As the name indicates, the Norteno Edicion Limitada Churchill is a limited edition Churchill size that has been introduced to Drew Estate’s Norteno line. The Norteno was a cigar that was launched in 2014. It marked the second blend at Drew Estate made by the company’s master blender Willy Herrera following up the enormously successful Herrera Esteli line. With the Norteno, it gave Herrera the opportunity to produce a maduro offering. In 2014, the limited edition special size Herrera Esteli Lancero – Edicion Limitada 2014 was released for the original Herrera Esteli line. Now with the release of Norteno Edicion Limitada Churchill, it introduces a limited release in a special size for the Norteno line. Recently, I’ve had an opportunity to smoke this new Churchill offering. Overall, I found this vitola to be an excellent offering and an enjoyable cigar.
The Norteno Edicion Limitada Churchill measures 7 x 48. Consistent with the rest of the Norteno line, the cigar features a box-press that Drew Estate refers to as a “parejo prensado”. While the Norteno Edicion Limitada Churchill features the same blend components as the original Norteno line, but the blend was tweaked and optimized to work with the Churchill format.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Norteno Edicion Limitada Churchill and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The blend features tobaccos from Mexico, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
Wrapper: San Andres Mexican
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate)
The Churchill is the seventh size to be made in the Norteno line. As mentioned above, this is a limited edition release. While the regular production sizes of the Norteno come in ten count boxes, the Edicion Limitada Churchill comes in fifteen count boxes.
Edicion Limitada Churchill: 7 x 48 (Limited)
Coronita: 4 x 46
Corona Extra: 4 3/4 x 48
Belicoso Fino: 5 x 50
Robusto Grande: 5 1/2 x 54
Toro: 6 x 50
Lonsdale Deluxe: 6 1/2 x 44
The San Andres wrapper of the Norteno Edicion Limitada Churchill has a roasted coffee bean color. Upon closer examination some darker marbling can be seen on the surface. There was a light oily sheen on the wrapper. The wrapper itself was practically void of any significant veins and any visible wrapper seams were on the thin side. The box press was firm with no soft spots.
There are two bands on the Norteno Edicion Limitada Churchill. Both have a green background with off-white font. The primary band of the Churchill is similar to what is found across the rest of the Norteno line. It features a green square-shaped background with a off-white colored image of the Turquoise-browed motmot – a bird common in Central America (and called a guardabarranco in Nicaragua which is also the country’s national bird). Just below the bird is the text “NORTEÑO”. The left side of the band has the text “WE GUARANTEE THE TABACO USED IN HERRERA ESTELI ARE THE FINEST VINTAGED AGED AIR CURED BLACK CIGAR LEAF”. On the right side of the bad is the text “HERRERA ESTELI BY DREW ESTATE”. The remainder of the band is finished with thick off-white trim.
The secondary band features green and off-white striping. There is a thicker green stripe in the middle with the text “2015 EDICIÓN LIMITADA” in off-white font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I normally do, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap of the Norteno Edicion Limitada Churchill. Once the cap was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw phase. The cold draw provided a mix of coffee and earth as well as a floral note. Overall I considered the pre-light draw of this cigar to be excellent. At this point I was ready to light up the Norteno Edicion Limitada Churchill and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Norteno Edicion Limitada Churchill started out with short, but not overpowering shot of black pepper. Notes of coffee and earth surfaced and quickly moved to the forefront while the pepper settled into the background. The coffee notes got richer as the cigar moved through the early stages of the cigar and eventually transformed to a very smooth mocha note. Meanwhile the retro-hale delivered a subtle black pepper note.
Throughout the first half of the Norteno Edicion Limitada Churchill, I found the earth and mocha notes alternated as to what was primary. At times the mocha had more of a coffee taste and at other times it had more of a chocolate quality. The pepper notes remained in the background.
During the second half, I found the earth notes took over some more. There were times the mocha notes still surfaced. There was also a slight increase in the pepper spice toward the end, but it never got overwhelming. The last stages of the Norteno Edicion Limitada Churchill were flavorful right until the end with no harshness. The resulting nub firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The Norteno Edicion Limitada Churchill scored nicely with its burn. The cigar took a straight path from start to finish. The actual burn line had a little bit of jaggedness, but this was easily remedied with some touch-ups. The resulting ash was white in color with some dark spots in it. The ash itself was quite firm and came off the cigar in clean chunks. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw was excellent. It was not too tight, nor was it too loose. I found this made for an enjoyable smoke that was low maintenance to derive flavors from.
Strength and Body
If you are looking for a bold, full-bodied San Andres Maduro, the Norteno Edicion Limitada Churchill is not that type of cigar. I found this cigar delivers a classic medium strength, medium-bodied profile from start to finish. I didn’t find much variance from start to finish in terms of the strength and body. At the same time, I found both the strength and body balanced each other nicely – with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
Before I even tried the Norteno Edicion Limitada Churchill, I loved the fact that Drew Estate opted to make a limited edition Churchill. Many companies are looking at either lancero or torpedo options for limited edition line extensions. While many of these line extensions have been excellent it just seems like the Churchill has been overlooked for these limiteds. What is even better is that I found the Churchill size combined with the blend tweaks made for a really enjoyable smoking experience.
I found this cigar slightly dialed back than the rest of the Norteno line, but not short on flavor. I loved the fact this San Andres wrapper didn’t overpower the blend. There wasn’t a ton of flavor variations, but the flavors I did get were excellent and there were enough change-ups to keep me busy. The Norteno Edicion Limitada Churchill is a cigar I could recommend to a movie or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, thesis cigar I’d smoke again – and it’s certainly with a box split.
Assessment: 3.5-Box Split
News: Drew Estate Herrera Esteli Norteno Edicion Limitada Churchill
Source: Purchased + One Sample Provided by Manufacturer
Stogie Geeks Episode: Episode 160
Stogie Feed: Drew Estate Norteno Edicion Limitada Churchill.