Group Review: Drew Estate Nica Rustica Short Robusto

The original 6”x52 RG Toro Nica Rustica, the El Brujito, was released at the 2013 IPCPR. While I may have not officially rated it as a box buy, I can assure you that I have gone through several 25 count bundles already.

At the 2015 IPCPR, Drew Estate announced the release of 2 additional vitolas. The 4-1/2”x50 Short Robusto and the 7-1/2”x54 Belly. Jonathan Drew’s press release statement about the new sizes:

Nica Rustica is a tribute to Estelí’s hard working cigar culture. Behind all the glitz and glam, there are thousands of factory Buncheros and Rolleros who keep their game strong and consistent to maintain Estelí, Nicaragua’s respected stature of ‘Mecca of Cigars’.

Check out our interview at the IPCPR 2015 in New Orleans with Pedro Gomez:




Vitola: Short Robusto

Size: 4-1/2” x 50 Ring Gauge 

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Binder: Mexican San Andres Negro

Filler: Nicaraguan Esteli & Jalapa

Cigars Smoked for this Review: One each

Price Point: $5.95 MSRP

Cigar Purchased: Manufacturer’s samples

Quick Note: For this review we used Logan’s rating system. You can view it in detail here.




“The Nica Rustica Short Robusto is a spicy little alternative to the Undercrown that will always have a place in my regular smoking rotation.”

 “If you liked the flavors of the original, you'll enjoy the Short Robusto because the flavors are consistent, but, again, this is a bit stronger”

 “You know what you’re going to get and it delivers every time.”

“If you liked the flavors of the original, you'll enjoy the Short Robusto because the flavors are consistent, but, again, this is a bit stronger”

“The short robusto is almost a box-split for me.”

Surgeon’s Rating: 86 AKA “A Couple”

The nose on the Nica Rustica Short Robusto is nuts, hay, and a medium strength barnyard on the wrapper. I don’t notice any difference between the El Brujito and the Short Robusto here.

I used a v-cut as has become my review custom and found the draw right in the ideal zone. My initial draws produce some nutty cedar. The retrohale produces some light plus pepper. As I’ve come to expect from all Drew Estate cigars there is a ton of smoke production. As the Nica Rustica progresses there’s some mild sweetness with the pepper on the retrohale picking up in intensity. The first rounds out with a blend of a nutty pepper combination with a hint of sweetness.

Some earthy notes enter into the mix in the middle third, but it fades quickly after each draw. At the halfway point the pepper has completely fallen off and the profile is predominantly nutty sweet. Another adjustment to the profile adds some sweet cedar into the mix as the middle third winds down.

The last third is largely a spicy cedar.

Total smoking time was 1 hour and 39 minutes.

The Nica Rustica Short Robusto is a spicy little alternative to the Undercrown that will always have a place in my regular smoking rotation.

This cigar isn’t going to knock your socks off with complexity, but it is blended to be an every day cigar and is offered at a ridiculously affordable price. If I rated it on vitola and the pricing value this cigar would be a 94.

Even though my rating lists it as ‘a couple’ buy, I will continue to buy these by the bundle. I’m happy dith the great vitola option of the Short Robusto for the Canadian winter months.


Surgeon’s Pairing Recommendation:

The spice and nutty flavors mean this cigar is going to pair with a wide variety of beverages. Coke, root beer, rum, bourbon, port, you name it.


Matt’s Rating: 92 AKA “Box Split”

I really enjoyed the Nica Rustica when it was released, but I was very excited when word of a Short Robusto came out as I loved the idea of a shorter smoke.  The cigar itself looks like the original shrunken down.  The band is the exact same and the goldish-orange contrasts nicely with the rustic looking wrapper.  There is a nice sheen and a slight toothiness to the wrapper.  The pre-light draw gives me some chocolatey sweetness and a bit of that familiar cedar. I pull off the pig-tail cap and toast the covered foot to get us going.

The first thing I note with the Nica Rustico Short Robusto is the tremendous spice - much more than I remember on the original which makes sense given the size.  The earthy-woodsiness is still the story, but there is a lot more spice than I remember.  Also, the smoke output on this is ridiculous - even at full rest, the cigar is putting out loads of smoke.  About a half inch in, and the spice is dominant on the retrohale, but the earthy-woodsiness (I'm coining that) remains on the front of the tongue along with some leather.  Very similar to what I remember of the original Nica Rustica.  The burn line is perfectly even at this point.  Just as I type that, the cigar goes out and I have to relight.

As I enter the middle of the cigar, the retrohale has mellowed a bit, but is still showing strong pepper. The front of the tongue is giving off a slight saltiness along with the earthy flavors from before.  As I near the end of the middle, a sweetness with a little cocoa has entered the fray and the spice is ramping up again on the retrohale.  I'd definitely consider this a medium-full cigar at this point.

