I know I say this a lot, but I love working in this industry, especially when I am given the opportunity to be on the forefront of something new. A few weeks ago, right before the catalog was completed, our Drew Estate rep came in with a fantastic proposition for us. He had with him a test cigar that was selected for use in this experiment and passed them out to the guys in the meeting. We all smoked it and gave our thoughts. He told us it was being referred to as Test 156.
Needless to say, it was a big hit and we are excited to be a part of this experiment. After some discussion, it was decided that we were going to let all of you be a part of Test 156. We were going to bundle it as a 3 pack with a box purchase of the ever popular Liga Privada Undercrown.
Let me tell you a little bit about the Test 156. It is potent, rich, smooth and delicious. The smoothness is deceiving because it will catch up to you quick, so smoke it after dinner if you can. The richness is almost like fudge. I am not going to go too much further because I don’t want to taint your opinion of it.
Here’s the catch, we are not selling them, you can only get your 3 pack with a box purchase of Undercrown. Because it is still in development, your feedback will also come into play. If you do get a 3 pack, I want to hear all about your experience. (firstname.lastname@example.org) Send me your reviews. You can see more details about it here. Once you have had yours for a while, we will follow up with another mailing to give you the official specs from the manufacturer.
Some of you may be thinking that a box purchase is a bit ambitious, well you do get 3 Test 156s with the box, so try splitting it with 2 of your buddies. The only drawback to this arrangement is you will regret having to give away most of these fantastic cigars. You will each get 8 Undercrowns and 1 Test 156 with one stogie left over. The guy who actually placed the order should get the 25th Undercrown.
On to the Undercrown review:
It has always been the policies of Drew Estate to allow all of their personnel to smoke as much of whatever they want. Well guess what they were smoking? Liga Privada. They were being consumed at such a rate that not enough were making it to market. To combat that, the Undercrown was created. The blend incorporates many of the same rare tobaccos, but of different vintages and primings. The cigar they created was no mere replacement. This cigar also became so popular that Drew Estate released it at last year’s trade show.
Just in outward appearance this cigar looks like a winner. The wrapper is dark oily and smooth. There are barely any veins on it and it has those little bumps of deliciousness. The aroma of the foot is sweet, floral and almost has a butter-like smell to it. The cap looks like it was laser cut and graphed onto the head of the cigar. It looks like it was drawn, not rolled. The feel of the cigar is dense and even. The prelight draw is spot on with the firmness of the cigar. The taste pre light is sweet and a little floral.
The light generates a ridiculous amount of smoke and there is a definite floral note at this point. It has a very rich but smooth quality about it with notes of coffee and toast. The retrohale is much milder than I had expected.
About an inch in there is a cedar quality coming through and a spice that I think might be like nutmeg, or gingerbread. The burn is as straight as an arrow at this point. The ash looks fantastic as well so far.
At about a third in I was slightly disappointed that the ash fell very easily, however it stayed in one solid chunk and stood up in the ashtray. The smoke is a dense medium gray color. The taste is very rich and the draw is easy. It is still producing lots of smoke.
Through the 2nd third, there is a hop- like floral quality and bitterness similar to a good mild IPA. Another retrohale is indicating much more body and a pepperyness that was not present in the first third. There is also a slight raisin note combined with dark chocolate and coffee. The burn at this point is still razor sharp.
The cigar is taking on a creaminess that I am enjoying thoroughly. There is an increase in spice with a hint of salt (?). The body is building nicely into medium plus at this point.
I did have to make a touch-up towards the end of the 2nd third because I set it down for too long and the burn slowed down. It did not go out however. The smoke began to taper off a little. After that, the smoke made a full rebound and the burn is till remarkably straight. This is shaping up to be fantastic.
The spice notes in the final third are beginning to mellow out and the body is beginning to plateau at medium full. There is still a note a raisin to this cigar as well as a coffee richness. The floral note has just made a comeback as well. This taste is rather unique and I like it. Not too many cigars have this quality and I think that it separates it a little from a lot of others in this category.
Ultimately this cigar really impressed me and I can understand why it was the choice of so many in the know.