Posts Tagged esteli

Jonathan Drew of Drew Estate

It has been a while sinceCigar Industry In Focusseries had an update so I decided to dig through Lightroom catalogs for the right contender. This week we are placing Jonathan Drew of Drew Estate in focus.

Jonathan Drew (stage name – JD) requires very little introduction, if any. In fact, if you don’t know who JD is, you probably have been living under the rock for the last few good years OR you have chosen to ignore today’s Mecca of the cigar industry – Nicaragua. Why did I mention Nicaragua ? Well, if you had a chance to meet Jonathan in person or have read some of his social-media posts, you know that the man lives and breathes Nicaragua. There is that much passion ! In May of 2012, I had the pleasure of visiting La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate and the amount of knowledge, information, tips, tricks and passion that was pouring out of Jonathan’s mouth throughout the trip, was simply mind blowing. If you know Jonathan, you know that he can make your ears “bleed.” I call him the ‘Tobacco Poet.’ Just when you think you know a little bit about cigars and the industry, trust me, you don’t know much. Jonathan Drew and others are uber-cigar-geeks and they will hypnotize you with the cigar knowledge.

Another objective while in Nicaragua was to photograph Jonathan Drew to further contribute to myCigar Industry In Focusproject. When I think of Jonathan, I think of two things: tobacco and Nicaragua so I wanted to include these two ‘props’ while I was making the photograph. While my previous ’Cigar Industry In Focusentries were somehow staged, below photographs were made ‘gorilla’ style: quick movement, rapid in & out bursts, strategically placed focal point, use of negative space, rule of thirds, etc. I was pleased with the outcome. In fact, very pleased with the color version below. If you stare long enough at the leaf, you will find it “pulsating” and/or looking as if it had a 3D finish. 

Please consider the following post:
* Cigar Safari
* Liga Privada Lounge
* Liga Privada Unico Serie ‘L40′
* Liga Privada Unico Serie ‘Feral Flying Pig’
* Liga Privada No9 ‘Flying Pig’
* Liga Privada T52 ‘Flying Pig’

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CigarPhoto at Cigar Safari 2012 (after)

In May of 2012, I was able to cross another item off the bucket list – a visit to a tobacco-growing country. Although there is obviously more than one, personally, Nicaragua is at the top of THE list. I was very fortunate to receive an invite from the Drew Estate ‘The Rebirth Of The Cigars’ company to join the famous Cigar Safari trip. I have heard nothing but positive feedback from fellow brothers of the leaf so the Drew Estate didn’t have to wait too long for my acceptance.

Few other fellow cigar enthusiasts have joined the same Cigar Safari trip so I encourage that you visit their websites or magazine, respectively.

- Casas Fumando
- Cigar Brief
- Cigar Explorer
- Cigar Press
- Half Wheel
- Nice Tight Ash
- Stogie Review

The Cigar Safari was not only filled with tons of knowledge sharing, exposure to nuts and bolts of the industry, blending seminars, tasting seminar but also plenty of camaraderie and laid-back conversations lasting through the night, literally. I could attempt to summarize the Cigar Safari play-by-play but I would most likely run out of adjectives so instead, I will highlight few points and let photographs do the rest of the talking.

The amount of knowledge, information, tips, tricks and passion that was pouring out of Jonathan Drew and Steve Saka throughout the trip, was simply mind blowing. If you know Jonathan, you know he can make your ears “bleed.” Well, between him and Steve, they made all of our ears bleed, and some … in a good way ! Just when you think you know a little bit about cigars and the industry, trust me, you don’t know much. Those guys are uber-cigar-geeks and will hypnotize you with the cigar knowledge.

Not only was I invited to the Nicaragua, today’s Mecca of cigar industry, to learn about the craft and the country itself ‘from the ground’, I was given an opportunity to see and absorb all of it from the bird’s-eye view, literally. Never I imagined that I will be flying over Lake Managua in the helicopter, learning about the country, learning about the cigar industry, learning about Joya de Nicaragua & Drew Estate collaboration, with one and only – Dr. Alejandro Martinez Cuenca as the private guide. What are the chances ??? Seriously ! From cigar-geek’s and photographer’s perspective, this was simply – a bliss !

