Liga Privada translates to “private blend”, aptly named because this brand stems from the private collections of the fraternity brothers behind Drew Estates. It reflects the eccentric creativity that fueled Drew Estates’ first success and also pays homage to the traditional cigars that dominate the industry.
Back in 1998, Drew Estates was a co-venture between Jonathon Drew and Marvin Samel. They operated out of a kiosk at the World Trade Center in New York. Neither of the founders has a background in tobacco, but they both share a dream to start a rebirth in the cigar world. Their first brand was called La Vieja Habana which was sold alongside Nick Perdomo’s cigars.
A few months after they started the brand Jonathon moved to Estelí, Nicaragua. Marvin stayed and managed the kiosk. In the first couple years, the budget was petite but they were New York boys and their attitudes kept them fighting for their dream.
When Jonathon returned he had some smart innovative blends to show off. They enlisted the help of local artist Scott “ACID” Chester to help design their launch. The ACID brand is arguably the most well-known brand associated with Drew Estates, it was one of the first infused cigar brands to find a successful spot in the cigar market.
In 2008, Drew Estates launched Liga Privada and it put them on the map with cigar aficionados who preferred the classic bold tobacco profiles. No. 9 was the first one to be released and it was well received. It had that quirky Drew Estate edge since it included Brazilian Mata Fina, which at the time was rarely seen in cigars.
Drew Estates continued to expand the brand keeping its character by having unique blend components yet following traditional blend profiles. For example, the T52 line featured a stalk-cut capa and Connecticut Habano wrapper. The Unico Serie line is also noteworthy because each cigar has a different blend so there is no way to predict or describe exactly how each cigar will be.
Behind the scenes, there are long extensive and stringent processes going on to produce a Liga Privada cigar. The attention to detail ensures that the cigars meet the premium criteria set forth by the brothers.
Their dedication does not go unnoticed. In 2013, Cigar Aficionado ranked Liga Privada as the hottest brand of the year. Liga Privada also has several 90+ rating with the journal and has landed on the Top 25. Cigar snob and Cigar Inspector have also given it 90+ ratings.
Over the brand’s life, it has changed management a few times. Notably, Swisher International Inc. bought up Drew Estates as an independent subsidy in 2014. This same year, a new 60,000 sq ft processing facility was opened in Esteli. In 2017, Jonathon Drew became the president of Drew Estates again; he had previously left to focus on his endeavor in spirits.
In 2016, the Florida Panthers added a Drew Estates lounge to their hockey arena. Liga Privada released the exclusive Year of the Rat blend to celebrate the new lounge. The Year of the Rat blend can only be bought at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, which is the home base of the Florida Panthers.
Liga Privada is an exclusive insight into the taste portfolios of the makers of Drew Estates. As you might imagine, with such bold and creative mavericks behind the brand these cigars are meant to excite and bring cigar aficionados to a new level of exclusive quality.