The Year of the Rat is a tweaked version of the first cigar in the Liga Privada Único Serie, Liga Privada Dirty Rat. The brand was first announced in 2016 as an exclusive for the Drew Estate Lounge, then located at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida—home of the Florida Panthers NHL team. Year of the Rat was billed as a commemorative size, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Florida Panthers 1996 Stanley Cup team, which became known for fans celebrating goals by throwing rats onto the ice. But the 2020 edition instead ties into the Year of the Rat zodiac sign for the 2020 Chinese New Year, which began on Jan. 25th.
Year of the Rat debuted in its updated packaging earlier this year at the 2020 TPE trade show, featuring the cigar’s original blend but dressed in gold foil sleeves and blue-painted boxes. The cigars use a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, a Brazilian binder, and Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers, rolled in a 5½” x 46 corona gorda size and topped with a fan-tail cap seen on other Liga Privada Único Serie formats.
The 2020 Year of the Rat was originally slated to launch in April of this year, where Drew Diplomat-authorized retailers could carry up to four boxes for sale during special events. The overhauled release strategy is due to COVID-19 health concerns, being a similar overall approach but being hosted virtually, potentially making the cigar more attainable to those that wouldn’t otherwise have been able to attend in-store events (not living close enough to Drew Diplomat retail locations, etc.).