Drew Estate Undercrown Shade Gran Toro

Drew Estate released the Undercrown Shade this year, 2015, at IPCPR in New Orleans too much fanfare.  Blended by Willy Herrera, it was supposed to be a Connecticut wrapper cigar unlike any other you’ve ever tried before.  Willy wanted something with more power and flavor and developed the Shade blend.  We caught up with Willy Herrera at the Drew Estate booth in New Orleans where he gave us the low down on the Shade and some other cigars.  You can watch that video here.

Blend

  • Wrapper:  Ecaudorian Connecticut
  • Binder:  Sumatra
  • Filler:  Dominican Criollo 98, Nicaraguan Criollo and Nicaraguan Corojo

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Appearance and Construction

The Shade has a silky smooth wrapper, but the cap isn’t as great.  The sample I’m reviewing has several dark spots on it as you can see in the picture.  This isn’t a big deal to me as I will cut most of that off when I am ready to lit it up.  Overall the cigar looks great.  I cut the cap to check out the draw and it come off effortlessly with my Xikar cutter as expected.  The cigar has a nice resistance to the draw with flavors of hay and cedar.  So far, off to a fine start.

 

First Half

The cigar, like most Ligas or Undercrowns, produces a ton of smoke.  The flavors are pretty great on the first half.  I get a nice pepperiness along with sweet cream, toasted almonds and nutmeg.  Outstanding.  The body of the cigar is around the medium mark for me which is a great change from the vast majority of other connecticut based wrapper cigars.  The burn is perfect with a nice mascara burn line and thick, tight ash.  As the cigar neared the midway mark, the sweetness was subdued somewhat and the spice became more prevalent.

 

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Last Half

The last half is much different from the first half.  The last half is more bitter where the first half had a nice sweetness to it. It also has a more bready quality to it as well with a more white pepper type of spice instead of the nutmeg I got in the beginning.  I still get the almond flavor as well as a cedar flavor now.  Burn is still great with the cigar producing a lot of smoke.

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Overall Impressions

I thoroughly enjoyed this cigar.  It’s not your typical connecticut wrapper cigar by any stretch.  I’m really picky when it come to Connecticut wrapped cigars as I don’t like most of them as they have a woody, hay-like flavor to them.  I like my Connecticut cigars to be more creamy with a hint of spice which there are handful like that.  Right now, my favorite Connecticut cigars are the CLE Connecticut and the EP Carrillo New Wave.  This cigar is now among them as one my favorites.  I still prefer the CLE, but this one is close.  Damn close.  If you like Connecticut cigars with a ton of flavor, definitely check this one out.  Its one of the best, but I won’t expect nothing less from Willy Herrera.