Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: Not Disclosed
Binder & Filler: Indonesian
Price: $1.70 (bundles of 25 cigars retail for $42.50)
Tonight’s Pairing Partner: Cheap Red Wine
Yes, you saw that price point listed above correctly. And, yes, I’m drinking tonight but I’m not drunk (yet) so you’ll have to trust that everything I tell you here is the truth dammit. Drew Estate unleashed their first* affordably priced “bundle cigar” at this year’s IPCPR trade show and the results are…well…keep reading!
The wrapper on the Factory Smokes Maduro is super dark brown and damn good looking. There’s a strong earthy aroma off of the wrapper and a hint of sweetness when sniffing the foot. The cigar feels well packed, no soft spots, just like yours truly. The cap clipped off easily with a guillotine cutter and the cold draw revealed oak and that same hint of sweetness.
There’s black pepper on the retrohale and strong espresso and oak flood your palate upon setting fire to the foot of the Factory Smokes Maduro. At about the one inch mark, a smooth creaminess begins to work its way gently into that retrohale and it goes really well with the rich coffee note.
Red wine turns out to be an excellent pairing partner with this cigar as it seems to bring out an underlying sweetness in the Factory Smokes Maduro that was barely noticeable before taking a few sips (ok, gulps). That cream on the retrohale is only getting more prominent and by the halfway point it’s the surprise superstar of the smoking experience thus far. The espresso is still there but the woodsiness has died down considerably. Strength so far has been a consistent Medium throughout. There’s a mineral note that emerges which makes me guess that the mystery maduro wrapper may be Nicaraguan in origin but that’s just my educated guess as one of the world’s leading cigar experts.
The ash hangs on for a long ass time which is VERY UNCOMMON in a mixed filler cigar at this price. Construction has been flawless with a straight burn line and smooth draw. Seriously, under $2 a stick? Get the fuck out of here! Right as the second third is coming to a close, that oakiness reemerges but on the retrohale now.
In the final third the mineral and woodsiness are now ruling the roost. There’s also an earth component that rides just underneath the surface of it all. As far as the delicious coffee and cream, they’ve completely checked out. The strength also cranks up a notch here teetering on the edge of Full. A cigar for under $2 with these kind of transitions is a true diamond in the rough. And, trust me, I know a lot about diamonds in the rough (you should see the bottle of wine I’m slowly sipping on ~ ok ok, rapidly chugging, you happy now? ~ or perhaps maybe you shouldn’t). The cigar also never burns hot towards the end and smoke production remains copious until I sadly drop it in down into the deep stinky ashtray to join the tiny corpses of its recently deceased Drew Estate brothers…
The affordable “yard gar” market is composed of everything from total dog turds to the occasional homerun. My fellow TNCC brothers and I have made it a quest over the years to sample as many as we can in the hopes of smacking one clear over the fence. But the beautiful thing is that for under $50 a bundle you can gamble and just hope for the best, if they flat out suck you’re not breaking the bank. Well you do NOT have to gamble on the Factory Smokes Maduro. It’s one of the best values I’ve come across in a long time and I’m confident that you’ll agree. So go grab a handful before I finish off this bottle of wine and buy them all up for myself.
* I’m no cigar history scholar but I believe this is actually Drew Estate’s second go around in the bundle cigar marketplace. Anybody else remember the Blue Ribbons? I do and, in fact, I still have some buried somewhere in the humidor. They were an unbanded Habano wrapped stogie, I think, and they weren’t too shabby for the price but all of the Factory Smokes I’ve sampled so far blow those Blue Ribbons out of the water…
** In the spirit of FULL DISCLOSURE, Drew Estate is a sponsor of the Tuesday Night Cigar Club and we do travel with the DE team several times throughout the year providing video for their events. Having said that, if the cigar was no good I would tell it to you straight. Without our reputation we have nothing. Well except cheap wine, we’d still have that, but nonetheless we call them like we see them here regardless of our affiliations.