June 12, 2012

Cigar Review: Undercrown Corona ¡Viva!

When the Undercrown line was released last year by Drew Estate, I was very curious as to how the cigar would be. When I say that, I should clarify that I do not mean quality wise; I knew they would release a high quality cigar. I was curious as to if the line would be very limited like the Liga Series, or would stay in frequent production. Looking at it now I would say the cigars production is still fairly limited, but not to the degree of the Liga Series, and that is a great thing. I have thoroughly enjoyed the Undercrown line since its release, and consider it the best Drew Estate release as well. I felt the line captured so many great qualities in a cigar in terms of construction, flavors and strength, and because of that have found myself enjoying the line frequently. My excitement for the line did not occur however till I saw what the new vitola addition would be to the line, and since then I have been eagerly waiting the smoke.

The Undercrown line has really been a great addition to the Drew Estate brand because it has offered smokers the opportunity to enjoy a high quality premium cigar on a more frequent basis since the Liga production is quite small. The line came about when the upper echelon of Drew Estate asked their most skilled torcedores who rolled the Liga lines to cut back on their smoking of them. As you can imagine, those torcedores got upset, and instead of them enjoying their Liga smokes, they began rolling their own line, the Undercrown line. The cigars were composed of mostly the same tobaccos, but were made with tobacco that was of lower primings, and different vintages. The cigar became so well known and popular that Drew Estate decided to produce the cigar for cigar smokers and still give the credit to their torcedores. The newest vitola, the Corona ¡Viva!, was in pre-production in December of 2011, and began hitting shelves last month.
Corona ¡Viva!
 The new size is your standard Corona Gorda, and measures 5 5/8" with a 46 ring gauge. I myself consider this the best vitola for any cigar because it offers a great flavor profile that encompasses a little more wrapper than the filler tobacco while still showing the strengths of the filler tobacco. The tobacco blend for this vitola is slightly different than the other Undercrown vitolas, but still encompasses tobacco from the same regions. The cigar has filler tobacco that is Brazilian Mata Fina and Nicaraguan Habano, and has a binder from the Connecticut River Valley and is Stalk Cut & Cured Sun Grown Habano. The wrapper for this cigar comes from Mexico and is a unique strain of San Andreas Negro maduro seed grown exclusively for Drew Estate. The harvest is intentionally delayed by several weeks to allow for additional field and sun time resulting in a higher natural sugar content and a richer, creamier flavor. The leaf is called Otapan Negro Último Corte. Otapan is the name of the vega, farm, in which the tobacco is grown, and Último Corte is Spanish for last cut, and is a reference for the delayed harvesting in which the tobacco is cut. The cigar has a beautiful wrapper that is dark and silky. It is clearly a Maduro, more likely an Oscuro in coloring. There are few veins present as well, and the cigar has a wonderful aroma of rich earth, leather, spices, wood and cocoa.
Gorgeous Wrapper
As I light up the cigar the first thing I notice is the wonderful smoke that comes off the cigar. All Undercrown cigars have this incredible smoke production, like Ligas, and it just climbs up the cigar. The flavors are that of coffee, cocoa, spices, leather and wood, and it is producing powerful flavors. There are some pepper notes present with the cigar, but they are not the center of attention. I am finding the strength of the cigar to be at the medium full level, and with the size I am getting a cool draw. The construction of the cigar is perfect, and I am getting a razor sharp burn line with an ash that is nearly white in coloring. This is an incredible cigar so far, and I am looking forward to the following two thirds.

I am in the second third of the cigar now and there is a rise in the spice/pepper flavor profile and also with the wood and leather notes. The wood notes are really showing hickory, oak and cedar qualities, and it is so smooth. There is some cocoa and coffee bean notes present as well, and I am also getting some soft hints of stone fruits present. The burn line on the cigar is still as perfect as it was in the first third and I am still holding on to the solid and firm near white ash. The strength of the cigar is still remaining at that medium full level, and this is a perfect smoke for me in the afternoon or evening. One great aspect to the cigar is the cool and smooth draw that you get with this smoke. There are times when a cigar is going to be hot with a thin ring gauge like this, but that is not the case with this beauty.
Beautiful Burn
When I enter the final third of the cigar I am finding the flavors and strength to be at this great balance and they are playing off one another wonderfully. The strength level is showing that medium full quality all the way to the end, but it is pairing with the flavors of the cigars to make a satisfied and full finish. The cocoa notes are fairly prominent in the final third, and they are also paired with some cherry and spice notes. I am still picking up some solid leather notes, and the wood is really showing qualities of seasoned oak and hickory. The cigar burns perfectly all the way to the nub, and on the last draw it is cool and flavorful. The ash has kept that beautiful color all the way to the end, and I immediately light up another.

This was a terrific cigar, and the best cigar ever released by Drew Estate is you ask me. This size makes the Liga Dirty Rat look unbalanced and not flavorful, and that is saying something. I think these cigars are tremendous now, and will do wonders with some aging. It is very different than other Undercrowns, and that comes with the smaller ring gauge and the blending of this cigar. It sill shows great qualities to the Undercrown line, but there is something different about it. With that being said, I would not say it is similar to a Liga Privada though. This particular cigar is in its own playing field, and that shows with all the great flavors, beautiful construction and solid medium full strength level. I give this cigar a solid 94, and I know that I will be enjoying these quite often while they are in production. Great job Drew Estate
Corona ¡Viva!