The end of the cigar is much of the same.  The cigar ramps up in strength a bit and I probably consider it full-blown full at this point, but the flavors are much the same.  As I'm smoking this, someone in the shop asks me if this is a new size of the Rustica and asks for my thoughts.  I told him what I will tell you - this is a much stronger version of the Nica Rustica for me, but I expect that.  I actually think I enjoy this more than the original, but I like a stronger, smaller vitola.  If you liked the flavors of the original, you'll enjoy the Short Robusto because the flavors are consistent, but, again, this is a bit stronger.  For me, this is a box split with it being borderline box buy just because I love the vitola.


Rob’s Rating: 88 AKA “5 Pack”

Drew Estate debuted the Nica Rustica cigar line in 2013 and this year they added two new sizes. The Short Robusto debuted at IPCPR 2015 along with the Belly (7 ½ x 54) giving the line three different vitolas. Personally, I like the Short Robusto size and think it will be a solid addition to the Nica Rustica line.

Flavor: The Short Robusto starts off with notes of earth and leather along with some black pepper spice and mild molasses sweetness. The profile smoothed out in the middle. It remained earthy up front with a nice even black pepper spice on the retro while the mild sweetness changed into a semi-sweet chocolate. The profile had dryness to it that I enjoyed. The finish was short and semi-sweet.

Construction: The draw was a bit tight, but nothing to get up in arms about.  The burn wasn’t too crisp, but never went sideways on me.

Final Thoughts: I liked it. The profile was pretty straightforward and there were not many transitions, but that’s ok. The Nica Rustica Short Robust is a “workman” style cigar. You know what you’re going to get and it delivers every time.

Jerad’s Rating: 89 AKA “5 Pack”

The pre-light aromas from this Nica Rustica Short Robusto are great! Lots of cedar wood and a deep, tobacco sweetness. There is also an awesome note, that I can best describe as a sweetened, wet chili powder. Once lit, this vitola starts off with some mild black pepper spice, earthiness and cedar notes. I say mild pepper spice, but that only refers to the draw, as the retrohale is very spice. Towards the end of this third, all the flavors melded together very well.

The middle changed up just a tad, adding leather to the earth and spice. It kept the strong retro and continued to pour out smoke. I also got some unexpected, molasses-like sweetness here. The final third turned into more of a black pepper spice and wood based profile. Not a huge change, but still nice little bit of variance to keep things interesting.

All in all, a very nice smoke. I love the size. It’s has a great in-hand feel and an easy to fit in, time of consumption. Flavors were great and the medium-full strength wasn't too much. Ever wanted to sit in a dark corner, shrouded by a cloud of smoke, and be the mysterious man in black? The THIS is your cigar! But seriously, the smoke production from this cigar is intense at all times. Loved it. Even though I like this size better, I prefer the profile of the original toro more. The original is one of my go-to cigars because of it’s great price and flavors. The short robusto is almost a box-split for me.

Group Consensus Score: 88.75 AKA “5 Pack"

Views: 565

Comment by Docwill on August 25, 2015 at 9:33am

Good stuff gentlemen.

Comment by Charlie on August 25, 2015 at 10:30am

Great review(s)!

I love a smaller/stronger cigar too!

Comment by Matt Ross on August 25, 2015 at 10:45am

I'm not surprised that I like this more than everyone else as I am the resident DE fanboy, but also because it fits more in my wheelhouse than anyone else's.  I think if Logan reviewed this his score would be higher too.  If you liked the original Nica Rustica, you will like this.  If you liked the original Nica Rustica, but always wish it was slightly stronger, you will love this.

Comment by RobbyRas on August 25, 2015 at 10:53am

I was not a big fan of the original vitola and the Belly is just way to big... I dig this size and I felt like the flavor profile was maximized.  It's not the most complex cigar in the world and frankly I didn't find it to be all that strong... but I enjoyed it enough to want to smoke it again...  and at that pricepoint, it's a win... 

Comment by Cigar Surgeon on August 25, 2015 at 11:01am

I was a big fan of the original El Brujito and I think the Short Robusto is spicier and at a killer price. I think my score is in reference to the flavor complexity but as I mentioned I'll be buying these by the mazo.

Comment by 007MI6 on August 25, 2015 at 4:04pm

It's weird, considering I will choose the smaller vitola 99% of the time. But this is the 1% where I would grab the larger toro first. Now, as for the Belly, we'll see if I find time for that bad boy. lol

Comment by Trippopolis on August 25, 2015 at 4:10pm

I haven't smoked my Short Robusto yet, but the Belly was actually like a smoother version of the blend, where it seems like the Short Robusto is a more powerful version.


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