Origin : Nicaragua
Format : Toro
Size : 6 x 52
Wrapper : Connecticut Broadleaf Ligero Oscuro
Filler : Honduran/Nicaraguan
Binder : Plantation-Grown Brazilian Mata Fina
Price : ~$12
More info about purchasing Liga Privada No. 9 cigars...
Manufactured by Drew Estate, the Liga Privada was actually blended to be the exclusive cigar for the company president. Then the company thought that it was good enough to sell as their premium blend and voila, the Liga Privada No. 9 (Private Blend) was born. Of course, being a fickle aficionado myself, I often take the back stories with a grain of salt. I often wonder if these niche ultra-limited cigars are made more to capitalize on the trend in limited cigars. My research told me that it was heralded the Hottest Cigar in America in the July 13, 2013 issue of Cigar Aficionado’s online newsletter, Cigar Insider. Funny thing is, when I purchased this cigar I had never heard of it, or read the article yet. I bought mine in June of 2013. What made me buy it was its stunning appearance and classy look.
The Liga Privada No. 9 looks stunning. The slightly toothy wrapper is flawless and has a nice oily sheen to it. Sure there is some veining visible but the seams are extremely tight and compact. It has no soft spots or lumps. The band is simple yet very elegant. The lion logo appears on the back of the band and the front features a script font with the simple Liga Privada No. 9 on it, as if it was written on each band individually.
This cigar is NOT a maduro. It is classified as an oscuro which is the darkest wrapper you can get. Sometimes referred to as the double maduro, they often have slightly more sweetness and richer flavors because they are fermented longer.
The draw was perfect. The cigar burned razor sharp. I was impressed with the smoke output even when resting it. The white ash was extremely firm, tight and never flaked, holding on the cigar for long periods of time. The company merchandising actually features their ash and let me tell you, those ads you may see featuring their ash are not propaganda. Not once after lighting did the cigar ever see more flame.
The Liga Privada No. 9 started with wood and earthy tones with mild hints of chocolate and coffee. There was a blast of spice on the first few puffs. The smoke itself was dry and the cigar had some very familiar maduro-like flavors. There was sweetness on my lips from the wrapper with hints of semi-sweet chocolate and coffee with a medium cayenne pepper heat on the medium finish.
The second third saw much of the spice disappear. I got oak and toasted nuts in the flavor with mild hints of leather and rich chocolate. Earthy flavors were there but it seemed every puff offered something slightly different. The smoke remained dry but extremely thick. There were hints of dark chocolate with sweeter oak and roasted coffee bean. As I neared the middle of the cigar I again got some rich chocolaty flavors with occasional hints of leather and some caramel.
By the halfway mark hints of orange peel, creamy milk chocolate and coffee notes were noticeable with a toasted nuttiness on the finish. The smoke evolved into a thicker, creamier smoke with honey-like residue on the palate. The finish was shorter and earthier with lush coffee bean flavors emerging.
Some mild spice came back during the final third with some more coffee bean and creamy sweetness. Hints of dark chocolate were noticeable on some puffs but for the most part the cigar went from semi-sweet to full sweetness with no real bitterness to complain about.
As I neared the end of the No. 9 some notes of unsweetened espresso entered the profile with more dark chocolate and oak. The smoke had lost most of the velvety texture and went back to being dryer but still incredibly thick. By the end of the cigar, it still managed to fill my mouth with a melody of flavors. Hints of spice on the draw came back with the finish being primarily oak mixed with some toasted nuttiness, leather and semi-sweet chocolate and roasted coffee bean. The chocolate notes were not as rich and lush as they were during the middle part of the cigar which was in fact the most enjoyable part of the stick.
The cigar was medium to full bodied and medium to full strength. I didn't have a large meal before smoking this but at no time struggled with nicotine effects until the final couple of inches.
Was it the best? No. However, Liga Privada No. 9 was one of the best cigars I’ve had this year. Unfortunately, I hadn’t heard of them and on this particular purchasing trip I focused on getting some cigars I had never tried before. They are truly tough to find now. I recommend buying a few if you can find them and if you can afford to spend this much on a cigar. Not an everyday stogie, but again, it isn’t priced to be. The primary question I ask when assessing value is whether I would spend this money again on another one. Would I go out of my way to hunt these down? No but I would certainly buy a couple more if I were to come across them. It is heavily marketed and that ends up being passed on to the consumer. Thanks to the Cigar Insider rating, getting these apparently has become even harder. Wait… all trends eventually end.
Overall Rating :
A complex, tasty and quality made cigar. I can see why it is so popular. I wish the price was a bit less and they were easier to find but this is a very flavorful cigar that burns nicely and offers some great complex flavors.