Team Cigar Review: Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto

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Cigar Details: Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto

  • Vitola: Robusto
  • Length: 5″
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Maduro
  • Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
  • Filler: Nicaragua and Pennsylvania Broadleaf Maduro
  • Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
  • Blender: Willy Herrera
  • Price: $9.45
  • Release Date: November 2022
  • Source: Developing Palates

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

Aaron: The wrapper on the Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto is medium brown with a couple of thick veins and a fine toothiness. The seams are fairly raised and the caps are decently applied. There are two bands, with the primary being a simple strip band that is black with the Blackened name from the whiskey brand. The foot band is black and copper and denotes the line name. The aroma from the wrapper is a mix of dark earth and wood while the foot brings a musty floral note, earth and cedar. The pre-light draw is a mix of floral notes and cedar along with a mild spiciness on my lips.
Seth: Firm throughout, the Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto is finished with a light maduro wrapper. Toothy in texture, there are small to medium sized veins throughout. The cigar has aromas of meat, rich earth, stone fruit and tobacco. Wrapper has qualities of licorice, tobacco and earth as well.
John: The Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto comes in cellophane and has a UPC sticker with an integrated tear space so the UPC remains intact when the cellophane is opened. The cigar features two cigar bands, with a thin primary band indicating ‘Blackened’, and a much larger foot band indicating ‘M81 MADURO TO THE CORE’. Aromas from the wrapper included chocolate, hay, barnyard, earth, tobacco sweetness and some dank, mossy undertones. From the foot, I was picking up on sweet raisin and tobacco with hay providing accent aromas.
Jiunn: The Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto provides a thick and hearty Colorado maduro wrapper shade. Veins are well pressed, seams tight, bunch and roll even and head is well wrapped and capped. Aromas from the wrapper tell of cigar ash and cedar. Aromas from the foot give deeper cigar ash and cedar, with added dried red pepper spice. Cold draws reveal cedar and stale nuts.

Team Cigar Review: Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto

Team Cigar Review: Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto

First Third

Aaron: The cigar begins with toasted oak, sharp baking spice and light floral note. At a quarter inch in, the baking spice settles down a bit. At a half inch in, the baking spice has transitioned to a bold black pepper. The retrohale is toasted oak, zingy black pepper and faint floral note. At an inch in, some bakers chocolate joins the profile. As the third comes to a close, the profile is toasted oak just ahead of the black pepper, with bakers chocolate a fair bit behind and a light floral note in the background. The strength was slightly above medium.
Seth: The first third begins with a lot of black pepper notes that are on top of some damp and rich earth qualities. Bits of tobacco and leather present as well. Medium-full to full in strength and body.
John: The first few puffs bring flavors of earth and pepper, with syrupy sweetness through the retrohale. Lingering pepper establishes itself on the post draw at medium, almost medium-full intensity. As the first third settles in, there is a creamy wood on the retrohale. The black pepper has backed off by this point to medium-minus.
Jiunn: The first third delivers a sweet and earthy experience. Good amount of dirt soil, espresso shots and toasted cedar, but there’s also a high level of buttered Hawaiian toast. Retrohaling introduces dried red pepper spice that is just strong enough to get me through a full retro. The finish is long with dirt soil earthiness. Strength and body is medium.

Team Cigar Review: Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto

Team Cigar Review: Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto

Second Third

Aaron: As the second third begins, some dry earth joins the profile as the black pepper mellows a bit. At a half inch in, the floral notes have departed. The retrohale is now toasted oak up front with some dry earth and light black pepper. At an inch in, the black pepper is now pretty mild. At an inch and a quarter, the earth is now right behind the toasted oak. As the third comes to a close, the profile is toasted oak slightly ahead of the dry earth, with mild black pepper and bakers chocolate in the background. The strength remains at slightly above medium.
Seth: The second third continues with heavy earth notes that are paired with damp tobacco and wood qualities. Black pepper present as before with faint coffee notes. Medium-full in strength and body.
John: Creamy earth leads off the second third, with chocolate adding complexity and an earth and wood combination to finish into the post draw. A strong earth comes through after the re-light, at medium-full lingering between each puff. After a few quick purges, the earth fades to light-plus strength as black pepper returns at medium strength, combining with creamy sweetness. Some time later, sweet wood starts to define the center of the profile.
Jiunn: The second third still has the same flavors, but the fullness of flavors is tuned down. However, this isn’t a negative, as I view it as showing more balance. Strength and body remains medium.

