January 26, 2020

Undercrown ShadyXX by Drew Estate (5 x 50 box pressed belicoso)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
Drew Estate has released the Undercrown ShadyXX. It’s a collaboration between Drew Estate and Shady Records. While this isn’t the first collaboration between Drew Estate and Shady Records, it’s the first one that will get nationally released.

Back in 2014, the two parties collaborated for the Undercrown ShadyXV to commemorate Shady Records’ 15th anniversary. The cigar was released as a Detroit, Michigan regional exclusive and a 5 x 50 box-pressed belicoso based on the Undercrown Corona ¡Viva!. The ShadyXX returns with the same size and same blend, but some upgraded packaging. The blend features a San Andres Mexican Maduro wrapper, a Connecticut Stalk Cut Habano binder, and a combination of Brazilian Mata Fina and Nicaraguan fillers. The cigars will be packaged in ten-count petacas. Pricing is set at $104.00 per petaca. The ShadyXX will only be available to Drew Diplomat retailers.

In a press release, Jonathan Drew President and Founder of Drew Estate commented, “Eminem, Paul Rosenberg, and Shady Records have changed the world. It’s undeniable!! While selling 230 million records is impressive on its face, it’s the unique way that Shady has connected with so many of us “regular folk” that’s impacted me the greatest. Shady made it okay to be different, no matter how weird or how fucked up we might be. The conceptual space of Shady Records is connected to the Undercrown brand because UC is cut from a different cloth, and not afraid to admit it. THE Undercrown is not the king in this romantic cigar story. The Undercrown’s position is juxtaposed to the king, like a wildin out prince on some DE, homegrown shit. The UC don’t want to be king. He’s deep in the cut, robust, and got mad flavor. I love the connection to Shady Records and am very proud to celebrate 20 years with the dudes.”

Paul Rosenberg, Eminem’s long-time manager and Shady Records’ President, added, “I’m honored to team up with JD and Drew Estate again on our second collaboration resulting in the stellar ShadyXX. 20 years is a huge milestone, and I couldn’t think of a better way to reflect on the label’s legacy and celebrate our achievements than by lighting up another limited edition cigar that we can share with the world. This smoke is a superb, authentic blockbuster and just like one of our classic albums I expect it only to get better with time.”

The cigar is very dark and nicely made. A box pressed belicoso is a nice looking cigar. It also has a nice feel in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors at light up were a ton of black coffee which was very close to espresso and black pepper. orange citrus with a touch of brown sugar, cream, a lot of a sweet dark chocolate, and nutmeg. You get the black coffee and black pepper immediately after tasting the orange citrus. There was black pepper rated at 7 1/2. There are a lot of dark notes in this cigar but there are also plenty of sweeter notes. The cigar is very powerful tasting. A nice dark noted start with sweetness.

At the first third (31 minutes) I noted the nice burn time. For a short cigar that's a good first third burn time. The cigar is much better now than when it started. I would call the cigar full bodied. The chocolate notes have really come out. They are not so much of a solely dark chocolate. I can get milk chocolate notes too. While there are still plenty of coffee notes they have toned down a bit. The citrus notes are not easily defined because there are a lot of nutmeg notes attached to them and there are some brown sugar notes also. What you will notice are the chocolate and coffee notes. The cream notes are not much of a factor at this point. The finish is chocolate and nutmeg with decent lingering black pepper. The cigar is very good. I rated the first third at 94.

At the second third (1 hour 2 minutes) the cigar is still very good but it's changed somewhat. The front end flavor of citrus is now cedar. There is still quite a bit of nutmeg, some brown sugar, a lot of chocolate and black coffee with hints of caramel. The cigar is full bodied. The finish is unchanged. The cigar is very smooth. Since I lost the citrus and the cedar is light I lowered the second third score to 93. 

The cigar lasted 1 hour 25 minutes. In the final third the cedar, some of the cream, and some of the caramel came back. The chocolate and coffee are sill in abundance. The cigar is very full bodied and the finish is unchanged. The cigar got back to the nice notes it had in the first third. Therefore I raised the score back to 94. This is a very good cigar and another good offering in the Undercrown line. Very impressive cigar that you can purchase HERE.

