Hi there, and welcome to my first ever review and my entry into the October Noob Review Contest!
Before we go any further, I feel that I should mention that I am fairly new to the hobby of cigar smoking with about two to three months experience, and that I would define my palate as utter crap. I have a very hard time distinguishing different flavors in a cigar, and have no idea what the word "nuance" means. If you are looking for a masterful interpretation of what it is like to smoke this cigar, I would highly suggest you look somewhere else on this forum. If, however, you are simply here to read a noob's review, and possibly have some cheap laughs at my expense, then read on! Ye have been warned!
Name: Liga Undercrown Gordito
Size: 6" x 60
Wrapper: San Andres Morron
Filler: Dominican Republic, Honduras
Producer: Drew Estate
Smoke Time: Approx. 2 hrs.
This cigar has been resting in my humidor for over a month, and so I thought it fitting to smoke it to mark this momentous occasion. I have had Undercrowns before, but only the Corona Viva! so though this blend is not new to me, the vitola is. Let me just say at this point that although I admit that a pure first experience probably makes the best review, I don't know if that can be had with the Undercrown, as the amount of praise they receive both here on Puff and elsewhere makes it nigh impossible to be introduced without preconceived ideas. Nevertheless, I'll give it a go!
The cigar looks fantastic, with little to no construction issues. There are some minor veins that you can see, but nothing insane. The cigar feels firm throughout with no soft or squishy spots, but that's to be expected from a Liga.
Cut and Pre-light Draw:
Cutting the cigar at the point where I think I see the cap end, I end up making a huge mess of things. The cut looks mangy as hell, and if I had to compare it to something, I'd go with the cut that Han makes in the tauntan in Empire. Okay, it wasn't that bad, but seriously, I could probably only have done a worse job if I had bit off the damn thing. Not cool, cutter, not cool... The pre-light draw was great though, as it was in perfect balance between tight and loose. I did not have to work to get air through, nor did it feel like a straw. The flavor was what I can only describe as that "Undercrown" smell/taste. A tad spicy, and what seemed to be some floral notes, maybe? There were tastes of coffee and cedar(?) there, but I would definitely say that the previous two were the strongest. Maybe that's just me, though.
As I lit the foot, I tried to toast it, but having never done so before, I didn't really do much for fear of just torching the end. Oh well, guess there's time to practice that later. After lighting, the first thing I taste is the spice. It's a bit strong initially, but it's dies down somewhat as I smoke on. The cedar and floral notes from the pre-light draw are there too and it's great. I'm not a huge spice fan, but this is something I could live with. Like I said earlier, the whole experience adds up to what I call the "Undercrown" taste. It's not potpourri, but something like that. The smoke is quite thick and there's a ton of it, just like Ligas are known for. The ash is very nice looking, mostly white with some black pepper looks in there, but as I examine it, I notice something far worse than a bad looking ash. I've got burn issues! It's not much, but I can tell that if I don't do something, it'll become much worse. So, I turn the cigar over, and try to correct it with a couple slow purges and must keeping the trouble spot on top, and while that seems to help, it's not much. I don't like to touch it up, so I'm hoping that it will correct itself soon. The ash is about an inch and a half, and I feel like it could hold on for longer, but I don't want it falling in my lap, so I dump it. It comes off clean, and to my surprise, when it hits the table it hardly breaks. Picking it up to move it off the table, it feels fairly solid, which I found quite odd.
As it nears the end of the first third, the spices die down, and the creaminess of the blend comes out more. This is why I love Undercrowns! It's smooth and simply fantastic!
As it moves into the second third of the stick, the creaminess that arrived on the end of the last one is still there and the cedar taste is a tad more prominent, especially on the retrohale. The smoke is as thick as ever. I'm really loving it, and am now reminded of why I pay a little more for these. One of the things I don't love is the burn issues that are still there. They are getting worse, and its causing canoeing. Not what I expected from an Undercrown... Still, the still is tasting great, so I'm not too worried. It may look goofy as hell, but it tastes great! This goes on for a while until I realize that if I smoke it any more like this, the taste won't be so great. So, lighting a match, I attempt to touch up the trouble spot, but it's a bit too late for that. The "touch up" pretty much just torches the end of the cigar, as I hoped it wouldn't. I need more practice with this crap! The taste becomes rather bitter, and I taste the burnt tobacco. Still, its not terrible, and I have hope yet for this stick! The ash falls off at around two inches or so, and it's not as clean as before. Then, I notice a tear in the wrapper, exposing the binder. The hell? I have no idea how this happened, or when, but it's rather big, and growing.
Disappointing, but I'm moving on!
The burn issues are back, and the taste is changing into a bit of a spicier one than I would have liked. It's still good, but I wish the creaminess would have lasted longer. The cigar is getting hotter as it reaches the nub, so I have to slow down on my draws. The smoke is lighter now, which is odd, but there's still quite a bit. I can now feel the nicotine and wish that I had brought something sweet out with me. Oh, well, live and learn, I guess. The burn issues are getting so much worse at this point that I really don't feel like dealing with it much longer. A few more puffs and I'm done. A bit light headed, I shake hands with the other people who have decided to make my picnic table the spot of an impromptu herf (do cigarettes count as herfing material?) and head in. The taste is still in my mouth and it's pretty much a hotter version of the initial draw. Not my favorite, but not bad either. Some chocolate covered pretzels will do me good, I think!
The cigar was tasty and complex. Well, complex enough for me. It had enough change to keep me interested and the cost is at just about the right pricepoint for an every-now-and-then type stick. I don't know that I would always smoke this vitola, as I love the Corona Viva! and have never had near this many problems with them, though. I believe I just got unlucky with mine, as I know that Undercrowns hardly ever have issues this badly, but it affected the experience anyways. As far as a score goes, I'd give it an 8 out of 10, because, though I loved the flavor, and the smoke time was perfect, the burn issues definitely give it room for improvement.
Oh, and if you've been reading this, and wondering why I didn't try any fancy drink combinations, there are two reasons for that. One: I am a poor college student, and can't really afford fancy drinks to go with my fairly fancy cigars. I'd go broke. Deal with it. Two: I wanted to do this review with no other taste influences so I could try getting the full effect of the cigar. I know that some combinations really compliment each other, but I wanted to taste just the cigar this. I know what you're thinking now. You're thinking, "Why didn't you just use water then, dummy?" Well, now it's time for some truth. Honestly, I didn't think of it. So there.
Acknowledgements: If you've made it this far, thanks for reading! This contest was a fantastic way to get noobs like me into reviews, and I'll certainly try it again! Thanks to jaysalti and chris1360 for putting this on, and I hope everyone had as much fun as I did!