Team Cigar Review: Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto

Team Cigar Review: Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto

Final Third

Aaron: As the final third begins, the toasted oak and dry earth are now even up front. At a quarter inch in, the toast level increases a bit. The retrohale is now just toasted oak and earth. As the cigar wraps up, the profile is toasted oak and earth even up front with light black pepper and bakers chocolate in the background. The strength remained at slightly above medium.
Seth: The final third was fairly in line with the second third, and the cigar delivered that heavy earth, damp tobacco, wood and black pepper notes. Medium-full to full in strength and body.
John: Creamy earth combines with wood, and medium-minus strength pepper on the first few puffs, with the pepper and wood finishing the draw. A medium-minus strength lingering earth joins the post draw almost immediately. As the last third progresses, earth is driving the profile.
Jiunn: The final third fullness of flavors continues to dwindle down. But this time, the flavors are less engaging and become a bit monotonous. Strength and body finish the same medium.

Team Cigar Review: Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto

Team Cigar Review: Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto

Burn

Aaron: The burn was straight throughout and the ash held on in inch and a quarter increments.
Seth: Very good construction from start to finish.
John: The burn was straight to start, but went out spontaneously halfway through the review. It is possible that I was smoking too slowly and the cigar stalled, as I had no issues after that point.
Jiunn: Wrapper burn was a consistent annoyance, causing multiple touch-ups to get the burn back on track.

Team Cigar Review: Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto

Team Cigar Review: Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto

Draw

Aaron: The draw was perfect, with just the right amount of resistance that I prefer.
Seth: Amazing draw throughout.
John: The draw had some snugness to it, roughly 3 to 3-1/2 notches into the resistant spectrum. It does open up over time to 2-1/2 to 3 notches which averaged out to a good rating.
Jiunn: The draw however was perfect, giving the ideal air flow.

Overall

Aaron: The cigar began with toasted oak, sharp baking spice and light floral note. The baking spice transitioned to black pepper a bit later. Then some bakers chocolate joined in. The second third saw some earth join in and the floral note depart. The final third saw the toast level increase. The Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto had a good start, with a bold profile and nice flavor combination. As the earth joined in the second third and the floral notes departed, it took a step back and maintained an average flavor profile the rest of the way. The cigar isn’t something I’d really come back to all that often, but with the attractive price point and celebrity ties, I could see lots of people liking this cigar, so I envision that it would do well.
Seth: These “all maduro” blends get a lot of hype, but I rarely see them actually deliver. Maybe the A. Turrent Triple Play delivered, but that’s all. The Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto was flat from beginning to end with a steady strength and body that you would expect with the tobacco/blend. Great construction and draw, but the blend was lacking.
John: The Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto started out with some intense flavor combinations that I would naturally expect in a cigar collaboration with James Hetfield of Metallica (and Rob Dietrich from BLACKENED American Whiskey). To coin a Metallica reference, the flavors go from an engaging “And Justice for All” to more of a pedestrian “Devil’s Dance” for the second and last third. Unfortunately, I have no experience with BLACKENED American Whiskey to work in any sort of distillery or whiskey reference here. I’m not altogether surprised, as cigar collaborations with celebrities have almost always been somewhat disappointing for me on flavor delivery. With that said, Metallica is a monster of a celebrity collaboration so I’m confident that this will be a great commercial success for Drew Estate. I had to do a re-light on the burn, which may have been user error, and my draw had some snugness to it. The M81 is likely to be a pass for me for the future in favor of one of the many other Drew Estate offerings that I enjoy. Total smoking time was 2 hours and 23 minutes.
Jiunn: Celebrity backed brands like this are rarely something that I get excited about. Most of the time, the celebrity doesn’t know a damn thing about what a good cigar/product at hand is. I can confidently say that the Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto isn’t in that scenario at all. Deliciously bold with earthiness, yet balanced with softer flavors. Nicely done.

Aaron
Seth
John
Jiunn
GoodPre
Light
AveragePre
Light
GoodPre
Light
Good
GoodFirst
Third
AverageFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
Good
AverageSecond
Third
AverageSecond
Third
AverageSecond
Third
Good
AverageFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
Average
AmazingBurnVery GoodBurnGoodBurnGood
AmazingDrawAmazingDrawGoodDrawAmazing
AverageOverallAverageOverallAverageOverallGood

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

6.10

Cost/Point

$1.55

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

5.65

Cost/Point

$1.67

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

5.60

Cost/Point

$1.69

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

6.62

Cost/Point

$1.43

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto

Jiunn LiuTeam Cigar Review: Blackened by Drew Estate M81 Robusto

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