This is my review of the Drew Estate Liga Privada T52 Jjohns71 from Reddit /r/cigars was generous enough to send me one for free to try when he heard that I had never had one.
This is what cigars should smell like. A nice rich tobacco with sweet earthy undertones. As soon as you catch a whiff you immediately want to light it up. When I imagine the aroma of a stick coming out of a humidor, this is what my mind conjures.
From the same family as the Undercrown, I was expecting a very dark and oily wrapper. The wrapper on the T52 is actually several shades lighter than the Undercrown, somewhere between Colorado Maduro and Maduro in shading. Absolutely flawless from foot to cap with no veins present with a slightly oiled texture.
I previous enjoyed the Undercrown, and was expecting a similar flavor profile. While there are some base notes that they share, the T52 is the Porsche 911 to the Undercrown's Mustang. You immediately get a nice mouth feel of full smoke, with deep and rich earth that finishes with a slight sweetness.
The first third is a perfectly balanced intertwining of smoke and sweet earth that you want to last forever.
The second third the profile changes and the sweetness falls away to be replaced with a combo of subtle pepper and spice. Neither flavor overpowers and still finds a way to stay in balance.
The final third and the sweetness is back. Am I smoking a cigar at this point or listening to a concerto? Rich smoke, sweet earth, pepper and spices all rising and falling with each puff. At no point throughout does any one flavor seem out of balance.
I smoked this to my fingertips, and then put my Xikar punch into it so I could keep going. I'm not exaggerating when I say I wanted to continue smoking this for another 45 minutes to an hour. I was so focused on getting everything I could out of this stick that I missed taking a picture of the final third.
As with the Undercrown, the draw on the T52 is that razors edge between being too open and too closed. Every draw is met with a rewarding billow of smoke. This is a stick that benefits from a proper toasting before lighting, and you're rewarded with a nice, slow even burn for the entire smoking duration. Smoking time was right around the 1 hour and 10 minute mark, but due to the flavor I was probably smoking it faster than I should have. I would expect the Belicoso to typically be around 1 hour 30 for smoking time.
As they say in sales, you have to examine the triangle of truth. Do you want great flavor, amazing construction and a low price? Well friend, you can only have two. In this case the T52 has the best flavor of any cigar I have ever had. I cannot imagine how you would improve on the construction. That just leaves us with price...
Make no mistake, this is a premium cigar. A single T52 Belicoso would typically run you $14-$15. A 5-pack around $70 and a box around $320. Quite frankly with the flavor profile I would think the market would bear a $350 price point. Unfortunately at $320, and a massive demand (with no supply) it puts this stick out of reach for many cigar smokers. As I understand it, the Undercrown line was introduced specifically to address both of these points.
It pains me to reduce points in any category for this wonderful stick, but the combination of price point and availability means that I have to dock points in the interest of impartiality.
A box of the Robusto's (5x52) are already on my wishlist and I'll likely pull the trigger sometime in the fall.
Looking over my scoring system it seems impossible for a cigar to get a perfect score. In this case the T52 does get a perfect score because Jjohns71 sent it to me for free. I cannot imagine a cigar beating the T52, and I'll be very impressed to find something else that matches up evenly. If you've tried and enjoyed the Undercrown, you should treat yourself with a Liga Privada T52. The Cigar Surgeon guarantees you will not be disappointed.