The Ratzilla by Drew Estate

DEZilla001Make: Ratzilla, Unico Serie by Drew Estate

Size: Corona Gorda

Length: 6 1/4″ or 159mm

Gauge: 46

Country: Nicaragua

Wrapper: Connecticut River Valley Stalk Cut and Cured Sun Grown Habano

The number 4 cigar of 2012 is the Ratzilla by Drew Estate. The Unico series is one that is sought after and treasured by American aficionados. Lets get to it…

I have hunted for these since June, I went to the Casa de Montecristo in Illinois a couple days after the event to release these cigars, and they were all sold out. Considering I live in Canada you could only begin to feel the frustration of not finding these after I travelled to the states specifically for them. After months of hunting a good friend found some and gave me two.  I only smoked one for this review because lets be honest who knows when I can get any more. These cigars are impossible to get by the bundle and I would gladly pay the 200$ per 12 that they sell at.  This is my favourite sized cigar Drew Estates has produced. Although you will often hear me say Lanceros are my favourite vitola, truth is these are much more where I would sit if I were to choose my vitola for each of the cigars I smoke, it would be this the Corona Gorda. The Ratzilla is a member of the Drew Estate Unico linea where they produce blends consisting of the Liga No.9 blend and the blends from the Liga T52.  They test and test these blends in various vitolas because according to Steve Saka, some of these blends will only work with a certain vitola and it seems they do their best to make sure the cigars come out PERFECT.  I would love to meet this man and pick his brain on all the ideas that come from their factory.  Even though I cant even buy Drew Estate cigars in Canada, it’s one of the brands I consistently import.

DEZilla002Lets begin here though with this review, the wrapper is a toothy dark brown almost a chestnut shade. A nice triple cap with a pig tail adores the top of the cigar. The cold draw produces some nice spice notes, with a bit of cedar and some coffee. Once lit the first third begins with a perfect blast of spice, with some coffee notes.  The smoke production is a typical liga, just billowing. The burn is sharp and draw is perfect.  The coffee notes are fairly strong, almost an espresso. I really am enjoying this, as it’s a bit milder than the Dirty Rat at the beginning.

The second third is filled with more of the same flavours, coffee and cedar are dominate while some dark chocolate and cinnamon are underlying flavours. A rosewater note on the retro-hale  The spice while present, isn’t anything like a white pepper or spice typical from Nicaraguan tobacco. The burn remains laser sharp while holding ash for pretty much each third with ease. I tend to ash my cigars after about an inch or so if it looks weak, just to prevent any damage to my clothes or furniture. The strength is a very strong medium, almost a full when going into the final third. The body is a full but you can hardly feel it, as it has been a gradual build to get to this point.

DEzilla003The final third is very complex while spicy, there is a dark chocolate note that brings a sweetness to contrast the spice. I get a lot of top soil, earthy notes, matched with cedar and the rosewater, makes for an amazing experience. The espresso flavours have added a good kick to the end, and it’s definitely a full bodied cigar at the end.

Over all I find that this release while very hard to get your hands on, was one of the best of 2012. The complexity of flavours, solid construction and the way the strength built up during the cigar have earned the Ratzilla a score of 95/100.

It was very close between the Top 5 and I am happy to say this Drew Estate product was one of the best cigars of last year.

Final Score 95/100

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