- Price: $14
- Made By: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
- Factory Location: Estelí, Nicaragua
- Dimensions: 6” by 52 ring gauge
- Shape: Toro
- Filler: Cuban Seed Honduran and Nicaraguan
- Binder: Plantation-Grown Brazilian Mata Fina
- Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf #1 Darks
- Cold Draw: Dark Cocoa, Black Coffee, Sweet Cedar, Soft Black Pepper
- First Third: Dark Cocoa, Semi-Sweet Cedar, Black Pepper, Sweet Grass, Fresh Leather
- Second Third: Black Pepper, Cedar, Fresh Leather, Coffee, Raisin Sweetness, Lite Dark Cocoa
- Final Third: Mild Sweetness, Black pepper, Fresh Leather, Coffee, Cream
The first thing you’ll notice when eyeing a Drew Estate Liga Privada No. 9 cigar is the band. It’s white with a cursive font spelling out the cigar’s name. But what truly sets this band apart is how it looks exactly like the labels wrapped around prototype cigars when a master blender is deciding which blends work and which do not.
On the upper portion of the band, a typed font reads “Hecho Exclusivamente Para El Jefe,” which translates to “Made Exclusively For The Boss.” Combine this with “Liga Privada,” meaning “private blend,” and suddenly, we know this isn’t your average smoke. What was once reserved for the private consumption of the former president of Drew Estate is now a cigar for the people. I love it when these cigars go public.
The wrapper is a dark as pitch Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro which is hand fermented for no less than 18 months. The cigars then age another full year before finding their way into your humidor. This stunning leaf is oiled up and toothed out, with a handful of small veins. These veins combined with the jet black wrapper create a rustic feel reminiscent of cigars from a glorious bygone era.
The cigar’s toro shape is widely popular. It’s not too big. It’s not too small. For many connoisseurs, it’s just right. Since only the top Drew Estate rollers are trusted to produce Liga Privada No. 9 cigars, each is as quality and consistent as the next. As a result, these sticks are extremely limited and always a treat to smoke.
Taste & Draw
The Drew Estate Liga Privada No. 9 Toro cigar delivers the rich smoking experience we’ve come to expect from top flight Maduros. The cigar is medium to full strength, complex, and smooth while never crossing the line into harshness. Like a lot of Maduro cigars, it starts with a sweet note that quickly meets woody flavors. It’s not long before spice arrives in the form of a black pepper note that reigns supreme until the end.
Along the way, notes like sweet grass and raisins join the party to further balance the spice. The cigar is masterfully blended, with each note staying in its lane and working to either balance or amplify the others. The draw remains near effortless throughout the entire experience. The burn is razor sharp, and the craftsmanship can compete with that of any brand in the business.
Dark Cocoa, Black Coffee, Sweet Cedar, Soft Black Pepper
As per usual, our first stop is the cold draw. While the flavors detected here can often mislead, they can also be right on the money. I swear my excitement and curiosity start firing on all cylinders during this phase.
The first notes I detect are dark cocoa and black coffee. These are quickly joined by a sweet cedar note and soft black pepper. The majority of these flavors are what one would expect from a premium Maduro cigar. I’m particularly interested in the complexity that is sure to arrive between the sweet and spicy notes. Let’s light this gem up and see what we find.
Dark Cocoa, Semi-Sweet Cedar, Black Pepper, Sweet Grass, Fresh Leather
After adding fire to the Liga Privada No. 9 Toro cigar, I immediately notice a dark cocoa note followed by cedar, though with much less sweetness than on the cold draw. The smoke is billowing, creamy, and chewy. We’re only a few pulls in, and this cigar is already living up to its stellar reputation. A little further down the stick, the black pepper is more pronounced. Then sweet grass and fresh leather notes enter the scene, though, at this point, they are pretty much secondary.
If I had to guess, it’d be that the black pepper, at the very least, is going to be kicking big time by the time we’re through, and this cigar will only increase in its richness of flavor. I make this guess due to the unique choice of exotic Brazilian Mata Fina for a binder. Mata Fina is indeed a potent leaf, and when used as a binder, it delivers rich, smooth flavors and a touch of sweetness.
