At the 2018 IPCPR Trade Show, Drew Estate introduced the fourth blend under its Herrera Estelí line, the Herrera Estelí Brazilian Maduro. Herrera Estelí was the first brand introduced by Drew Estate Master Blender Willy Herrera after he joined Drew Estate back in 2012. At the time the Brazilian Maduro was introduced, Drew Estate decided to revamp the Herrera Estelí line, but it would be the one new blend added as a Herrera Estelí offering. Today we take a closer look at the Herrera Estelí Brazilian Maduro in the Toro Especial size.
In addition to adding the Herrera Estelí Brazilian Maduro, there were several other components that were a part of the revamping of the brand. This included renaming the original Herrera Estelí as the Herrera Estelí Habano, rebranding the Norteño as Herrera Estelí Norteño, and expanding the previous limited Herrera Estelí Miami line into a regular production offering. All of the cigars were given a consistent look and feel for packaging and banding.
The Herrera Esteli Brazilian Maduro becomes the third Herrera Esteli-branded maduro – joining the Herrera Esteli Norteño (featuring a Mexican San Andres maduro wrapper) and the Herrera Estelí TAA Exclusive (a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper that is exclusively sold at Tobacconist Association of America Retailers). As indicated by the name, the Herrera Estelí Brazilian Maduro uses a Mata Fina wrapper from Brazil. It’s the second Brazilian Mata Fina wrapped cigar by Herrera for Drew Estate joining the FSG line.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Herrera Estelí Brazilian Maduro Toro Especial and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
In addition to the Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper, the Herrera Estelí Brazilian Maduro utilizes a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers. The cigar is produced at Drew Estate’s La Gran Fabrica in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Plantation Grown Brazilian Mata Fina
Binder: Connecticut River Valley Broadleaf
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
The Herrera Estelí Brazilian Maduro is offered in five sizes. Each is presented in 25-count boxes.
Robusto Grande: 5/14 x 52
Short Corona Gorda: 5 7/8 x 46
Lonsdale: 6 x 44
Toro Especial: 6 x 52
Piramide Fino: 6 x 54
The Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper of the Herrera Estelí Brazilian Maduro Toro Especial had a classic roasted coffee bean color to it. Upon closer examination, there was some mottling on the surface of the wrapper. There was an extremely light sheen of oil on the surface of the wrapper. The wrapper had a slightly rugged look. There were some visible veins, but the darker color of the wrapper nicely hid most of the wrapper seams.
The Herrera Estelí Brazilian Maduro band has a light blue background with gold trim and white font. On the center of the band is the text “HERRERA ESTELI by DREW ESTATE”. 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).
A straight cut was used to commence the smoking experience of the Herrera Estelí Brazilian Maduro Toro Especial. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw stage. The cold draw delivered a mix of coffee, cedar, and earth. There was a slight underlying sweetness to this pre-light draw. In the end, this was an excellent pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to light up the Herrera Estelí Brazilian Maduro Toro Especial and await what the smoking experience would have in store.
The Herrera Estelí Brazilian Maduro Toro Especial started out with notes of coffee, cedar, and red pepper. It didn’t take long for the coffee notes to emerge as the primary note. The coffee notes had an underlying sweetness and a slightly creamy texture. The red pepper and cedar settled into the background. In addition to the cedar notes, some classic wood notes also surfaced in the background. Meanwhile, the red pepper and some cedar could be detected on the retro-hale.
During the second third, there were a few times the classic wood notes poked their way into the forefront with the coffee. The coffee notes lost some of their sweetness while any creaminess that was present in the first third had dissipated. At the same time, some earthy notes mixed in the forefront. Concurrently there was an increase in the red pepper and cedar notes.
The last third of the Herrera Estelí Brazilian Maduro Toro Especial saw the pepper and cedar notes close in on the forefront. By this point, there was some black pepper mixed in with the red pepper. The coffee and earth notes were still in the forefront, but by this point, the underlying sweetness dissipated. There were still some wood notes in the background. This is the way the Herrera Estelí Brazilian Maduro Toro Especial came to a close. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
As the smoking experience of the Herrera Estelí Brazilian Maduro Toro Especial waned, the burn became more high maintenance. This burn of this cigar developed a tendency to meander, and as a result, there were more touch-ups required than normal. The resulting ash wasn’t overly firm either. This was an ash that was mostly light to medium gray in color. Meanwhile, the burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw to the Herrera Estelí Brazilian Maduro Toro Especial was what I would describe as open, but not loose. I usually prefer a little more resistance on the draw. However, this was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength and body, the Herrera Estelí Brazilian Maduro Toro Especial started out medium for both attributes. Both the strength and body increased in unison. By about the 2/5 mark, the strength and body of the Toro Especial crossed into medium to full territory. In the second half, the strength and body leveled off, remaining medium to full.
Looking at strength versus body, both attributes balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
Flavorwise, the Herrera Estelí Brazilian Maduro Toro Especial started out like gangbusters delivering some incredible rich coffee notes in the first third. While the second two-thirds were enjoyable, the flavors weren’t at the high level of the first third. On the burn and draw, this is a cigar that didn’t score as high as I would expect from one coming out of Drew Estate. In the end, there are still more positives than negatives. It’s still a cigar I’d recommend to an experienced cigar enthusiast or a novice looking for something medium/medium plus. As for myself, it’s a cigar I’d smoke and purchase again. I think there is a lot of potential with this blend and I’m curious to see how the other sizes smoke.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Cedar, Wood, Pepper, Earth
Draw: Very Good
Strength: Medium (1st 2/5), Medium to Full (Remainder)
Body: Medium (1st 2/5), Medium to Full (Remainder)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
News: Drew Estate to Showcase Herrera Esteli Brazilian Maduro at 2018 IPCPR
Source: Purchased and Drew Estate
Brand Reference: Herrera Estelí
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop