Group Review: Herrera Esteli Limited Edition Lancero 2014

The Herrera Esteli Lancero is the newest limited edition cigar from Drew Estate. The Herrera Esteli Lancero was set to come out in February, but this date has been pushed and it has just begun to hit store shelves. Logan actually saw them being packaged while he was at Drew Estate in early April.

 

The Herrera Esteli Lancero is the same blend as the original Herrera Esteli, but in a lancero vitola. The exact size of this limited edition has changed over the last few months:

 

  1. The official press release last year stated the size would be 7.5 x 38.
  2. Now the cigar is officially coming to market with the size a traditional lancero at 7 x 38.

 

As for this review, we are going to mix it up a bit. We had several mods who received samples. Instead of posting different reviews on different days, we decided to post a shortened version of our reviews together, today. This way you will get several different reads on the Herrera Esteli Lancero in one review. Look how nice we are! :)

Herrera Esteli LE Lancero 2014

Vitola: Lancero

Size: 7 x 38

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Honduran

Filler: Nicaraguan

Cigars Smoked for this Review: Two per Reviewer

Price Point: $12

Production: 2000 boxes of 15

Cigar Purchased: Samples from Drew Estate (Matt bought one he smoked)

 

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

 

Average Cigar Federation Rating = 88 aka Five Pack Purchase

 

Matt’s Review – Rating 96 AKA Box Purchase

I received samples from Drew Estate and also bought a box at the NJ Cigar Festival - I smoked 1 from each allotment for this review. The Herrera Esteli Lancero looks exactly like the other Herrera Estelis, but longer with a beautiful light brown wrapper with some obvious veins and seams. The pre-light draw is heavy on cedar with some leather, and a sniff of the foot gives some chocolate also.  Initial draws once I light are much more powerful than the other sizes in the line with a lot of acute white pepper spice on the tongue and retrohale.  The cedar is definitely there early along with a subtle sweetness like a butterscotch, but both are a bit overpowered by the strength and spice early in.  When I spoke to Willy about this at NJ Cigar Festival, he gave me an indication that I was on to something as I described the smoking experience I was having.  Burn is just about perfect and the draw is fantastic - better than most lanceros I can think of - giving off heaping amounts of smoke. As I enter the middle, having acknowledged that this vitola seems like a sharp departure from the flavor profile of the Herrera Estelis I've smoked previously, I sense that the strength and spice is about to scale back a bit. As the spice tones down, it seems like more of a cinnamon flavor to me. The cinnamon takes a back seat as the familiar Herrera Esteli flavors come up - cedar and nuttiness with a slight floral note. As I enter the final third, the sweetness is really ramping up and the cinnamon spice is returning - heavily on the retrohale - with a bit of cedar for good measure.  There is no doubt in my mind that this size supplants the Corona and Lonsdale as my favorite vitola for this blend.  I absolutely loved this cigar and consider it a box buy (which I'm glad I did).

Logan’s Review – Rating 90 AKA Box Split

 I am not a huge fan of the core vitolas in the Herrera Esteli, but this lancero is a different story. I went into the smoke thinking I wouldn’t like it, but I was dead wrong. The lancero was complex, had AMAZING construction, and had tons of flavors. I picked up notes of coffee, cedar, floral, sweetness, black pepper, Ceylon black tea, bitter hops, cloves, and caramel.

 

Hands down the best Herrera Esteli and the only one you will catch me smoking. The only reason it doesn’t rate higher is the price point. This is one of those cigars, much like the Four Kicks, that you have to focus 100% of your attention on to truly appreciate. If you don’t, much of the nuances of the cigar can easily be overlooked. I would be willing to bet that those who don’t sit back and appreciate this cigar will say it tastes like cedar only.

 

Dustin’s Review – Rating 83 aka If I Had Them

I found the first third to be rather dry and somewhat harsh back of mouth, with cedar notes throwing the balance off, and a harsh retrohale.  The draw had slight honey and tea notes initially, and I also got some tea out of the retro.  This third was off balance from overpowering dryness on the retro and finish.  The second third improved significantly, with some sweetness hitting the draw, and the back of mouth harshness settling down.  The retro was still too strong and the finish was short.  Honey notes, sugar, and tea were all smooth on the draw intake. Final third was the most complex, and the finish smoothed out.  The tea notes reminded me of some unbelievable strong tea at a high-end Chinese restaurant I frequent.  Clove notes picked up as well, with dry spice hitting the lips.  Final third was the best part of the cigar.

My final thoughts are that this cigar was a bit too dry and strong for the first half, which threw off the balance of the delicate flavors available to the palate.  Fans of spicier cigars, as well as full bodied fans, will probably like it.  If I followed Logan’s rating scale, this would rate 83 for me as I would not buy it again.  I liked every one of Willy’s blends from El Titan de Bronze as well, but for some reason this one does not agree with my palate.  I would not call it Cubanesque at all personally, but I know friends whom would love this stick, so it is easy to recommend to the modern palate.  Construction and burn were flawless.

Jerad’s Review – 87 aka Five Pack Purchase

The Herrera Esteli Lancero has a clean, light brown, wrapper with minimal veins and very clean construction. The wrapper and foot have an interesting smell that I can't quite place, and the cold draw is slightly sweet and creamy.

The Herrera Esteli Lancero starts off with a blast of bold, flavorful smoke. There is a creamy, almost honey-like flavor coming through, and leaves a cedar note aftertaste. I also keep getting hints of a dried tea. There is a nice amount of thick white smoke with each draw and a tingly, sweet spice on the retrohale. The burn is razor sharp, with a glorious ash.

The second third continues with the deep, sweet honey note but that goes to the background. The main characteristic becomes a creamy wood note, with a nice, spicy retrohale. The burn and ash remained amazingly sharp and solid.

The final third is a bold mix of oak and cedar, with a slight harshness that peeks through if I smoke it too fast. But it clears up easily, when I "slow my roll". I find that I have to go very slow in this third to keep it clean though. The smoke production is something else, producing zero visibility, white clouds.

Overall, I enjoyed this cigar, and the construction was bar none! The honey notes were awesome, but there really wasn't enough going on for me personally. It's a good cigar, and I need to revisit the larger RG's, but I think I liked them over this vitola. I would have to give it an 87 (5-pack). I love lanceros and these are limited, so gotta get at least a fiver.

Rob’s Review – Rating 85 aka Would Buy a Couple

I should probably start by saying that the Herrera Esteli Lonsdale is one of my favorite cigars on the market.  The Lonsdale has been my favorite vitola since the HE was released and it seems to get better every time I smoke one.  So, as you can probably guess, I had very high expectations for the Limited Edition Lancero.

The Herrera Esteli Lancero was constructed perfectly with a smooth draw and a precise burn.  The flavor profile consisted mainly toasty notes along with some cedar, nuts and a mild, doughy sweetness.  The main difference I noticed in the Lancero was the white pepper spice.  This spice was highly present on the retrohale and settled on the tongue after the first few inches.  I felt the spice overpowered the overall flavor profile.  The other vitolas have that spice present as well, but in my experience it was far less intrusive.  For me, this is one of those instances where more is not necessarily better.

I'll be the first to admit that I am being a bit picky.  I love the HE and we always expect the most from the ones we love.  I think most folks will enjoy the Lancero LE more than I did, but I have to stick with the Lonsdale here.   For scoring purposes, I'll give the Herrera Esteli Lonsdale LE an 85 AKA "I would buy a few."  For reference, I would give the Herrera Esteli Lonsdale a score of 95 AKA "HELL YES I would Buy a box of these babies!"

Views: 1067


Mod
Comment by Matt Ross on May 14, 2014 at 6:35am

Very intrigued by the diversity in scores, but not overly surprised that Logan and I liked it the best considering it has a bitter more strength and spice than other HE vitolas and we seem to favor that.

Most telling is Rob's comment that the Lonsdale remains his favorite (by far) where I thought the Lancero supplanted the Lonsdale as my favorite.  If you like something with more strength and spice, I think you'll love this. If you like a milder cigar, its worth a try, but it likely won't wow you.

Comment by Docwill on May 14, 2014 at 7:40am

Thanks gentlemen. Once again, this is by far the best cigar review format going!

Comment by Catfishbluezz on May 14, 2014 at 8:34am

The spice up front through off the balance for me in the first third, then a bit in the mid point as well.  That's waht turned me off really, so I am not surprised that is what turned you and Logan on.  I do hate the rating scales though, as it bugs me to have to rate something at an 83, when the reality is this is a good cigar.


Brand
Comment by RobbyRas on May 14, 2014 at 9:44am

This cigar reminded me of when I reviewed the Undercrown Flying Pig.  It was cool to smoke it in a fun vitola, but the overall smoking experience was not enhanced by the sizing.  The UCFP was fun, but I still preferred the Toro and the Corona Viva... In this case, the size truly impacted the flavor...

I agree with Catfish about the spice throwing things out of whack.  The balance of the HE Lonsdale is so damn good and the flavors a so on point, that it is hard to improve on that... 

I knew Logan and Matt were gonna love it and I knew Catfish would be in the same boat as me... I had no Idea where Jerad would end up, but it stands to reason that he fell right in the middle...

Comment by Charlie on May 14, 2014 at 1:52pm

I very much agree with Dustin's review, too dry for my palate. I have only smoked one of the lanceros and the draw was a wind tunnel (not usual for a lance, but for a HE yes). To me it has no Cubanesque qualities (any sizes in this blend) but I would have to say that the size that did it for me and one I have given the highest rating (89-90) was the short corona gorda, my favorite HE. I like the idea of multiple reviewers in one. Nice reviews guys!

-Charlie

Comment by Stefan Lindblad on May 14, 2014 at 2:52pm

Thanks for the reviews. Because I've liked the HE in all the different sizes I've tried (all but the robusto), I went out on a limb and bought a box. It just arrived last Friday, so I'm going to let them rest a couple more weeks. My guess is I am going to like it, but I have been fooled before.

Comment by Charlie on July 23, 2014 at 11:10pm

I just picked up a 5er of the HE lancero for $9 a stick. I figured since I only have smoked 1 to date that I would give them another shot. I think they need rest?


MFCEO
Comment by Smokin Logan (Man Angel #1) on July 24, 2014 at 9:54am

Charlie - I would let it rip.


Brand
Comment by Peter Brown on March 26, 2015 at 1:37am

Nice review! From a strength perspective, I assessed this as being a medium strength cigar from start to finish.
http://lacasadelhabano-brussels.be

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