Drew Estate "Kentucky Fire Cured" Review: Best BBQ Cigar of All Time???

Screaming onto the scene in 2013, Drew Estate's collaborative venture with Joya de Nicaragua turned tobacco that is typically reserved for snuff and pipe smoking blends into a staple of modern cigar culture.

While various blends exist, the one seen here is where it all began: The Drew Estate Kentucky Fire Cured.

According to Cigar Aficionado's archives, the whole idea began in 2011 or so "...during a trip with Steve Saka, [former] chief executive officer of Drew Estate, to tobacco merchant Universal Leaf's Dominican Republic facility. It was there that they replaced the wrapper of a Liga Privada T52 with a leaf of Kentucky fire-cured tobacco."

But fire-cured nicotine is by no means something new. For over two centuries, American tobacco farmers have hung their crops in smoke-filled barns. With rolling clouds of creosote churning from the embers of the fires burning beneath, these leaves brown and cure for what is sometimes weeks at a time. For the American side of this premium cigar blend, that translates to a two-week stint over smoldering chunks of hickory, maple, and oak. 

Speaking of the American end of this blend, I am a bit embarrassed to admit it, but it was not until I started typing up this review, that I discovered a couple of important pieces of information that seem to have been overlooked by damn near everyone.

First is the fact that the filler inside of Drew Estate's Kentucky Fire Cured doesn't just include smoked leaf from The Bluegrass State. It contains fire-cured tobacco from Virginia as well.

Even more intriguing is the fact that almost everyone who has reviewed this cigar (including yours truly) has failed to notice a key descriptor on Drew Estate's official product page for this premium adult product. Apparently, Kentucky Fire Cured has a double wrapper, with a Mexican San Andrés maduro covering the foot and most of the barrel, and then an identically colored fire-cured Tapa Negra leaf at the head. 

So if this information is indeed still accurate, then that means there's not one, not two, but three different varietals of smoked tobacco in this blend. Toss that in the ring with some Brazilian Mata Fina and even more Nicaraguan leaf, and you have one richly layered maduro that is just a dream to pair with a fiery pit of heat and some grilled meat.  

[Buy 5-Pack]

Unlit Impressions  

Drew Estate Kentucky Fire Cured Review

Round, rough, and rugged, the appearance of the "Fat Molly" robusto gordo vitola we sell tells you right away that this is a bold barbecue sort of stick. From the vintage paper and typography that makes the "My Uzi Weighs A Ton" (MUWAT) band, to the way in which that oily, dark maduro shines in the light, a tough guy attitude abounds with this blend. There's some notable tooth to be detected, but only near the shoulder and cap, which gives me further cause to believe that Drew Estate is still double-wrapping this cigar with two different leaves top and bottom. 

Smoky hickory and sweet maple wood stomp your nostrils with unabashed boldness straight out of the cellophane. The wrapper is so brazenly smoky, that it is tough to detect anything else off the wrapper(s), which is a shame. But while the foot still smells charry, it's also sweet, earth-filled, nut-like, and almost syrupy in a wayThis last aromatic strikes me as being almost medicinal in character, which could turn some people off. Cold draws are not so much cough syrup tasting as they are old-fashioned root beer. It's still sweet and very woodsy, with a stiff shot of smoke straight to the ol' pie hole.

Construction is good, with nicely formed seams, a snugly fitted cap, and no major imperfections outside of some missing filler within the foot of one of the cigars. There's a lot of bounce to the ounce on this blend, so one can expect a mighty fine draw, and you guessed it, loads of smoke. 

Initial Smoke    

Drew Estate Kentucky Fire Cured Review

A perfectly placed punch and a dozen minutes down the line, I come to the conclusion that I do not care very much for the foot of this cigar. Even though much of the fruity medicinal notes have faded, it's a touch too herbal and sharp of a start for my personal preference. Interestingly, the smokiness of the cigar flavor profile is nowhere near as potent as prelight, which as you shall soon discover, continues down the entire barrel.

