Liga Privada T52 | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Stalk-Cut USA Connecticut Habano
Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Honduran, Dominican, Nicaraguan
Size: 6 x 52 “Belicoso”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $14.75 MSRP
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I don’t think I’ve reviewed this cigar. It’s been out a long time. So long, that most reviewers sites no longer have access to their reviews any longer. The reason I looked for the cigar is to find out how long other reviewers allowed the cigar to rest before smoking it. Unfortunately, very few reviewers disclose that information; so no harm, no foul.

The blend is considered one of the crowning glories of Drew Estate. I’ve allowed it to humidor rest for almost 6 weeks which should give me some solid insights.

DE emphasizes the stalk cut nature of the wrapper. This means that at time of cutting the plant, the leaf and the stalk are cut as one. And then hung to dry by the stalk. It has an impact on the color of the wrapper which gives it a dark reddish tinge. Very close to the Colorado wrapper.

Liga Privada means “Private Blend” in Spanish. The rollers, in essence, designed this blend to smoke while they rolled. Drew liked it so much that it became a cigar he could market and sell. In fact, a lot of DE blends started this way. Probably frustrating the hell out of the rollers as they had to keep inventing new blends for themselves.

There are two camps. One prefers the T52 and the other the No. 9.

I think someone sent me this stick so I actually don’t really know how much humidor time it had before it got to me.

Construction is gorgeous although I wish the cigar’s wrapper had more oil to shimmer in the sunlight.

Instead, it has more of a matte finish. The wrapper is a dark coffee bean color; almost Oscuro in color.

Seams are invisible with a modicum of veins. The triple cap is a work of art. There is tooth in some places and very smooth in others. This is one of the most articulately constructed cigars I’ve seen.

I clip the cap and find aromas of BBQ meat. Fire cured oak. A strong hickory smell along with a nice brown sugar sweetness. The aroma is so strong that as I began typing this, the aromas wafted gently up to my nose causing me to look down at the cigar I was reviewing. Methinks that the generous person that gifted me this cigar had it stored with Drew Estate MUWAT Kentucky Fire Cured cigars.

The hickory collection of aromas overwhelms any other nose sensory elements.
Time to light up.

The draw is perfect and smoke pours from the foot. The first flavors are dry like oak and cedar. Then comes a wallop of black pepper.
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The cigar storms out of the gate with a complex list of flavors: Leather, spice, coffee, lemon citrus, caramel, and sweetness.

The char line starts out wavy. But no need to panic yet.

The cigar is jammed to the gullets with tobacco. And hence, a very slow smoke. As this is not an inexpensive cigar, I do expect a lot from it. I hope it proves my theory wrong about money over substance in the mystical land of DE. I’m pulling for ya’ buddy.

The char line needs a touch up. Apparently, razor sharp has come and gone with this particular stick.
The black pepper starts its descent to the near bottom of the list. But the flavors of meatiness and burnt oak remain a high point. The sweetness slips a couple notches as well; allowing the earthiness of the cigar to be the tip of the spear.
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The crisp burn line returns. Ay, lads…Me hopes it stays this way or some poor bloke will walk the plank.
I have about an inch of sturdy black and gray ash that needs a punch in the face before ti will let go.

Flavors are added and more crystallized: Sweetness, earthiness, cocoa, coffee, cream, burnt oak, spice, citrus (both lemon and orange), and leather.

I’ve smoked 15 minutes and only reached 1” of ash. Well, one thing is for certain; you get your money’s worth out of the duration of smoking time.
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I gently tap the ash but it will have none of that. It intends to stay right where it is.

Nearing the end of the first third, the cigar explodes into flavor bomb status. Creaminess leads the pack while accentuating the other wonderful flavors. The smoky hickory flavor is gone now. And the spiciness has disappeared. Too bad, I like my cigars with a bit of oomph right to the end. Maybe it will make a comeback in the last third.

1-3/4” of ash gently disembarks the mother ship quietly into the ashtray.

Holy shit. What a cigar. This stick is so complex that my crappy use of the English language with the help of a Thesaurus doesn’t do enough justice.
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Both my patrons, Atlantic Cigars and BestCigarPrices.com do about the same in terms of savings with about $1.50 from the retail price. CI and Cigar.com are right at the MSRP retail pricing. And being a VIP Club member with Atlantic gets you no additional discounts. DE has made sure that supply and demand run wild on this blend. Keep the quantity low and the demand high; along with the price.

The second third begins. It is a truly spectacular cigar. And all because of the rollers on the factory floor who devised this cigar.

This is truly a high premium cigar. Is it worth almost $15? Of course not. I’ve smoked some great $7-$9 cigars that are just about as good as this stick.

