Factory Smokes by Drew Estate are some of the cheapest bargain-priced cigars on the market today. These cigars are available in your choice of four different wrappers, all having the same Indonesian fillers. Factory Smokes cigars are typically sold in bundles of 25 except for the Sweets, which are sold in bundles of 20 cigars. Now here's the good part, they are all priced at less than $2 per stick! Depending on the particular version, vitola, quantity and retailer, the lowest average price I've seen for a Factory Smokes cigar is $1.31 (based on the purchase of 25 Robustos for $32.80). However, before buying an entire bundle, the best bet is to try two of each in an 8-pack of the Toro size, priced at just $12.99. Here's the link at Famous-Smoke.
Factory Smokes are available in four sizes of each wrapper version, as marked with an X as follows:
My reviews of each wrapper version in the Toro size are as follows. During April 2021, the Toro size was priced as low as $1.39 per cigar when purchased in a bundle of 25, except for the Sweet wrapper version which was priced as low as $1.72 when purchased in a bundle of 20 cigars.
Factory Smokes Sweet
The cigar began with an artificially sweet flavor that was so very sweet that it was almost too sweet. In fact, you might call it a sugar bomb. The sweetness did gradually back off as the cigar was smoked, but it was still the predominate taste right until the very end. The smoke was mild-to-medium bodied, and had a neutral tobacco flavor. This cigar was all about the sweetness. The tobacco that is used in cigars made with artificial flavoring is not the highest quality, but at least there were not any sour or harsh flavors to get in the way of the sugary taste (unless they were completely overtaken by the artificial sweetener).
The cigar was made well enough and had a very good draw, but an uneven burn required several touch-ups and one relight during the 50 minutes that it took me to smoke it all the way down to 1½ inches remaining. The cigar held a medium-length ash, and actually performed half-way decent overall, especially considering the price.
For the money, Factory Smokes Sweets are not a bad choice for beginners who are not yet accustomed to the taste of cigar tobacco, as well as for fans of Drew Estate's Acid cigars who might be looking for a low-price alternative. Some other cigar brands use sweetened vegetable gum to secure the cap of a cigar, giving it a temporary sweet flavor that does not last very long. However, the sweetness of this cigar never completely fades away, like a cigar that has been infused with an artificial sweet flavoring. I rate Factory Smokes Sweet cigars with an acceptable 3 points on a 5-point scale.
Factory Smokes Shade
The Factory Smokes Shade cigar began with a smooth and creamy tobacco flavor that was surprisingly enjoyable, and was mild-to-medium bodied. No sour nor bitter tastes were detected, and the cigar's initial flavors were pretty consistent throughout the 50 minutes that it took me to smoke down to 1½ inches remaining. The cigar held a medium-to-long ash, had a mostly even burn, and had a very good draw. No relights nor touch-ups were needed during the smoking session.
This Shade version of Factory Smokes cigars turned out to be the best of the bunch. It can compete with other mild-to-medium Connecticut Shade cigars costing up to five times as much. However, the second sample was not as enjoyable as the first. Nonetheless, it is still a good choice for new cigar smokers, as well as seasoned smokers who sometimes have a taste for something lighter.
I rated my first sample of the Factory Smokes Shade cigar with nearly 3.5 points on a 5-point scale, but the second sample did not even deserve 3 points. Therefore, on average, I'm rating Factory Smokes Shade cigars with a decent 3.25 points on a 5-point scale. Since it is not unusual for inexpensive bundled cigars to be more inconsistent than higher priced premium cigars, don't be surprised to find several sub-par stogies in a bundle of 25.
Factory Smokes Maduro
This cigar began with a subtle Maduro tobacco sweetness that was accompanied by some hints of bitterness, and was medium bodied. The taste was also very dry, and somewhat disappointing. Although the flavor did slightly improve after a few minutes, it still was not very enjoyable. However, a second sample smoked better, without the dryness experienced in the first sample.
The first cigar had a slightly uneven burn that needed a couple of touch-ups. It held a medium length ash and had a good draw. The second cigar burned evenly and did not require any touch-ups nor relights. It took me 50 and 55 minutes, respectively, to smoke these cigar down to two inches remaining. I rate the first sample with a sub-par 2.5 points, but the second sample scored a more acceptable 3 points. On average, the sample Factory Smokes Maduro cigars deserve a scant rating of 2.75 points on a 5-point scale.
Factory Smokes Sun Grown
This cigar began with a medium-bodied tobacco flavor, along with some occasional bitter notes that faded in out as the cigar was smoked. The taste was nothing to write home about, but I've tasted worse cigars costing a lot more. At least the draw was good, the burn only slightly uneven, and for the most part, the cigar held a medium-to-long ash. No relights were needed during the 45 minutes that it took me to smoke the cigar down to two inches remaining. Only one touch-up was applied at about the half-way point.
Of the four versions of Factory Smokes that I sampled, I enjoyed this Sun Grown cigar the least, and rate it with a sub-par 2.50 points on a 5-point scale.