Undercrown Shade Review Pre-Release Review

Yesterday we reviewed one of two highly anticipated Connecticut shade wrappers to be released at the IPCPR. Today we take a look at the Drew Estate Undercrown Shade. According to the press release, ““Undercrown Shade” marks the first release blended by Drew Estate Master Blender Willy Herrera not to fall under the Herrera Estelí brand family. Herrera’s continued involvement in blending and brand development within Drew Estate is evident with this new blend, as Herrera worked extensively with the Undercrown roller team who blended the original Undercrown line to develop this new Connecticut blend.”

The press release goes on to say, “Featuring an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper, Sumatran binder, as well as Dominican Criollo 98 and Nicaraguan Criollo & Corojo fillers, the new “Undercrown Shade” line will be presented in six vitolas, mirroring the San Andres-wrapped Undercrown core line that you’ve come to love. These sizes include a Belicoso (6 x 52, MSRP $9.00), Corona Doble (7 x 54, MSRP $9.50), Corona (5 5/8 x 46, MSRP $7.50), Gordito (6 x 60, MSRP $9.95), Gran Toro (6 x 52, MSRP $8.25), and Robusto (5 x 54, MSRP $7.75). The new Undercrown Shade will be available in 25-count boxes and most sizes will begin shipping to stores in Fall 2015.

Cigar Review: Undercrown Shade
Size: 6 x 52 (Gran Toro)
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut Shade Grown
Binder: Sumatra
Fillers: Dominican Criollo ’98, Nicaraguan Criollo & Corojo
Strength: Mild – Medium
Source: Drew Estate

The Look: The shade grown wrapper is almost blonde looking with a few visible and sizable veins. The Undercrown Shade features two bands of white and gold with the primary featuring the Undercrown logo and the secondary showcasing the word Shade. The cigar is firm and feels like silk under my fingers although it does feel rather light in terms of weight.

The Notes: The cold draw of the Undercrown Shade is earthy with some sweetness to it. The foot reminds me of sawdust with a touch of earth and a hint of pepper which caused me to sneeze.

Once the cigar is lit there is a hint of vanilla with some caramel sweetness on the front end. The base of the cigar does provide some pepper though it is very muted. There are moments of a butter richness but they seem to be fleeting as the pepper bombards the sinuses on the aroma and the retrohale.

The second third of the cigar shows creamy notes of caramel and butter at times with hints of popcorn. At times the flavors become muted but less than experienced in the first third as the aroma reminds me of warm butter. The finish is earthy and moss like.

The last third of the Underground Shade becomes rough again especially at the back of the of throat. Then at times it becomes creamy and rich with the aforementioned notes of caramel and vanilla and a lengthy finish of wet wood which is also noticeable on the aroma.

The Burn: The Undercrown performed well in terms of the burn with an even combustion line that was slightly thick. The medium color ash was firm  and held for more than a third at a time. The draw was perfect, and the cigar did need to be relit once around the half way point.

The Finish: Undecided. The Undercrown Shade feels like it could use some more time in the aging room which makes the Fall release make more sense. The cigar at times showed glimpses of excellence, however I felt like it was suffering from an identity crisis as it bounced back and forth from rich and creamy and spicy and medium and rough around the edges. Because of these I am going to hold off on a score and will smoke it when released.

Score: Incomplete
Price $8.25

Bullet Points
(Random Thoughts When Smoking)

  • The cigar with its shade grown wrapper and white and gold bands is very Davidoff-esque.
  • The inside of the band denotes Drew Estate; The Rebirth of Cigar.
  • I was going to wait to review this cigar; however out of the two samples I had, I had to give one to Drew Estate rep John Hart who did not have one to date and I was worried my last sample would be smoked when I wasn’t at work this weekend.
  • I paired the cigar with Cuban coffee and was listening to Slipknot while smoking.
  • I was really looking forward to this release and I hope that additional aging will do this cigar justice. It will be interesting to visit this smoke again once it is officially released.
  • No pictures of today’s review due to a camera mishap, review pictures will resume on Monday.
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