Love it or hate it, it’s the most crazy time of the year. There are more events calling for a great cigar in this 6 week period at the end of the year than at any other time. But for most of us, it’s the also the most difficult time to find time and a hospitable venue for lighting up. It’s freezing outside and that’s increasingly where the smoking section is at parties, if there is one at all. As opposed as I am to smoking cigar in uncomfortable environments, I have done my share of cold weather puffing this year just to be sociable. But in a blink of an eye, it’ll all be over, and we’ll be eying tree branches looking for the first buds of spring.
What won’t be over in the blink of an eye is the availability of the Nica Rustica made by Drew Estate. This new wallet-friendly smoke from the producers of both ACID and Liga Privada lines isn’t a limited edition, which is a relief if you suffer from Special Limited Edition Exhaustion Syndrome like I do. It helps availability (and price) that the Nica Rustica is actually a “by product” of other Drew Estate super premium lines. Tobacco that they used to sell off to other companies is now being used to create this cigar.
At the same time, the cigar was also intended to be a tribute to Esteli, Nicaragua. I can see that. Esteli isn’t shiny, polished and expensive like Miami, it’s very much a rustic, agriculturally driven city. And like the single vitola offering of the Nica Rustica, El Brujito (“the witch doctor” or “the shaman”), it’s one of a kind. For more information from the source, check out our interview with Jonathan Drew at IPCPR 2013 (starting around 3:45). Now let’s light it up.
Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro Mediums
Binder: Mexican San Andreas Negro
Filler: Grade A Nicaraguan Esteli & Jalapa
Smoking Time: 2 hours
Source: Mixed: Purchased and samples.
Price: MSRP $6.95
The name describes the appearance well, the Nica Rustica is a dark, rustic looking cigar with medium-ish veins, some variety in wrapper color and at times, tooth. Supporting the theme, the cigar is constructed with a chunky pigtail cap and a closed foot. In some cases I also found minor cracks and small wrapper holes as well (of course, these weren’t intentional and generally had no impact on the smoke).
Aside from that, the cigars appeared well constructed. Solid, firm, good cold draw and the like. The wrapper had a smoke, chocolate and barnyard funk aroma, and the cold taste was sweet and chocolaty.
The combustion properties of the Nica Rustica were generally good across the board, though I did have some trouble around the cap in a couple of cases involving cracking and slight unraveling. The draw was always great, as was the smoke volume. This may not be a Liga Privada, but it produces that Liga Privada river of smoke between puffs. I also found that the ash sometimes looked a little loose, but it was always stronger than it appeared. There are long ashes to be found here if you want them.
You don’t have to be rich to burn a Nica Rustica, it’s rich enough for the both of you. All kidding aside, it does have a very rich, full-bodied flavor profile. It begins with sweet chocolate and dark coffee, then gains smokey wood, caramel, pepper and mild earthy spices as it burns down. Toward the end it smoke and woodiness of the cigar take over. Throughout the experience, it has a finish you can just about chew on, the flavor lingers seemingly forever.
The price is very reasonable.
It’s not a perfect smoke, but the Nica Rustica wasn’t intended to be, it says so in the name. What it is is another Drew Estate success. It oozes rich, full-bodied flavor, it carries a small price tag and its flaws are minor. It’s the kind of cigar that could easily become your go to smoke and the one you light up while you’re thinking about which cigar you’re really in the mood for. (Don’t pretend you don’t do that too.) I haven’t bought a box yet, but I have smoked through about half of one. If you’re a fan of Drew Estate’s Liga Privada lines, this one is a no-brainer, it’ll be tough to find more bang for your buck on the shelf right now.
Liked It: Box-worthy
Buy It Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.