The Liga Privada T52 is a roller coaster ride of a cigar. Not in a bad way, the flavor profile is so complex it takes your through a huge range of flavors. Although I had issues with the draw on this particular stick I know that this is a great blend by a great cigar company. If you want to see cigar flavor complexity first hand then you've got to try one of these sticks!
Over and over I’ve heard how great the Liga Privada T52 is. I’ve seen it talked about in forums and I’ve heard whispers from dark corners. So when I finally came across a retailer in town that carries the Liga brand I made sure to pick one up. On this same trip I also picked up a Feral Flying Pig, and lots of Oliva cigars seeing as it was an Oliva event that I went to that day… Speaking of which I won a hat from that raffle and still haven’t picked it up. I should probably go get that.
I checked out the story behind the Liga Privada T52 over at the Drew Estate website. It’s very interesting they talk about how they came across the wrapper leaf and how many blends they went through to get to this final product. I won’t rehash it all for you here because I think you should go check out their site because it’s pretty awesome. I’ve had the Liga #9 and the Undercrown and they are both wonderful cigars. Needless to say I’ve got pretty high standards for this cigar! Lets jump into it and see what we find!
The packaging on the Liga Privada T52 is not outlandish, yet it’s not simple either. There is no cello wrapper on the stick, which I’m totally fine with. Actually I’ve grown to prefer that. The band however is quite alluring to me for some reason. It’s not big and loud like other bands that get your attention. I think it’s the fact that it’s rather simple and to the point that draws me in. The front side of the band has what looks like a hand written label that says Liga Privada T52. It looks to me like someone was writing this down in one of those composition notebooks from science class. The hand writing is very smooth and looks nice and clean, yet there is something handmade about it. The background of the band is rather subtle with some light dots that are arranged in lines that circle the entire band. As I roll the cigar in my hand I notice the back of the band and there is a very pronounced golden lion stamp. This is the Liga Privada logo, instantly it displays power and prestige and I start thinking to myself, “what a wonderful world”… wait thats not what I was thinking. I was thinking I bet this cigar is gonna be Bad A, it’s got a freaking lion on the band!
If the band isn’t enough to seduce you to want to smoke this cigar then the wrapper will surely do the job. This wrapper is a Connecticut Sungrown Habano. It’s dark and oily and almost velvety to the touch. Typically you see this shade of wrappers with maduros, but there is something special about this one. All the way down the barrel the Liga Privada T52 just glistens from the oils and I’m lured in to see what it has to offer.
I’m always concerned about how a cigar is going to function. I’ve ran into the issue with numerous cigars that look fantastic smell wonderful and have the big price tag and they fail to deliver in the function department. I have had the Liga Privada T52 resting in my humidor for close to 3 months just waiting for the perfect time to review it. So when I took it out I wanted to make sure and give it a nice thorough pinch & roll test to see if it had gained any soft spots while resting. It hadn’t gained any soft spots at all, as a matter of fact it may have gotten denser! This is one of the most dense cigars I think I have ever picked up. As I was rolling it through my fingers there was very little spring or sponginess to the filler. Typically this bothers me because I have a feeling that it will result in a poor draw. So there is only one way to find out.
I took out my trust V Cut and sliced through the head of the Liga Privada T52. I started testing the cold draw and to my surprise this cigar was actually difficult to draw. I gave it a couple more pulls and I didn’t feel like I was getting any air whatsoever through the barrel. So I tried something that I’ve seen done online. I took my V cutter and placed it perpendicular to the original wedge and made another cut, essentially forming a + sign in the head of the cigar. Pretty fancy trick eh? Don’t say I never learned you anything! I tested the draw again after the additional cut, and still I was having issues… Now, I’m starting to think that it’s me, have I forgotten how to smoke cigars? Surely not, it’s like riding a bicycle right? So I resort to one last effort. I break out the ole trusty guillotine. I nip off even more of the head to open this guy up to see what the problem is.
Turns out, the Liga Privada T52 just has a shat load of tobacco rolled in it. I’m looking at the filler and it looks stuffed to the brim. I h0nestly don’t know if I’ve ever seen a cigar filled with so much filler leaf. The draw has opened up a little bit but still not to where I want it, oh well it’s going to have to suffice. I can’t butcher this cigar any further and have any hope of leaving me with something that is reviewable. As a side note, I watched a video with Jonathan Drew talking about how he had EP Carrillo teach him how to roll cigars properly to where they would never have draw issues. So I have a feeling I might just gotten a bum stick, because I’ve never had issues with any of Drew Estate’s other cigars when it comes to the draw. So 1 out of 10 ain’t bad right Meatloaf?
