Earlier this year, Drew Estate’s Herrera Estelí brand came out with another store exclusive, this time for SmallBatchCigar.com and its sister store, Maxamar Ultimate Cigars.

Called the Herrera Estelí Inktome, this is the second cigar exclusive to Small Batch Cigar that carries the Inktome name, the first being a Fonseca blend in three sizes that was aged six years. While the Herrera Estelí Inktome wasn’t aged that long, however it does use a modified Herrera Estelí blend, using a higher priming for the Ecuadorian Habano wrapper.

Herrera Esteli Inktome Box 1

This is the third Herrera Estelí to carry this band, though there’s no deliberate Tienda Exclusiva branding.

Herrera Esteli Exclusives

Herrera Esteli Inktome 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Herrera Estelí Inktome
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Honduras
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 46
  • Vitola: Corona Gorda
  • MSRP: $12 (Boxes of 10, $120)
  • Release Date: June 9, 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: 100 Boxes of 10 Cigars (1,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Inktome has a very soft, seemingly delicate, medium brown wrapper. There is some give to it, but not much. Sweet grains, hay, light cinnamon and some cocoa powder come off the wrapper in a pleasant aroma, while the cold draw is extremely delicate, featuring with graham crackers, fresh cut hay, a light dried fruit note and the gentlest hint of chocolate.

The first third starts out extremely smooth, though not as delicate as the cold draw might indicate. It all mixes together quite well, with mellow notes of chocolate, more of the hay from the cold draw, light spice, a hint of black pepper and some of the dried fruits bringing up the tail end. The draw is ideal, burn is even and the ash holds on to just under the inch mark. The light spice note is starting to grow, though chocolate and hay are the most dominate notes currently. Following closely behind however, is the black pepper and dried fruits.

Herrera Esteli Inktome 2

The second third sees the continuation of the spice growing, to the point where it’s now a more up-front note. A sweetness has developed as well, making the chocolate, hay, pepper, fruits and a new vanilla note create somewhat of a dessert-like flavor, not exactly, but close enough to mention. The burn continues to impress, which along with the dense ash makes for a great example of how a cigar’s construction should just be there, not impeding or distracting from the profile.

Herrera Esteli Inktome 3

As we move into the final third, the sweetness has died down somewhat, and while the spice hasn’t grown any more, it’s still solidly in the forefront of the profile. Coming in the middle is the continued chocolate, hay and pepper, while the fruits and vanilla wrap up the parade of flavors. While it’s not exciting and slightly repetitive, the burn has continued to perform just fine without the need for any touch ups or interventions on my part. As the cigar wraps up, it does so smoothly without getting hot or harsh, allowing for the mellow, complex profile to shine all the way to the very end.

Herrera Esteli Inktome 4

Final Notes

  • Each sample performed identically, without any variations or oddities that need mentioned.
  • This isn’t the first store exclusive from Willy Herrera, having previously launched the Tienda Exclusiva by Willy Herrera line that was released at two shops: Barrister Cigars and Riverside Cigar Shop & Lounge.
  • The Inktome doesn’t appear to be part of the Tienda Exclusiva line however. Its missing the secondary band and there’s no indication on the box. I find it slightly odd, considering it falls not only right within the project scope for Tienda Exclusiva.
  • When I checked Small Batch Cigar’s website as I was smoking one of the samples, they showed only one box in stock. As of writing this review, they’re showing four boxes in stock. I’m not sure if that means they’re shuffling boxes from the B&M’s inventory to the website’s inventory, but either way there don’t appear to be many left.
  • Cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by Small Batch Cigar.
  • Final smoking time averaged right around two hours.
93 Overall Score

The last Willy Herrera store exclusive I had wasn’t my favorite, not because of the flavor profile, but because of some serious enough construction issues that definitely affected the profile and the enjoyment of the cigar. While the Herrera Estelí Inktome is a completely different blend, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the construction of the cigar allowed it to perform. The blend however, is where the Inktome really shines. The slight tweaks on the blend from the regular release Herrera Estelí line really brought it up a notch, and it’s definitely something I’m going to go order a box of before they’re gone. I enjoy the regular Herrera Estelí release and the Inktome comes in just slightly better in my opinion, so if you enjoy the regular blend, then don’t hesitate on jumping on these, because they won’t be around long.

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Brian Burt

I have been smoking cigars since 2005 and reviewing them as a hobby since 2010. Initially, I started out small with a 50-count humidor and only smoking one or two cigars a month. Not knowing anybody else that smoked cigars, it was only an occasional hobby that I took part in. In March of 2010, I joined Nublive and Cigar Asylum, connecting me with many people who also shared an interest in cigars. Reading what they had to say about brands I had never heard of, I quickly immersed myself in the boutique brands of the industry and it was then that cigars transformed from a hobby into a passion.