Norteno is the newest project by Drew Estate and the first with Willy Herrera as the master blender. The cigar is a follow-up to the Herrera Esteli which was the first cigar blended by Willy Herrera for Drew Estate. The cigar comes in 10 count boxes in 6 different sizes all of which are box pressed and none bigger then a 54 ring gauge.
The name of the cigar is a term for people from Northern, Nicaragua.
Size: 6 x 50
Wrapper: San Andreas
Filler: Nicaragua (Esteli, Jalapa)
The Look: The wrapper of the band is reminiscent of a cameo, with its ivory color of the national bird of Nicaragua in flight over a green background. One one side the band denotes, “insert here” and on the other “Herrera Esteli by Drew Estate“. The San Andreas wrapper feels like felt under the fingers with some hints of oils visible. The cigar has a nice weight in the hand, although the foot appears to be under filled.
The Notes: Once the cigar was clipped with a straight cut dual bladed cutter the primary notes we that of black cherry and hay, while the aroma off the foot is that of wood, hay and grass. On the initial light the Norteno has some notes of sweetness until the first retrohale when the cigar takes on some pepper notes and a dry earth that reminds me off the desert in New Mexico.
The first third has some subtle nuances that are quite enjoyable of spice through the nose and some sweet cherry notes. In my opinion, the cigars complexity only shines when both smoking methods are utilized.
In the second third of the Norteno by Drew Estate, some of the notes that are synonymous with San Andreas begin to emerge for me. There is a mineral earthy note, that works today for me. Though I am beginning to tire of the abundance of this wrapper on the market the Norteno seems to be among the more enjoyable ones.
In the last third of the cigar, there is a ton of pepper through the nose even when opting not to retrohale. As the pepper subsides there is a sweet fruity note with a little bit of floral nuances that remain through the finish.
The Burn: I was a little concerned as the foot of the cigar seemed to be a little under filled, but the cigar burned nice and slow remaining cool throughout. There burn line was thing, and the ash could have been a little stronger but it held on well, helping keep the burn cool. The draw was a little more fluid then I would like but it was acceptable.
The Finish: Willy Herrera use to blend for El Titan de Bronze, so to have concerns about a sophomore jinx might have been a little unfair but the Norteno for me was even better than is freshman release with Drew Estate. A nice mix of flavors and one of the more balanced San Andreas wrapped cigars to be released this year.
Note: I was playing with my camera setting and forgot to switch it back from black & white. I will be changing the below images the next time I smoke one of these