Sometimes I wish we could really take this blind tasting thing to another level. We removed the bands, but the look and feel of the cigar itself can give us expectations that affect how we taste and evaluate our cigars. "We smoke with our eyes," Jon Huber of Crowned Heads once said (Maybe we'll start including a blindfold in our packages...). This large, dark cigar cigar is certainly no exception, and chances are you lit up this cigar expecting certain flavor characteristics and a 10 out of 10 on strength. But I think that's the beauty of the Herrera Esteli Brazilian Maduro: It just as flavorful and complex as a really strong (dare I say, broadleaf wrapped) cigar, but it's impeccably balanced with an unexpected sweetness. This is the second Herrera Esteli brand we've blind smoked, as last year we featured the Herrera Esteli Norteño. This is my favorite from the Herrera Esteli line. Brazilian tobacco is typically used in the filler and binder (like in Drew Estate Liga Privada #9), but on using it as a wrapper, Herrera said, "This is my expression of the floral and earthy Brazilian Mata Fina tobacco ... I wanted to showcase its dynamic and unique texture." I mentioned balance before. There are a lot of tasty flavors of earth, leather, and dark cherry and a little white pepper through the nose. But beneath it all are very subtle notes of honey and caramel that keep it from being one-dimensional. This smoke would be great paired with a bourbon (scotch would overpower it) like Four Roses Small Batch. And lastly, one of my favorite ways to tell a truly quality cigar, especially one with this much flavor, is how clean it leaves your palate at the end. When I finished smoking the Brazilian Maduro, my taste buds were still fresh and I was ready to light up another one. Overall a fantastic blind smoking experience from Willy Herrera.