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  1. Setup: For those of you not familiar with my reviewing style. I tend to be a bit verbose. I write a puff by puff account of what I'm tasting and any other observations. Not too much fancy prose to be found here. Enjoy. Drew Estates Dirty Rat review Date: July 20, 2013 Start Time: 9:20PM Vitals: 44 * 127 Visuals: Attractive dark, colarado/maduro wrapper, shiny sheen to it. Light veins. Springs back from a pinch to the foot. A very good sign. The roll feels solid in the hand. A good amount of oils on the wrapper as well. Aroma at cold: NC barnyard. Would not mistake this for a Cuban. The cigar punches nice and clean. Cold draw is smooth. First third Subtle wood notes. Decent smoke production. Slight hickory notes on the finish. Tiny bit of sweetness. Hits of pepper on the finish. Smoke production increasing. Bit of “grit” on some of the draws. Pepper notes seem to be the main motif. Touch of hickory again. Plenty of smoke. Great burn on the stick. Pepper again. Very “dry” profile to the stick so far. Slight licorice taste chimes in which is a nice change. More grit. Bleh. Woody notes now. Unreal amounts of smoke. Head is falling apart..oh well. Maybe a construction or my storage issue? I fix it up and it seems to hold. Very mute flavours. Solid white ash, doesn’t want to tap off. More pepper. Second third. I take a drink of water to clean the palate. Some harsh notes open up the 2nd third. Pepper keeps hitting the back of the throat. A nasty asphalt taste hits me. Seriously WTF? Some hickory again. Burn line still solid. More dry notes. Lots of harsh pepper on the finish. Definitely not my thing. One trick pony? Getting stronger as it progresses. Flavour wise? Not much going on. More of the same from the 1st third. Got to give credit to the construction though. Great burn, solid roll, excellent draw and lots of smoke. Almost unnatural amounts. Seriously harsh draw. Almost acrid. Next draw is less harsh but somewhat acetic. Some woody notes, much better. Tobacco buzz starts to form. Very light toasty tobacco. More pepper on the finish. Almost 75% of the draws end that way. Some slightly beany notes (very Cuban) It doesn't last. More unreal smoke outputs. Slightly sweet notes, some saltiness too. Almost taffy like. More of this would be welcome. But this too, makes one appearance. A few more sweet notes. Finally some evolution! Will it last? We shall see. Licorice again. Very sour nasty draw. I had to swig some water and spit it out. Very “chemically” and bitter. Subsequent draw is somewhat better. A bit more licorice comes to the rescue. These polar opposites to the palate are upsetting. Ash splintered in a very odd way. Third third. Slightly muted flavours calms the stick down. Still loads of smoke. I smoked a monster Cuban last week that barely gave off any smoke but was a taste journey. This stick, is not even close. Strong , sharp cedar on the palate now. Toasty tobacco now. That’s more like it. Tobacco buzz returns, not as strong though. More harsh pepper notes. Flavours are dialing down these past few draws. Nothing exciting but easier to smoke. Some saltiness returns. Pepper subsiding slightly. Good sweet draw breaks the monotony. A few toasty tobacco notes follow. Another solid white ash in this third. More kudos to the construction on this puppy. The cigar is mellowing out as it gets towards the end. A lot more civilized, smoother at this point. But not terribly exciting. Some more toasty tobacco. More mellow now. There must’ve been something awful stuck in the middle. Smoke output is subsiding. Hmm..the cigar has gone out. Going to relight. Success! Nothing harsh on the relight. Very muted, “dusty” flavour. Smoke production ramped up again. At his point I’m done. ‘ End time: 10:15PM Final Thoughts. Great construction, burn and ash. The ash seriously splintered at one point but it still held. The roll was good and firm. There was very little veins on the wrapper. No issues on construction. Taste wise, the stick was pedestrian.. A few really harsh points in the cigar broke the monotony, but not in a good way; At those points it reminded me of the worst cigar I’ve ever smoked. The NC Partagas Black Label Toro. The Black Label is the closest I’ve ever gotten to smoking hot asphalt. The final third was the only evidence of some refinement in the cigar. Even then, it wasn't enough to change my mind on this stick. This cigar probably had 8-12 months of age on it. I can’t imagine what an “aged” version of this stick might become. And I mean 3-5 years of age. I’d guess there wouldn’t be much to it other than smoke. The word on the street is that DE sticks are meant to be smoked upon release. Aging does nothing for them. Kind of a shame IMO. As it stands I have to give this stick a score of 75. And that is mostly for the construction. The flavours just weren’t there. It was too much of the same and the harsh notes that slapped me in the face did neither me or the stick any favours. I know this brand and in particular this stick gets a lot of love. But not from me. I’ve tried to be as objective as I can in reviewing this cigar. I’ve got about four more DE cigars to smoke and review. I must admit, this one had made me a bit gun-shy about taking another one on soon. I’ve previously smoked an FFP and UC Robusto. The FFP was definitely the better of the three but even still it was not something I pay money for a box of. I do enjoy the odd NC now and then. Padron, Fuente and Casa Fernandez in particular. For those that love the DE Dirty Rat, keep smoking them. I however will not try one again soon. It just didn’t do It for me. The complexity just wasn't there. END

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