Monday’s Review: Liga Privada Unico Serie Ratzilla
July 23, 2012
Liga Privada Unico Serie
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut River Valley Stalk Cut & Cured Sun Grown Habano
Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Nicaragua & Honduras
Vitola: Corona Gorda
Size: 6 1/4 Inches
Ring Gauge: 46
Release Date: June 2012
MSRP: $14.95/ single or $179.40/ Bundle of 12
Drew Estate’s Liga Privada Ratzilla has been some what of a mythical creature until recently. The Big Brother of the famed Dirty Rat was handed out as a prototype to a lucky few and there was an instant buzz. Some issues with the wrapper held production of these back until now. While remaining a limited run, The Ratzilla first commercially debuted at Casa de Montecristo in Chicago in late June during a Drew Estate Event. There were a reported 50 bundles of 12 for sale in store only (no phone or internet orders). There are approximately another 350 bundles that have been slated for retail for this year, making this one of the more rare, and hard to find Liga Privada cigars.
The Ratzilla is a corona gorda with a pigtail cap and looks like a bigger version of the Dirty Rat, which is a 5×44 corona, and is said to be of the same blend. The Ratzilla sports an ultra rich dark chocolate wrapper. There are more veins and seams present than I would prefer. Hopefully this will not affect combustion. Pre lit aromas of black and red peppers are on the forefront with subtle hints of roasted coffee. The cold draw offers up sweet chocolate and raisin. Pepper comes on late and is in the background, which surprises me since it was so prevalent on the nose.
One thing Drew Estates Liga Privada line is known for is producing obnoxious amounts of smoke. The Ratzilla is no different. After just a few puffs the zilla is producing huge thick billowy smoke with a blue hue. The body starts off medium to medium-full with flavors of spice, black pepper, leather and a touch of bitterness. As the cigar warms up a bit, flavors of Mexican chocolate and a buttery note come through on the finish, which I am really enjoying. The retrohale delivers heavier spice and licorice flavors. I can’t help compare this to the Dirty Rat, which starts off as a huge spice and pepper bomb and full bodied. One may think bigger vitola, same blend, equals stronger flavors. The opposite is true in this case. As we come to the end of the first third, the flavors are very developed and complex. The draw was medium with a beautiful white and gray flaky ash that held on for a little over an inch. The burn has been fairly even thus far.
Onto the second third, the Ratzilla, now at its strongest, is on the plus side of mediumfull. Mexican chocolate and buttered toffee lead the attack. The spice has mostly subsided. During the retrohale cola and caramel flavors are detected as well. Towards the end of the second third, the flavors have become a little earthier. The draw has now firmed up and the ash is holding on strong.
In the final third the smoke is rich and smooth, becoming a little sweeter with a dry finish. There is even a slight hint of black cherries and mint showing up on the palate. The spice is now only picked up through the nose on the retrohale. The Ratzilla is now near the end and has mellowed out to a medium bodied pleasant smoke with no bitterness right down to the nub.
Final thoughts: As much as I enjoyed the Ratzilla, I was expecting to smoke a Dirty Rat on steroids. It did not have the spice and strength of its predecessor. That being said, the Ratzilla still holds its own, and is one of the most complex cigars I have smoked so far this year. I’m sure there will be a lot of smokers out there that will enjoy this vitola more so, being that the Dirty Rat may be to strong for others. With a price of $15.00 (or $20 plus in states with a higher tobacco tax, i.e.; NY) I can see some people being on the fence about a bundle purchase, but it is worth seeking out at least a few for the experience.
Final smoking time: 1hour 25 minutes
Reviewed by Ian Goldbaum, follow him on twitter @MrFrancophileNY …Rate this review.