Cigar Federation Top New Releases of 2014: #4 Herrera Esteli Norteno

As we near the end of 2014, you will begin to see many "Top" lists throughout the cigar community.  In keeping with tradition, each of the main reviewers on the site - Logan, Rob, Dustin, Jerad and John - has their own list, but we also wanted to see what a Cigar Federation group list would look like.

Unlike last year where I gave the guys no direction, we've changed it up a bit this year.  Each reviewer was asked to provide 3 lists:

  1. Top Brands of 2014 (more on that later)
  2. Top Cigars of 2014 (more on that later)
  3. Top Cigars Released in 2014 (the basis for this list)

Like last year, the fact that the 5 reviewers live in different parts of the country and Canada (and, thus, have access to different cigars) and have vastly diverse palates, produced some interesting results. 

The #1 cigar on our consensus list showed up on 4 of the 5 total lists, the most any cigar appeared meaning no cigar was a unanimous "Top" cigar for all our reviewers. Its worth noting here that my list is not included in the Cigar Federation list as a means of remaining impartial in producing this content - I will share it after completion of the site's list.

Over the next ten days (not including weekends), I will unveil another cigar in the List.  In the end, each of our reviewers will unveil their personal lists.  We're also trying to get the FedHeads involved. How does your list match up? Join the discussion and get involved here.

Without further adieu, I unveil #4 on our list - please check back tomorrow for #3.

#10 Warped Flor Del Valle

#9 Nomad C-276

#8 1502 Emerald Lancero

#7 Arandoza Red

#6 Nomad Connecticut Fuerte

#5 D'Crossier L'Forte

#4 Herrera Esteli Norteno

2014 was a huge year for Drew Estate and Willy Herrera. In May, the company announced that Willy Herrera was taking on the title of "Master Blender", and in October, the long rumored acquisition of Drew Estate by Swisher International finally took place. In the middle, one of the most anticipated releases of the year made its 'debut' at IPCPR2014 when the company officially released #4 on our list - the Herrera Esteli Norteno!

On the heels of the wildly successful Herrera Esteli, the Norteno followed up with a slight twist on the original - the Norteno includes a similar Honduran binder with Nicaraguan filler, but utilizes a Mexican San Andres wrapper in place of the Ecuadorian Habano.  The name refers to the Northerners of Nicaragua (where Esteli is located), and the bird on the band is the national bird of Nicaragua; the turquoise-browed motmot or Guardabarranco which Herrera told us is rare, but he saw several times while working on the blend and believed it to be an omen. The Norteno is available as 10 count boxes in soft press vitolas of: Coronita (4’ x 46 gauge),  Corona Extra (4 3/4” x 48 gauge), Belicoso Fino (5” x 50 gauge), Robusto Grande (5 1/2“x 54 gauge), Toro (6” x 50 gauge) and lastly the Lonsdale Deluxe (6 1/2“x 44 gauge).

"The wrapper - a dark brown Mexican San Andres - might be the toothiest wrapper I've seen in awhile."

"The nose on the Norteño is outrageous.  Notes of molasses, cedar and a heavy pepper have me salivating to light up."

"Right off the bat I was hit with classic maduro flavors of dark chocolate, molasses and damp earth. There was a white spice on the retrohale that quickly transitioned to a heavy black pepper spice."

"The spice slowly takes a step back while chocolate and cedar marry.  The spice remains on the finish and I feel like it begins to slowly return as I enter the finale."

"The last third is a medley of all of the previous flavors fighting for dominance.  They seem to wax and wane through the last third until it becomes quite earthy to finish."

"Willie was right when he said this was a richer and stronger cigar, but it wasn’t super strong. I would call it a medium strength with a trend toward a medium-plus. Not overpowering by any means."

"The Herrera Esteli Norteño is a fantastic entry into the already full Drew Estate line-up.  I do want to revisit these after a few months because I have the suspicion that they will be even better."

You can read our group review of the Herrera Esteli Norteno here.
You can watch our interviews with Willy Herrera at IPCPR2014 here and here.
You can read our full coverage of Drew Estate's booth at IPCPR2014 including coverage of the Norteno here.
Get into the discussion and share YOUR Top List here.

Views: 178

Comment by Joshua Andrew on December 16, 2014 at 4:39pm
This stick is phenomenal. I'm definitely going to buy more of them.
Comment by Generally Useful Jared on December 16, 2014 at 5:31pm

Wondered when this one would come in.  When. Not if.

Comment by Stefan Lindblad on December 16, 2014 at 8:02pm

Yeah, this is a great cigar. I've only had 3 sizes, but each one has been very good...and it is one of the most severe box pressed cigars I've seen in a long, long time. The lonsdale size is super thin. 

Comment by Ky70 on December 17, 2014 at 9:28am

My favorite wrapper, but not my favorite cigar using it. I will try a couple more Nortena's to confirm but here are 2014 releases using the same wrapper that I prefer:

Jericho Hill, Ezra Zion FHK, Leccia Luchador, Illusione Cigars Privé MC Slam, Bodega Reunion Digestivo, Epicurean Gonzo Santeria, Viaje Cache, EP Carrillo La Historia


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