Well, I have had mixed results from the Drew Estate cigars I have tried. Some have been awesome and some have been awful. So I unwrapped my Acid Opulence 3 robusto with some trepidation (just like the Game of Thrones episode I was sitting down to watch.)
A milk chocolate maduro, slightly shiny and smooth, un-veiny wrapper with an attractive gold and black label was the presentation. I understand it is a carefully aged San Andreas wrapper enhanced with natural oils, and that they are made from three different Esteli, Nicaraguan tobacco crops from the years 2005, 2006, and 2007. I do really enjoy the fact that Drew Estate does not use waste tobacco for their infused cigars, but instead intends for them to develop in this way. Unfortunately I find that it limits the wrapper note; it’s hard to smell anything but the sweet and floral infusion.
I thought the presentation was downright spiffy with that 3 in the middle of the O; it had that same kind of faux elegance as Las Vegas. It’s a thick stick too; a good 53 ring gauge. To me that label resembles an oversized cowboy belt buckle. Which I suppose suits Jonathan Drew’s character quite well, since he’s breaking all the rules and succeeding at it.
For an industry trying to convince us that Cuban cigars aren’t really that big a deal, they sure make a point of telling us when something is Cuban seed, don’t they? I mention this because Drew Estate points out that the fillers of the smoke are “a complex mixture of vintage, Cuban-seed long-fillers from Nicaragua”. It is billed as a medium-bodied cigar with an “aromatic influence.” The pack was solid but not unnecessarily firm. I decided to cut it with my single guillotine cutter. It cut easily and cleanly. I lit it with my cedar spills and it lit easily and completely.
I puffed away contently, enjoying the sweetness and the spiciness of the infusion. It felt familiar, like an old friend. And after fifteen minutes or so of a steady, clean smoke, I thought, “Haven’t I smoked this before?”
It seemed to me that there was little to separate the Opulence 3 from the Acid Kuba Maduro. Not that I wasn’t enjoying it – I really was! – but it was pretty close, right up to the “slightly bitter aftertaste” that I chalked up to the blending of the infusions and the darker tobacco.
The first third took about twenty minutes and was pretty much exactly on par with the Kuba Maduro. The second third took another twenty minutes and developed a slightly spicier undertone, like a dark gingerbread. At that point, even though it was a straight burn it went out. Perhaps I’d been absorbed by the show. I clipped and re-lit a few minutes later, but by that time the bitter had overwhelmed the sweet aromatics, and when it went out again a mere ten minutes later I didn’t relight it.
Not bad. I enjoyed it, but again, it tasted very much like the Kuba Maduro to me. At some point I will probably deliberately smoke the two back-to-back because I’m certain there must be a subtle variance, but with a couple of weeks pause between the two I couldn’t detect it.
This was part of the Drew Estate Five Card Stud Sampler from Pipes & Cigars, where you can get a box of 21 for $129.99 USD, a five pack for $36 USD, or a single for $7.50 USD. You can also get them at Cigars International for $36 USD for a five pack or $129.99 USD for a box of twenty; And that’s a lady’s perspective!