Drew Estate (@DrewEstateCigar) recently released a new size of the Undercrown, the Corona ¡Viva! making it the 6th vitola in the line. The story about the origins of Undercrown are included in each box. The rollers of Liga Privada were smoking too much Liga Privda themselves and began rolling this blend as a substitute for Liga Privada. It is common for rollers to smoke the cigars they are rolling. Yet, in the case of Liga Privada, this was an issue because the tobacco used is so rare they can’t even keep up with the demand for it. So the rollers decided to roll a different cigar using different variations of the primings (part of the tobacco plant) used for Liga, but from the same tobaccos. Eventually this blend was tweaked by Steve Saka and his team and the Undercrown was born.
Size: 5 5/8 x 46
Wrapper: San Andreas Otapan Negro Ultimo Corte
Binder: T52 Connecticut River Valley Stalk Cut & Cured Habano
Filler: Brazilian Mata Fina and Nicaraguan Cuban Seed
Strength: Medium to Full
Cigars Smoked For Review: 2
Construction and Appearance: The Undercrown Corona ¡Viva! has a very dark wrapper that is mottled with a few reddish brown spots. The Corona ¡Viva! has an almost seamless tight cap with little veins. The band on the Corona ¡Viva! is the same as the rest of the Undercrown line, a Lion’s head on top of an upside down crown.
Flavor and Notes: The wrapper of the Undercrown Corona ¡Viva! has notes of cocoa and espresso. The foot has the same notes of cocoa spice and espresso combined with a bit of hay. I go with a slight guillotine cut to smoke the Corona ¡Viva! and on the cold draw there are flavors of espresso and spice.
Smoking Characteristics: The Undercrown Corona ¡Viva! starts out with the same familiar flavor I have experienced in other Undercrowns. There are notes of coffee, cedar, cocoa, and a bit of roasted nuts. Yet unlike the other Undercrown I can taste all the flavors much more distinctly. The Corona ¡Viva! is the smallest ring gauge vitola in the Undercrown family, coming in at 46, with the next up being either the belicoso or the gran toro, both coming in at a 52 gauge. In my opinion this reduction of filler has really pumped up the intensity of flavors within the blend.
Moving into the second third of the cigar the notes of cocoa, espresso, cedar, and roasted nuts. The main difference in this third in regards to flavor is the overall tone is slightly sweeter than the last. During this third I noticed that the strength in the Corona ¡Viva!, much like the flavor, is somewhat increased in this smaller vitola. I’ve smoked most of the other Undercrown sizes, and would rate them all around medium strength, where as the Corona ¡Viva! creeps easily into the medium to full range. Much like all the other sizes of the Undercrown the Corona ¡Viva! simply oozes smoke. The draw is fantastic, and the body very full. The burn line in addition is razor sharp, not requiring a touch up by this point.
Into the final third the notes of cocoa and espresso ramp up a bit, and become richer. The flavor of roasted nuts remains, but starts to fade into the background, and I’m not tasting any cedar at this point. The draw still remains fantastic. There are few cigars I know of that billow out as much smoke as an Undercrown, it really is an impressive site. The Corona ¡Viva! smokes cool and delicious down to the nub.
Conclusion: The Undercrown Corona ¡Viva! has already become my favorite size of the blend. It will remain so unless a lonsdale size is released, which is unlikely due to the lack of interest most cigar smokers have in smaller gauge sticks. So while this may be one of the better if not the best size of the blend, I feel as if many smokers will shy from it due to its smaller gauge. This is a real shame because in this new smaller gauge the intensity of both the flavor, and the strength, has increased in a fantastic way. This one is box worthy without a doubt.