Date: March 2019
Author: Inspector Z

A shipment of Drew Estate cigars has reached Christchurch, New Zealand. That’s where Canteros holds office, the official Drew Estate distributor for New Zealand.

Included in the shipments are a few new Drew Estate lines that previously never were available in the country. Those lines are the Liga Privada Unico Ratzilla (6 1/4×46), Liga Privada Unico Nasty Fritas, Factory Smokes Shade in robusto and toro, Factory Smokes Maduro in robusto and toro, Factory Smokes Sun Grown in robusto and toro. The last new release for the New Zealand market is the Herrera Esteli Brazilian Maduro in a toro and Piramide fino size.

Ministry of cigars - New Drew Estate for New Zealand
picture of the shipment (photo credit: the cigar merchant)

The new cigars

The Liga Privada Unico series is an extension of the famous Liga Privada lines. Tweaked blends in different sizes than the Liga Privada #9 and T52. Some are limited editions, others are regular production but in low quantities. The Ratzilla is a 6 1/4×46 parejo with a flag tale. The Nasty Fritas is a short filler, using the clippings from the Liga Privada #9 and T52. The cigar has a unique 4×52 cone shape, only seen on Drew Estate Acid cigars before. 

The Factory Smokes are bundle cigars. According to Jonathan Drew, the company hesitated to release a bundle cigar but eventually caved when they realized that, with the scale of their operation, it would be possible to create a quality bundle cigar. By saving on the artwork and the luxury packing in boxes, Drew Estate quality for a budget price would be possible. From the four different blends, only the sweet didn’t make the cut for the New Zealand market. The Maduro, Sun Grown and Shade are available down under in two vitolas.

Ever since Willy Herrera joined Drew Estate, his name has been used on several Herrera Esteli blends. Herrera was asked to join Drew Estate by Jonathan Drew. Before he was working for the Miami based factory El Titan de Bronze and Drew always admired Herrera’s blends so he made him an offer Herrera couldn’t refuse. The latest in the Herrera Esteli lines is the Herrera Esteli Brazilian Maduro. The cigar is blended with Nicaraguan filler, Connecticut Broadleaf binders from the Connecticut River Valley. The wrapper is, as the name suggests, from Brazil. It’s a Mata Fina Maduro wrapper. The 6×52 Toro Especial and the 6×54 Piramide Finos are now available in New Zealand.

Other Drew Estate offerings

Other Drew Estate cigars that are available in New Zealand are Liga Privada #9 and Liga Privada T52 (in toro and robusto). From the Liga Privada Unico series the Papas Fritas and the UF13 were released before in New Zealand. The Pappy van Winkle Traditional Toro and the Deadwood Sweet Jane and Crazy Alice are in the regular portfolio of Canteros. That goes for the Tabak Especial Colada Medio too.  The Undercrown series are represented by the Corona Viva and the Gran Toro. The Gran toro is available in the shade blend and the Sun Grown blend too. The Flying Pig Sampler is available as well. The MUWAT 6×60 and Baitfish , Nicaragua Rustica Short Robusto, Isla del Sol Gran Corona and Churchill, and the Acid Cuba Cuba and Blondie complete the Drew Estate line-up for New Zealand.

New Zealand customs

Not all boxes made it through customs. Just like custom services all over the world, the New Zealand customs like to destroy legally imported products. In this case, a customs officer jammed a flat head screwdriver straight through sealed boxes and cigars instead of inspecting them visually. And then NZ Customs has the audacity to still charge tax over the destroyed items. New Zealand tobacco tax is amongst the highest in the world. Their actions are despicable.

Ministry of Cigars - Herrera Esteli New Zealand customs
the damage done by New Zealand customs

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