The only problem with the Liga Privada line is that they are hard to find. If a shop does have them in stock, they are going to be sold out in minutes, or they will limit your purchase to just one or two cigars. For example, I have purchased two boxes of the Feral Flying Pigs from Podman Cigars via his email announcements. Those two boxes I was able to purchase occurred since I was sitting at my computer when the email came in. Otherwise, they would have sold out before I could have made my purchase.
Below is taken from Podman Cigars and gives some good insight into why Drew Estate creates such amazing cigars. On a side note, if you haven’t purchased from Podman Cigars before you should check it out. Recommend signing up for his email list so you get emails when he gets Liga Privada products in stock.
In late 1998 Jonathan Drew moved from his New York City apartment to Esteli, Nicaragua. He went with a small band of rollers and big dreams. He planned on leading the rebirth of the cigar industry. While he did that his partner, Marvin, was keeping the company together in a rundown office in Brooklyn. What they accomplished together from that time has been truly amazing and is a testament to their will. Liga Privada holds the mantle being one of the most exclusive, desired cigars on the market. It was originally produced for the personal humidors of Jonathan and Marvin. Cigar smokers everywhere are grateful that they decided to share their most satisfying creation with us.
I have met JD a few times and most recently ran into him at CATS Cigar Festival and had him sign my box of FFP's at IPCPR 2013. It is true JD is a visionary, and I personally believe he would make a great HBS case study on how to drive brand loyalty. One day I will probably take a stab at writing this case study to education large business how to connect with customers in a meaningful way. I might write this on my next flight to India :)
Time to get this party started.
Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: Stalk Cut Habano
Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican, and Honduran
Cigars Smoked for this Review: Four
Smoking Time: 90 Minutes
Price Point: $14.95
Cigar Purchased: Got these during a third party trade facilitated by Rob
Setting the Context
I have smoked about two boxes of the Liga Privada #9 over the last year and I swear by them. I have had some spirited debates with several individuals on whether the #9 or T52 is better in the eyes of the overall social cigar smoking community. The vast majority of the time I'm in the minority corner supporting the #9. I figured I would get my hands on a box of the T52’s and see if I changed my mind.
Perfect. The T52 has very small veins which are hard to see against the back drop of the dark habano wrapper. The T52 wrapper is a thing of beauty. The wrapper has lighter colored tans mixed in, making it look almost look like Merle coats you can find on certain breeds of dogs. The wrapper is somewhat oily and the band really pops out against the wrapper. I like how the lettering matches the color of the wrapper, which is tan, and makes the band look vintage. If I didn’t know better I would have guessed the T52 was older by the vintage look of the band.
The cold draw was rich and earthy. It reminds me of when I planted trees a while back and dug up fresh soil. There were also some notes of fresh cut hay, which was almost grassy in nature.
Right away I get some vanilla sweetness from the Mata Fina mixed with a black pepper spice. I have said several times I don’t normally enjoy Mata Fina tobaccos, but here it worked well with the black pepper. The tobacco tastes very rich. I would compare the “richness” not to any flavor, but more of a feeling. Like when you eat a fudge sundae and the flavors are very pronounced and it is very satisfying. I could easily walk away from the half smoked T52 and be satisfied. The earthy notes from the cold draw were present throughout the entire first half of the T52. The draw was flawless and allowed a ton of air and subsequent smoke.
For those who have smoked the T52 you will know what I am talking about. I am really mesmerized by the amount of resting smoke from the T52. I am limiting myself two minutes between puffs and the T52 is still letting off a ton of smoke. The amount of smoke production is almost like a cigarette.
I pick up some nutty flavors that remind me of walnuts with some hints of leather. The T52 is without a doubt a very complex cigar and most will find it full bodied, while I would classify it in the medium plus range. The smoke is creamy and silky and reminds me of butter cake icing. I pick up some notes of black currants and the more I smoke toward the nub the more pronounced and intense the new leather flavor becomes.
There is one thing that really grinds my gears about the T52, and all Liga Privada in general. I love the bands but they are put on so well with so much vegetable glue, it is damn near impossible to get them off with tearing them. I know this isn’t really a big deal, but I do collect and keep all the cigar bands from cigars I smoke. Even smoking the T52 all the way to the band to let the cigar naturally heat up the band still doesn't want to come off. I have to get all Operation and this with a pair of tweezers to get it off.
The end got hotter than I expected and turned slightly acidic, but nothing that was off putting. I was able to finish the T52 all the way to the nub. The end did ramp to what I would consider full body showing full flavors of the leather, cream, earth, and black pepper spice.
Damn Gina. Those two words pretty much sum up my experience with this T52. For those that read my reviews know I am value hound. I always look at the value I am getting from the cigar, regardless of the price point. Even though the T52 comes in around $15 dollars a stick, it is worth it. The T52 is a smoke factory, with great resting smoke, perfect construction, visually pleasing, wih an amazing draw, and is super complex.
This is not an everyday cigar unless you are making it rain. I have been trying to track some T52’s down for a while and it can become quite the challenge due to limited production and distribution.
The T52 was worth the money and the time I spent tracking it down. I can say I am firmly in the T52 fan club and would recommend everyone to try this cigar at least once.