Just over two years since leaving Drew Estate as CEO, Steve Saka reentered the cigar world with his new company Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust. The company takes its name from the small New Hampshire town where he lives. The town has a population around 2800 and is situated about 70 miles north of Boston, MA, just outside of Concord, NH. Founded in 1765 the town just celebrated its 250 year anniversary. I sure hope they were puffing on Sobremesa cigars!!
For those that may not know Steve, he has been in the cigar business for quite a while, having worked at JR Cigars and then spending seven years at Drew Estate where he is noted for the creation of the Liga Privada brand. Steve parted ways with Drew Estate back in 2013 and at this year’s IPCPR he officially announced the release of his inaugural blend, the Sobremesa. The cigars were not available at the show, but the booth was very busy with potential retailers. so I waited till after the show to reach out to Steve for a sample. Like the fine gentleman he is, he quickly sent me some samples. After resting for a while in my humidor, I now have had the pleasure of smoking this new sensation. As stated on the Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust website:
Puros Sin Compromiso
HANDCRAFTED CIGARS WITHOUT COMPROMISE IS OUR PROMISE TO YOU
This is an expression of our closely held ethos and states in just three simple words everything we wish to accomplish here at DTT. Cigars are more than just a passion for us; they are our life. We want to create puros that pay respectful tribute to the long, vaulted history of handmade vitolas, honor the dedicated works of all the vegueros, torcedors and artists who dedicate their labors to this timeless craft. Our goal is to always offer the connoisseur an unparalleled smoking experience bar none.
With Italian heritage in my family, I fully understand the meaning of the word Sobremesa. Having enjoyed one Sobremesa cigar so far, I plan to sit down after the big Seven Fishes Feast this Christmas Eve to enjoy it one more time. This time, as it is meant to be; “to sit around the table after lunch or dinner”. What a perfect name for a cigar as that is what we like to do, sit around and enjoy the leaf with friends, family, or in quite solitude.
There is a lot to enjoy in the Sobremesa, as Steve pulled out all the stops blending this beauty..
Starting with fillers from Nicaragua and the USA:
- Nicaraguan Gk Condega C-SG Seco
- Nicaraguan Pueblo Nuevo Criollo Viso
- Nicaraguan La Joya Esteli C-98 Viso
- Nicaraguan ASP Esteli Hybrid Ligero
- USA Lancaster County Broadleaf Ligero
It is then bound with Matacapan Negro de Temporal leaf.
Finally it is finished with a toothy and satiny La Meca Ecaudorian Habano Grade #1 Rosado wrapper with some slight veins that has a tinge of red color in it and a sheen that glistens in the light.
The Sobremesa line is available in:
- Corona Grande – 5.25 x 44 Parejo
- Cervantes Fino -6.25 x 46 Parejo
- Robusto Largo -5.25 x 52 Parejo
- El Americano -6.00 x 52 Parejo
- Torpedo Tiempo -6.00 x 54 Torpedo
- Gran Imperiales -7.00 x 54 Parejo
Each are packaged in 25 Count Semi-Boîte Nature (SBN) Boxes.
Finally, the Sobremesa is adorned with a primary and a footer band. The gold and brown footer defines it as the Sobremesa while the primary band is simply a golden crown. Steve was clever to precisely pick the brown hue for the spaces in the crown as it matches perfectly with the wrapper and gives the impression that it is cut through. Nice job. It is these little touches that make me want to fire it up and see what it has to offer the palate next.
For this review I selected the El Americano – a 6 x 52 Parejo.
Running it through the ol’ sniff test I am greeted with a slight spice and sweetness on the nose. The cap was so well applied that I chose to use a punch to open it up for this smoking experience. The dry draw was slightly restricted and served up some earth and hay along with a delicate sweetness from the wrapper on my lips.
I used a cedar spill to light this one up, and though not a smack in the face, it did deliver some decent black pepper on the retro-hale conjoined with espresso and spice on the palate. The draw opens after a few puffs as its firm white ash begins to form.
There is a slight butter and salt component that enters after an inch of burn and the smoke is pleasantly smooth at this point. It is burning well and the pepper has faded from the nose, leaving it open to receive, the flavor that is about to be delivered. Those flavors continue to build as cream and butter notes enter the mix.
Oils are popping up all over the wrapper like mini wells of oil. Every puff is bringing rich, creamy, and flavorful smoke to tease and please the palate. The smoke density is high in the Sobremesa, making it a great candidate for smoke ring production. I remember years ago I was not able to make those elusive smoke rings, but just like learning to whistle or shuffle poker chips, I figured it out, and find it an enjoyable cigar smoking practice. I feel it keeps the smoke on the palate longer increasing the flavor sensations. It helps to have a cigar like the Sobremesa that produces smoke that coats the palate well.
Into the second third, there is nice spice that offers a long finish. It is a subtle, not over the top spice, that pleases those taste buds without taking control. You know the mix, like if you use oregano in Italian gravy and you add just a sprinkle too much, all you taste is pizza sauce and not grandma’s sweet red gravy. By the way, you really should not use oregano in pasta gravy (sauce), just for that reason.
There is a dark chocolate component that develops in the final third along coupled a wafting chocolate aroma. There is something about the flavor that is bringing me back many years to when I enjoyed one of my first true premium cigars the “Punch Double Punch”. I had that way back in the 1990s. It is interesting how the senses affect the mind, bringing us back to past experiences. I have to say thanks to Steve, for creating that inadvertent memory spark. It was the start of a long journey to finally creating a cigar publication; but that is a whole other story.
Overall the Sobremesa was an outstanding cigar with solid construction and burn qualities. The complexity was excellent with delightful flavor transitions throughout the smoking experience. I truly believe Steve Saka has reentered the market with the right cigar and we look forward to more great blends to come from Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust. By the way, that’s not clear whisky in the glass in those photos above, it is just spring water to keep the palate clean during the review. I do think a Highland single malt would go well with the Sobremesa or possibly some aged rum.