Nacatamale seems to be a quirky name for a cigar, but then again we are talking about Steve Saka and he knows cigars, so the name probably has something to do with flavors. If you look up the name Nacatamale you will learn from the website WhatsForEats not only the recipe for this Latin American dish but a description of what a Nacatamale is:
“Nacatamales, are popular steamed corncakes from Nicaragua and Honduras. They are similar to Mexican tamales, but nacatamales are larger, filled with meat and vegetables and steamed in banana leaves. Nacatamales are special-occasion food and are most often served as a Sunday morning meal or at Christmas, weddings and other large celebrations.”
I looked this up after I sampled the cigar, but as you will see the notes are pretty close to the description. As far as Steve’s view of the Muestra de Saka Nacatamale , he described on his social media:
“What made this cigar a unique blending challenge was I went “viejo granja” style with it. For over a century most cigars’ entire filler recipes were comprised of just ONE farm’s tobacco and any complexity was introduced by extremely careful leaf processing, selection and positioning within the bunch. Whereas these days as we have hundreds of ingredients to work and blend with to create interesting and satisfying ligas.
So, the challenge was to see if I could make an “old farm” style liga that could hold its own with the modern blends we create today. I am genuinely curious to see what the feedback on this cigar will be and I have probably poisoned the pool a bit by stating it is a single ingredient liga, but at the same time I am really proud of this blend – amazing the amount of effort it took to pull this one off and of all the Muestra’s I don’t believe any other will be as challenging skill wise.
This cigar is considerably more robust than the Exclusivo and since this puro’s tripa are all from just one small, independent farm in Jalapa, Nicaragua, I will not be disclosing the name of the vega.”
I have to say, I love how Steve talks about cigars, he uses the proper names for the process and description.
Let’s talk a little deeper about the Muestra de Saka Nacatamale.
The Nacatamale is another addition to the Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust – Muestra de Saka line of cigars. These cigars are special projects of Steve Saka and he has said:
“Muestras are hoarded and coveted by not only their makers, but by the cigar smokers who seek to catch a glimpse into the cigarmaker’s soul within their smoke”
In general these are cigars that the owners themselves like to smoke and are much aligned to their palate. This latest Muestra de Saka uses a blend described as:
- Wrapper – Ecuador Habano
- Binder – Jalapa Nicaragua (Single Farm)
- Filler – Jalapa Nicaragua
The Muestra de Saka Nacatamale is available in a single 6 x 48 toro and comes packaged in a slide top coffin box like the previous Muestra de Saka Exclusivo. You can purchase a single coffin that retails for $15.95 or a box of seven coffins for $111.65.
So let’s start to break down the Muestra de Saka Nacatamale and see what a small farm in Jalapa does for a cigar.
The Muestra de Saka Nacatamale
The Muestra de Saka Nacatamale is a beautiful cigar to look at. It has a gleaming, silky smooth wrapper that is coffee bean brown in color. There is slight variation of color in the leaf as it twirls around the barrel. It is finished with an expertly applied twist cap.
There is a single band on this cigar ad unlike most cigars this one is on the footer. It is a yellow satin band that has the black word Nacatamle overprinted on the orange word Muestra.
The pre light aromas included a well fermented sweetness and spice along the barrel and light pepper and floral notes off the foot.
I clipped the cap with my double blade cutter and noted that the draw had a perfect restriction to it and an earthy note.
Cigar Review Notes
- There is a gentle cinnamon spice on the first puffs
- The cinnamon morphs to more of a red pepper on the nose
- Pepper linger warming the cheeks of my mouth
- Medium grey ash develops resting on a medium char line
- An off burn started early and required a mild touch up
- Cocoa powder mixes in with the pepper
- Ash easily taps every inch dark and flat centered cone
- Salted butter notes complete the first third
- My associate Alton Otto described the end of the first third a lot like a cookie dough
- Savory notes enter the profile
- Nicups develop – damn you nicotine
- Warming red pepper on nose
- The burn line got much thicker
- Sweetness enters
- Savory notes join and mix well with the sweetness
- Hint of cedar and touch of salt enter close to final third
- Spicy aroma
- A muted espresso note completes the journey
- Medium to Full Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 35 minutes
Overall, the Muestra de Saka Nacatamale was a complex cigar with notes that ran through the flavor wheel. The burn was not the most pristine though requiring a few touch ups along the way. Even though the flavors were scrumptious, for a $16.00 cigar I would expect a pristine burn.