Herrera Esteli Norteño | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Nicaraguan (Jalapa, Esteli)
Size: 4.75 x 48 “Corona Extra”
Body: Full
Price: $10.00
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Today we take a look at the Herrera Esteli Norteño Corona Extra. Manufactured at the La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate.

The cigars were released fall of 2014.

The beautiful Guardabarranco is the national bird of Nicaragua. See below.
Guardabarrancobird

From the Drew Estate web site:
“Introducing “Norteño by Willy Herrera”: This full bodied, Maduro expression is the first blend released from the Drew Estate factory since Herrera was named Master Blender in June, 2014.

“The “Norteño” showcases extensively aged tobaccos from the Estelí and Jalapa growing regions of Nicaragua, coupled with a spicy Honduran binder and a rich, bold Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper. The “Norteño by Willy Herrera” will be available in the following six vitolas at select Herrera Estelí retailers nationwide.”

Coronita 4 x 46, Corona Extra 4.75 x 48, Belicoso Fino 5 x 50, Robusto Grande 5.5 x 54, Toro 6 x 50, Lonsdale Deluxe 6.5 x 44. $10.00-$12.00. And come in boxes of 10. All sizes come box pressed.

I reviewed the Herrera Esteli Lancero Edición Limitada back in May but found the $12.50 price off putting.

Good cigar but way too much for this lancero. I also reviewed the original Herrera Esteli in February. Now that was a killer cigar! And the $8.75 price point was a bit more palatable.

It now seems to be a prerequisite that all boutique brands have this mini corona-like size. I like them because they have a perfect wrapper vs. tobacco ratio causing an intense experience. And all of have been jam packed allowing a 45-60 minute smoke time. What I don’t understand is the price point. This stick is almost half the size as the Toro and only costs a buck less.

I only purchased two sticks. The construction consistency is just OK. Let me explain. Seams are quite visible and are not tight at all. The stick is lumpy and bumpy. The soft box press changes shapes between cigars. The triple cap is applied with expertise but just slightly on the sloppy side. The mottled, oily coffee bean colored wrapper is gorgeous. Also very toothy on one cigar and only slightly toothy on the other.

And even nicer than the wrapper’s color is the cigar band. Simple but elegant. The white background with a portrait of green in the middle and the Guardabarranco in the middle is quite striking.

I clip the cap and find aromas of earthiness, barnyard, spice, wood, a very light fruity aroma, floral notes, and Wheat Thins.
Time to light up.

The first puffs are earthy and woody. Like me. And then a dollop of sweetness occurs. Then I am body slammed by black pepper. This is a very good start as the cigar seems to be reaching out immediately to show off its uniqueness.

If I’ve found the holy grail of this blend it is the earthiness. That is where the uniqueness lay and the to-be-at–a-theatre-near-you complexity.
The blend starts out at medium bodied.

The sweetness is familiar but because it contains more than one element, I can’t nail it.

Nuttiness and toasty flavors enter stage right. The tobacco is giving off a marvelous taste and aroma. The sweetness is unusual in its pomegranate element along with black grapes. It must be grape season in Chile because the super markets are full of inexpensive grapes. My favorite is, you guessed it; the seedless black grapes. I love those big honkers that allow you to take two bites from them.
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The Herrera Esteli Norteño has a distinct flavor profile all its own and nothing like the original blend.
The draw is perfect for my tastes. Not so much that it is blinding me and just enough to impress me.

Considering the leaf stats, I am surprised at the flavor profile. No chocolate, coffee or creaminess. You just get used to those flavors with 80% of the cigars out there.

And like clockwork, as I write that last sentence, all three components arrive. I can’t believe this. The Cosmic Muffin must be laughing hard at me right now.

I’m not kidding when I say that creaminess, cocoa, and coffee bombard my palate with full force at the exact same moment. Now you know that you don’t have to be smart to review cigars. You just need to know how to type 80 WPM.

