Nica Rustica El Brujito by Drew Estate

The Nica Rustica represents a new line by Drew Estate.  This is a story we followed closely throughout the first half of 2013.  This originally started out as an experimental project by Drew Estate in which they were experimenting with a locally grown strain of tobacco known as rustica.  The rustica (or Nicotaina Rustica) is considered one of the most potent tobaccos in the world as it has a higher concentration of nicotine.  Prior to the IPCPR, we smoked a pre-release cigar of the Nica Rustica (called blend 503) with this tobacco and found it to be one of the more interesting cigar experiences.  When Nica Rustica was officially unveiled at the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show, we learned that the blend was tweaked and the rustica tobacco was pulled out of the blend.  As a result, the final product was different than that pre-release blend.  I recently have had an opportunity to smoke this cigar.  Overall, this is a good cigar by Drew Estate.  From an innovation standpoint, I found the rustica blended Nica Rustica 503 blend cigar to be a little more revolutionary, while the final Nica Rustica product can be considered more evolutionary for Drew Estate.

The marketing of the final Nica Rustica product was positioned to be a tribute as to the people of Esteli, Nicaragua.  The cigar has been released in one vitola called El Brujito. This is reflected on the packaging of the cigar.  We covered some of the background information when we previewed this cigar:

Con argullo (with pride) is embedded deep within the people and culture of Esteli, Nicaragua.  Estelianos have embraced the image of ‘El Brujito’ as a sign of pride and display it throughout their city in iron works , graffiti, and sculpture.  Carved into stone over 2,000 years ago by a flourishing pre-Columbian civilization, ‘El Brujito’ means ‘Witch Doctor’ or to the locals ‘the Shaman’.  Early Shamanic practices included the use of tobacco in ceremonial and medicinal rituals.”

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Nica Rustica El Brujito and see what this cigar brings to the table:

Blend Profile

This cigar keeps close ties with Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper.  While it’s different than the Liga Privada Broadleaf wrapper, Drew Estate still shows their commitment to this wrapper.

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf  Mediums
Binder: Mexican San Andres Negro
Filler: Nicaraguan (Esteli and Jalapa)

Vitolas Available

As mentioned the cigar will be made in one size – a 6 x 52 toro-sized cigar. The cigar is packaged in a box containing 2 – 25 count trapezoid bundles


The wrapper to the production version of the Nica Rustica looked very similar to the pre-release 503 blend I smoked.  It has a “rustic” rough look that is representative of many Connecticut Broadleaf wrappers.  The wrapper also has a mocha coffee bean color with some dark marbling. There is some oil on the surface, but like the pre-light the wrapper itself is on the bumpy side. There are some visible veins and the wrapper seams are somewhat visible.  The cigar features a covered foot and a pig-tail cap that is almost fume style.

Covered foot of the Nica Rustica El Brujito

Cap of the Nica Rustica El Brujito

The band is yellow in color.  There is almost a tobacco stamp design to it.  The stamp has a black font to it, but the text NICA RUSTICA appears in red font.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

While my sample of the Nica Rustica had a tail on its cap. I still opted to use a straight cut to remove the cap.  Once the cap was successfully clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw.  The dry draw wasn’t overly bold and I’ll attribute it to the covered foot.  I still picked up notes of leather, espresso syrup, floral, and a touch of spice.  Overall I considered the pre-light draw of the Nica Rustica to be positive.  At this point, I was ready to light up my Nica Rustica and see what the overall cigar experience would deliver.

Flavor Profile

The start to the Nica Rustica yielded some notes of mocha and pepper.  As the Nica Rustica moved through the early stages, the mocha notes became the primary flavor. The pepper receded to a close secondary note.  There were also some nut flavors that I detected further in the background.  The pepper could definitely be detected on the retro-hale as well.

In the first third, an earthy note emerged in the background.  This earth flavor slowly increased as the Nica Rustica progressed through the first half.  By the second third, the mocha and earth notes were both primary flavors.  Both notes alternated as to which was the primary note – and sometimes it was a combination of the two flavors.  As the Nica Rustica entered the second half, I detected a slight increase in the pepper flavors.

Heading into the later stages of the second third, the earth notes took over as a primary flavor. Meanwhile, the mocha notes significantly decreased.  By the time the Nica Rustica entered the last third, the flavor profile took on an earthy and peppery flavor profile.  The loss of the mocha notes took a little gas out of what was a solid start to this cigar. 

The final third saw the Nica Rustica take on a little of the roughness that I detected with the pre-release blend.  At the same time, it was not a harsh cigar by any means.  The end of the Nica Rustica provided a nub that was on the firm side and cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

From a burn standpoint, the Nica Rustica performed very well.  The burn line remained mostly straight from start to finish.  There were a couple of points where there was a slight amount of unevenness, but nothing major.  The ash was mostly white in color.  On a couple of the samples, there was some flaking that took place – particularly earlier in the cigar experience; but overall the ash tended to be on the firmer side.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.

Burn of the Nica Rustica El Brujito

One interesting characteristic of the Nica Rustica is that it produces a lot of smoke.  Most times I’ll attribute this to a loose draw.  I didn’t find this to be the case with this cigar.  While I didn’t find this to be a loose draw, it didn’t have much in the way of resistance either.  I still found this a low maintenance cigar to puff on.

Strength and Body

When I smoked the pre-release 503 Nica Rustica blend, the small amount of rustica tobacco in that blend could definitely be felt.  That blend delivered a full strength, full-bodied smoking experience.  As for the final version without the rustica tobacco, I expected it to be dialed back – and that is pretty much what I got with this cigar.  I still found the Nica Rustica to have some kick, but I assessed its strength to fall in the medium to full strength range.  The notes were dialed back slightly from the pre-release, but I still assessed them as having enough depth to be considered full-bodied.  With this final version of the Nica Rustica, I found the body to have an edge over the cigar’s strength.

Final Thoughts

The final version of the Nica Rustica El Brujito was a tale of two cigars.  The first half was outstanding – and I really enjoyed the flavor profiles.  In the second half, I found the cigar ran out of steam in terms of delivering those rich flavors – and it got more earthy and ordinary.  Back when I smoked the pre-release 503 Nica Rustica blend, I really enjoyed it from a flavor perspective.  I also loved the grittiness, meatiness, and roughness that the 503 blend brought while delivering awesome flavors.  I thought it was something very different and categorized the 503 as potentially revolutionary.  The final version without the rustica tobacco is not going to be like this.  It is going to be smoother and appeal to a wider audience.  With a $6.95 price point, there is value with this cigar – and combine that with the wider appeal and that’s why this final version is more evolutionary.  It brings a quality offering brand to the Drew Estate portfolio at a reasonable price.  I still thought this was a nice cigar.  It is one that I’d recommend to novice or experienced cigar enthusiasts.  It’s worthy of a five pack and it’s one I’d revisit from time to time.


Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Full
Finish: Good
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
Score: 90

Source:  The cigars for this assessment was provided by Drew Estate.  The samples received were in order to provide feedback.  Cigar Coop is appreciative for the samples, but in no way does this influence this write-up.