Just prior to the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show, Drew Estate announced a sixth installment of its popular “Flying Pig” series with the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig. The Flying Pig is a short, chunky perfecto and it has become a signature vitola for Drew Estate. The Undercrown Shade line made its debut at the 2015 IPCPR Trade Show and introduced a Connecticut Shade offering as a part of the Undercrown brand. Over the past year, Drew Estate started to showcase the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig to various guests who visit its factory as a part of the Drew Estate Cigar Safari. Following the cigar’s launch at the 2016 IPCPR, the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig has now made its way to retailers. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig. Overall I found this to be an excellent addition to both the Undercrown Shade line and Flying Pig series.
Each of the six installments of the Flying Pig series are produced in limited quantities due to the difficult nature in making the unique perfecto shape. Each perfecto has a 60 ring gauge format. While most are just above or below 4 inches, the Feral Flying Pig is the longest at 5 3/8 long. The first two installments, the Liga Privada No. 9 and T52 Flying Pigs are among the most sought after cigars in this series. At the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show, Drew Estate announced the first batches of these cigars since their initial release dates (2009 and 2010) were being made available to its Drew Estate Drew Diplomat retailers. The original Undercrown Flying Pig was released in 2012 to the European market and became available in the U.S. by 2014.
2009 Liga Privada No. 9 Flying Pig (4 1/2 x 60)
2010 Liga Privada T52 Flying Pig (4 1/2 x 60)
2011 Liga Privada Unico Serie Feral Flying Pig (5 3/8 x 60)
2012 Undercrown Flying Pig (3 15/16 x 60)
2014 MUWAT Kentucky Fire Cured Flying Pig (3 15/16 x 60)
2016 Undercrown Shade Flying Pig (3 15/16 x 60)
Without further ado, let’s break down the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The Undercrown Shade Flying Pig consists of the same tobacco components as the rest of the Undercrown Shade blend. The blend was developed by Drew Estate Master Blender Willy Herrera and is produced at the La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate facility in Esteli, Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
Filler: Dominican Criollo 98, Nicaraguan Criollo, and Nicaraguan Corojo
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate)
As mentioned the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig is a 3 15/16 x 60 short perfecto. The cigars are packaged in 12 count boxes.
The Undercrown Shade Flying Pig has a classic light brown Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. There was a light coat of oil on the surface of the wrapper. The surface of the wrapper was relatively smooth as it had some thin veins and thin visible wrapper seams. The Undercrown Flying Pig also features the signature Flying Pig spiral pig-tail cap and has an open footer. Both ends of the cigar are tapered with a slightly sharper taper by the cap.
There are two bands on the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig. Both bands are consistent with the other bands on the Undercrown Shade line. The primary band is a variant to the original Undercrown band that features a white and gold color scheme. It features a gold Liga Privada-style lion on a gold upside down crown.That design sits on a white rectangular field that is surrounded by gold trim. To the left is a mirror reflection of the text Undercrown (although the right side of the band overlaps a lot of it). To the right is text “Undercrown”. All text appears in gold on a white background. To the far right, fastening the back of the band is the Drew Estate logo in gold font on a white background.
The secondary band rests just above the tapered section of the footer. The band is white in color with gold trim. Prominent on the band is the text “SHADE” in gold font. This is the first Flying Pig to contain a secondary band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Instead of pulling off the spiral cap of the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig, I opted to place a thin straight cut to remove both the cap and the spiral pig-tail. Once the cap was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw stage. The dry draw delivered some classic Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade cream and classic wood notes with a touch of cedar. Overall I considered this to be a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point I was ready to light up the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
Overall I didn’t find the flavor profile of the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig to be radically different as the other vitolas in the Undercrown Shade line. At the same time, this vitola had its own story to tell.
The Undercrown Shade Flying Pig picked up right where the pre-light draw experience left off as I got more notes of cream, classic wood, and cedar. The cream and classic wood notes became primary early on while the cedar notes were secondary. On the retro-hale, there was a light red pepper note that added some additional spice into the profile.
Throughout the first half, I found the cream and classic wood notes alternated in intensity. The cedar notes remained in the background. During this stage, a berry note surfaced. For the most part this was a subtle flavor that existed in the background, but from time to time it demonstrated a little more intensity.
By about the midway point of the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig, a classic nut flavor joined the cream as a primary note. Meanwhile the wood and cedar notes remained secondary. The berry sweetness did diminish during this stage. The flavor profile would hold until the end. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
With Drew Estate Flying Pig cigars, I realize it is fun to create a long ash on this cigar. It’s something I’ve done many times on other Drew Estate Flying Pigs, but for a cigar assessment, I don’t go this route. For the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig, I kept the ash no longer than in the photo below. The ash itself had a salt and pepper color. I found the ash to be on the firmer side and not loose and flaky.
The cigar had a nice burn. While there was some slight jaggedness on the burn line, the cigar still took a straight path and was never in danger of meandering. The burn temperature and burn rate were also ideal.
The draw to the Flying Pig performed quite well. The tapering toward the cap does not make it seem like this is a 60 ring gauge The draw itself was open, but not loose. While normally I prefer a little more resistance on a draw, with this particular size / shape of the Flying Pig, I found the level to be ideal.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength and body, I found the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig also be in the same wheelbase to many of the other vitolas in the Undercrown Shade line. I assessed this cigar as a medium strength, medium-bodied cigar from start to finish. I found the intensity of these attributes worked very nicely with the flavor profile of the Undercrown Shade Flying Pig. In terms of strength versus body, both attributes balanced each other nicely.
In terms of the Flying Pig vitolas, most of them I have found to be excellent cigars. I have also found them to be very fun cigars to smoke. The Undercrown Shade Flying Pig definitely falls into the categories of “excellent cigar” and “fun to smoke”. I’m not ready to say it replaces some of the more traditional offerings in the Undercrown Shade line, but it’s a nice special occasion cigar to smoke – especially when you have a short smoking window. Overall I think Drew Estate has done an excellent job in building the Undercrown Shade line and positioning it as a line that will be around for the long haul.
This is easily a cigar I could recommend to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I’d easily smoke again – and its worthy of a box split.
Assessment: 3.5-Box Split
News: Undercrown Shade Flying Pig to Launch at 2016 IPCPR Trade Show
Stogie Geeks Podcast: n/a
Stogie Feed: n/a
Brand Reference: Undercrown
* Drew Estate Tobacco is a sponsor of Cigar Coop and Stogie Geeks. This cigar is also featured on the Drew Diplomat app where customers can learn, interact, and discuss this cigar.