My mother made me take typing in high school. 30 kids and I was the only boy. How humiliating. It stead me well though in college. I was amazed at how many friends had to use the hunt and peck method to type their papers. So I made some extra dough typing papers for other students. I even had an electric typewriter. A behemoth of a thing. I used it right up to the early 1980’s. And then I traded it for a lid of weed.

Flavor Bomb 1.0.
Wow. Damn!

“…The lemon juice is dripping down my leg. The way you squeeze my lemon, I’m gonna fall right out of bed. I’m gonna leave my children down on this killing floor.”

The second third begins.

I’ve invested about 20 minutes of smoke time.
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Damn it’s cold. With wind chill, it’s 16°. And I am sitting in front of an open window to let what little sun there is to shine on down. My ball bearings have shrunk to the size of peas.

The flavors become more and more distinct with each puff. The toastiness is joined by a rye bread element. Toasted with butter. I can taste the caraway seeds.

I’m finding that the Herrera Esteli Norteño is a nice follow up to the other blends.

The price point. Yeah, it’s a lot of dough for such a small cigar. In my book, the blend is perfection. But at the rate I’m smoking it; it won’t go past 45 minutes. I would have been pleased if this were an $8, or less, cigar. Especially, since DE is behind it. So the availability of tobacco is endless. The price point on the original Herrera Esteli was in the ball park for a boutique blend. But why jack up the pricing on the new blend when it is only a year or so later?

I can’t recommend one way or the other. An excellent cigar is only worth what you are willing to pay for a great cigar experience.

Would I buy more? I would like to have the Herrera Esteli Norteño in my regular rotation but I cannot afford it. I couldn’t find any stores that had any sort of discounts on them. And everyone is selling them; even the big online stores. So the price is set.

I’m at the halfway point. The strength moves to medium/full.

The black pepper moves to the background.
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Here are the flavors: Wood, earthiness, creaminess, just a tad bit of chocolate, toast, nuts, and fruity sweetness. But the real star remains the earthiness of the tobacco.

Construction has been excellent from the start. No touch ups required. No wrapper issues and no clipping of the Katman drool infested cap.

There is an Illusione quality to this blend. This could have easily been blended by Dion Giolito.
The thread that runs through all the Illusione blends is dark, rich earthiness.

The Herrera Esteli Norteño finds its complexity. The balance is good but the finish is short.

The last third begins.

I’ve got a little over 40 minutes invested.

Little cigars can surprise you with their longevity of smoke time. Of course, they must be jam packed. I’ve smoked some airy little buggers that ended up taking 20 minutes.
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My new camera arrives on Saturday. I am having pre-angst feelings. I’m afraid the instruction manual will be 200 pages long. As I get older, the time it takes for a learning curve to complete itself takes longer and longer. So the first couple of weeks will be shaky.

Flavor Bomb 2.0.

The flavor profile is soaring now. We have found the sweet spot.

The rich earthiness has to share the spotlight with a very strong creaminess, wood, black pepper, toastiness, nuttiness, and that wonderful fruitiness.

I am amazed that I haven’t had to clip the cap once. I think this is a first. Of course, the cigar is so dark and the lighting is bad so that helps. My new lighting set up works great but it needs a good camera. Not one found in a Cracker Jack box.

I can now taste the minerals in the soil from the earthy tobacco.
The strength hits full bodied.

The Herrera Esteli Norteño is an amazing cigar. I bought a couple singles and I do recommend you at least try that. I can’t remember where I got them. But the Herrera Esteli Norteño is not hard to find. It must be a regular production cigar.

The finish is now chewy and long. Nice.

I now it’s been an inconvenience for my regular commenters not to be able to do that any longer; but it’s made my life a lot easier. There is no shortage of assholes and know-it-alls when it comes to cigar reviews.
Not a hint of nicotine. And as the cigar fades away, no harshness or heat.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Herrera Esteli Norteño.
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