Overall Score: 93.67

January 25, 2020

Highclere Castle Victorian Toro (6 x 52)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from Cigar-coop.com website)
Highclere Castle Cigar Company, the joint venture that includes Foundation Cigar Company owner Nicholas Melillo and George Carnarvon (the 8th Earl of Carnarvon and the owner of the famed Highclere Castle Estate located in Hampshire, England) has announced its second release, the Highclere Castle Victorian.

Lord and Lady Carnarvon

Highclere Castle Victorian is meant to be reminiscent of the very first cigars imported to England during the Victorian era, which took place in England under the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901.

The blend for the Highclere Castle Victorian features a high priming Habano Ecuador wrapper over Brazilian Mata Fina, and Nicaraguan fillers of Corojo and Criollo from Jalapa, EstelĂ­, and Ometepe. It is available in five sizes: Churchill, Toro, Corona, Robusto, and Petit Corona – each presented in 20-count boxes. As with the original Highclere Castle, production is being handled by Tabacalera AJ Fernandez.

In a press release announcing the Highclere Castle Victorian, master-blender Nicholas Melillo describes it as a “full-bodied cigar delivering notes of nougat, cedar, cinnamon, and leather. This is some of the rarest and highest quality wrapper that I have been able to source, based on 20 years of building relationships with farmers and exceptional tobacco growers.”

“Nick is arguably one of the most well-respected cigar blenders in the industry,” added Highclere Cigar co-founder, Adam von Gootkin. “Partnering with him to craft this masterpiece cigar speaks to his obsession with quality while embracing the rich history of enjoying cigars at Highclere Castle. His access to rare tobaccos and high-quality, by-hand, production capabilities has led to this historic, award-winning line of cigars that we are incredibly proud to offer to connoisseurs.”

George Carnarvon, the current 8th Earl Carnarvon, added “Highclere House was transformed into the inspirational Victorian Castle, much loved today, during a time of confidence and exploration in the world. Cigars were smoked at home by leading statesmen, such the Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, a close friend of my great, great grandfather. In fact, Queen Victoria’s, husband, Prince Albert, helped improve Anglo-French relations by smoking cigars with Napoleon III. Good food, good wine and the best cigars have been part of our weekends, entertaining friends and guests from around the world.”

Blend and Origin
Wrapper: Habano Ecuador
Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Nicaraguan (Jalapa, EstelĂ­, and Ometepe grown Corojo and Criollo)
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez

Petite Corona: 5 x 42
Robusto: 5 x 50
Corona: 5 1/2 x 46
Churchill: 7 x 48

The cigar is a beautiful reddish brown. The wrapper is very smooth and somewhat oily. The cigar has a nice feel in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors at light up were tangy cedar/citrus combination, quite a bit of brown sugar, cream, some cinnamon, light leather, nutmeg, and a light black coffee base initially. There was a nice amount of black pepper at the outset rated at 8. Nice start.

At the first third (29 minutes) the cigar has changed a little. You now have a lot more nutmeg notes. The main flavor is still a cedar/citrus but it's toned down by the nutmeg. Also, the overall sweetness toned down somewhat. I do not have the cream notes any longer. There are still nice brown sugar and cinnamon notes but the leather is very light. The black coffee base is also somewhat light. The finish has a touch of citrus and plenty of nutmeg notes with a nice amount of lingering black pepper. I would call the cigar medium bodied at this point. I rated the first third at 92.

Moving through the second third (56 minutes) the leather notes rose. The nutmeg remained elevated. The black coffee base is not that noticeable at this point. You notice the leather and nutmeg. The sweeter notes on the front end dipped a little due to the elevated leather. The finish has a lot of leather, nutmeg, and just a touch of the citrus notes. The lingering black pepper remains very good. The cigar is still medium bodied but leaning toward medium to full. The cigar is good overall just a little low on sweetness on the front end. I lowered the second third score to 91.