Speaking of knowledge and misconceptions, Jose Blanco dropped a significant load of knowledge during the Tasting Seminar. This is another one of those ‘must attend’ learning classes. Jose will take you through the basics, will challenge your knowledge, will address many misconceptions and most importantly, open your eyes and palate so going forward, you can elevate your appreciation for cigar smoking experience.

There are many other topics that could be covered in this post but I will leave you, the reader, with photographs and have you ponder over the cigar industry and Cigar Safari. No words can describe the amount of work that goes into the production of the product that you and I both enjoy – the premium cigar. One has to see this operation and the beautiful Nicaragua with his/her own eyes to appreciate what I have attempted to illustrate. If you ever decide to pack your bags, don’t think twice … The Cigar Safari is your ticket to the “Nica Paradise.”

At the end, I would like to send a special THANKS to:

- Drew Estate family for their generosity and hospitality – Jonathan Drew, Steve Saka, Pedro Gomez, Johnny Brooke, David Lafferty
– Joya de Nicaragua family – Dr. Alejandro Martinez Cuenca, Jose Blanco, Mario Perez
– Pete Johnson of Tatuaje, Jaime Garcia of My Father Cigars, Gary Griffith of Emilio Cigars
– Oliva Cigar Company
– and others (sorry if I forgot to call you out) who contributed to this amazing adventure !

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- click on photographs - 

Nosotros project was a collaboration between two industry giants, Dion Giolito of Illusione and Jonathan Drew of Drew Estate. Nosotros cigars were rolled by Drew Estate in Nicaragua. I was gifted my first Nosotros by Jonathan Drew at one of the cigar events in local B&M cigar shops in New Jersey. When I look back, I shake my head because at that event I was still craving a Nosotros sample after receiving couple pre-release Dirty Rats. We all know where both cigars are now in regard to popularity. I smoked gifted Nosotros sample few days later and due to high expectations, I was far from being impressed. Reading other reviews online, my experience was within the same bracket. I have since purchased few different viotolas and although the overall package has improved, I still wasn’t fully satisfied. I decided to rest the robusto for few more months and see if extra aging can positively impact the experience.

I smoked my last Nosotros this past weekend and I can report that cigar definitely benefited from extra aging. In construction department, cigar had a well applied Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper with few dark running veins. If you enjoy looking at dark oily wrappers, Nosotros is an extreme opposite. I can probably go to Home Depot, buy an ultra fine sandpaper and you wouldn’t know the difference – it is that ‘sandy’ to touch. Burn has improved, drastically. With my very first sample, I recall sitting there for 1.5hr with a cigar in my left hand / a lighter in my right hand and performing a touch-up procedure for equal amount of time – it was annoying. Although the burn was far from being razor sharp, I only touched it up twice. Flavors – I can’t slice this cigar into 3s since there is definitely not enough complexity. Normal puffs and retrohale presented enjoyable spice on the lips, tongue and a small amount in the back of the throat. If you enjoy ‘wood’ in your taste, there is an abundance of it in Nosotros. I was able to pick up small amount of chocolate / coffee / cocoa. The amount of smoke on the 2nd/3rd puff was out of control. Photographing the nub and ensuring that I get sufficient amount of smoke was a piece of ‘cake.’ In conclusion, one would ask “Is Nosotros Worth The Box ?” Probably not. “Few singles ?” Yes. My expectation is extremely high when it comes to Dion’s Illusione brand and Jonathan’s Liga Privada brand. I hope they continue to innovate and continue to meet my expectation. Who knows, maybe some day we will see Nosotros Take 2.

Please be aware that Nosotros project has been discontinued as per Dion Giolito but there are still a lot of local B&M cigar shops that carry the line. If you can’t find them locally, give Ruben’s Smoke Stack a call. To read up more about Nosotros, check out my colleagues: casasfumando, acigarsmoker, stogiereview, nicetightash, mikesstogies.

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
Binder: Connecticut Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan
Length: 5″
Ring: 50

Construction > OK
Burn > OK
Enjoy > Yes
Recommend > Yes
Buy > Yes (* discontinued)

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