1st Half    

Drew Estate Kentucky Fire Cured Review

After settling into a malty, earth-rich rhythm, the darker side of this premium cigar blend ratchets up the "MUWAT" attitude with chunks of semi-sweet dark chocolate, dried cherries, black pepper, and vanilla. Heavier flavors of kilned malted barley hang on every puff, but like everything else, are delivered in tempered amounts, and smoothly at that. 

Tempered is actually a great descriptor for this cigar's first half, at least regarding strength and body. Flavor is far more full force, but because it's not a tad bit harsh you don't really notice how intense the blend is until post exhale. Retrohales increase this flavor intensity, but it's more of a black pepper and smoky maple sweetness that stands out.

2nd Half    

Drew Estate Kentucky Fire Cured Review

After waiting for what felt like an eternity, I came to the point in the cigar when Mata Fina Brazilian tobacco was given its opportunity to shine. Creamy Brazil nuts and a chewy mocha mixture make the shift into the second half smoother and more maduro-like than ever before. 

There was a brief gap in smokiness within the review cigar at that moment, whereas the first cigar I smoked was consistently smoky from start to finish. However, this allows the other types of leaf (both inside and out) room to roam around your palate, which I found made the whole experience feel sweeter and more malty. As a former homebrewer, this reminded me of a rich imperial vanilla porter with an extra pinch of black patent malts thrown into the boil for a bump in bitterness. 

The final third strikes a strong nutty note and then reinstates the ousted smokiness. Bolder by a tick or two on the strength, body, and flavor scale, but notably drier than earlier, this section of the stick is a juxtaposition that does not leave you wanting. In fact, it might be the best section of the entire cigar.

Parting Puffs    

Drew Estate Kentucky Fire Cured Review

Hit 'em hard with everything you've got homeskillet! Those are the commanding orders coming straight from the colonel, as the "KFC" prepares for shutdown.

Smoky as hell, while still being woodsy and tannin hardwood heavy, the finish to this blend is far more than just bitter cacao nibs and dank dark fruits. It's chewy, rich, complex, and sweeter than ever, and once again mildly medicinal. This aftertaste makes me think of a rich sarsaparilla.

Ash / Burn / Smoke / Draw  

Drew Estate Kentucky Fire Cured Review

Besides a touch-up halfway to prevent a tunnel from forming on my review stick, I found ash flakes to be the only issue with the way this blend burns. The ash forms evenly and holds fast due to that 56 ring-gauge, and this rewards you with a beefy, cool-burning smoke. Punch this one or give it a V-cut if you can. A straight guillotine will likely form too loose of a draw, so bear that in mind when it's time to light up.

Final Thoughts  

Drew Estate Kentucky Fire Cured Review

Since first sampling it, Drew Estate's Kentucky Fire Cured has become one of my go-to barbecue cigars. Not only does the smoked tobacco seem befitting for such a task, but the sweet maltiness and subtler vanilla, cocoa, and old-fashioned sarsaparilla tastes are perfect for pairing with a darker beer.

Just please don't judge this cigar by its unlit aromas, because they are incredibly pungent and trick you into thinking that this blend is smokier than it actually is. Get beyond that and you will find that Drew Estate has crafted what is easily one of the more unique premium cigar blends we stock at Klaro, and one that warrants putting a five-pack in with your next order.

Drew Estate Kentucky Fire Cured Review

Flavor, Aroma & Transitions

Depth & Complexity

Construction, Burn & Physical Appeal

Backstory & Branding

Overall Balance & Repeatability

Stogie Specs


Drew Estate "Kentucky Fire Cured"


San Andrés Maduro (Mexico)

Tapa Negra (fire-cured)




 Brazil, Nicaragua, Virginia & Kentucky USA




5" x 56 "Robusto Gordo"



Pairing Drink

Lion Stout



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