The cigar lasted 1 hour 21 minutes. In the final third the coffee notes which had been quiet throughout the cigar really rose. The nutmeg and leather remained elevated which took away a little more of the sweeter front end notes. The cigar was medium to full bodied. The finish was unchanged from the second third. This cigar made several transitions moving from a sweet, fairly balanced cigar to a dark noted cigar with subdued sweetness. I rated the final third at 90. You can purchase this or any of the other sizes of this cigar HERE.

This was another good cigar from Foundation Cigars. I would like to thank the Highclere Castle estate for the use of their videos and images in the making of the Youtube review and this blog post.

Overall Score: 91

January 24, 2020

Drew Estate Launches Liga Privada Unico Year of the Rat to Celebrate Chinese New Year

Friday, January 24, 2020 — Miami, FL- Drew Estate announces today the launch of the Liga Privada Unico Year of the Rat for upcoming Drew Diplomat events to coincide with the Chinese New Year. The Liga Privada Unico Year of the Rat will be showcased at the upcoming TPE trade show held in Las Vegas, NV on January 29th-31st.

The Liga Privada Unico Year of the Rat cigars are presented in a 5 ½” x 46 vitola featuring the iconic fan tail featured on many Unico Serie cigars. The cigar is highlighted by a lush Connecticut Broadleaf capa with a flavorful Brazilian binder and rich Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers. Each Year of the Rat is wrapped in gold foil packaged in a beautifully embossed, blue Liga Privada Unico box.

This cigar will only be available for purchase at Drew Diplomat Retail events starting in April. Each store hosting a Drew Diplomat event will be able to purchase up to four boxes that will be made available for sale to consumers.

From the Wynwood Safehouse, Jonathan Drew Founder and President of Drew Estate exclaims, “This one is for all you Dirty Rats out there ...!  You hunters, hoarders and enjoyers of everything Liga Privada. For the last few years, the only way to snag this stick was during one of my personal DE events. Now, however, I feel is the right time to broaden the distribution of YEAR OF THE RAT and make it a bit easier for you Dirtys to get at it. So, please do like Chuck and hit up our DDRP events ... and “go get some!”

The Liga Privada Unico Year of the Rat is presented in a 10-count box with an MSRP of $159.97/box of 10.


(Miami, Florida) January 24, 2020— Casa Cuevas Cigars, makers of handmade premium cigars to add the “La Mandarria” (translates to the sledgehammer brand) to their core line up of cigars. La Mandarria was initially a limited Edition 500 count box run. The brand was born out of the unfortunate burglary which occurred in February 2019 at the Casa Cuevas Cigars distribution center in Miami. Burglars used sledgehammers to break in and steal over 25,000 units of the Casa Cuevas brands, which included the Casa Cuevas Limited Edition Flaco, and Casa Cuevas core line of cigars. The Cuevas family made the decision to forge ahead and create a cigar, that will mark the era where they faced and overcame adversity.

La Mandarria will also sport a secondary band which elegantly highlights the “La Mandarria” logo.

President of Casa Cuevas Cigars, Luis Cuevas Jr. said;” We were completely overwhelmed by the response for La Mandarria. This brand was a smash hit at the 2019 IPCPR and sales have remained strong. We are grateful to the public for accepting the product with open arms.”

In the original communication, President of Casa Cuevas Cigars, Luis Cuevas Jr. said:” La Mandarria is a testament to the values that my father taught me as a child. He was a fighter who optimized the American dream. As a small cigar company, the robbery was an obstacle, but nothing he hasn’t been able to deal with in his storied past. The Mandarria represents the principal tool used against us, but also represents the strength and will of my father.”

The Mandarria is a full-bodied cigar that is offered in only one vitola. The 6X52 Toro was chosen as Master Blender Luis Cuevas Sr. felt this vitola was a perfect balance between its strength, which is a representation of the “Mandarria” name, and the cigar’s nuanced flavors.

Wrapped in beautiful Ecuadorean Habano wrapper and featuring a pig tail and shaggy foot, these cigars were the first full-body and full-strength cigars in the Casa Cuevas line-up. MSRP is $12.00 per cigar.

Harvester – A Nicaraguan Cigar Inspired by the Great American Outdoors & Sportsmanship

 FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – When the makers of some of the best cigars in America teamed up with one of the finest cigar-making families in the world, the result was an offering promising not just a great finish, but extraordinary value as well.

