Years ago, when it was announced that Willy Herrera would be joining Drew Estate, I was very excited about the addition. He had been doing great things in Miami, so for him to take that skill set to Drew Estate and be able to work with what they had to offer, great things were expected. He had immediate success with the Herrera Esteli, so of course everyone would pay attention to his second release. Well, he had success with that release as well so when it was announced last year that he would be releasing a limited release to the line, a Churchill, I was excited and nervous. The Churchill vitola is a tough vitola to make correctly, and to offer that in a pressed format is even more complicated. This review may seem delayed, given that we are now in April of this year, but with retailers still carrying this product and summer approaching, it seems like the best time to talk about this cigar. We are entering the time of year when you should be smoking Churchills! With that being said, let's take a look at the Herrera Estelí Norteño Edición Limitada!
Cigar: Herrera Estelí Norteño Edición Limitada
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Ring Gauge: 48
Production: 2,000 boxes of 15. (30,000 cigars)
The Churchill has an intense press and I like to refer to presses of this nature as being industrial pressed. I think that is from Rocky or Litto, I can't remember who. The triple cap is applied perfectly to the cigar and overall, the cigar has a nice firmness throughout. The wrapper has a slightly coarse texture and the veins are noticeable throughout. It has a nice maduro coloring, nothing too dark but nothing less than maduro. The aroma at the foot begins by showing rich chocolate notes with a damp barnyard quality followed by some black pepper. The wrapper, less, and it is showing more leather, tobacco, spice and wood notes.
The first third has a fantastic beginning and it is showing the great combination of Nicaraguan and Mexican tobacco. I am picking up a dry dark unsweetened cocoa powder flavor and it is paired with some black pepper notes. There are touches of coffee beans present as well, and it has a finish of dry earth, wood, leather and a touch of dark cherries. It is filling and complex, a full flavored cigar. I would classify the body and strength as being on the full side of the spectrum as well, and this is a cigar you end your day with. The construction thus far is fantastic and I am getting a cool draw with a nice bit of smoke off the pressed Churchill. The burn line is razor sharp as well and it is producing a dark charcoal ash that is holding on firmly to the end.
When I get into the second third of the cigar, I find that there is a slight change in the flavor profile delivered. It is not showing that sweet cherry profile from the first third and has become darker overall. It has those dark cocoa flavors present and they are pairing with some strong Asian spice and earth notes. There are touches of wood and leather on the finish, and it is a natural maduro flavor finish. It remains full flavored and also full in body and strength. The construction is top notch as well and it is producing a cool draw with a nice bit of smoke. The burn line is still razor sharp on the end and the dark charcoal ash is still holding on firmly.
I am in the final third now and it is showing another transition in flavors. The individual cocoa flavor profile has faded and it is now showing this cafe mocha profile which is fantastic. It is paired with this pepper and Asian spice flavor and also leather, earth and wood. It is complex and dark, and a great way to finish the cigar. As I have said already, this is a full flavored cigar and it has a full body and strength level as well all the way to the end. The construction remains top notch as well and it continued to produce an even burn line with a dark charcoal ash. The draw is easy to the end, and it is cool all the way to the pressed nub.
The Norteño Edición Limitada smokes at a level much higher than the regular production line. I am a fan of the regular production offerings, don't get me wrong, but when comparing this to those offerings it is light years ahead. The flavor profile is more complex and I believe there is better balance throughout. It smokes at a level producing a full flavor, body and strength experience, but the flavors capture your attention the whole time. The Churchill vitola is a tough vitola to blend correctly and I believe the non-Cuban market does not do a great job of producing great Churchills, but Drew Estate and Willy produced something special with this limitada that delivers what a great Churchill should. There is very little that I could want more from this cigar, and that is what you want with any cigar. An important aspect to me is that it is a limited offering in a bigger size; it makes you truly enjoy its limited nature for a longer period of time. With that being said, they are still available and I know the Cigar Federation store has them. It is a box purchase cigar in my opinion and I give the Norteño Edición Limitada a 94 rating. Buy a box, smoke some during the warm summer months and age a couple for next summer.
Rating: 94 AKA "Box Purchase"