Back in December we wrote a review of a new cigar hitting the market called Herrera Esteli. The brainchild of cigar blender Willy Herrera was garnering quite a bit of buzz in the cigar industry, everyone was wondering how the new pairing of Herrera and Drew Estate would play out. In late 2011, Willy had left his own company, El Titan de Bronze, to the care of family to join the team at Drew Estate, not known for making cigars in the style Willy was known for. Fast forward 1 year to December 2012 and Herrera Esteli was just hitting our shelves as one of the first stores in the country to carry the new line. To read my original review, follow this link: http://thecigarkingblog.com/2012/12/552/
Since that original introduction a couple of things have changed with the cigar: first off, the wrapper being used now is a higher priming of the original wrapper that is more durable than the original and they also use cellophane to help protect the cigar inside the boxes. Steve Saka, President of Drew Estate, was not a fan of the cellophane but knew it had to be done to keep the cigars from being damaged in transit. The higher priming wrapper is a hair thicker as well, allowing the cigar to be a bit more durable so the two changes were made in the best interest of the consumer. The new wrapper is also considerably darker on the cigar I am smoking for this review than the original version I smoked back in December. Let’s dive in and see what differences, if any, we can taste from the original.
In the original review I spoke about the first third being very spicy and in the latest version the spice isn’t nearly as pronounced. The first third is now sweeter and less earthy than I recall. The middle third is exactly as I recall it, notes of toasted bread with a sweet caramel finish. The strength took a noticeable upturn in this portion from a solid medium at the start into more full bodied experience, much the same as the original. The final third finishes exactly as the original, with the spice coming back to the forefront to complement the earth and natural tobacco flavors. The ash was solid throughout the smoke on both releases but the wrapper does carry a more durable feel even in your hand.
Overall I don’t know that many people would notice a difference between the original release and the newer releases other than the visible changes. Flavor wise I think the higher priming delivers the same flavors but in a more robust manner, which is a great thing. I loved the original sticks when they debuted and the newest batches provide much the same experience, just more of it. More pronounced spice, more earthy sweetness, more caramel on the finish, just more in every way. This cigar is going to be a STRONG contender for cigar of the year on many a cigar enthusiasts list, so be sure to check them out soon. You are missing out until you do.