Black Pepper, Cedar, Fresh Leather, Coffee, Raisin Sweetness, Lite Dark Cocoa
I felt this medium to full strength bull would take a little longer to kick things into full gear, but here we are, and it is impressive. The black pepper is now at full throttle, though only after playing a game of whack-a-mole with the cedar note until the cedar final settled into second chair. Just behind these, the fresh leather and coffee notes have firmly established themselves.
I’m picking up something like raisin sweetness in the distant background, which makes sense considering the Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper. For now, the sweet grass note is gone or on the lam. The dark cocoa remains, though it has significantly faded. The burn line is crazy sharp, the ash firm, and the draw is nice and easy.
Mild Sweetness, Black pepper, Fresh Leather, Coffee, Cream
On the home stretch now, the final third opens with a mild sweetness, no doubt coming from the Connecticut Broadleaf. The cigar continues firing on all cylinders while remaining smooth. The black pepper note is still calling the shots. The fresh leather and coffee notes have picked up steam and are now positioned right behind the black pepper. A mouth-watering cream note has popped up and is gelling nicely with the coffee.
I am now thoroughly convinced that the Liga Privada No. 9 is one of the top Maduro sticks available today. Never does its characteristic Maduro sweetness steal any part of the show from the spiciness one expects from a Cuban seed cigar. This is an incredible smoke from cold draw to ashtray.
The Drew Estate Liga Privada No. 9 Cigar lives up to its reputation as the top cigar from the brand. And that’s saying a lot since the company cranks out hit after hit as they follow their mission to be the “Rebirth of Cigars” by combining innovative blending methods with traditional techniques. Perhaps the reason Liga Privada No. 9 leads the Drew Estate pack is it forgoes any flavor infusion or other out-of-the-box approaches and instead delivers a full on old school Cuban-esque smoking experience.
It’s a complex cigar that builds with each puff, and while it introduces new flavors along the way, the OG notes like black pepper, fresh leather, and coffee run the show from start to finish. A true Maduro, the cigar shows its sweetness while never taking away from its spice. The stick remains balanced all the way down and never strays far from its primary earthy and spicy characteristics.
Many aficionados swear by this cigar. In fact, they say the Liga Privada No. 9 is by far Drew Estate’s finest blend to date. Considering how Cigar Aficionado named the blend the No. 10 cigar of 2015 with an excellent 94 rating, such a claim definitely holds water. And it’s a hard claim to argue against. This is truly one hell of a cigar that you do not want to miss.
Drew Estate Liga Privada No. 9 Toro Cigar Pairing Notes
Pairing a cigar as complex and robust as the Liga Privada No. 9 calls for a drink that can keep up with the blend without overpowering it or being overpowered. For this reason, I chose stouts and brown spirits, all of which were also selected to complement the flavors of the cigar.
- North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout
- Maduro Brown Ale by Cigar City Brewing
- Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout
- Oban 14 Year Old Scotch
- Balcones Single Malt Whiskey
- Old Bardstown Estate Bottled Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Drew Estate Liga Privada No. 9 Cigar History
As previously stated, “Liga Privada” means “private blend,” and this blend was created for the personal use of Drew Estate’s former president. After sampling over fifty prototypes, they chose No. 9. The blend uses tobacco from seven different plantations, and only eight rollers in the La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate are certified to produce the cigar. This results in extremely limited production, which makes it all the more special.
Drew Estate spared no expense developing this stogie, nor were any shortcuts taken. According to the company, the public demand for this private blend was so intense that they decided to share the fruits of their labor. Unfortunately, since so many farms and seeds were in play, it took some time for the coveted blend to hit shelves. Nothing like anticipation to have us enthusiasts chomping at the bit!In 2005 the Drew Estate Liga Privada No. 9 cigar made its public debut. Almost overnight, the cigars were best sellers and have remained so to this day. If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on some, grab as many as possible. I suggest reserving only a handful to smoke while you age the rest for special occasions.
You can’t go wrong with a banger like this one, and at such a reasonable price, you’re getting way more bang for your smoking buck when compared to similar cigars in this price range.