Pre-Release Group Review: Drew Estate Undercown Shade

The Undercrown Shade was introduced by Drew Estate at the 2015 IPCPR trade show in New Orleans.  The Shade is the first cigar blended for Drew Estate by Master Blender Willie Herrera that is not part of the Herrera Esteli line.  In our interview with Willie at IPCPR he went so far as to call the Undercrown Shade his "baby."

You can watch the interview here:

Drew Estate Undercrown Shade

Size: 6 x 52

Vitola: Gran Toro

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut 

Binder: Sumatran

Filler: Dominican Criollo 98 and Nicaraguan Criollo & Corojo

MSRP: $8.25

Cigars smoked for review: 2

Cigars for review provided by Drew Estate

Note: For this review we used CigarFederation's rating system

Rob's Review: Rating 88 AKA "5-Pack Purchase"

Pre-Light: The Undercrown Shade is a good looking cigar.  I love the Undercrown band and when you put the gold embossing on a white background it looks very slick.  The foot band is a nice touch as well.  I'm a big fan of the foot band.  It offers some extra coolness to the look and protects the cigar.  And that, my friends, is what we call a win-win.

The Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper had a smooth look and feel.  There were a few veins, but nothing that would deter me from picking it up at my local B&M.  The smell coming off the wrapper was dry with notes of hay, dried vegetation and mild tobacco with a bit of a woody musk.  The cold draw was perfect and tasted of cedar, vanilla and hay.  The construction was solid which lead to a precise burn and strong ash throughout.

Beginning: The Undercrown Shade got off to a nice start.  The flavor profile started out with notes of cedar, burnt caramel and creamed coffee.  There was a mild baking spice on the retrohale.  Everything started off in the mild range and grew from there. 

The spice picked up on the retro at the one-inch mark and plateaued quickly thereafter.  The sweet and creamy profile was balanced nicely by the spice on the retro.  The Shade was nice and smooth through the first third with the strength sitting at a mild-plus and the body at a medium.

Middle: The profile (and the strength) took a step forward at the two-inch mark.  The notes of burnt caramel and creamed coffee took up the spotlight, while the baking spice on the retro started to creep onto the tongue.  The strength also stepped up and landed in the medium-minus range.  Other than that, things stayed pretty consistent.

End:  There wasn't much change in the final third.  The burn stayed clean and the smoke stayed cool.  The profile didn't change much at all.  It never got harsh or hot.

Final Thoughts:  The Undercrown Shade is very different from any cigar in the DE portfolio.  I can see this cigar introducing some new smokers to Drew Estate.  It's a very approachable cigar with a solid Ecuadorian Connecticut profile.  I can also see some DE die hards expecting the cigar to deliver a stronger experience than it does.  This is a spin on a classic Connecticut to fit the "modern palate" and I think DE did a pretty good job of that.

Surgeon’s Review: 88 AKA “5-Pack Purchase”

The nose on the Undercrown Shade reminds me of a bail of fermenting tobacco in the DE2 facility. The wrapper has a strong barnyard nose to it.

I used a single v-cut and found the draw somewhat tight.

It starts with a classic Connecticut profile of hay, sweetness, with a hint of earth. Sweet spices on the retrohale with a light amount of lingering pepper.  The smoke leaves a creamy mouthfeel and there’s some hay notes added into the mix. I start to get some bbq almost mesquite flavors adding complexity at approximately 15 minutes in. As one would expect with a Drew Estate cigar, there is tons of smoke production. The previous hints of earth start to linger post draw and increase in strength by about the 25 minute mark.

In the middle third the pepper is stronger on the retrohale. The mouthfeel is still creamy with some dry wood notes. The flavor complexity starts to jump up here as the profile settles on a spicy, dry wood combination that’s quite pleasant. The dry wood flavor eventually picks up in intensity on the post-draw to linger between each puff.

The final third has the woody notes dialing back in strength with the spice overtaking it slightly. There’s some jumbled vegetal notes that mix in halfway through the last third.

The Undercrown Shade smokes very easily; even with the larger Toro vitola. I found myself having to slow down my smoking space at several points.

Overall the Undercrown Shade is a pretty classic Connecticut experience. Great construction, smoke output, and flavor balance from beginning to end. If you enjoy Connecticut cigars this is a solid choice for your rotation.

Total smoking time was a leisurely 1 hour and 48 minutes.

Surgeon’s Pairing Recommendation:

You’ll find yourself reaching for coffee beverages or a Flor de Cana rum with the Undercrown Shade.

Cigar Federation Group Rating: 88 AKA "5-Pack Purchase"

Views: 391

Comment by Docwill on August 3, 2015 at 8:45am

I will be smoking this one for certain but I would like to see it in a smaller RG. Good stuff guys.

Comment by Mickey irratebass on August 3, 2015 at 9:00am

I agree with Doc, give me a CG size. This does sound pretty good though....nice review gentlemen.

Comment by RobbyRas on August 3, 2015 at 9:27am

Thanks fellas... I'd be curious to try this in a Corona... I actually liked that they didn't go over the top with spice like some folks have done...

Comment by Docwill on August 3, 2015 at 9:38am

I would like you guys including Seth and Coop go into some kind of depth as to how you define "modern palate". I see this popping up frequently enough that some explanation would be interesting. Is this a trend, or something more?

Comment by HardlyClerkin® on August 3, 2015 at 10:04am

Great review guys, cant wait to get my hands on these 

Comment by RobbyRas on August 3, 2015 at 10:06am

We started to term "Modern Palate" here... it was something that came up in a conversation at IPCPR last year I think... maybe the year before... but if you want seth or coop to define it for you, thats cool... :)

Comment by Docwill on August 3, 2015 at 10:13am

I see it Rob, not quite sure exactly of the origin and actual definition of the term and if it means the same to everyone who applies it. I meant no disrespect to you or anyone else by my comment.

Comment by RobbyRas on August 3, 2015 at 10:43am

oh, you meant disrespect and i think you know how we deal with disrespectors here... CigFed BLACKLIST!

Comment by RobbyRas on August 3, 2015 at 10:47am

seriously tho, I doubt we coined the term, but for me the Modern Palate is the guy who wants all the ligero... he was born and raised on full strength... the best way I can describe it is with the Las Calaveras 2014... that was the first CH cigar that was really geared toward that Modern Palate and I said as much in my review... I wasn't a big fan, but i knew it was going to be their most commercially successful cigar because it really embraced that profile... The guy with the modern palate was raised on Tatuaje and LFD and has come to love and seek out full strength cigars... maybe we should move this to a forum thread and get all the opinions...

Comment by Docwill on August 3, 2015 at 10:50am

Thanks for your definition and the thread is a good idea. Blacklist huh, matches my cold, dead blackheart!


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