The Herrera Esteli Norteño is the sophomore release by Drew Estate’s Willy Herrera, and the first since being named Master Blender. Willy’s original blend, the Herrera Esteli, is hands-down my favorite all-time smoke, so I was very eager to see how the latest offering stacked up.
CIGAR STATS: The Norteño (which refers to people in the northern regions of Nicaragua, where Esteli is located) features a Mexican San Andres Maduro wrapper, a Honduran binder, and extensively aged tobaccos from the Jalapa and Esteli regions of Nicaragua for the filler. The Norteño comes in six sizes, all boxed in quantities of 10: Coronita (4x46), Corona Extra (4.75x48), Belicoso Fino (5x50), Robusto Grande (5.5x54), Toro (6x50), and the Lonsdale Deluxe (6.5x44), with prices ranging from $10 to $12 a cigar. There is also a new size called Edicion Limitada Churchill (7x48) that comes in 15-count boxes and retails for $14 a cigar. For this review I selected the Robusto Grande.
APPEARANCE: The Mexican San Andres wrapper that adorns the Norteño is dark and toothy and downright sexy. The band on the Maduro wrapper takes its shape from the original line but uses green ink in place of red and features the Guardabarranco, the national bird of Nicaragua. The Norteño also features a soft box-press which fits very nicely in the hand and comfortably in the pie hole.
THE SMOKE: Right out of the gate this is a smooth smoke. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of pepper but only for a half inch or so, then it hits cruise control and lets the other flavors shine through. And the first flavor to emerge is cherry, followed by molasses. Sweet cedar, chocolate, coffee, and leather dominate the mid-section, and honey with a touch of earthiness polish off the remainder of this review. The draw, burn line, and smoke output were all stellar performers.
VERDICT: Let me make this an easy decision for you ... I burnt my fingertips on the Norteño just so I could keep smoking this beauty! The $11 dollar price tag prevents this from being an everyday smoke but if you’re given the opportunity to purchase a few, don’t pass it up. But also don’t expect this cigar to be like its predecessor, the Herrera Esteli, because it isn’t. They are two completely different, yet extremely enjoyable cigars that are both a “must try” in my book.