the foot, I have to be extra careful not to scorch the tobacco, as I find it takes an extra long toast to get all of the tobaccos evenly lit. Giving the cigar a few slow, deep puffs, I am met with very prominent flavors of dark chocolate, bitter espresso, and black pepper. They are medium-plus in body, and the strength is surprisingly noticeable right off the bat. These aren’t overly smooth flavors, but not what I would call harsh either. It’s more of a “sit up straight and pay attention” profile. Pepper zings my nose, and I have to be sure to go easy as I retrohale. Moving further into over an inch, the black pepper has settled down, allowing more of the cocoa and dark chocolate to come through, giving a sweetness—though lighter and drier than expected. The smoke is thick and chewy, fully coating my mouth. It’s engaging for sure, and urges you onward.
The draw has tightened slightly as I approach the halfway mark, yet still a solid and perfectly acceptable 8/10. The ash is a grayish white and flaky, though it holds solid for three quarters of an inch. Smoke output rolls off the foot of the cigar with each puff and continues in thick lines into the air when set down, exactly what I expect from a Drew Estate cigar.
Flavors are big, prominent, and easily discerned at this portion of the cigar. If you have trouble picking out specific notes on a cigar, this one will give you the easiest chance. Dark chocolate, dry earth, and black pepper stay the prominent characteristics, with a sweet floral note now making an appearance. The smoke is still billowing and not harsh in the slightest. So far, there hasn’t been a major transition in flavor, more of a slight shifting. The body is steady at a medium-plus, equally matching the strength. The burn has a slight wave to it, but not anything I would call uneven; and the ash remains flaky, with bits falling on my lap as I am smoking.
Closing out the Undercrown 10 Lonsdale, the dark chocolate has moved to more of a dry cocoa powder note, with the black pepper now being joined by a spicy cinnamon stick flavor. The retrohale still zips with pepper, but in the background I’m catching a dried alfalfa note that is very pleasant, making me wish it would have been present earlier. The overall experience has deepened and taken a more earthy tone. All of the flavors have maintained very well balanced through the entirety of the cigar, but are now darker, with a very agricultural earthiness. That may be confusing, but the best way to explain it is to think of the flavors in their raw, unprocessed form. This may be the biggest transition, placing a nice bow on the entire experience.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Absolutely, I would. This is a cigar that I feel embodies the entire Undercrown portfolio, making it abundantly clear why Drew Estate has become an iconic brand in today’s humidor. My tastes vary wildly when it comes to cigars, but this cigar is one that I have found satisfying every time I have picked one up. One unique thing with the Undercrown 10 that I have found interesting is the different smoking experiences I have gotten from each vitola. I am normally a huge fan of the Corona ¡Viva! size, though it wasn’t my favorite in this blend. Instead, I favored the toro and this, the Factory Floor Edition. This cigar is one that I have never regretted spending money on, and I would highly recommend working your way through all of the sizes in the Undercrown 10 line and discovering for yourself which one you enjoy most.
- The Factory Floor Edition came with three ribbon-banded puritos/cylinders that represent the different components of the cigar’s blend. They are deemed “For Display Purposes Only”……..so I smoked them.
- Red band: gritty, earthy profile, not overly smooth yet flavorful.
- Yellow band: very harsh, bitter, and sour flavors, burnt cardboard came to mind.
- Blue band: most enjoyable of the three, cocoa and leather notes.
- I attempted to smoke all three at the same and, despite what many believe, my mouth was, in fact, not big enough to accomplish the feat… LOL.
- Undercrown 10 is currently available in four regular-production vitolas, one limited size (this), and one event exclusive—six in all. The latter—dubbed Tuani—is a 6″ x 52 belicoso packaged in two-count boxes created for Pedro Gomez, factory spokesperson for Drew Estate.
- Flavor: Full
- Strength: Medium-Plus
- Body: Medium-Plus
- Dark chocolate
- Smooth musky leather
- Black pepper
- Dried alfalfa
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Pretty much any dark, aged spirit (bourbon, scotch, rum, tequila) | French-press coffee | Craft root beer | Barrel-aged stout
- Purchase Recommendation: Box worthy in any size
- Big, easily recognizable flavors
- Slow burning
- Consistent smoking experience
- Not very transitional
- Flaky ash
- It goes out fairly quickly if set down for too long