Inspiration for this cigar is found in its name, Harvester & Co. Connecticut, which pays homage to its double namesake – the famous 1880s horse who won numerous races in the sport of kings, sired many other winners, and returned winnings many more times than his initial purchase price – and its roots, the Connecticut seeds so important to its character.

“We really put a lot of time and effort into creating the best cigar for the money, which any cigar smoker can appreciate,” Dane Devereux, Brand Manager at Altadis U.S.A. “The well-aged Connecticut-seed wrapper gives the cigar a refined profile, while the Nicaraguan binder and filler provide enough complexity to keep the experience interesting.”

Harvester & Co. Connecticut is made in Nicaragua by the Plasencia Family, which produces many of today’s best cigars, including such names as Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta. The cigar has a beautiful Connecticut-seed wrapper and all Nicaraguan binder and filler – and will be one of the best values in the market today. “Whether you’re wearing a tuxedo or sitting in your garage with a space heater in the dead of winter, the Harvester is the perfect companion to that moment of pleasure,” Devereux said.

Harvester & Co. Connecticut makes its debut at the Tobacco Plus Expo show January 29-31 in Las Vegas, and will feature a branded tray to all hold all four sizes in retail stores. 20-count bundles will be available. And just like its namesake who went on to sire a number of winning horses in the years following his own run of sportsmanship, Harvester & Co. Connecticut will be offered in additional wrapper variations by Altadis U.S.A. in the future. As a cigar brand, Harvester dates back to 1909 when the trademark was first used.

Harvester & Co. Connecticut prices and sizes:

Robusto: 54 x 5 – MSRP: $5.00

Toro: 50 x 6 – MSRP: $5.25

Churchill: 50 x 7 – MSRP: $5.50

Magnum: 60 x 6 – MSRP: $5.75

January 23, 2020

Drew Estate Launches Undercrown Corona Pequena Line Extension

Thursday, January 23, 2020 — Miami, FL- Drew Estate announces today the national launch of the Undercrown Corona Pequena in both Maduro and Shade wrappers. These cigars will be showcased at the upcoming TPE trade show held in Las Vegas, NV on January 29th-31st.

The Undercrown Corona Pequena is a 4” x 44 petite corona, perfect to light up on the go or on those frigid winter days.

The Undercrown Maduro Corona Pequena features a Mexican San Andres Maduro wrapper, Connecticut Stalk Cut and Sun cured Habano binder, and Brazilian and Nicaraguan filler leaves.

The Undercrown Shade Corona Pequena features an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper over a Sumatra binder with Dominican and Nicaraguan Filler leaves.

From the Wynwood Safehouse, Jonathan Drew Founder and President of Drew Estate adds, “Corona Pequena’s are short, squat, flavor bombs that sit between the tin size and the robusto size in the Undercrown brand family.  We could go on and on about the “functionality” of this short smoke during winter months - but there is something absolutely beautiful about the Corona Pequena that is more meaningful than just utilitarianism. This cigar is a stunner in both taste and trade dress. The whole DE team is really proud of this little gem.  Wurd to Westchester.”

The Undercrown Corona Pequena is packaged in 32 count boxes with an MSRP of $176.00/box, available in both Maduro and Shade, and is shipping in early February.

January 22, 2020


(Miami, Florida) January 22, 2020—Villiger Cigars to release the “Villiger do Brasil” cigar brand at the TPE 2020 taking place this January 29-31 at the Las Vegas Conventions Center. Villiger do Brasil is a Brazilian puro which features two blends, Claro and Maduro, created to celebrate Villiger’s century long history with Brazilian tobacco. Villiger’s new factory in Bahia, Brazil also named “Villiger do Brasil” (Villiger of Brazil, translated from Portuguese) opened its doors in 2018.

 The Villiger family’s relationship with Brazilian tobacco dates to Villiger Cigars’ beginnings in 1888, when Jean and his wife Louise Villiger imported Brazilian tobacco, shortly after founding the company. Later in 1979 a Villiger subsidiary company opened Porto Alegre (Rio Grande do Sul), Brazil. The company was named CHARUTOS TOBAJARA LIMITADA and produced handmade cigars for export to Germany and Switzerland. Later Villiger moved operations to Northern Brazil (Bahia) where the new Villiger do Brazil factory was opened.

