Liga Privada Unico Serie Papas Fritas

The Liga Privada Unico Serie Papas Fritas is the latest release to join the Liga Privada family.  Back in late May, we provided some early details about the Papas Fritas project.  This corona-size cigar is a tripa corta (that means short-fill) smoke that is comprised of trimmings from the other Liga Privada cigars being made. When the Papas Fritas was announced to the world, Drew Estate CEO Steve Saka said (via facebook): “this is NOT your father’s short fill”.   The question would be whether or not cigar enthusiasts would be ready to embrace a short-fill Liga Privada.  After sampling several of the Papas Fritas, there is no doubt this is the most unique “tripa corta” cigar I smoked to date – and without a doubt, this qualifies as a game-changer cigar in terms of innovation.

When the project was first explained to me, Saka explained Papas Fritas similar to what you to with a cow.  When a cow is purchased, different cuts of meat are derived from the cow to maximize what is used.  There is a similar analogy with Papas Fritas as the blend makes use of unused trimmings of the Liga Privada tobacco.  However, the challenge was not to create any “tripa corta” cigar.  In this case, Saka explained (via his facebook announcement):   “We actually hand sort the tuck and chaveta cuts by pieces into their original leaf varieties and thicknesses and then create their exact filler blend from scratch. And like all LP, we only allow our best pairs to handcraft them. To my knowledge no one has ever done this before.” 

Papas Fritas translates to French Fries.  This happens to be a personal favorite of Saka’s.  Without further adieu, let’s take a closer look at Papas Fritas and see what this cigar brings to the table:

Blend Profile

The Papas Fritas joins the Unico Serie line of Liga Privada.  This pretty much uses a “one size, one blend” concept.  Saka describes the Unico Serie as:

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.”

In the case of Papas Fritas, the tobacco composition is similar to the Liga Privada No. 9, but it uses tripa corta for the filler.  The blend is tweaked for the corona size vitola.

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan (Tripa Corta)

Vitolas Available

In line with the Unico Serie concept, the Liga Privada Papas Fritas is available in one size – 4 1/2 x 44 corona-sized vitola.


The Papas Fritas is packaged in four pack tins.  This is a first in the Liga Privada line:


Tin of Liga Privada Unico Serie Papas Fritas
Open tin of Liga Privada Unico Serie Papas Fritas

The Papas Fritas cigar itself has a coffee bean colored wrapper with a definite colorado red tint. The wrapper has an oily complexion with some visible veins and wrapper seams. There is a definite rugged and somewhat toothy look to the wrapper.  There is a small pig-tail at the cap.


Liga Privada Unico Serie Papas Fritas Cap View

The band to the Papas Fritas is a variant of the Liga Privada Unico Serie band.   It is similar to the Unico Serie band, but is more blue/gray in color.  There is the Unico logo lion in white on a blue background.  There is a gray dotted field with two blueish/grayish pinstripes across the top and bottom. In the center of the band it says “PAPAS FRITAS” in standard (as opposed to “Liga Privada” cursive font).   The band is also on the footer (a first for a Liga Privada cigar).

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For my smoke of the Papas Fritas, I went with my usual straight cap into the cigar.  Even though it probably was possible to pull the pig-tail, I preferred to go with a straight cut.  On each of the cigars of the Papas Fritas I smoked, the pre-light flavors were consistent – namely coffee, pepper, and leather. Overall, I considered the pre-light draw to be satisfactory.  At this point is time to remove the footer band, and see what the Papas Fritas would bring to the table.

Flavor Profile

I smoked through several Papas Fritas.  While the core flavor notes were present on each of the smokes, there were definitely variations in the pattern and depth of the flavors.  I’m guessing the short fill played a role in this.

While there were variations in terms of the pattern and intensity of the flavors, there were some common denominators on each smoke. On each of the Papas Fritas cigars I smoked, it opened with a combination of black pepper and cherry.  This gave way to additional flavors of coffee and leather.   The pepper, cherry, coffee, and leather notes would be present throughout the smoke.  Later in the first third, some floral notes entered the equation.

During the first half, the coffee notes always seemed to be a constant in terms of being a primary note.  At the same time there was definitely variation of the notes of pepper, cherry, leather, and floral.  The second half saw an increase in pepper spice with variations of the other flavor notes.  The end was definitely on the spicy side with a little bit of harshness.  The resulting nub was soft, and cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

When Saka said “this is NOT your father’s short fill”, he wasn’t kidding.  Without a doubt, I have not seen a better short fill smoke than Papas Fritas.  The burn and draw were simply amazing. The burn line remained incredibly sharp from start to finish with minimal touch-ups.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.  The resulting ash was tight and white.   Saka had said it was possible to get a one inch ash, and I did accomplish this several times.

The draw was outstanding too.  After clipping the cap, I was expected some loose short fill tobacco to be in my mouth as I puffed on the cigar.  This did not occur.

Strength and Body

In terms of strength, I found the Papas Fritas to not be overpowering, but at the same time I found it to provide just the right amount of strength.  I assessed the Papas Fritas as a medium strength. In terms of body, I did find that the flavors had some nice depth to them – making for a medium to full-bodied smoke. When balancing the strength and body, I found the body had an edge over the strength.  The Papas Fritas is best summed up as a smoke that is flavor over strength, but a smoke that is not void of strength.

Final Thoughts

While Saka gave the analogy of this cigar to a cow, I’ll put my own spin on this.   Back in 1995, the Beatles released a series of Anthology albums.  These albums contained outtakes from a lot of previous work the Beatles did.  I don’t think anyone thought the outtakes would ever take the place of a lot of the previously released original material, but it still provided a whole new spin on things and delivered quality entertainment.  I look at Papas Fritas in the same way as it provides some of those “outtakes” during the smoking experience.  Putting together this blend might not replace a regular Liga Privada, but there is going to be enough here to keep a cigar enthusiast very satisfied.

The word game-changer is a buzz word these days, but there is no doubt this cigar is one.  It is going to change the way one might view a short-filler cigar.   While I knew this was short fill, it didn’t smoke like one.

This is a cigar I would recommend to both the experienced and novice enthusiast.  As for myself, the variation from smoke to smoke is something that kept me very interested, thus is something I would absolutely smoke again.


Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Good
Assessment: Nice to Have
Score: 90

Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Famous Smoke Shop in Easton, Pennsylvania.