|Liga Privada No. 9 Pequeno
The Liga Privada No. 9 Pequeno is a cigar that was floating around the Drew Estate booth at the 2012 IPCPR, but it is not a cigar that orders were being taken for. According to Drew Estate CEO Steve Saka, there are no plans at this time to release this cigar. The Pequeno is a corona-size vitola that is basically the same size as the Liga Privada Dirty Rat. In fact, it has been known under a code name “Black Rat”. The Pequeno has its roots with both the Dirty Rat and Liga Privada No. 9 lines. Drew Estate is known for having lots of blend permutations of the Liga Privada blend floating around in-house. The Pequeno is one of those blends and one that still stands out in my mind.
Some background on the original Liga Privada No. 9 in general: Liga Privada means “private blend”. This refers to the fact that Saka began experimenting and blending several personal blends. The “No 9” resulted when Saka selected the ninth blend as his favorite. The Pequeno is not a line extension, but a varied blend from the original No. 9.
As with all pre-release cigars we discuss here, we have opted to do a pre-review to share some thoughts and perspectives about the Pequeno and the smoking experience. While we do realize this is a cigar that will may never make it to market, we feel it would be unfair to score a cigar that is still technically in pre-release.
The original Liga Privada No. 9 blend consists of tobaccos from seven different farms. As many people know there are similarities between the architecture of the Dirty Rat and Liga Privada No. 9 in terms of the binder and filler. While the Liga Privada No. 9 Pequeno has a wrapper that looks a lot like the core Liga Privada No. 9, it is not the same. The word is that the Pequeno’s wrapper is from a different priming.
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan
For completeness, the following are the frontmarks of the Liga Privada No. 9. While it is likely that each blend is adjusted for the size and shape of the cigar, we point out the two that have more significant blend changes (the Pequeno and Flying Pig)
Pequeno: 5 x 44 (modified blend)
Corona Doble: 7 x 52
Parejo 6 x 52
Robusto 5 x 52
Belicoso 6 x 52
Flying Pig: 4 1/8 x 60 (modified blend)
For lack of a better analogy, the Liga Privada No. 9 Pequeno looks like a Liga Privada Dirty Rat with a dark Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. The wrapper has the classic Liga Privada No.9 roasted coffee color to it. The complexion of the wrapper is slightly oily. There are some veins and wrapper seams that are visible. Like the Dirty Rat, the Pequeno features a pig-tail cap.
The band to the Pequeno is the classic Liga Privada No. 9 band. On the band is a black and silver lion logo. The band also contains the text” Liga Privada No 9″ is in a large “cursive style” font on dotted field. Over the Script text it says “HECHO EXCLUSIVAMENTE PARA EL JEFE.” (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
For my smoke of the Liga Privada No.9 Pequeno, I opted to go with a straight cut as a opposed to pulling the pig-tail cap off. This is something I normally do with all cigars with a pig-tail cap. When I started the pre-light draw, I detected notes of coffee with a touch of pepper. Overall I considered this a positive pre-light draw experience, so it was time to toast the foot of my Pequeno and see what the cigar would bring to the table.
The Liga Privada No. 9 Pequeno had some parallels to the core Liga Privada No. 9 line, but it also had its unique identity. The Pequeno had less in the way of flavor transitions, but the smaller vitola probably played into this.
The start of the Pequeno gave notes of coffee and exotic spice. It didn’t take long for some cherry sweetness to emerge. It was the spice and cherry notes that would take center stage early on as the coffee notes settled into the background. In the first third, these cherry and spice notes were extremely bold and robust. These flavors are all something that I associated with the core line Liga Privada No. 9.
Later in the first third, the cherry and spice settled down. The cherry notes moved into the background with the coffee. The spice notes remained up front. The spice had a very long and lingering finish on the tongue.
In the second half of the cigar, the cherry notes gave way to earth notes. The earth notes played more of a secondary role while the spicy notes remained up front. The Pequeno seemed to have more of an earthy flavor than I got on the core line. This would be the flavor profile until the end. At the end of the smoke, the resulting nub was slightly warm and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
Liga Privada cigars are known for their impeccable construction, and the Liga Privada No. 9 Pequeno is no exception. The high quality construction is reflected in the cigar’s the burn and draw. The burn of the Pequeno was razor sharp from start to finish – requiring very little in the way of touch-ups. The resulting ash was tight with a white/gray color. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
The draw was flawless. The Liga Privada No. 9 Pequeno had a low maintenance draw making for a very enjoyable smoke.
Strength and Body
I definitely noticed a difference between the core Liga Privada No.9 and the Pequeno. For the core Liga Privada No. 9 Toro, I assessed this to be on the upper end of medium strength and full-bodied. I felt the Pequeno had a little more kick to it from a nicotine standpoint. I assessed this one to be on the upper end of medium to full in terms of strength. From a depth of flavors standpoint, I actually felt the Pequeno was slightly dialed back from the toro vitola. I assessed the Pequeno to be on the upper end of medium to full-bodied. This is also a very well-balanced cigar when it comes to weighing the strength and body.
In the past 12 months, I’ve really seen the Liga Privada brand go to another level. The Unico Serie releases of Feral Flying Pig, Ratzilla, UF-4, and UF-13 have been outstanding. Now comes the Pequeno – and although this one may never make it to market, it just strengthens the work going on at Drew Estate. The big question is how this compares to the Dirty Rat. The Dirty Rat is a cigar that really aged well over time. In fact it was our #1 Top Aged Blend for 2011. It’s a little tough to say about the Pequeno as it has not benefited from age like the Dirty Rat. However, the road is there for the Pequeno to take its place among the Liga Privada elite. This is a cigar I’d recommend to experienced cigar enthusiasts as it might be a little too strong for the novice. I believe Liga Privada fans will embrace this cigar. As for myself, I look smoke this cigar again.
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Source: This cigars for this write-up were provided by Drew Estate Cigars. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the sample, but in no way does this influence this review.