Agile Cigar Reviews are cigar assessments where we use a lightweight, shorter format. These will never take the place of our comprehensive reviews. They are only used on blends we have previously assessed. This might be a blend we are re-scoring or giving a score for the first time. It might be a blend we are looking at in a different size. Today we look at the Liga Privada H99 Connecticut Corojo Phineas Gage (a lancero offering). This was a cigar previously assessed back in the Toro size back in May 2022.
Wrapper: Connecticut Corojo Hybrid
Binder: San Andres Otapan
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan, Pennsylvania
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
Phineas Gage: 7 x 40
In 2018, Drew Estate celebrated the ten-year anniversary of the Liga Privada brand. As a part of the milestone, the company would unveil Connecticut-grown Corojo and Criollo releases respectively, with the Liga Privada H99 Connecticut Corojo and Liga Privada 10 Year Aniversario releases. Connecticut is not known for growing Corojo and Criollo tobacco, so these releases were considered to be groundbreaking. These releases were also extremely limited due to the yield of the tobacco. Over the past 18 months, both the H99 and 10 Year releases have seen more availability and additional sizes. One of the new sizes was a 7 x 40 lancero for the H99 blend known as Phineas Gage. This is a cigar that was offered to those retailers who hosted Drew Estate events. Today, we take a closer look at this cigar.
Phineas Gage stems from the name of a railroad foreman, who in 1848, survived a grievous accident when an iron rod was driven completely through his head, forever changing his personality. Also known as “The American Crowbar Case,” Gage’s story became a medical curiosity and spearheaded psychological and neurological studies into how the brain affects personality development.
The Phineas Gage shares the same blend as much of the H99 line. It features a Connecticut Corojo Hybrid wrapper over a San Andres Otapan binder and filler from Honduras, Nicaragua, and Pennsylvania. Corojo is a seed that is difficult to grow and get tobacco yields from because it is susceptible to disease. As a result, many times a hybrid seed is used to grow it. This was the case with the Liga Privada H99 where a hybrid seed was created from both a Connecticut Corojo leaf and a Connecticut-grown Stalk Cut Habano leaf. The 7 x 40 lanceros are packaged in individual cardboard boxes, and those boxes are housed in ten-count boxes.
The Liga Privada H99 Connecticut Corojo Phineas Gage opened up with notes of natural tobacco, cherry sweetness, wood, baker’s spice, and mixed pepper. The wood and cherry notes moved to the forefront early on with the pepper, baker’s spice, and natural tobacco settling in the background. The retro-hale had a combination of white pepper and baker’s spice. In addition the white pepper was prominent on the finish giving the cigar a little “bit”. During the second third, the wood notes took over as the sole primary note. Some earth notes surfaced in the background. Both the earth and pepper notes increased in intensity. By the last third, the earth and wood notes were primary. The pepper was the most prominent secondary note, however the cherry sweetnes, natural tobacco, and baker’s spice rounded things out nicely.
The flavors delivered by the Phineas Gage started out medium to full-bodied and progressed to full-bodied by the second half. As for the strength level, this remained in the medium to full range. The burn did require some frequent touch-ups along the way. The draw to the Phineas Gage was a little more open than I prefer.
As a cigar reviewer, I’ve never subscribed to the theory that the lancero is the best format for a cigar blend. I often scratch my head when I see someone do handstands when a new lancero is announced. I feel every blend has one size that is the belle of the ball – and it’s not automatically the lancero. I’ll be honest, the head-scratching reaction came when Drew Estate announced the Liga Privada H99 Connecticut Corojo Phineas Gage. When I first smoked the Phineas Gage, I was at a Barnsmoker event and was taken by surprise by how good the cigar was. Still, smoking at an event is not the same as going through a formal review cycle. The good news is the Phineas Gage came through with flying colors – and it easily could be in the running for the belle of the ball size in the H99 line.
The Liga Privada H99 Connecticut Corojo Phineas Gage is a cigar that is on the bolder side, so I’m inclined to recommend this to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast, but wouldn’t discourage anyone from trying. It’s a cigar that I would buy and smoke again – and it’s one that I wish would be more readily available. Coming in at 90, Phineas Gage earns our Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence designation.
Key Flavors: Wood, Cherry, Earth, Baker’s Spice, Natural Tobacco, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Complexity: Medium Plus
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full (1st Half), Full (2nd Half)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence
Previous Assessment: Liga Privada H99 Connecticut Corojo Toro by Drew Estate
News: Drew Estate Adds Liga Privada H99 Connecticut Corojo Phineas Gage
Source: Drew Estate
Brand Reference: Liga Privada
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop
Originally posted on September 21, 2023 @ 11:17 am