We acquired this cigar at the 2015 IPCPR trade show in New Orleans, Louisiana in July. This is a brand new blend that was put together by Drew Estate’s Master Blender Willy Herrera. According to the Drew Estate Company this is the first cigar Willy Herrera has blended that is not part of the Herrera Esteli family.
The Undercrown Shade is a new addition to the Undercrown line of cigars from Drew Estate. Herrera has worked notably with the rollers that fabricated the original Undercrown to produce this new Undercrown Shade in the Drew Estate factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. The original Undercrown was created and produced due to the shortage of tobacco being used to make the Liga Privada #9 blend of cigars. The torcedors (cigar rollers) were advised not to smoke anymore of the Liga Privada #9 cigars while they worked. Therefore, they created the original Undercrown using the Mexican San Andres wrapper and other tobaccos similar to the Liga Privada #9.
Herrera is quoted as saying about the Undercrown Shade: “since day one, Drew Estate has demonstrated that no premium cigar company better understands its team, and that the heart of the company is the production floor and factory. This is why I chose to work closely with the rollers responsible for the original Undercrown blend, and challenged them to create a Connecticut blend that would satisfy my palate. It was a long road, taking more than a year to develop. In the end, it was a very rewarding process, as finding a Connecticut blend to fit my palate wasn’t easy. We finally found a marriage of Drew Estate’s unique tobaccos that we believe is really special, and we’re excited to share the new blend with everyone at the IPCPR show.”
We were able to squeeze in a brief interview with Jonathan Drew about the Undercrown Shade during his very busy schedule at the 2015 IPCPR trade show. This is what he thought of the new blend: “As some people who smoke the Undercrown know, Undercrown was blended on the factory floor. When we were running into issues with not enough Liga inventory we asked the rollers to stop smoking the Liga Privada, and instead move to a new blend they liked themselves. Later, that blend became the Undercrown blend. Everyone loved it, and we moved it into production. So, the special aspect of Undercrown is it is a cigar that was blended on the factory floor. The Undercrown Shade is different from the Undercrown Maduro. That is a cigar that was blended under Willy’s management, but the same rollers worked with Willy to create that same blend. So, it is still crafted with Willy, and crafted by the same rollers who crafted the original Maduro. That makes it very special, because you are talking about a cigar that is blended on the factory floor as opposed to a cigar that is blended by a big name guy. When Litto blends, or Fuente, or Drew blends, or Willy, Padron, or whoever it is blends, it is always blended by the owner of the company or the head guy of the company. When you have a blend that is created on the factory floor it’s a whole different dimension of taste. It’s rough and uncut.”
You can view the entire Jonathan Drew interview here.
The Undercrown Shade is presented with an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper as well as a Sumatran binder, along with Dominican Criollo 98 and Nicaraguan Criollo, and Corojo fillers.
This Robusto-sized (5 X 54) Undercrown Shade is just near perfect in its appearance alone. The band around the cap end of the cigar is white with the same linings as the original Undercrown, but in gold coloring. The band around the foot is white with gold lettering labeling it “Shade.” The wrapper is a light Connecticut leaf with very few veins appearing. It looks almost like paper. It is one of the lightest shade cigar wrappers in the world.
The feel is just as nice. The cigar is very smooth from the cap to the foot. The veins that are present are hardly felt. It feels smoother than construction paper as I glide my fingers down the body.
It has a scent of a fresh hayfield and sweet earth at pre-light. The pre-light draw was simple and effortless; almost like breathing air. The taste brought nuances of sweet tobacco and cream.
Cutting the cap was easy and smooth. The tobacco appears to be packed in very well and tightly. There was no loose tobacco coming out of the silky sliced cap.
Upon toasting and lighting, I’m getting many flavors from this stick. I have hints of hay, cream, oak, coffee, and some vanilla. The vanilla seems to remain in the background while the others are more noticeable. The draw is made with very little effort. There are no flavors being left upon the lips. The vanilla essence of the cigar has disappeared toward the end of the first third allowing a sweet tobacco replacement. The cigar is definitely a mild-bodied smoke at this point. The ash on this opening third is nice, white in color, and strong.
Moving into the second third the oak, cream, coffee, and sweet tobacco are the star flavors with the hay lingering in the back of the palate. Throughout this third, the hay flavor fades away. So far, no touch-ups have been required. The burn is nice and even all the way around the body. The ash finally gave in about halfway through this second third with a resounding solid thud as it hit the floor. It still remains in the mild-bodied category coming out of the second third. This is a very tasty smoke so far. The flavors are strong and remain on the palate long after the draw. The smoke coming from this cigar is thick and creamy.
The final third is bringing an added white chocolate-like flavor while the oak, cream, coffee, and sweet tobacco sticks around. The ash is growing long once again to produce more gray colors this time. It dropped once again about a half an inch from my fingers. The burn remains to be even all the way around once again. Towards the end, I started getting an earthy flavor on top of the white chocolate, oak, and coffee. The sweet tobacco and cream has subsided as the burn was just about to touch my fingers. The stick has grown from a mild to a medium at this point. I finally laid it down just as the burn was touching my fingers.
This Robusto Undercrown Shade can be purchased for $7.75/stick or you can purchase them in 25-count boxes. They go on sale in retail shops in the Fall of 2015. Other sizes include the Belicoso (6 X 52 at $9.00/stick), the Corona Doble (7 X 54 at $9.50/stick), the Corona (5 5/8 X 46 at $7.50/stick), the Gordito (6 X 60 at $9.95/stick), and the Gran Toro (6 X 52 at $8.25/stick.)
This was an exceptionally smooth and tasty cigar that I fully enjoyed smoking. The flavors were strong and varied during this smoke. The strength was mostly mild and went to a medium towards the end. No touch-ups were required at any point. Even for fans of more full-bodied cigars I would highly recommend this cigar for its unparalleled flavor profile. I hope all will enjoy this cigar as much as I have. Till next time, my friends.