Some of you may have read my latest post on my Xikar Stratosphere lighter, if you haven’t, then there is no reason not to go read it right now. I think it’s pretty sharp witted and can keep you entertained for at least 3 minutes. I decided I wanted to light this ole Liga Privada T52 with the Stratosphere lighter to make quick work of toasting the foot. Also because it’s a little windy outside and I don’t know if my matches would have been able to stand up to it. But if you’ve read the review you know that this lighter is a high altitude lighter and can withstand winds very well (go read the dang review!). I won’t bore you with the details of how I elegantly toasted the foot of this cigar to a nice crisp white ash that had a perfect burn on the foot to get this cigar started and burning evenly. I know you’d almost fall asleep reading how beautifully the foot began to glow bright orange and how the hazy blue smoke just rolled down the barrel and dissipated into the wind. So I’ll skip all those details and get right into smoking this stick.
One thing I’ve learned from smoking the the Liga Privada line, there is no shortage of smoke! Holy crap, the thick blue smoke that rolls off this thing is fantastic. I feel like I’m bathing in it. I wish they would partner with Old Spice and make a body wash / deodorant package so where I could wear this around all day! Ok, but seriously tons of smoke just rolls off this cigar. I’m not even puffing on it to get it going the wrapper just burns this way. I don’t think I’ve seen wrappers as thick as this on any other cigar and that is one of the reasons why there is so much smoke that comes off these things.
The first third of the Liga Privada T52 was a little difficult to get through because of the snug draw. However, I powered through it and it began to open up a little more in the second third. The wrapper is fairly slow burning and I know that contributes to how fast the cigar smokes, but I just wish I was able to draw more of this cigar in. After it opened up a little in the second third this cigar stayed fairly consisten with a slight snug draw, it was manageable, but not ideal for me. I was a little disappointed with it’s smoking performance, but it’s not going to keep me from buying it again. The flavor is what’s going to keep me coming back to this cigar!
If you wanna talk about complexities in a cigar this Liga Privada T52 is the stick for you. My brain feels so confused right now because this cigar hit so many taste buds that it was hard to keep up with it. The truth is, I loved it though! I’m constantly surprised at how on the outset I can smell sweet notes from the foot and the wrapper, but once I light the cigar up it throws a haymaker of spice that lands right on my glass jaw and shatters it! It’s like Voodoo magic of some sort. How does that happen? Of course looking at the wrapper you might be inclined to think that it’s not going to be spicy that it should be smooth and creamy. Well it is that as well! That’s why I’m so confused, my brain is mush after smoking this thing!
The first third of the Liga Privada T52 starts out with a big burst of spice. This mellows out into a nice creamy texture which then transforms into some nutty and leathery notes. It’s like a constant wave of change. Even though I’m a big fan of constant flavor, there is something I’ve found to be seductive about this flavor profile. Just when the 1st third is finishes, it starts all over, spice, cream, leather. It throws me for a real loop. Now stay with me here it’s going to take some imagination. I’m going to relate it to a kids roller coaster ride at a state fair. You get on the “roller coaster” thinking oh wow this will be a nice safe ride a few rises and falls woo I put my arms in the air this is fun blah blah. Then out of nowhere the roller coaster picks up speed and flies off the tracks and lands in the middle of 4 lane highway with sparks flying behind you and metal is scraping the asphalt, traffic comes to a screeching halt and you’re left sitting in the cart hoping that Bubba’s 4wd will stop on time without crushing your skull on the pavement. Once you realize that you’re ok you stand up throw your hands in the air and think to yourself ”That was the best damn roller coaster ride ever!”… All the while everyone is laughing at you because you’ve just pissed yourself. That’s how I felt after I finished smoking the Liga Privada T52.
Without a doubt, even though I had issues with the draw the flavor made up for it.
No, or at least it shouldn’t be. For 1 it’s hard to come across these smokes, and for it to be an everyday cigar you would have to buy boxes. I would rather let other people try this cigar than for me to buy boxes. Coming across these cigars is like coming across a bottle of rare bourbon. When you see it, you buy it and smoke it when the time is right, but not everyday.
If the store you are at has a few boxes then I don’t see why it would hurt, I know it’s a little contradictory to my previous statement, but I think if you buy a box you should share the wealth and let some other people try the cigar out at a nice brotherly herf!
The Liga Privada T52 is a great cigar, a roller coaster ride of flavor. The only reason I gave this cigar an 8/10 is because of the draw issue. If I get one that has a better draw I could see this easily becoming a 10/10 for me.
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