Review: Herrera Esteli Tienda Exclusiva for Barrister Cigars

The Herrera Esteli Tienda Exclusiva for Barrister Cigars officially released on September 2nd. Matt was at the debut, and posted about it here. Barrister Cigars is the first store to receive a release in the Tienda Exclusiva project. Tienda Eclsuiva, which means store exclusive, is the ability for Drew Estate to create specific releases under the Herrera Esteli banner. 

Drew Estate informs us that they plan to have a few Tienda Exclusiva releases a year – each for a different store, and each being a one-time only, limited release.  For the Barrister Cigars Tienda Exclusiva, no information was provided on the specific blend info or the number of cigars produced.


Go time.

Herrera Esteli Tienda Exclusiva

Size: 4 7/8 x 46

Wrapper: Mexican San Andres

Binder: Not Disclosed

Filler: Not Disclosed

Cigars Smoked for this Review: Two per Reviewer

Price Point: $13

Cigar Purchased: Purchased from Barrister Cigars


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


Overall Cigar Federation Average Review: 90.5 AKA “Box Split”


Matt’s Review – Rating 94 AKA “Box Purchase”

I've smoked many, many of these in various prototype phases, but this is only my 2nd in any sort of review format so we'll see how it goes.  These cigars, from what I understand, have been aging at DE for at least 7 months, but I just picked this up at the Barrister Cigars Tienda Exclusiva event on September 2nd.  The branding pops out immediately as reminiscent of the original Herrera Esteli except instead of red writing on a white background with gold trim, you get white writing on a red background with gold trim and the Tienda Exclusiva Barrister Cigars secondary foot band.  The wrapper is a milk-chocolate brown with some visible veins and minimal seams.  As I clip the cap with my bulletproof guillotine and take some pre-light draws, I'm met with a really unique flavor - almost like turpentine or something, at least from a sweetness perspective.  That's a weird comparison, but that's the best I got - it’s definitely not bad, just unique.

On light, a medium-full earthy pepper note is what I first get.  As I smoke into the first third, the earth couples with the familiar Herrera Esteli cedar notes and adds some chocolaty sweetness while the pepper hits the nose on the retrohale.  As I move into the middle, the spice is non-existent, even on the retro, but the story is really about the marrying of cedar and earth with a long cocoa powder finish.  As I smoke to the nub, that familiar Herrera Esteli cedar flavor takes over with hints of the earth and the cocoa remains on the finish, though not as long.  If I had to guess, I'd say this is a Herrera Esteli with a San Andres wrapper, but knowing Willy and the guys at DE, I doubt that to be the case.

I smoked two cigars out of my box for this review.  On one, I nicked the wrapper right below the band, but it did not impact the smoking experience at all.  On both, I had to relight as I entered the final third, but that could very likely be my smoking experience.  Draw on both was fantastic, and the cigar gave off a good amount of smoke even at rest.  Construction was near perfect overall with the ash holding on for about an inch and a half at a time.

I don't know that I enjoy this cigar more than the original Herrera Esteli, but its close and I think its superior to the Norteno (though I have limited experience with the Norteno).  Willy and the DE crew have taken the familiar Herrera Esteli flavors and accentuated them with the earth and cocoa flavors that really make this cigar a winner.  These are a definite winner in my eyes, and I consider them a box buy (I'm glad I picked up 2).

Logan’s Review – Rating 87 AKA “Five Pack”

On the light, there were notes of grass, earth, and subtle black pepper. There are also notes of chocolate and earth which are present on the retrohale. The body and strength I would call a solid medium at this point. There is faint candy sweetness also present.

The ash was pure white, almost like snow, and had a striking contrast against the dark San Andres wrapper.

On both cigars I smoked, a few construction issues started to show at the mid-point. One of the cigars had a minor bulge and subsequent wrapper tear. The second had some draw issues where I was huffing and puffing to keep the cigar lit. It was a little frustrating to say the least.

There is a buttery quality to the Tienda Exclusiva smoke. There is also a spicy finish which compliments the buttery quality well. There are notes of cocoa as well.

Notes of cedar really dominated the second half of the cigar and were the main thing I picked up.

Maybe I am nuts, but I am not in love with this cigar. The few construction issues coupled with the price point, is a turn off for me. I personally think the Tienda Exclusiva needs some time. I believe there could be some great potential with this cigar, but I don’t think it has hit its prime yet. I would tell you go out and get a five pack and let them age.

Views: 371

Comment by Matt Ross on September 10, 2014 at 6:43am

For those looking for more information, I posted several 'tidbits' here coming out of the Launch Event on September 2nd.

One thing I found interesting about Logan's review is that he believes the cigar needs some more time.  I am under the impression that these have been sitting at Drew Estate for 7+ months already, and I did not get that sense when smoking.  Since I shipped Logan his samples, I'll be curious if he thinks the same when he revisits in a month or so.

Comment by Docwill on September 10, 2014 at 7:43am

Fantastic reviews gentlemen. I really like that cedar, cocoa powder, and earth profile.

Comment by Charlie on September 10, 2014 at 10:14am

So I smoked mine last night and I thought it was a great smoke! It dumped out smoke just like a Liga (maybe even more) it also had that oil ring around the burn line the wrapper must be a different priming than the UC San Andreas. I really think this smoke will age well and in 3 months will be on par with most DE product. The day before I smoked a DR and the smoke production was on par with every Liga/UC I have smoked. I am so glad I have 4 left to lay to rest and try them as time goes by. I agree with your review Matt, I posted my notes on My Weeky Line Up in discussions. 

Comment by Willy on September 10, 2014 at 12:32pm
Hello everyone! Charlie & Logan, those cigars have well over a year of age possibly even a year in half of age. Oh, one other thing fellas, this is a completely different blend frm the Herrera Esteli and the Norteño.
Great review fellas.
Comment by Smokin Logan (Man Angel #1) on September 10, 2014 at 12:34pm

Willy - thanks for checking it out man!

Comment by Willy on September 10, 2014 at 12:55pm
Sure thing bro

Comment by Matt Ross on September 10, 2014 at 1:47pm

Thanks for the insight, Willy - always good to hear from you.

I suspected the blend was entirely different, as noted, but I believe you hit on some of the same core flavors of the original (in both the Tienda Exclusiva and Norteno) and I enjoyed it greatly.

Comment by Charlie on September 22, 2014 at 8:45am

You guys should compare your notes with the most recent halfwheel review on this smoke, I felt that it was off (IMO) but I know that flavor on the dry draw Burt was talking about.....

Comment by Matt Ross on September 22, 2014 at 8:48am

Charlie - I read that review this morning.  I agreed with you, I had a different experience than Brutus seemed to have, but, as you can see from my notes above, we both picked out that 'turpentine'/metallic flavor early.  For me, it went away - for him, it did not.

Important to note, as Willy stated above, these things are 'aged' so I wouldn't expect their flavor profile to change too much.


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