The real trick about this stick is its perfection in all aspects; from construction to taste to complexity to balance.
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I begin the halfway point. Flavors are subtle now. The spice is gone. The citrus is at the end of the list. The most potent flavors are creaminess, earthiness, sweetness, cocoa, coffee, wood and leather. Not the kitchen list of flavors but absolutely perfect. This is as close to a perfect cigar as I’ve ever smoked.
The strength has been medium bodied from the start.

The last third begins with much of the same. The cigar is exceedingly mellow which makes me think that this gift had a lot of humidor time on it.
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With 2” to go, there is a flavor explosion. The strength moves up to medium/full bodied.

If any of you dear readers find a place that this cigar can be had for a more reasonable price, please post a link to the store that carries them in the comment section below. We will all thank you.

There is too much bloody glue on the cigar band so I use my trusty X-Acto blade to remove it gently without a nick to the wrapper. The key is to use a curved blade as shown below.
Xactoblades

Thankfully, the jam packed cigar has taken me a good 90 minutes to get to the last third. And now I am just sitting back and enjoying it. And so far, no nicotine.

I’m down to the last 1-1/2” and nicotine enters. Drat. The strength moves to full bodied.
The balance of flavors is perfect. Very complex.
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I highly recommend this cigar. The price point is my only hesitation. Cigar Federation has a cigar made for them by Ezra Zion called The Collective that is a better cigar. The price is $10. If you join CF, you are entitled to different discounts from month to month. For the month of June, it is a 10% discount.

If $15 is too much, I strongly recommend The Collective. Joining CF is free. Right behind The Collective is a brand called “Dante.” Another superb cigar in the $10 region depending on size.
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And now for something completely different:

I used to drive Curved Air nuts over this. I would wait for the right moment during a concert and would interrupt the whole thing. I approached the chick’s mic center stage and asked the audience to participate in some fun.

It was called, “Name this Bass Line.” Back in the 60’s and 70’s, bass riffs were more an integral part of a song. And made the song very definable.

So I would play a long list of riffs from “Dazed and Confused” to the Cream’s “Badge.” I must have played two dozen riffs. I could see Darryl’s beet red face on the side of the stage. And afterwards, I got a dressing down from the man, “Who the fuck do you think you are?” That sort of thing.

But next thing I knew, the music papers were writing about this weird phenomena on stage with Phil Kohn the bassist of Curved Air.

The audiences loved it. It gave Sonja a chance to rest her voice. And the others a break. Our manager, Miles Copeland came to see us when we played near London to see for himself because Darryl complained about me to him.

Copeland was in awe how I grabbed the audience…and how the audience went nuts. So he told Darryl to pound sand and to leave me alone. One more nail in my coffin.

Word got out about this little game I played with the audience which took about 10 minutes. After the second song of the night, the audience would chant my name and the music papers gave it a name: “Bass Riff Trivia.”
Oh man, this infuriated Darryl. The other members of the band got a kick out of it and our drummer, Stewart Copeland, got into the swing of things by playing background to my bass riffs.

I became the highlight of the performances. And the longer it went on, the more stage confident I became. The main roadies got behind this and threw tchotchkes into the audience to the first person they perceived as getting the name of the song right first. It was like a bloody carnival.

Miles told us that some of the biggest acts in England were now asking for us specifically to open for them because of my little act. Deep Purple, Pink Floyd (Just once), Caravan, Supertramp, ELP, Uriah Heep, Soft Machine, King Crimson, Camel, Focus, ELO, and Derek and the Dominos…to name a few. Why? Because all of their bassists wanted to get in on the fun.

I never had so much fun on stage..ever. But things got away from me after a while. Other members of the band jumped in ruining the whole thing. They thought they were helping and being cool at the same time. But their over-enthusiasm finally led to the demise of my game.

Darryl, the violinist, and Mick the guitarist egos couldn’t stand to be left out so by now they knew my bass riffs and played along with them totally stealing my thunder.

The whole thing lasted maybe a month before I shit canned it. It had run its course and now back to the regular set list. Which ended, of course, with Darryl playing the band’s theme song: “Vivaldi.” Named after Darryl’s favorite composer. In the middle of the song, we would leave the stage and the putz would do a nauseating solo using every foot pedal at his disposal to make it a “Freak Out” display of ego.

Stewart and I used those 10 minutes or so to go backstage where our most trusted roadie, Beric Wickens, had a pipe full of hash ready to go for us. So Stew and I went back on stage totally fried.

What made it really crazy was that Darryl would now play the song at double time. It was made up of a circle of fifths and if you missed one or got lost, you were fucked. For Stew on drums, it made no difference; but for me on bass it created havoc.

