In case ya'll missed our little diatribe on the topic of Florida cigar manufacturing and tobacco cultivation, here's a brief list of who is growing premium long-filler in "The Sunshine State."
Florida Sun Grown. That's it.
No one else has taken up the time-honored tradition of tobacco cultivation since the last of the great Florida cigar farms closed its fields in 1977. A depressing statistic, considering that this bountiful cash crop once provided countless leaves for some of the best cigar factories in Miami and Tampa's Ybor City.
The brevity of the situation explained, it's time to discuss the cigar that is "20 Acre Farm" by Drew Estate. Labeled after the nickname for Florida Sun Grown's (FSG) small-scale farming operation (it also produces high-grade honey and beef), this cigar takes the very best Cuban-seed strain tobacco from these fields and throws it into a fetching premium cigar blend.
Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade on the outside, FSG, Estelí, and Jalapa Nicaraguan tobaccos on the inside, and a sun-grown Habano '99 binder tying it all together, this blend is unlike anything else we stock and sell at Klaro Cigars.
Founded and operated by Jeff Borysiewicz (who coincidentally has been friends with Drew Estate founder Johnathan Drew for decades) this 20-acre farm plot in Central Florida is one of the few cigar revival success stories within the state.
More recently, a large part of this farm's success has been due to the cigar seen here, which in my humble opinion, has to be one of the best lighter cigars I have ever smoked.
Looking snazzy as all hell, with its cedar tubos, red ribbon foot band, and farmer snapback hat cigar band, this stick is equally timeless and tasteful looking.
Unsheathe this stick, and your gaze will be greeted by a light toffee-colored Ecuadorian shade wrapper that smells like orange blossom honey, citrus, light leather, and raw cedar. The foot is a touch more dynamic, but also rather familiar, with mixed baking spices and more of a tangy pithiness providing its prowess. Regular faces, like grassy hay notes and toffee, take up the slack when it's all said and done.
Toke on a cold pull or two, and you will likely detect more of all of the above, accentuated by a mellow spice note akin to the heat from cinnamon powder.
Not to be taken mildly, ignition takes white pepper power and pushes the front of the tongue toward dry hardwood tastes more than mellow and creamy. It's not like I'm reaching for my mouthpiece or anything, but there certainly are some bunching slap-fight flurries to the face to be found within the first few minutes.
Ignition stage out of the way, the cigar settles into what will soon become a milky, honeycomb-filled Connecticut Shade cigar flavor profile. This means more honey graham cracker flavors, followed by citrus zest, cinnamon, cedar, and a light toffee undertone to mirror that Ecuadorian wrapper.
Next comes a lemon meringue pie note, which is more of the cream side of the dessert than the face-puckering fruit itself. So imagine that crumbly pie crust and all of that egg white fluff, with more of a sweet orange and honey backbone than lemon.
Gradually morphing into an adult-oriented orange creamsicle, this blend gradually builds in the body (and smoke formation) toward its core, hitting you with a medium amount of everything. Transitions up until now have been more enhancements than redirections, and with the graham cracker note turning slightly more toasty and intense thanks to cinnamon levels of heat, you know full well that the final third is going to be the boldest bit.
And holy hell in a flame-embroidered handbag does this last section of the cigar stun. Bitterness arrives, but it is hidden within the flavorful folds of cedar and light leather. "Egging it on" is what's left of those meringue egg whites, and all of the citrusy zing and candied honey that goes with it. A superb section to say the very least.
To find a cigar that can be smoked down to its shoulder is a rarity. To find a Connecticut Shade-wrapped cigar that can do so is even more of a marvel. Yet there I stood and sat (I rarely lie down to smoke), dazzled by the toasted nutty finish of this premium cigar blend. Puff after puff, pulling me back to memories of candied chestnuts and a warm hearth, with cups of warm milk steeping on the side.
Ash / Burn / Smoke / Draw
Near-perfect ash and even combustion with zero heat. Check. Strong-ass ash that defies even the strongest wind gust. Double check.
What about the smoke formulation and the draw? Cut a 20 Acre Farm for Cumulonimbus grade clouds and a quick draw. Punch or V-cut one for a Cirrostratus style of coverage and a regulated draw that still feels fluid. Either way, you'll be left quite impressed.
"What's not to like about this cigar?!"
This was the first question to strike me after smoking this blend. The funny thing is, this was the exact same question that I asked myself after extinguishing the next one.
Am I tripping over my shoelaces in haste to score another stick? No. I'm a corojo and maduro man. But I sure as hell won't be turning one of these delightful blends down if the opportunity arises. Ever.
The flaws are few, the flavor is fantastic, and the backstory is beyond brilliant. And since performance nears perfection, while overall cigar flavor profile complexity pushes toward idyllic, one last question remains...
Have you smoked a "20 Acre Farm" from Drew Estate lately?
Drew Estate "20 Acre Farm"
Connecticut Shade (Ecuador)
Habano '99 Sun-Grown (Honduras)
Cuban-Seed Florida Sun Grown (USA)
Estelí & Jalapa (Nicaragua)
5 ½" x 54 "Robusto Extra"
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