Cigar Review: Blackened M81 by Drew Estate Corona

Rodgers & Hammerstein penned A Few of my Favorite Things which was made famous by Julie Andrews. I don’t think they had bourbon, cigars or heavy metal on their radar when they did. However, if I wrote the song they would definitely have topped schnitzels and crisp apple strudels. Blackened by Drew Estate was first conceptualized during the pandemic when James Hetfield of Metallica would smoke cigars with Rob Dietrich the Master Blender of Blackened American Whiskey. It was during this time frame that Rob Dietrich would introduce James to Drew Estate co-founder Jonathan Drew.

Samples from the Drew Estate portfolio were sent to Hetfield and Dietrich who kept cigar journals to critique the cigars and identify what they liked and disliked about each one. After two years of enjoying and sampling cigars together, the group decided on the exact flavor profile that would become BLACKENED Cigars “M81” by Drew Estate.

Like the whiskey, the cigars share the name with the opening track from Metallica’s 1988 album …And Justice for All.

Cigar Review: Blackened M81
Wrapper: San Andres Maduro
Binder: Connecticut River Valley Broadleaf Maduro
Filler: Nicaragua Maduro, Pennsylvania Broadleaf Maduro
Length: 5″
Ring Gauge: 43
Vitola: Corona
Humidimeter Reading: 64%

The Look: The box is designed similar to the Natural line from Drew Estate opening at two points and inside sits 20 dark cigars. The cigar features two bands with the primary in black and white denoting blackened which is similar to the whiskey bottle. A secondary band denotes M81 Maduro to the core. Available in four sizes today we opted to review the corona. In the hand the cigar is firm and slightly light in the hands but with no voids of tobacco. The foot which is well packed reveals a swirl of darker tobacco presumably Pennsylvania Broadleaf.

The Notes: The cold draw of the Blackened M81 reveals a subtle note of mesquite and a bread component while the aroma from the foot matches the cold draw but in a more subtle manner. Once the cigar is toasted its hits you full on without any build up like the song it shares its name with. Notes of red pepper, dark chocolate and strong espresso.

As the cigar progresses it mellows out after a strong start where it features notes of leather and espresso. The finish hold on to some dark chocolate while the retrohale has some sweetness and mesquite that lingers in the nasal passages.

As we move into the final third the strength kicks back up notes of espresso remaining strong with a long finish of leather, nuts and a subtle dark chocolate. The retrohale features some cayenne pepper and walnuts making this memorable cigar.

The Finish: While it has nothing to do with the cigar, I’ve seen Metallica in concert 14 times dating back to L’amour when they played on April 9, 1983 in which would become Dave Mustaine’s last show with the band. In terms of the Metallica catalog, I would liken this to Master of Puppets which starts our heavy before a calming interlude, with a strong finish. I haven’t had a chance to pair it with the whiskey as of yet, but that will happen perhaps as soon as this weekend. The cigar is a heavy hitter and the corona is the strongest of the four sizes that will leave you feeling as you were in the pit by the time you are done.

Score: 92
Price: $9.69 / $173.85 (Box of 20)



Blackened by Drew Estate

Blackened by Drew Estate Foot

Blackened by Drew Estate Burn

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