Bundle cigars are very popular with a large segment of the cigar smoking public and it is a segment that Drew Estate has largely not been a part of for most the company’s history.

That all changed during the 2018 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, when the company showed off a line of bundle cigars named Factory Smokes by Drew Estate. The new brand is actually made up of four different blends, each of which uses a different wrapper over an Indonesian binder and mixed fillers from Indonesia: Sun Grown, Maduro, Shade and Sweet.

“Our expansion in the bundle business was a decision we did not take lightly,” said Jonathan Drew, the company’s co-founder and president, in a press release. “Bundles aren’t glamorous and the efficiency required to produce them effectively is not easily reached, which is why there aren’t a ton of entrants innovating in the value priced space. This is long overdue for Drew Estate, and when we reached the production scale required to compete we knew we wanted to do what we do, and disrupt the space with an innovative, deep value line of quality smokes for a broad set of thrifty individuals.”

Each of the four blends are being produced in the same four vitolas, and although there are a number of different prices, none of the cigars feature a retail price over $2.63. All of the cigars are being rolled at La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in Nicaragua, and each of the lines is packaged in bundles of 20:

  • Factory Smokes Sun Grown by Drew Estate Robusto (5 x 54) — $2 (Bundles of 20, $40)
  • Factory Smokes Sun Grown by Drew Estate Churchill (7 x 50) — $2.25 (Bundles of 20, $45)
  • Factory Smokes Sun Grown by Drew Estate Toro (6 x 52) — $2.13 (Bundles of 20, $42.50)
  • Factory Smokes Sun Grown by Drew Estate Belicoso (6 x 54) — $2.63 (Bundles of 20, $52.50)

  • Cigar Reviewed: Factory Smokes Sun Grown by Drew Estate Robusto
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
  • Wrapper: n/a
  • Binder: Indonesia
  • Filler: Indonesia
  • Length: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Robusto
  • MSRP: $2 (Bundles of 20, $40)
  • Release Date: July 2018
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Everything about the Drew Estate Factory Smoke Sun Grown Robusto screams rustic, from the extremely rough to the touch wrapper covered in thick veins to the lack of oil and even the poorly applied cap. In addition, the cigar is spongy when squeezed and there is actually a bit of a box-press visible. Aroma-wise, the wrapper features notes of cedar, manure, leather, sweet hay and a touch of sour earth, while the cold draw brings flavors of cedar, sawdust, earth and dark chocolate along with a bit of sourness.

The Drew Estate Factory Smoke Sun Grown Robusto starts off with the first third with a dominant earth note, along with other flavors of hay, cedar, baker’s spices, a bit of cinnamon and dark chocolate.  Some slight spice and light vanilla sweetness are noticeable, along with a touch of black pepper on the retrohale, but none of them are strong enough to make much of any impact. Construction-wise, the burn is just and enough to need touching up once, while the draw is fairly loose after a shallow v-cut, along with massive smoke production coming from the foot. The overall strength is extremely light so far and struggles to hit a point halfway between mild and medium by the end of the first third.

There is not much change in the profile during the second third of the Factory Smoke Sun Grown, with the same gritty earth flavor dominating, followed by lesser flavors of cedar, dark chocolate, espresso beans and hay. The vanilla sweetness from the first third continues to be noticeable—albeit not even close to strong enough to make a major impact—and there is still some black pepper on the retrohale, but neither seem to be getting stronger anytime soon. The construction is quite improved over the first third, with a draw that is giving me great resistance and burn that is not giving me any issues. Strength-wise, the Sun Grown Robusto has crept a bit closer to the medium mark, but still falls well short before the final third begins.

Coming into the final third of the Drew Estate Sun Grown Robusto, the now familiar earthy note continues to easily be the dominant flavor in the profile followed by other flavors of various strengths, including hay, cedar, dark chocolate, coffee beans and a touch of licorice. While the vanilla sweetness is diminished a bit from its high point in the second third, it is still strong enough to distinguish itself and the black pepper remains. The burn becomes problematic again, leading to a couple of touch-ups, but the draw remains as good as ever and the smoke production continues to remind me of a house on fire. Finally, the overall strength increases slightly, but barely hits the medium mark by the time I put the nub down with a little more than an inch left.

Final Notes

  • Although the exact wrappers for the Sun Grown, Shade and Maduro were not disclosed by Drew Estate, they did announce that the wrapper on the Sweet blend is habano.
  • The profile was a bit more interesting to me because the flavors I picked up seemed to be more broad strokes than minute changes.
  • All three of these cigars put out an absolute buttload of smoke, to the point that I apologized to more than one person at the table behind me.
  • Drew Estate advertises on halfwheel.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time for all three samples averaged a very quick one hour and three minutes.
  • If you would like to purchase some of the Drew Estate Factory Smoke Sun Grown cigars, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Cigars.com, Famous Cigar Shop, JR Cigar, Serious Cigars and Thompson Cigar all have them in stock.
81 Overall Score

I am always on the lookout for blends to recommend that rise above the respective prices being charged for them, and that is a very good way to describe the Drew Estate Factory Smoke Sun Grown to those who have not tried it yet. No, it is not going to blow you away with flavors or complexity, nor is not the most interesting of profiles, but the construction is decent enough and it features a price that is tough to beat. In the end, the Factory Smoke Sun Grown is both better than most people will expect and better than the price that is being charged for them.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.