In early December 2011, Erik Calviño of Cigar Snob Magazine posted this picture of a preproduction Undercrown. Shortly thereafter, it was confirmed that the name was in fact Undercrown Corona ¡Viva!, a Corona Gorda-sized extension to Undercrown lineup that was set to debut in Spring of 2012.
Steve Saka, president of Drew Estate, described it to halfwheel a few months ago:
The blend has been slightly adjusted to work best in this format and as a result it has been slightly increased in strength while remaining true to the blend’s inherent natural tobacco sweetness and lush earthy core. It is EXCEPTIONAL – I smoked over 50 of these in the last 2 weeks and am disappointed that I have personally depleted my stock.
The Undercrown Corona ¡Viva! uses all of the same tobacco although the proportions are a bit different in regards to visa, seco and ligero.
As for the name, Saka explains:
Corona ¡Viva! name is intended to evoke the sentiment of “…long live the crown!.”
And the particulars.
- Cigar Reviewed: Undercrown Corona ¡Viva!
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
- Wrapper: San Andrés Negro
- Binder: Connecticut River Valley Stalk Cut & Cured Sun Grown Habano
- Filler: Brazilian Mata Fina & Nicaraguan Habano
- Size: 5 5/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 46
- Vitola: Corona Gorda
- MSRP: TBA
- Release Date: April 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
Outside, Corona ¡Viva! doesn’t strike you as being any different than a normal Undercrown: same dark Mexican wrapper, same heavy oils, same interesting feel. Aroma from the wrapper is aged leather with a bit of a Liga Privada like cocoa coming through. There’s a sweet brownie cocoa and earth mixture from the foot. Cold draw of the Undercrown is very dry and earthy with lots of leather, meatiness and a touch of San Andrés sweet cocoa, although the overall sweetness is relatively limited. Lighting produces a Liga Privada-like cloud of toasty smoke.
It begins with a Liga-like start to the first third. There’s mixture of pepper and cocoa that bitters with some cedar and then a nice meatiness takes over as pepper enters the finish. Like the cold draw, the draw stays a bit open through the first third, but it’s not a terrible concern. The Corona ¡Viva! settles with a heavy cedar note, earth and a bit of an underlying sweetness. It’s unlike any other Undercrown and quite frankly, the heavy meatiness is pretty unique for any Drew Estate product I’ve smoked.
While the strength is noticeable from the start, by the second third it is utterly apparent that the Corona ¡Viva! has picked up a bit over the rest of the Undercrown line. It’s not solidly full, but it’s close. Flavor-wise the Undercrown exhibits a profile that is a bit sweeter with some cocoa notes coming through and a bit more of a hickory flavor. The pepper is now extending from the middle of the tongue to the back of the throat, particularly on the herbal finish. Smoke production is pretty simple, it mimics a Liga Privada.
Transitioning to the final third highlights the smoothness of the Corona Gorda. It’s like butter. Throughout the entire cigar, the flavors come and go without any sort of static and really force you to pay attention. The cocoa really shows itself for a bit of the final third, but quickly the earth and cedar take over. Pepper returns to its first third position at the back of the throat. Each sample ended up in roughly the same place: less than an inch left, not hot and perhaps most surprising, still with a solid flavor.
- The Liga Privada aroma notes are really apparent.
- There aren’t a lot of flavors, but there is a lot of flavor. Furthermore, the flavor is just a lot denser than any other Undercrown I’ve smoked. Corona ¡Viva! is highly developed, complex, smooth and rich; and another two months, the time before the release date, is probably only going to do wonders.
- For the burn line connoisseurs, this is about as good as it gets:
- Strength is medium-full from start to finish, body is full, flavor is full. Undercrown grew up.
- While the draw was a bit open, see the below note about its effect on smoke production. It did tighten each time before the middle of the cigar.
- According to Saka, Corona ¡Viva! was, “(made as) if I were blending Undercrown and I blended it how I wanted it to taste.”
- Smoke production is absurd. There are a few cigars that often start being able to challenge Liga Privada’s dominance of the how much smoke can we create title, but there’s none that can keep it up throughout the entire cigar. Undercrown definitely puts out a lot of smoke, but it wasn’t like Corona ¡Viva! This is Liga Privada levels, and it has that ability to sit for five minutes without being puffed.
- While price is unknown, Saka says it will be like an Undercrown.
- Final smoking time is 1 Hour 40 Minutes.
The Bottom Line: This is hard to word. Corona ¡Viva! is the first Undercrown for me that isn’t Liga Privada’s little brother. This is a solid cigar that has its own unique flavor profile that is quite frankly pretty different from any other Undercrown. However, there are a lot of other qualities about Corona ¡Viva! that are a lot closer to Liga Privada: it’s stronger, smoke production is nearly identical, etc. All that being said, this doesn’t smoke like a Liga Privada, i.e., this is not a Liga Privada experience. For those that were upset that Undercrown didn’t taste like Liga Privada, this is not your answer. That aside, I imagine that for a lot of people, if not the majority, Corona ¡Viva! will be the best Undercrown to date. Put me in that group.
Final Score: 92