Cigar Ratings & Reviews

#NowSmoking: Blackened (Metallica) M81 by Drew Estate

Reading Time: 3 minutes

#NowSmoking: Drew Estate Blackened M81 Cigar Review (Video)


Drew Estate Blackened M81 – Cigar Details

Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate, Nicaragua
Size: 5” x 43 (Corona)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Maduro
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Filler: Nicaraguan Maduro & Pennsylvania Broadleaf Maduro

Presented in boxes of 20

cigar advisor #nowsmoking cigar review drew estate blackened m81 - at famous smoke shop
***Due to extreme demand and limited quantities, this cigar may not be in stock***


Drew Estate Blackened “M81” Backstory

Drew Estate’s new Blackened “M81” is a passion project from Jonathan Drew, Metallica’s James Hetfield and Blackened American Whiskey Master Distiller, Rob Dietrich. The “M81″ in the cigar’s name refers to 1981, the year Metallica released their first album, Kill ‘Em All, and Blackened is one of their bangers from the And Justice for All record.

cigar advisor #nowsmoking cigar review drew estate blackened m81 - setup shot of cgar on its boxBlackened “M81” contains all Maduro leaves, with a thick, oily Mexican San Andres Maduro wrapper headlining the act. Below that lies a brawny Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro binder hugging Nicaraguan and Pennsylvania Broadleaf Maduro filler tobaccos—including the boldest Pennsylvania Broadleaf ligero that could be found in Drew Estate’s gargantuan tobacco library.


Cigar Basics:

The primary band is simple and spartan—a black background with Blackened in white lettering. The foot band is black with M81 and Maduro to the Core written in copper. The cigar’s San Andres Maduro wrapper is dark and oily, with some tooth and a few visible veins and seams. Blackened is tightly rolled with no soft spots and has an airy draw. Blackened burned beautifully and had a dense, light grey ash.


Drew Estate Blackened M81 Cigar Review

As I mentioned (twice) in the video, this particular NowSmoking is a one-off review/bull session with Cigar Advisor’s Jared Gulick and John Pullo joining me. The reason for this spontaneous Now Smoking review was an opportunity for each of us to try the limited edition (and hard to find) Drew Estate Blackened M81—a cigar made with input from James Hetfield of Metallica and master distiller Rob Dietrich (of Blackened American Whiskey). With no prior preparation—other than the blend details and a bit of backstory—Jared, John, and I explored the Blackened ‘M81’ and reminisced about the impact Metallica had on each of us as musicians (in fairness, I am not a musician—I just noodle around on my guitars).

cigar advisor #nowsmoking cigar review drew estate blackened m81 - by paul lukensWe all thought the Blackened M81 Corona began like a house on fire with a burst of black pepper and spice. We also observed roasted nuts and citrusy sweetness entering after the initial blast of pepper. The Blackened Corona’s flavor profile was heavy hitting including notes of charred meatiness, dark chocolate, espresso, and leather. Strength and intensity-wise Blackened began at full throttle and never let off the gas—in fact, all three of us routinely enjoy full-bodied cigars and we all commented on how strong and robust the blend was.


Are Drew Estate Blackened M81 cigars worth buying?

Blackened M81 is one of those cigars that has a lot of ‘buzz’ amongst enthusiasts. In fact, a reason we decided to bump regularly scheduled programming in favor of this ‘pop-up’ Now Smoking was that Famous Smoke Shop tobacconists commented on how Blackened is flying off shelves with customers raving about how good it was, and that the Cigar Advisors should try it. Enough said.

cigar advisor #nowsmoking cigar review drew estate blackened m81 - shot with cigar and blackened american whiskey in the backgroundIf you’re a fan of potent, full-bodied Maduros, put Drew Estate’s Blackened M81 at the top of your shopping list. And while it might be tempting for the Metallica-loving casual cigar smoker to try Blackened, we’d suggest maybe buying one for a friend who likes ‘the fuller the better’ cigars while saving the cigar bands for yourself.

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Paul Lukens

Paul Lukens


Paul first fell in love with the leaf back in college, where he majored in Philosophy (yes, seriously). Upon graduating, Paul stared into the abyss and unemployment stared back. He responded by founding the ‘Pounding Fathers,’ a traveling Beer Pong team with the other Philosophy grad at UMass. Aspiring to subsist on more than Ramen Noodles and Natural Ice, Paul put down his ping pong balls and picked up a pen - and a cigar - and began working in the premium cigar industry in 2013.

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