For those interested in what a circle of fifths is, here is a great explanation:
Answer: The circle of fifths is a pedagogical device that illustrates the order in which key signatures add flats or sharps. It could as easily be drawn in a straight line, actually. Starting with C major the key signature has no sharps or flats. Go up one perfect fifth to G and the key of G major has one sharp. For each fifth you ascend from C another sharp is added to the key signature: D major has 2 sharps, A has 3, etc. When you reach C#, though, you need to stop because you now have seven sharps and that’s as far as we go. In the other direction, go down a fifth from C and the major key on that note, F, has one flat. Another perfect fifth downward brings you to Bb major, which has two flats, and so on as before: Eb has 3, Ab has 4, etc. The downward direction ends at Cb with 7 flats.
Tonic note: Cb Gb Db Ab Eb Bb F C G D A E B F# C#
Key signature: 7b 6b 5b 4b 3b 2b 1b 1# 2# 3# 4# 5# 6# 7#

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6 replies

  1. The Liga 9 is also very good at but I think it’s way overrated. What I think is a great alternative is the Papa Fritas. Same trimmings of the 52&9 but much smaller. 4×44 I think and more affordable. I picked up two tins on CI for $35 shipped.
    And thanks to you, I picked up the Collective with the 10% discount. 🙂

    • I won 2 Papas Fritas on Cbid. Everyone was outbidding each other like crazy and I ended up spending $5 each for two cigars. Never tried them.

      • Geez, that’s overpriced. That’s why I’m not crazy about cigar auctions. Sometimes they work, but mostly you pay what it’s selling for anyway or worse, OVER! (you did well with the box OCC, though) You (plural) should not pay than $20, including shipping, on a tin of Papa. I just happen to glance over at CI and grabbed them. In fact, I had one today. Good tasting little buggers. TONS of smoke. Took me an hour to finish.

        • I just checked and everyone is overbidding on these cigars. Go to CI and a tin of 4 goes for $24.50. People are bidding right up to the retail price. The only thing I figure is that, like me, you may pay retail or close to retail, but if you consolidate your winnings once a week, you are only paying 50 cents for shipping…if you’ve won additional items on top of the four pack, your shipping cost is low. And clearly, it is a popular cigar.
          Last week, I checked out the Leccia Luchador and people were overbidding the retail price, for a 5 pack, by $2-$4.
          If you go to Atlantic Cigars, the four pack is going for $22 or $21 if you are a VIP member. The box of 28 which goes for $161 on CI is going for $151 on Atlantic and $145 if you are a VIP member. I try to emphasize that if you pony up $60 a year for the VIP club, you can very often get cigars for the same prices as Cbid. With one day to go, a box of 28 is going for $130 on Cbid. Who knows where it will go by 10pm tomorrow night?
          The other thing I like about Atlantic is the shipping. Normally only $6 for USPS Priority Mail and I get my package in two days. Cbid and CI send their packages via slow boats to China. A week, at least. Sometimes longer.
          Listen to what these idiots did on Cbid….I won a 10 count box of Man O War Armada Orange County Chopper cigars for $31. Instead of the $70 on CI. I wrote them a note the day after I paid for them asking that from now on, I want my stuff sent Priority Mail instead of UPS ground. There was no extra charge except for a $2 insurance charge.
          These idiots had shipped my cigars via UPS, had them returned, re-sent them via Priority Mail and I got them 11 days after winning them. They would have been here sooner if they just left it alone and applied my request for the next purchase. What did the bitch who I conversed with think I wanted by sending them Priority? Slower service? What a stupid beotch.
          But that is the tip of the day with Cbid. Send them a message you want Priority Mail. You pay an extra $2 for insurance. And you get your cigars much quicker…even on Saturdays which UPS doesn’t do. And they don’t upcharge you for going with Priority. Same shipping cost. So instead of waiting a week or so, I will only have to wait 4 or 5 days. My consolidation day is Tuesday. I get my cigars no later than Friday or Saturday.

  2. I could never understand why people are bidding so much for papas fritas when cbid has it for 20.00 buy it now on there free fall and if your an early bidder you can pick them up for 16.00 a tin. You can even get a box of 7 tins for as low as 128.00 if your savvy. I have won at these prices very frequently. I just won recently a 5 pack of double corona T52 for as low as 55.00. BTW I feel the best T52’s are the Toros and double corona, the belicoso’s don’t have the strength or the spice as the later two. Bonita smoke shop used to have the lowest price on the internet for T52’s, but I was told that they had to raise there prices do to someone ratting them out for it.