|Herrera Esteli Lancero – Edicion Limitada 2014
The Herrera Esteli Lancero – Edicion Limitada 2014 is the sixth frontmark to be released Drew Estate’s Herrera Esteli line. It is also the first limited edition frontmark in the line. The cigar was initially announced in December and has recently made its way to brick and mortar retailers. When American cigar history is written, 2014 may be well remembered as the “Year of the Lancero” as many retailers have been launching lancero vitolas. With lancero vitolas hit or miss with a lot of retailers, the decision by Drew Estate to limit production of this line seems to make sense. Once it was released, the demand was high and many retailers reported a quick sellout. Recently, I’ve had an opportunity to smoke this cigar. While I’d still put the lonsdale as the “belle of the ball” in terms of being the best vitola in the line, the Herrera Esteli Lancero – Edicion Limitada 2014 was a fine addition to the line.
The Herrera Esteli line was launched in 2013 and was the long-awaited Drew Estate debut by blender Willy Herrera. The Herrera Esteli placed #15 on the Cigar Coop Cigar of the Year Countdown for 2013. Herrera Esteli was designed to fill a void in the Drew Estate cigar portfolio – namely a cigar that has a more of a Cubanesque flavor profile. Production of the lancero was limited to 2,000 boxes of 15 for a total of 30,000 cigars.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Herrera Esteli Lancero – Edicion Limitada 2014
The Herrera Esteli Lancero – Edicion Limitada 2014 shares the same blend components as the Herrera Esteli line.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan (Jalapa and Esteli)
As mentioned the Herrera Esteli Lancero – Edicion Limitada 2014 is the sixth frontmark in the line.
The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper is light in color. In fact it looks a shade darker than an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper. The wrapper has a much smoother feel to when I first smoked the lonsdale. There also is a bit more oil on this than the lonsdales I’ve smoked. The wrapper itself has visible veins and visible wrapper seams.
As mentioned the design on the band has a Cubanesque feel to it. The band has red lettering on a background with some gold trim. On the center of the band is the text “HERRERA ESTELI by DREW ESTATE” (Drew Estate recently changed the wording here from “HERRERA ESTELI Imported from Nicaragua”. To the left is the text (in smaller font), “WE WARRANTEE THE TOBACCO USED IN HERRERA ESTELI ARE THE FINEST VINTAGE AGED AIR CURED BLACK CIGAR LEAF”. To the right is the text “HANDMADE BY LA GRAN FABRICA DREW ESTATE S.A. FRENTE A LAS ALDEAS SOS BARRIO OSCAR GAMEZ” (which translates to the address of Drew Estate in Nicaragua).
There is a secondary band consisting of gold and black stripes. On the middle stripe in gold font is the text “2014 EDICION LIMITADA”
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up my Herrera Esteli Lancero I went with my usual selection of a straight cup. After the cap was clipped I moved on to the pre-light draw. I pretty much found the lancero to be in-line with the other vitolas in the Herrea Esteli line when it came to the dry draw. I detected notes of pepper, cedar spice, and some natural tobacco sweetness. Overall I was satisfied with the pre-light draw of the Herrera Esteli Lancero. At this point I was ready to light up the lancero and see what the overall cigar experience would bring to the table.
Overall I found some parallels to the Herrera Esteli Lonsdale. The big difference is that the lancero had a little more in the way of cedar notes and spice overall. I also did not get some of the vanilla notes I picked up on the lonsdale.
The start of the Herrera Esteli Lancero provided notes of toast, natural tobacco, and black pepper. I also detected the black pepper on the retro-hale. The pepper notes stayed in the forefront early on and mixed with some cedar spice. The pepper and cedar spices had a lingering effect on the tongue, but never became overwhelming. The natural tobacco notes complemented the spices with some sweetness. The toast notes receded into the background. I also picked up a cream note as a close secondary note.
Later in the first third, the background toast and cream notes were joined by some nut flavors. In the second third, the spice remained a constant primary flavor. The natural tobacco, nut, and toast notes all shifted between the forefront and background. For the most part it was the natural tobacco that had a slight edge here during this rotation. The cream notes had dissipated.
I found the last third to be more along the I found the last third to be more along the lines of cedar and pepper. The natural tobacco, nut, and toast were significantly in the background. This is the way the cigar experience came to a close. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
On each sample of the Herrera Esteli Lancero I smoked, the burn performed excellent. Very little in the way of touch-ups was needed to keep the burn line straight. The resulting ash was mostly white in color with some dark speckling mixed in. The ash was firm and came off in nice 1/2 inch chunks. There were no issues with flaking or flowering. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Herrera Esteli Lancero – Edicion Limitada 2014
For a lancero, I found this draw to have an excellent draw. There were no issues with tightness on this draw. This draw was not too loose or too tight and made smoking this cigar a pleasure. The cigar also produced an ample amount of smoke.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I found the Herrera Esteli Lancero to be in-line with the other vitolas in the Herrera Esteli line. I assessed this as being a medium strength cigar from start to finish. In terms of the body, I found the Lancero to have more depth. I assessed the flavors to be closer to medium to full-bodied. In terms of strength versus body, I found the body to have the edge throughout the whole smoking experience.
The Herrera Esteli Lancero – Edicion Limitada is a nice addition to the Herrera Esteli line. As I mentioned earlier, to me the lonsdale in this blend still is the one that has most impressed me. While the lancero was smooth, the lonsdale was smoother. Finally I just thought the lonsdale had a slight edge in complexity. Given that the lancero is harder to get, I’d still be more inclined to go to the lonsdale. Lancero fans are a smaller segment of the cigar purchasing public, but they are also the loudest and most passionate. There is no question if they like the Herrera Esteli blend, they will like the Herrera Esteli Lancero. I’d still recommend this to either a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, because I like the lonsdale does not discount this cigar. I’d still seek out a box of these for a box split.
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
News: Herrera Esteli Lancero – Edicion Limitada 2014 Nears Shipping
Source: Sample Provided by Manufacturer
Stogie Geeks Episode: Stogie Geeks Episode 95
Stogie Feed: Herrera Esteli Limited Edition Lancero
* The cigars for this assessment were given to Cigar Coop by Drew Estate. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the sample, but this does not influence this assessment.