One of Drew Estate’s recent acquisitions under the presidency of Steve Saka, the acquisition of the Joya de Nicaraguan tabacalera and brand name; and as such, the powers that be developed a cigar almost equal in power to the Antãno 1970, the Antãno Dark Corojo. The El Martillo (the hammer) is a 5.5×50 Robusto Gordo, adorned in an oily, nearly pitch black corojo leaf; the foot band stating “Doble Fuerte” or double strength. This was one of the three free sticks I received at a Drew Estate event at my local B&M along with the purchase of box #1993 of Flying Pig’s.

The dark corojo leaf smells of burning cedar, cracked peppercorns, hickory, molasses, and white cloves.

With a 9mm punch to the head, the draw is effortless with little to no resistance, and the pre-toast draw tastes of pepper and wheat. The wrapper tastes of caramel, cream, licorice, vanilla extract, and whole peppercorns.

The freshly toasted foot smells of allspice, basil, Cuban coffee, Madeira, mesquite, pemmican, and tarragon.

Off of the recently lit foot are hints of butter cream, caramel, cedar, ground espresso beans, licorice, lime, mesquite, paprika, and yellow peppers. Off of the nose the smoke smells of mocha and tanned leather.

The salt & pepper ash is ringing in one millimeter bands; while the white smoke billows out from the foot. From the get go I can already tell that the Antãno Dark Corojo is full in strength and body albeit for different reasons than the Antãno 1970; the hints and sensations of the Dark Corojo are more subtle than the 1970 which is a powder keg from the get go.

A half an inch and thirty minutes, this oily cigar is a slow smoker; a few new hints come into play cocoa, French vanilla, ouzo, and white peppercorns. The dynamics are focused towards the spicier hints, although there are ample sweet hints too.

At three and a quarter inches left and an hour and a half in, the sweeter flavors are rampant with hints of black licorice, dark chocolate, mocha, and sugar cane; with secondary hints of chutney, curry, jalapeño peppers, mesquite, paprika, rock salt, and teriyaki. The name of El Martillo is truly a best fit for this line, and stick alone, as it is quite a hammer indeed (with a seventy-five percent ligero blend).

The burn on the foot has been unparalleled with little to no canoeing. Two and half hours and two and a half inches left. No notable change in hints, though I can feel a dramatic increase in the nicotine levels, indicative of a full strength cigar. As an allusion, imagine this drawing slowly, watching the ashes ring and grow on the exhale, all the while the hammer head begins to rise, and on the next draw and every draw there forth, the hammer swings, striking your palette and your head while the nicotine rises.

Three hours later and two inches remain, creamier notes play on the palette and tongue, butter milk, caramel, cocoa, espresso, mocha, and truffles. This stick is much akin to the ocean, it ebbs, wanes, and flows, the waves rise and crash; it gains momentum and then subsides, and the cycles repeat throughout the full gamut of the five and a half inches of the hammer.

The El Martillo is a truly unique full body & strength cigar; if you can handle the ride, try it out.