Herrera Esteli Brazilian Maduro Cigar Review

September 26, 2022

Herrera Esteli Brazilian Maduro

Since Willy Herrera joined up with Drew Estate in 2010 to serve as master blender, the company has introduced one top-rated brand after another. However, when Herrera first started, he was a little overwhelmed and it took a while for him to find his footing.

Getting his start at the boutique factory El Titan de Bronze in Miami, Herrera was used to a limited supply of tobaccos but still developed many deliciously good blends. Contrast that with the extensive tobacco library of Drew Estate, and I would imagine most people would be overwhelmed being tossed into the deep end like that!

After a few months, Herrera got in a groove and came up with the Herrera Esteli, which would earn the #8 spot on Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 of 2013 list. Building on that success would be more iterations of the blend, leading us to the most recent iteration of Herrera Esteli, the Herrera Esteli Brazilian Maduro.

Released in 2018, these gems are blended with aged Nicaraguan long-fillers and a hearty Connecticut Broadleaf binder, all covered by a zesty Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper, a leaf typically used as a binder or in the fillers. To demonstrate the growth of Willy Herrera’s top-notch blending skills, let’s do a cigar review to take a closer look at the Herrera Esteli Brazilian Maduro.

Cigar Specs

Country of Origin: Nicaragua

Wrapper: Brazil Mata Fina

Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf

Filler: Nicaragua

Strength: Full

Smoke Time: 90 minutes

Sizes Available:

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Cold Draw Impressions

This is my first time smoking the Herrera Esteli Brazilian Maduro, so I am quite excited to give these smokes a try. I selected the Lonsdale Deluxe vitola; its slender 6×44 size is right up my alley when it comes to my personal smoking preferences.

The beautiful Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper that adorns the Herrera Esteli Brazilian Maduro has a deep brown color; it isn’t the darkest brown wrapper out there, but it certainly is dark enough for me to say it has a Maduro shade. The blue of the bands is striking in contrast to the brown of the wrapper, clearly displaying the brand name in a simple yet effective manner.

From the wrapper, I get some aromas of leather, earth, and touches of wood, and from the foot, I can pick up additional notes of coffee and sweet tobacco. The wrapper has an exceptionally slick feel with only slight veins, and the wrapper seamlessly cloaks the body of the cigar.

I deliver two v-cuts to the cap; I prefer this style of cut because it offers a more open draw while still maintaining the integrity of the cap. Cold draws present plenty of leather overtop hints of spice, chocolate, tobacco sweetness, and touches of creamy earth.

First Third Impressions

Out of the gate, black pepper commanded the profile with earth and leather following closely behind. Underneath these main players, I can discern secondary notes of wood, espresso, citrus zest, and tobacco sweetness. The draw is flawless thus far, providing me with satisfying mouthfuls of smoke with each puff.

Retrohales are quite peppery but have a smooth quality to them, revealing a creamy leather note behind the pepper. The creamy aspect of the retrohale prevents them from being overwhelming; rather they are bright, vibrant, and quite enjoyable.

The burn line is not quite straight, leaning slightly to one side, but so far is not in need of correction. As the first third comes to its end, the flavor is medium-full as well as the body.

Second Third Impressions

As the burn progresses into the second third, the smoke is starting to take on a rich meatiness, complimenting the black pepper note that carried over from the first third. Earthiness has retreated to the secondary side of the profile as well along with the pepper, with the meatiness and leather now leading the flavors.

Accompanying the pepper and earth as secondary flavors are cedar, espresso, chocolate, tobacco sweetness, and cream. An interesting floral aroma is also starting to fill the room, adding another dimension of enjoyment to the Herrera Esteli Brazilian Maduro. The burn line still has some slight wavering to it, but still does not require a touch-up to keep it on track.

Crossing the halfway point, chocolate comes out of the background and starts imposing itself in the main profile. Hints of citrus zest also begin to become apparent in retrohales. Body and flavor have grown somewhat but still remain firmly at medium-full.

Final Third Impressions

Coming into the final third, the leather and black pepper remain the dominant flavors, while the chocolate is now taking on a bittersweet bakers’ chocolate flavor. Earth is also starting to fight to return to the primary flavors, but still lags behind the leather, pepper, and chocolate. Behind the earth, I can discern some hints of espresso, cedar, tobacco sweetness, and citrus zest.

The burn is more behaved at this point in the smoke than any other, with a nearly flawless burn line slowly but steadily marching toward the head of the cigar. Smoke production is also as good as ever, consistently providing a dense mouthful of smoke.

Retrohales in the final third are exceptionally peppery compared to the prior two-thirds, causing an unexpected tingling through my sinuses. However, underneath the pepper, I still manage to pick up some leather, cream, touches of citrus, and cedar.

As I move through the final inch into the nub, the bittersweet chocolate loses its sweetness and builds heat, signaling that my smoking experience is about to come to a close. While the flavors did build with intensity as the smoke progressed, these gems are medium-full in body and flavor from beginning to end. The final smoking time came to a solid hour and a half.

Pairing Options

While I paired my Herrera Esteli Brazilian Maduro with a refreshing glass of ice water, I would wager that spiced rum or tequila reposado would make a fantastic pairing with this top-quality blend. Spiced rums tend to have a sweeter flavor with a mix of warm spices, the perfect companion to the leather, chocolate, and tobacco sweetness of the Brazilian Maduro.

On the other hand, tequila reposado, along with its zesty, oaky profile, is fairly pepper forward with a touch of bite, and these characteristics would make a fantastic companion to the smooth pepperiness of the Brazilian Maduro. If neither of these spirits is your favorite, a drink with bold flavors and not too much earthiness, like a dry red wine or bourbon, would also be a good option.

Final Thoughts

All in all, the Herrera Esteli Brazilian Maduro shows vibrancy, complexity, and balance. While the profile was somewhat linear, there were notable transitions between thirds that kept my palate engaged and entertained. The flavors themselves also showed amazing balance, with no single note completely dominating the profile.

The burn and construction were also top-notch with no need for a touch up. The burn was not flawless, however any cigar that does not need a touch up is a winner in my book. This is definitely a cigar I would smoke again and would certainly recommend to friends that also enjoy a smoke on the bolder side.

At a reasonably affordable price point of $7-$10 depending on the size, there is little to lose by giving the Herrera Esteli Brazilian Maduro a try. Order some for your humidor today over at JR Cigar or take a look at some of our other reviews here at The Blending Room to find the smoke that’s right for you!


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