Having gone through a few iterations of names, this recent Drew Estate release was named the UF4. Back in 2010, Brooks reviewed the preproduction sample which was called the JD4. That preproduction cigar went on to be named the MF4, which was the official name for quite awhile. Towards the end of 2011 however, the name was changed to UF4 since the MF abbreviation was used by My Father. Charlie Minato’s news release in October 2011 explains the background of the UF4 in more depth.

First and foremost, this is now known as Liga Privada UF4. The cigar is actually the JD4, which Drew Estate had renamed as MF4 for the last eighteen months or so. For those unfamiliar with the blend it’s a slightly tweaked T52, Steve Saka describes it:

This is an alternative stronger blending of the current T52 recipe that we developed that is stronger. At one point it was in the running to be the T52 blend, but ultimately we had to choose one.

That being said, this was JD’s personal favorite of the two so the factory continued to make them for him on a batch basis. The difference between this blend and the existing T52 is the amount of ligero in the recipe – this liga has more.

Jonathan Drew had originally planned to release the cigar under the MF banner, but a few months ago while meeting with Thor Nielsen of Cigar Press, the two realized that the “MF” on the band was also used by My Father. Jonathan decided to change the cigar to “UF” as a courtesy to the Garcías. The UF moniker stands for Único Fuerte and the MF13, another Liga Privada test blend, is now known as UF13. There are forty bundles of twenty-five set to be released at Casa De Montecristo on October 27th. Casa De Montecristo is being given these as a personal thank you for a favor the Khalils, owners of the shop, did for Jonathan a decade ago. The cigars being released were rolled two years ago and already banded. As such, JD asked the Padróns if he could have them repackaged at the Padrón facility in Miami. Jonathan said he was “a bit nervous about repackaging because they are two years old”, but after speaking with Orlando Padrón he was confident the cigars would be fine. Prices are the same as the T52 Parejo, which is the Toro size, $10.95 a cigar.

Liga Privada Único Serie UF4  2012 Bundle 1

Liga Privada Único Serie UF4  2012 Bundle 2

To date there have been six releases in the Liga Privada Único series:

Liga Privada Único Serie UF4  2012 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Liga Privada Único Serie UF4 (2012)
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
  • Wrapper: Connecticut River Valley Stalk Cut & Cured Sun Grown Habano
  • Binder: Plantation Grown Brazilian Mata Fina
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $12.95 (Bundles of 12, $155.40)
  • Date Released: June 23, 2012
  • Number of Cigars Released: 40 Bundles of 25 Cigars & 200 Bundles of 12 Cigars (3,400 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

It is very hard to describe the feeling of the beautifully dark brown wrapper—smooth and slightly oily, but very tough—almost like heavy card stock paper that was soaked in vegetable oil and dried. The cigar itself is very hefty and firm, almost on the side of hard. Testing the pre-draw however shows that the firmness of the stick does not equal a tight draw. The main note I’m picking up is a strong, sweet cocoa powder. The foot smells more like the sweet hay notes of a freshly cleaned out barn.

The Liga Privada UF4 starts out the first third with a sweet profile, one mainly made up of minor cocoa notes, cedar, and a slight touch of creamy coffee. Noticeably lacking is any pepper, but the UF4 billows smoke like any of the other cigars in the Liga Privada lines. For a brief moment there is a very distinct whiskey note to the cigar, which is odd since I’m drinking water. The burn is beautiful with the white-gray ash holding to about an inch.

Liga Privada Único Serie UF4  2012 2

The second third begins with the cocoa turning into full on milk chocolate. The cedar has gotten heavier as well, but is more of a secondary note. The burn continues to be spot on and the smoke production is still quite significant. While it is a bold cigar, it is very smooth and lacks any harsh notes.

Liga Privada Único Serie UF4  2012 3

The chocolate profile has only intensified in the final third. A cinnamon note with just a touch of spice has developed towards the end. There was no peppery bite to speak of throughout, however a little has developed. A little espresso has developed in the background. The overall sweet profile with chocolate as the dominant flavor finishes this cigar out as a flavor bomb.

Liga Privada Único Serie UF4  2012 4Final Notes

  • I can’t reiterate enough how much smoke this cigar produces, it’s almost continuously billowing smoke between draws.
  • Between the three UF4s I smoked for the review, every single one was consistent with construction, flavor, and burn.
  • The cigar is strong, though at no point while I was smoking it did I think to myself that it was a powerhouse of a cigar. Only at the end did I notice it. I feel this speaks very well of the blend.
  • At the June 23 event, Drew Estate also offered bundles of Ratzilla for sale for the first time. More info on the Ratzilla release here.
  • To date, this is the only single store release for Liga Privada. Jonathan stated it was done to repay a favor from years ago.
  • While it’s not known if this is a limited release or an occasional small batch regular release, there have been two releases of the UF4—40 bundles in November of 2011 and 200 more in July of 2012.
  • There will be a seventh Único Serie released at IPCPR, Papas Fritas.
  • These were sent to us by site sponsor Casa de Montecristo. Drew Estate is also a sponsor of halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was around two hours and 15 minutes.
  • If you’d like to purchase some Liga Privada Único UF4, site sponsor Casa de Montecristo still has some in stock.
91 Overall Score

In my opinion the UF4 is a great example of what I think a good cigar consists of. It starts off with a distinct profile and builds from there. The cigar takes the initial flavors and develops side notes as it goes along, ending up with a similar profile but having a bouquet of flavors at the end. As previously stated, this cigar produces a lot of smoke. Two I smoked outside and one I smoked indoors, which was almost too much. Seeing as how I smoke mostly outside though, this isn’t an issue. All in all I can easily suggest you hunt some of these down if you can find them. They are classic Liga Privada quality with a fantastic flavor profile that I enjoyed thoroughly.

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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.