|Liga Privada Unico Serie Ratzilla
Drew Estate’s Liga Privada Unico Serie Ratzilla has been long awaited by fans of Liga Privada. In 2010, Liga Privada released its first in its Unico Serie called the “Dirty Rat”. For those who are not familiar with the Unico Serie concept with Liga Privada – it is one blend, one size. The Ratzilla is pretty much positioned as a larger version of the corona-sized Dirty Rat. While it has the same tobaccos, the blend has been tweaked to match the size. The plan was for the Ratzilla to be released in 2011, but a decision was made to postpone the release until 2012. Recently, Drew Estate launched the Ratzilla at an event at Casa de Montecristo in Countryside, Illinois. Since then, the cigars have been shipped in bundles to select Liga Privada authorized retailers. I recently have had a chance to sample the Ratzilla for the first time – and there is no question in my mind that has been worth the wait.
Here is some background on the Liga Privada Unico Serie. The Unico Serie concept was introduced with the Liga Privada Unico Serie Dirty Rat. When that blend was released, Drew Estate President Steve Saka explained the Unico Serie as follows:
“At this point, we have made 200 or more Liga Privada blends. There are probably 9 or 10 of them so far that are exceptional, however their blends differ from both the No. 9 and the T52 branded cigars. They’re cigars that work as a particular size, such as a lancero or corona, with the blend being unique to that particular vitola.” Unico Serie blends have been introduced with the Liga Privada Dirty Rat, Liga Privada L40 Lancero, Liga Privada Feral Flying Pig, Liga Privada A, Liga Privada UF-4, and the unreleased Liga Privada UF-13 – and these have proved to be popular with cigar enthusiasts.
Without further adieu, let’s break down the Liga Privada Unico Serie Ratzilla and see what this cigar brings to the table.
As mentioned above, the tobaccos are the same as what was in the Liga Privada Dirty Rat. This includes the same wrapper, binder, and filler. However, the blend has been tweaked to fit the size of the Ratzilla.
Wrapper: Connecticut Valley Stalk Cut and Cured Sun Grown Habano
Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Nicaragua and Honduran
Like all of the cigars under the Unico Serie umbrella, they only come in a single vitola. In this case its a 6 1/4 x 46 Corona Grande.
The wrapper of the Liga Privada Ratzilla is a dark brown wrapper with a colorado red tint to it. The wrapper is not oily and the texture has a sandy feel to it. The wrapper itself also has some visible wrapper seams and some visible veins. There is a fan style pig-tail on the cap.
The band to the Ratzilla is a standard Liga Privada Unico Band with black and gold Unico lion logo. On the band, Ratzilla is in a large “handwritten style” text on gray dotted field. Over the Ratzilla text it says “HECHO EXCLUSIVAMENTE PARA EL JEFE… UNICO SERIE” (which means made exclusively for “El Hefe” – a.k.a. Steve Saka) along top row. On the bottom row in a larger gray font it says “LA GRAN FABRICA DREW ESTATE S.A”..
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Even though there is a pig-tail style cap, I still opted to place a straight cut into the cap. After completing the cut, I proceeded to start the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes provided me a mix of coffee, cedar, and leather flavors. Overall, I considered the pre-light draw of the Liga Privada Ratzilla to be a satisfactory one. At this point, I was ready to toast the foot of the Ratzilla and see what it would bring to the table.
There are a couple of general observations I have about the flavor profile. First up, the tweaked blend seemed to give the Ratzilla a different flavor profile from the original Dirty Rat. Secondly, while I didn’t find the Ratzilla to be overly complex in terms of flavor transitions, I still felt it delivered some very good flavors.
The start to the Ratzilla treated me to a mix of coffee, earth, and leather. I also picked up a citrus sweetness on the after-draw and pepper through the nostrils. The citrus notes soon moved to the forefront with the coffee, leather, and earth notes. Some notes of cedar spice then emerged in the background.
Around the ten percent mark, the cedar spice became more like an orange spice. The spice started to increase in depth. Meanwhile I also detected some cream notes in the background. By the one third mark, the coffee notes took on more of a chocolate feel. The leather and earth notes moved into the background the orange citrus spice joined the chocolate in the forefront.
This is the flavor profile that would hold for the majority of the smoking experience. The chocolate and spice notes tended to alternate as to what was the primary flavor. The cream notes complemented the notes very nicely. The finish had some spice on it, but it was not a harsh finish. The nub was ideal as it was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The Liga Privada Ratzilla continues the tradition of the Liga Privada line when it comes to quality construction. This is reflected in the construction attributes of burn and draw. The burn was pretty much flawless from start to finish on the Ratzilla. The burn also remained straight from start to finish with minimal touch-ups. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal. The draw from the Ratzilla was outstanding – making this cigar to be a joy to smoke.
Strength and Body
The Liga Privada Ratzilla is going to be consistent with most of the Liga Privada line in that it is going to lean toward a full strength, full-bodied smoke. The original Dirty Rat was positioned as a powerhouse, but I always found it to be a full strength, full-bodied cigar and not overpowering. I would put the Ratzilla in the same category. It will provide a nice amount of strength from a nicotine standpoint. The flavors are going to be deep and robust. The strength and body balance each other very nicely as neither attribute overshadows the other.
When the Liga Privada Dirty Rat came out in 2010, I thought the smoke was a little rough around the edges. Toward the end of 2010, I thought the Dirty Rat put some age on it and it finished as our #22 Cigar of the Year. Fast forward to 2011 and the cigar continued to age better – so much so that it finished as our #1 Most Improved Blend for 2011. I mention this because this wasn’t the case with the Ratzilla. I found the Ratzilla to be ready right out of the gate. The sky could be the limit with the Ratzilla as it ages. This is a cigar I probably would lean toward recommending to a seasoned
cigar enthusiast as it is more full in strength and body. As for
myself, this is a cigar I would deem worthy of purchasing a box.
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.