Cigar Review: Drew Estate Blackened M81 Toro – Rated 92

During September 29th’s “Freestyle Live: Special Edition” broadcast, Drew Estate, joined by James Hetfield of Metallica and Rob Dietrich of BLACKENED American Whiskey, revealed the mystery cigar contained within the company’s latest Freestyle Live Event Packs … the all-new BLACKENED Cigars “M81” by Drew Estate, an exploration into the deepest, darkest and heaviest depths of the mystical Maduro leaf.

Drew Estate Blackened M81 Toro

BLACKENED Cigars “M81” by Drew Estate is a passion project that brings together three immensely talented and vastly experienced cigar enthusiasts—Jonathan Drew, Founder and President of Drew Estate; James Hetfield, Metallica co-founder, singer and guitarist; and Rob Dietrich, the Master Distiller and Blender of BLACKENED American Whiskey. The collaboration began with Hetfield and Dietrich, who frequently enjoy cigars together.

Hetfield stated:

“It is really a fun social thing for me, a fellowship, to have a few buddies sit around with a few sticks. My buddy, Rob Dietrich, BLACKENED’s Master Distiller, and I frequently enjoy cigars together and he introduced me to Jonathan from Drew Estate. The three of us connected and shared each other’s vision and story about where we’ve been, what we like to see and what is important to us now, and we all came up with what a BLACKENED ‘M81’ Cigar would look and taste like. I love the Maduro leaf and I’m super excited for everyone to try this.”

Having been friends for well over a decade, Dietrich and Drew always wanted to combine their talents to collaborate on something special, and this seemed to be the perfect opportunity. Samples from the Drew Estate portfolio were sent to Hetfield and Dietrich who kept cigar journals to critique the cigars and identify what they liked and disliked about each one. After two years of enjoying and sampling cigars together, the group decided on the exact flavor profile that would become BLACKENED Cigars “M81” by Drew Estate.

Drew Estate Blackened M81 Toro

Dietrich added:

“This was a project that was purely born from passion …for music, for fellowship, for life, and all the in-between moments within. James, Jonathan and I worked together to create what we feel like is the perfect cigar. The result is truly a monster of flavor—all-maduro, designed with definitive depth for darker and bolder palates.”

The blend is described by Drew Estate as:

  • Wrapper: San Andres Maduro
  • Binder: Connecticut River Valley Broadleaf Maduro
  • Filler: Nicaragua Maduro, Pennsylvania Broadleaf Maduro

Presented in beautiful copper-accented black 20-count boxes, BLACKENED Cigars “M81” by Drew Estate is expressed in four vitolas:

  • Robusto (5 x 50) – MSRP $9.45/cigar
  • Toro (6 x 52) – MSRP $9.85/cigar
  • Corona Doble (7 x 50) – MSRP $10.35/cigar
  • Corona (5 x 43) – MSRP $9.15/cigar

For this review, I sampled three of these cigars which I received both as part of the mystery cigar pack and also as part of the Savage Feast event down in Texas. I am listening to the Metallica Greatest Hits Album as smoke my last one.

Pre-Light Examination

The Drew Estate Blackened M81 presents itself with a toothy gritty dark brown wrapper that has some noticeable veins through it. It has a decent oily sheen and is firm to the touch with just a slight give along the barrel with no soft spots. A well applied double cap finishes the presentation.

Drew Estate Blackened M81 Toro

Two bands adorn the cigar. The primary band is a simple thin black band that displays the Blackened American Whiskey logo in the center. The secondary or maybe it is the primary footer band uses a black and gold motif and boldly denotes this as the “M81 MADURO TO THE CORE”. The right side of the band includes the Drew Estate logo.

Drew Estate Blackened M81 Toro

Running the M81 along the nose I picked up a lightly pungent fermented leaf aroma along the barrel while the foot presents notes of leather and ground cloves. I really had to think about this as the clove was subtle.

I opened the cap perfectly with my CigarMedics Baller cutter and proceeded to give the M81 some cold draw puffs. Peppery spice immediately warm my lips and tongue. A few more cold puffs and I notice a mild nut in the background.

Cigar Review Notes

Drew Estate Blackened M81 Toro
Drew Estate Blackened M81 Toro
Drew Estate Blackened M81 Toro
Drew Estate Blackened M81 Toro
Drew Estate Blackened M81 Toro
Drew Estate Blackened M81 Toro
Drew Estate Blackened M81 Toro
  • First light greets the palate and nose with a strong pepper note
  • Light grey ash forms on a thick wavy char line
  • Meaty notes with a sweet retrohale
  • Like Master of Puppets it starts to mellow moving into the second third
  • Ash fell in a decent chunk revealing a decent burn cone
  • Dark chocolate notes enter with a citrus note filling in the background
  • Slight off burn deep in the second third
  • Spice picks up on the retrohale
  • Touch up required
  • Strength ratchets up
  • Lingering nut on the palate
  • Espresso notes with a leathery finish bring this one to an end
  • Full Strength
  • Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 40 minutes

Final Analysis

The Drew Estate Blackened M81 was a tasty journey that rocked the palate with hefty Pepper and Meaty notes to start before mellowing out with Dark Chocolate, Nut, Citrus, and Spice through the second third. It did have a wavy and eventual off burn that required a touchup. This is cigar that is very complex and is full in body and strength. I did enjoy how the journey took me through heavy hitting notes and soothing rhythms. I paired one with the Blackened American Whiskey and the sweetness in the spirit made for a pleasant journey. I would say grab a fiver of these and be the judge. I rate this a 92.

Point Deductions: (-1) Wavy Burn; (-1) Off Burn; (-1) Touch Up Required

Bonus Points: (+1) Very Complex

Drew Estate Blackened M81 Toro

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