Blind Review: Liga Privada Unico Year of the Rat (2020)

In 2016 the Liga Privada Unico Year of the Rat cigar appeared and Drew Estate fans clamored to get their hands on some. Fortunately, this year a new version was released in the same size and blend. It was made available for purchase at Drew Diplomat Retail virtual events and limited boxes were given to each store. I’m a fan of Connecticut Broadleaf and this size vitola for the flavors it can yield so I was more than ready to give this blind review a go.

Blend Specifics

  • Cigar Reviewed: Liga Privada Unico Year of the Rat
  • Wrapper:  Connecticut Broadleaf capa
  • Binder:  Brazilian
  • Filler:  Nicaraguan and Honduran
  • Size: 5 ½” x 46 Corona Gorda

Appearance & Construction

The Liga Privada Year of the Rat is a dark rustic cigar with a long vein down one side. The cigar has a well crafted pigtail cap and weighty feel in the palm. To the touch the tobacco is substantial which can be a wonderful thing in this size vitola. With no soft spots and a pleasing aroma of nuts and hay, I’m ready to smoke.

Flavor and Smoke Characteristics

After I clip the the Year of the Rat with my Xikar, I take a dry draw that was of must, wood and vanilla. I light the cigar with a cedar strip and the effortless draw rewards me with earth, forest floor and hay. The smoke swaths around my mouth and there is distinct minerality followed by a creamy finish and chocolate sweetness. The retrohale is a combination of oak and black pepper which quickly dissipates as the smoke comes out. The quality of the tobacco is evident and the cigar begins as a medium bodied smoke.

As the Year of The Rat progresses, it becomes a bit gritty in the mouth and pepper flakes surround the palate. The woody oak flavor that initially appeared becomes more cedar with a tannic bitterness to it. The strength becomes fuller and notes of cashews emerge off and on. Then, the earthiness becomes an undertone and the cigar transforms to a medium to full bodied smoke. The ash is white/grey and is neither flaky nor firm at this point.

In the final third of this corona gorda, the smoke becomes creamy once again with a vanilla sweetness and earthiness interplaying quite well. I pick up a bit of leather that is fleeting and keeps me wanting more. The pepper returns a bit albeit not as intense as before. The wood flavors earlier become more of cedar and the cigar finishes with a combination of said wood and waning pepper. A nice little corona gorda for sure.


I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Jonathan Drew many times since Drew Estate’s inception and he is a solid dude. I was around for all the Liga debuts and their pre-releases. Although I wasn’t always a fan of some blends, I am a fan of Connecticut Broadleaf and the Liga Privada Unico Year of the Rat further proves that when done well this is a tasty wrapper. The black pepper, wood, vanilla with a creamy finish work wonderfully in the first half of the smoke.

My biggest issue was midway as it turned bitter and tannic which muted flavors and was unpleasant. Despite smoking slowly so as not to cause too much heat, these flavors hurt its overall score. The Year of the Rat did rally in the final third and delivered most of the initial flavors in subtle form. This was a size I always enjoy as it concentrates flavors and can really keep you interested. I would certainly smoke again and if you can find these, buy a few for sure.