If you haven’t yet become part of the insane pulp following of Drew Estate, this cigar just might tip you over the edge. Drew Estate, founded in 1996 by Jonathan Drew(JD) and Marvin Samel, has gone from zero to hero in many humidors. After a rocky start they released the La Vieja Habana and have been rolling every since. In 2005 they set out to make something for themselves rather than for us(the consumers). JD, Steve Saka(who was president of the company at the time), and Nick Melillo worked together and created over 50 blends before the finally concluded with the Liga Privada No. 9, liga privada meaning private blend. According to Mr. Saka the process began because he was embarrassed that the factory didn’t produce a cigar he really liked. After this though, all three members of the team were smoking this cigar almost endlessly. For reasons unspecified, they decided to release the blend to the world in July 2006.
Before I get too far ahead of myself with the plethora of cigar trivia, I should note the ulterior motive for my review. Frank and I work together at our local cigar shop and have for the last year or so debated non-stop about which of the Liga Privada’s is better, the No. 9 or the T52. Neither one really is better or worse of course, they are both fantastic cigars that I would comfortably recommend; naturally though, we have differing opinions on which set of flavors is more appealing. So we’d agreed to instead of reviewing our favorites, we would review each others.
Okay, back to the cigar at hand. The LP No. 9 uses a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper, Brazilian Mata Fina binder, and Honduran and Nicaraguan fillers. Upon opening the box, these cigars give off the smell of a barnyard with just a hint of raisin. Yes I know that sounds “snooty” but I swear that’s what it smells like!
It starts out with that heavy barnyard aroma and the pre-light draw is flawless. After lighting, it is a blast of intense cocoa with a nice sweetness and just a hint of what I can only call a cedar-like earthiness. As I smoked, the cocoa really prevailed and built upon itself along with the strength. While this is not even close to being one of the strongest cigars I’ve smoked, it’s still not something I’d suggest to a new smoker or anyone that likes something milder.
Roughly halfway through this tasty treat, the strength has reached its peak but the flavor has gotten more intense. Tons of sweeter chocolate like notes pour out and just the slightest bit of fruitiness, like that raisin I mentioned earlier. The cedar notes have lingered but are almost subdued, really only there to smooth and round out the finish.
From there on I didn’t get much change in flavor. All in all, the construction was excellent. No burn issues, no draw issues, no re-lights. While this isn’t my personal favorite LP it is still one of the better cigars I’ve smoked and keep it in my regular line-up. If you haven’t had one yet, you’re missing out on what Broadleaf has to offer.