Chances are if you're reading this, then you know all about the Liga Privada Unico Ratzilla. You know all about the Unico series and how people go nuts over these things. You probably even know that we have some members here on CigarFederation who horde Unicos. I personally know of at least one in Chicago and one in Portland. They go bananas over some Ligas! So I'm not going to waste time talking about the history of the Liga Privada line and how the Ratzilla is now an exclusive for all DDPR. Let's just talk about the cigar!
Liga Privada Unico Ratzilla 2015
Size: 6 1/4 x 46
Vitola: Corona Extra
Wrapper: Connecticut River Valley Stalk Cut & Cured Sun Grown Habano
Binder: Plantation Grown Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
MSRP: $154.50 - 10-count box
Samples smoked for review: 1-2 per reviewer
Samples for review were provided by Drew Estate
Note: We used the CigarFederation Rating System
Robby's Rating: 90 AKA "Box Split"
Pre-light: The Ratzilla is not an overly attractive cigar, but it features the beloved Liga Privada band. That band is like the siren call to many cigar smokers. One thing I love about the Ratzilla, other than the band, is the vitola. At 6 1/4 x 46, it falls right into that size range that I love.
The two Raztilla's that I smoked for this review were very well constructed. The burn and draw were perfect on both. The wrappers had a rugged look and the construction was solid with no soft spots or veins. The wrapper gave off strong notes of barnyard and peppercorn while the cold draw tasted of dark chocolate and candied cherries.
Beginning: The Raztilla started out with some bold notes of leather along with some cedar on the tongue and black pepper on the retrohale. This profile gained in richness over the first inch. IT wasn't a very complex beginning, but it was quite tasty. The black pepper on the retro took a step forward at this point and balanced out the leather and cedar notes. There was some mild sweetness in there and a bit of a creamy undertone to the overall profile.
Middle: The richness of the profile abated and things got smokey. The profile took on many attributes of BBQ. That is not to say it started to taste like a brisket, but smokey and savory notes popped up while maintaining a mild sweetness. This was a pretty significant change in flavors, but I completely enjoyed it.
End: The BBQ was over and we went back to the rich leather notes. Cedar, milk chocolate and black pepper were also present. The end had a similar profile to the beginning, but will more of a kick. The strength topped out at a medium-plus.
Final Thoughts: Often times I find these "unicorn" cigars don't meet the hype, but the Razilla does. With that being said, it is a cigar I have to be in the mood for. It's big and bold with more black pepper spice than sweetness.
I'm taking a slightly different approach with this review in that, instead of writing down my thoughts as I smoke, I'm going to try to enjoy this as much as possible, and write my review off brief notes after the fact. We'll see how it goes - likely much shorter.
Its no surprise that I'm a bit of a DE fanboy and have loved much of what they've produced so I was very excited when I heard the Ratzilla was becoming even more regular production as its always been near the top amongst my favorites from the company. The cigar is your typical Liga/Unico offering with a dark, rustic looking wrapper that isn't perfect, but produces a nice oily sheen. Prelight draw has typical Liga flavors of some chocolate and earth with a bit of pepper in the back of the throat.
Flavor-wise, I think this cigar held pretty consistent through-out, but it still had a solid amount of complexity. Off the light, I immediately get that earthiness that I expect with some pepper spice on the retrohale and finish. This intersperses with some leather flavors and some cedar flavors throughout the first third, though I find these flavors to be supporting actors to the earthiness throughout. In the second third, or really all the way at the midpoint, I feel like the leather spice have subsided, and we've really turned into an interplay between cedar and earth. This takes me to the finale where I noticed a bit of bitterness at first, but that quickly dissipated and turned into some nice sweetness to marry with a controlling cedar flavor as I smoked it to the nub.
Overall, this cigar, as expected, was a great experience. Burn and draw were fantastic with the ash holding on for an inch-plus at a time, and the cigar giving off significant amounts of smoke even at rest. The one negative that keeps me from considering this a flat out box buy is an odd one - I think they used to be even better. I don't know what to make of that. I remember smoking my first Ratzilla and putting it up there with L40s and Dirty Rats as my favorite Liga/Unico. Did the cigar change? Did I change? Do I subconsciously view it differently because its more accessible? Its still a great cigar, but, in my eyes, a step below the L40s and Dirty Rats that I consider the upper echelon. For that reason, it gets a Box Split score for me.
Surgeon's Rating: 89 AKA "5-pack"
"The Liga Privada Unico Ratzilla is another solid addition to the Drew Estate Unico lineup."
The nose on the Liga Privada Unico Ratzilla is hints of leather, lots of rich cured tobacco and cedar undertones. In the foot lots of honey and hay.
I used a v-cut and found the draw on the tight side but perfectly serviceable. Since the ring gauge is a 46 I opted not to do an x-cut to avoid cap damage.
The first third opens with a rich sweetness with lots of spices on the retrohale. Some honey and pepper develops as the first third establishes itself. Some post draw leather starts to appear. Cedar comes through, and at the 40 minute mark leather starts to displace the pepper somewhat post draw.
In the middle third the sweetness has fallen off in intensity with the cedar increasing in strength to medium. The cedar has replaced the pepper in strength on the retrohale as well. As the middle third settles in the retrohale finishes with a sweet creamy cedar. At the halfway point some big earthiness comes into the mix.
The final third has the sweetness increasing in itensity to push the earthiness down, which is a bit of an odd combination. There is a slight acrid tone to the earth which falls away after 8-10 minutes.
The Liga Privada Unico Ratzilla is another solid addition to the Drew Estate Unico lineup. If you're already a big fan of the Unico series I probably don't need you to be on the lookout for these.
I would find myself reaching for a cola, Dr. Pepper, root beer, or some bourbon.
Cigar Federation Group Rating: 90 aka "Box Split"