It’s my flamekeeping night tonight! I’m part of a sisterhood that tends a sacred flame for Brighid — goddess, saint, and lwa — in the tradition of the priestesses, and then nuns, of Kildare. The cycle rotates every nineteen days. I am shift #4 in my cell; every nineteen days I light a sacred candle and burn it in my cauldron over my hearth at 6 pm; I put it out again at 6 pm the following day.
Because one of Brighid’s guises is Maman Brigitte, a Voodoo lwa, I think it’s a safe bet that she enjoys a good cigar in offering, so when Erin made the suggestion I thought it a good idea. I selected the Drew Estate Natural Clean Robusto because I thought it looked intriguing. It was a relatively unveiny Connecticut with clear seams and that somewhat-garish Drew Estate label. It is five inches long and a 51 inch ring gauge.
One source says that the fillers are Nicarguan, and another Honduran; yet another says the confusion stems from the fillers and wrappers being drawn from twelve (or fifteen) different countries,including Haiti, the Dominican Republic, St. James Parish in Louisiana, United States, and a few different countries in Africa. The key is that regardless of origin they are triple-fermented for 60 days in cedar. The wrapper, however, is a pure natural; that’s what inspired the name.
I lit the cigar at a quarter to eight, and found it amazingly buttery and sweet, like a caramel toffee! This was quite the change from the other Drew Estates I’ve smoked, which in general I have not liked (the Acids were another matter entirely). Mostly I find them so sickly sweet that it’s a bit gross; as though somebody dipped a perfectly-good cigar in a brown sugar syrup and let it go sour.
This one, though, was much more complex and very pleasant. Rich varieties of tobacco rolling pleasantly into one another in a series of changes that were almost between puffs; a Sumatran here, a Nicaraguan there, a Honduran after; then Brazilian, Connecticut and Cameroon. Really great stuff! But hard to classify into thirds. I would say it was a continuous run of changing flavours with a pleasant caramel overtone. I thought that eclectic chameleon goddess Brighid would love it, and I make sure to leave appropriate smoke offerings for both her, and the Baron, and Erzulie.
The cigar went out at about 9 o’clock and I deemed it beyond relighting. Guess between its mild body and its variegated taste I smoked it pretty quickly! Overall I enjoyed it and I would definitely smoke it again were it offered to me, but I doubt I would make a point of purchasing a lot of them. Still, definitely a nice change of pace and certainly tasty, and it would be a welcome part of any sampler!
So, from that point of view, I will break tradition, which tends to either be strongly for these cigars or strongly against them, and give them:
You can get them at Pipes & Cigars for $6.25 for a single, $32 for a five pack and $146.72 for a box of 24; Cigars International for $32 for a five pack or $146.72 for box of 24; and Famous Smoke for $142.99 for a box of 24 (all prices in USD). I got mine at Pipes & Cigars as part of the Drew Estate Natural Six Cigar Sampler for $27.99.
And that’s a lady’s perspective!