The Drew Estate Papas Fritas came to me by way of a side trade with one of the Cigar Federation mods, Matt. As a Canadian, it’s difficult to get cigars at the best of times, that certainly goes extra for anything that is hard to find. I was happy that I was able to secure one of these for a review.
Tons of cedar here. The fermented tobacco immediately takes my mind back to our tour of the fermenting warehouse in Esteli, Nicaragua on the Cigar Safari.
The Liga Privada Único Serie Papas Fritas is a petite corona vitola measuring 4.5” by 44 ring gauge. The cap on this has a pig tail which is present on only a few of the Único Serie. The other departure from other cigars in this line is that the band is on the foot rather than up at the cap. The wrapper is a mottled dark black color.
The design intention behind the Papas Fritas was to provide a Único Serie product at a more approachable price point with greater production levels. As many people are aware, it’s very challenging to get your hands on cigars from this line as they are snapped up almost immediately.
NIcholas Melillo from Drew Estate, also behind the Único Serie Dirty Rat line, came up with this mixed filler blend for Steve Saka. Nicholas is also the person behind the Único Serie Dirty Rat line. The Papas Fritas is made of Grade 1 tobacco trimmings, they are hand sorted back into their original leaf variety and thickness, hand cut for uniform sizing, and then blended. They use a medium tobacco pieces in the head to make sure you don’t get little bits of tobacco in your mouth.
To simply call them a short filler or sandwich cigar is a dismissive of how they are created.
The name ‘Papas Fritas’ was inspired by Steve Saka’s favorite food, French fries (he self proclaimed that he eats more French fries than any man on the planet).
Sweet tobacco, coffee and some milk chocolate. A really interesting start to the first third. Out of nowhere the flavor takes a sharp turn and the flavor profile becomes quite earthy and woody.
At the 10 minute mark, the earthy transitions to be more of a loamy earth flavor.
The profile in the second third is largely comprised of earth with some woody notes post-draw.
As the middle third closes out there’s some bitter loam flavors that appear.
The loam drops off quite rapidly as the Papas Fritas moves into the final third. The flavor map for the last third is largely nutty with some cedar tones.
The burn on these was very straight from start to finish. I used a guillotine on this and the draw was exactly where it should be. As with all the Liga Privada line, this cigar produces an astronomical amount of smoke. Total smoking time was just under the 50 minute mark.
The Liga Privada Único Serie Papas Fritas was created with value in mind. This petite corona is available as singles for around $6. They come in the tins of 4 for $26. You can also buy boxes of 28 tins for approximately $180. This is less than half the typical cost of any cigar from the regular Único line which is affordable for any aficionado out there.
If the rest of the cigar followed a similar flavor map as the first third, I think I would pull the trigger on a box of tins. I never found the flavors to settle down, they drifted all over the map. For me the first third really stood out, and the middle and last thirds reminded me more of the Liga Privada No. 9 blend. If you’re a big fan of the No. 9 blend then the flavor profile here might be exactly what you enjoy.
This is a very solid short smoke, but if you’re expecting the flavor complexity of some of the more expensive Único Serie releases you will be a bit disappointed. If you approach it from the perspective of Saka and think of them as the French fries of cigars, then picking some of these up should be a no brainer.