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:
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.
#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!
"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.