Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Herf 42 – Post Game Show

February 6th, 2011 – Woodway, WA

herf-42_009_136In attendance were Fernand, Robert, John L., Joe, and John D.  As usual, we gathered to enjoy a recently recommended cigar and give our opinion on it by holding a 'group-tasting' following dinner.

Four of us met for dinner at Scott’s Bar & Grill in nearby Edmonds. This was a great venue for watching the Superbowl on their many screens and of course, Scott’s dinner did not disappoint.

Our selection for this herf was the Drew Estate Liga Privada T52 Stalk-Cut Robusto. This hefty robusto features a Connecticut-grown, stalk-cut, Habano wrapper. The robusto holds a current published rating from Cigar Aficionado of 88 (Feb, 2010).

Excerpted from a blog post by Jonathon Drew:

“We stumbled upon a farm that was growing a very unique looking “Stalk Cut Tobacco.” After a few hours of inspection, we were impressed, but we tried to keep our composure, as this beautiful leaf had the exact color and thickness qualities that we had been flying all over the damn world looking for. Other brokers had loved the tobacco, but they didn’t want to pay the high price which is required to grow it the right way. Needless to say, we spent a pretty penny, but damn it is worth it. All this, just for the wrapper leaf!“

Following CA's 4-part rating system (Appearance & Construction, Flavor, Smoking Characteristics, and Overall Impression) we soon convened in John’s garage to begin the herf. Also taking part in this tasting, on their own, were club members Bruce and Patrick (in AZ).

herf-42_014_800There was great anticipation starting out, given the appearance of this cigar. As you can see by the breakdown in scoring, and the points we awarded for Category I, this is one beautiful specimen. Seldom does the tally of our combined ratings result in a perfect 100% in any one category, but this cigar’s good looks and construction earned it. The wrapper gleams with a perfect texture and a seductive sheen that almost makes your mouth water just looking at it.

herf-42_026_600The roll quality is true and uniform exhibiting a firm, densely-packed handful of premium leaves. What a pleasant aroma we found on the wrapper, rich and sweet, which gave the impression of extensive fermentation.

Mostly everyone found pleasant draws from their cigars. One was a bit firm, another a bit loose, the rest perfect. About half of our seven burned well, the rest needed the occasional touch-up or re-light. The smoke output was ridiculous. Thick clouds poured forth from the tasters mouths filling the room (the garage) to a soft haze. The ash was nothing to write home about, pretty ugly really, but arguably inconsequential.

Honestly, we expected these sticks to be quite strong. The wrapper’s rich appearance and fully-packed roll had us thinking we were soon to be bowled over. Surprisingly, they weren’t all that strong. Sure, there was a moderate blast of power following the start-up, but it quickly mellowed and we settled into the first third. The sensation was predominately woody, maybe a little meaty. Ultimately, there wasn’t much more to report. There were no further significant flavor changes. Fortunately, it stayed smooth throughout for most of us, never getting harsh. It was a somewhat creamy, easy going smoke. Only one of our tasting panel commented on it getting bitter and a few of the guys even categorized it as rather mild.

After throwing out the highest and lowest, then averaging the remaining scores, The Cohiba Club's official rating for the Drew Estate Liga Privada T52 is 87. An excellent cigar.

Here's the points breakdown:

I. Appearance & Construction: 15 pts (100% of the points possible)

II. Flavor: 22 pts (88% of the points possible)

III. Smoking Characteristics: 20 pts (80% of the points possible)

IV. Overall Impression: 30 pts (86% of the points possible)

In summary, this is a pretty easy going cigar which could have been a little more interesting.  Certainly well made, it was mostly consistent from beginning to end. We definitely recommend folks experience it for themselves.  As for us, we’ll be on the lookout for more offerings from Drew Estate.

See you at the next herf, March 6th.

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