Whenever the New Year rolls around, cigar fans are always eager to see what new offerings their favorite company will be putting out. Drew Estate is one of the companies whose releases people are usually most eager to try. Last year, there were a few different releases that Drew Estate put out, all of which were met with great anticipation and expectation.
The Nica Rustica hit shelves near the end of last year. The name tells you exactly what you should expect, a rustic, rough around the edges kind of cigar. Though some seem to think it is in the same league as a Liga Privada, it is a cigar that stands on its own. Like some of the LP offerings, it has a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. However, there is quite a bit of difference in the type each uses. There is one common aspect they do share though, massive smoke output!
“El Brujito” means the shaman or medicine man. On the box and the back of the band there is a replica of a figure found on a rock in Nicaragua that represents the “shaman”. It is only fitting that they chose to honor the shaman since he is one of the earliest known users of tobacco leaf.
The “El Brujito” is currently only available in the toro size.
I must include the usual sample disclaimer: we received these samples from Drew Estate. While we are grateful for their generosity, it will not be a factor in the review of this cigar.
The Nica Rustica looks like its name: rustic. It has a rugged, dirt-brown wrapper with several veins and visible seams. The cap comes to a twist and also looks rough. The foot is closed with wrapper folded over the opening. This cigar looks like it is a semi-crude blast from the past!
The band looks very fitting, kind of an orange-yellow band with red and black print. As mentioned, the “Brujito” figure is featured on the back of the band. The band is stuck on the cigar rather tightly, so I have to peel it off when the burn line gets too close.
If the Nica Rustica looks rough, it should feel rough too, right? Makes sense to me! And it does. There is also a slick, powdery feel to it as well, but it is quite bumpy. There is a decent amount of give to it when squeezed as well.
There are some nice aromas coming off of this stick. The foot smells of sweet chocolate earth, despite being closed off. The barrel is also sweet, but more of a sweet tobacco aroma.
I clip the cap with my trusty CRA cutter. There is a bit of loose tobacco that falls out when I do, but nothing substantial though. The pre-light draw is very open with some strong earth tones coming out.
I light the Nica Rustica with my Xikar single flame torch. It lights up right away, only requiring a small touch up to be nice and even. That’s the beauty of having wrapper over the foot; it makes for a fast light!
The draw is very open, almost too much so. A lot of Drew Estate’s smoke like a chimney and this one is no different. You definitely don’t need an open draw when it is billowing smoke like this! It definitely had an effect on how quickly it burned.
The ash is mostly white and gray. Though it appears to be loose and is a little flaky, it still holds on for an inch at a time. Like the cigar overall, it is unrefined but still good quality.
Well, we know that the Nica Rustica has the whole “rustic” theme going in its appearance. How does that translate into the flavor of the cigar? We are about to find out!
The first third starts off with a very strong earth and black pepper combo. The retrohale is very spicy, almost proving too much for my sinuses! About halfway through this section, the spice and earth smooth out and some sweet tobacco and wood notes rise to the surface.
By the second third, the pepper has become quite mild. There is still a solid earth note, but the sweet tobacco and wood flavors have taken hold as well. I believe this is the “rustic” flavor they were going for. It just tastes like I imagine a lot of pipe tobacco does (from smelling it, I’ve never smoked a pipe).
The final third is much like the previous one. Sweet tobacco, earth, and wood are the dominant notes with a mild pepper, mostly on the retrohale. The final 1.5” is mostly earth and wood.
The Nica Rustica is medium-full in flavor and medium in strength. Though there is a ton of smoke and it is pretty spicy in the beginning, it never overwhelms me with strength. Because of the open draw and semi-looseness of the cigar, it burns a little fast, not quite lasting 1.5 hours.
Would I Buy It Again?
Yes. I feel like it is a good cigar for the price.
Is It An Everyday Smoke?
Not for me.
Would I Buy a Box?
No, but I would definitely get a 5 pack.
The Drew Estate Nica Rustica is exactly what it is advertised to be: rustic, unrefined, and unpolished. It is nothing fancy, just good old-fashioned tobacco. If that is what you are looking for, then this is definitely your cigar. If you are looking for something more like a Liga Privada, get one. This is not going to be a substitute for it.
I think the price is on target for this cigar. My only complaint is that it burns a little fast and it is a bit harsh in the beginning. Otherwise, I enjoyed this departure from most cigars on the market. If you’re looking for something a little different, give it a try!