At this point, just about anything coming out of Drew Estate is going to receive a lot of press. DE has basically become a “household name” in the cigar world. Couple that with the addition of someone already known in the cigar world for his work at the El Titan Bronze factory, and you create a bit of a frenzied anticipation of what is to come. Such was the case with Willy Herrera joining the Drew Estate team and the release of his inaugural line, the Herrera Esteli.
When the Herrera Esteli line was released in early 2013, they were limited to select retailers. People could not wait to get their hands on them. Unfortunately, the reviews on it were mixed, with several people experiencing construction issues. The main concern I read about was cracking/damaged wrappers.
It seems that as more cigars were released, these problems were corrected. Most comments I’ve read or heard since then have been more than positive. I was pleased when I saw that they were available in my area and have smoked a few prior to this review. In this case, the samples were given to me from Drew Estate by way of ol Siz. Grateful we are for their generosity. Affect the outcome of the review it will not.
This Herrera Esteli Lonsdale has the classic look of a Cuban cigar. Knowing that this was what they were going for, I say they hit the mark! They even employed the entubar rolling technique for God’s sake! It has a very natural light brown wrapper with minimal veins and slightly raised seams. The triple cap is flush and round. There appear to be no cracks or tears either. The foot looks very well packed.
The band is very simple, yet classic too. It is a white paper band with gold trim and red print. These labels say “imported from Nicaragua” on the front, but the current release will say “by Drew Estate” instead. I believe this has something to do with a name dispute between DE and Herrera Cigars (Frank Herrera).
The Herrera Esteli Lonsdale certainly looks smooth and silky and the feel matches that. I do not detect any bumps or soft spots either. There is a slight give when squeezed but it springs right back into shape afterwards.
It has been too cold to smoke outside, especially for a review. I decided to go to a local lounge to smoke. While it is a good atmosphere for cigar smoking, it does make it a little harder to detect aromas due to all the smoke from other cigars. However, I do manage to get some hay and earth from the foot and sweet tobacco from the barrel.
I clip the triple cap with my CRA cutter. It comes off with ease, leaving a very even top. The pre-light draw is great with a bit of a dust note. Like I said, it may be harder to pick up on faint notes with other cigar smoke about.
Time to light this tasty Herrera Esteli up and see how it burns. I use my Xikar single flame torch and it lights right up. The light and burn are even and they remain so for the entire cigar. I never have to touch it up or relight it. The only “issue” is that it burns a little fast, but that tends to happen on cigars with a 44rg.
The ash is a beautiful white and gray that holds on for about an inch at a time. And just like on the pre light, the draw is great, allowing ample amounts of smoke to pass through. I don’t see any construction issues whatsoever with this one!
Any cigar that receives the amount of hype the Herrera Esteli has better deliver the goods! So far, the criticisms I’ve heard (construction) have not been present with this Lonsdale (or the others I’ve smoked). Let’s see if the flavor is as good as advertised.
The first third starts off with a decent amount of white pepper, with nuts, wood, and hay undertones. The balance evens out as it goes along. Additionally, there is a slightly dry butter flavor that creeps in towards the middle section.
In the second third, the butter flavor that was developing becomes more herbal, as the white pepper becomes more floral. The nuts and wood are still there too. The retrohale is heavy on the white pepper and wood. The finish becomes nuttier throughout this section.
The final third sees the pepper become more of a floral spice, with a continuation of butter and nuts. Towards the end, the dominant flavor becomes wood, with everything but a faint floral spice disappearing. Though that is a little disappointing, there are no unpleasant flavors nor does it get hot.
The Herrera Esteli Lonsdale is medium in strength and right at the medium-full mark in flavor. It was very enjoyable, only getting a little bland right at the end. Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed the flavors. The smoke time was 1 hour 5 minutes.
Would I Buy It Again?
Is It An Everyday Smoke?
Though I might want something a bit stronger at times, I could smoke it everyday.
Would I Buy a Box?
For the right price, certainly.
The Herrera Esteli Lonsdale is referred to as a “Cubanesque” cigar. While I don’t smoke many Cuban cigars, I have had a few. While I see the resemblance, I think that this one is a bit spicier than most Cubans I’ve had. I will say this is the most ”Cubanesque” Drew Estate cigar I’ve had for sure. And while the price is a bit high (most shops will probably charge $9+ for it), I definitely think it is worth trying. It really came close to getting a 10 from me if not for the very end.