The Villiger Do Brasil cigar brands promise a multifaceted journey into the land of passion and it shows in its two versions: CLARO and MADURO. The light Brazil Connecticut Shade wrapper gives the CLARO version a velvety light brown tone, that visually supports its balance and fine aromas. Typical notes of coffee and wood meet a subtle sweetness with hints of cedar and pepper. Arapiraca tobacco gives the darker MADURO version its silky dark brown and a fruity character, which plays around with notes of leather and coffee. Both varieties have a medium taste, whereby the MADURO tastes a shade stronger.

Villiger Chairman of the Board, Heinrich Villiger said:” My family saw the value in Brazilian tobacco when they began Villiger Cigars as very small operation in 1888. Brazilian tobacco is unique, as its structure is very robust, which leads to strong aromas and flavours. Its distinct qualities can only be created in Bahia, Brazil. We look forward to sharing the Villiger do Brasil brand with the United States marketplace.”

The Villiger do Brasil Claro and Maduro are available in 5 count boxes

Vitolas and MSRP

Robusto (5x50) - MSRP: $9.00

Toro (6x50) – MSRP: $9.50

January 19, 2020

Last Rites Viaticum by Black Label Trading Co. (5 x 54)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from Cigar-Coop.com website)
Oveja Negra Brands has announced that the Black Label Trading Company Last Rites Viaticum, a small batch off-shoot of the Last Rites blend is now available.

“Last Rites has always been a special cigar to me. To celebrate our sixth anniversary, I wanted to do a Special Edition of the Last Rites. The Viaticum is an evolution of the Last Rites blend. It uses most of the same tobaccos but in different proportions and primings. It’s rich, dark and elegant just like Nicaraguan tobacco. We also box-pressed the cigar like the original 2013 release,” says James Brown, creator of Black Label Trading Company and partner of Fabrica Oveja Negra in a press release.

Last Rites Viaticum uses most of the same core tobaccos as the core Last Rites blend, but with different proportions. It is available in one size – a 5 x 54 box-pressed Robusto priced at $15.00 per cigar.

Blend and Origin
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Maduro
Binder: Honduran Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Fabrica Oveja Negra

Vitolas Offered
Robusto: 5 x 54 (Box Press)

The cigar is a very dark brown and nicely box pressed.

The test draw after cutting the cap was good. The initial flavors at light up were a sweet cedar, brown sugar, nutmeg, leather, mocha, and black coffee. There was abundant black pepper rated at an 8. Nice, powerful tasting start.

At the first third (25 minutes) chocolate notes starting coming out. There are not so much of the mocha notes but they now taste more like sweet chocolate. The cedar now has a twang. There is still plenty of leather, nutmeg, and black coffee. The cigar is very powerful tasting. I would call it full bodied at this point. The finish is a little brown sugar, some of that twangy cedar, a lot of nutmeg, and some black coffee. There is a good amount of lingering black pepper. There are a lot of powerful, dark notes in the cigar. I rated the first third at 95.

At the second third (49 minutes) the cigar is pretty much like it was in the first third but it's much smoother now. The leather has toned down helping smooth out the cigar. The notes are now more of a cedar, brown sugar, back to the mocha flavor, nutmeg, and black coffee. The finish is now a mocha, nutmeg, and brown sugar with a lot of lingering black pepper. The cigar did not change enough to change the score of 95. Still very good and powerful.

The cigar lasted 1 hour 6 minutes. In the final third I did not lose much, if anything. The cigar does not change much except for the back and forth of the mocha to chocolate flavor and I had that to the end. There were still nice cedar, brown sugar, some sprinklings of cinnamon, nutmeg, light leather, mocha, and black coffee. The cigar is very full bodied. The finish was unchanged. This is a very good and powerful cigar. I maintained the score of 95 for the final third. A very good modification to the original Last Rites blend. These cigars can be purchased HERE.

Overall Score: 95