Over three decades ago, Steve Saka began his long cigar journey and one of his first true cigar loves was the broadleaf puros crafted by Sr. Frank Llaneza (1920 – 2010) and his General Manager Sr. Estelo Padron (1927 – 2015) at the Honduran-American Tobacco, S.A. (HATSA) factory in Cofradia, Honduras. Steve would tell you that the cigar was a tad rough and unrefined by today’s standards, but their cigars were an explosion of flavor and immensely satisfying to him. Earthy, sweet and full bodied, the cigar was intoxicating form the first puff and served as his own North Star for many of his best ligas over the years.
After years of Mi Querida brands that have pleased the palates, of many a cigar enthusiast and Steve Saka fans, the man himself has upped the game this year with the release of the first vitola in the latest Mi Querida line – Mi Querida Black. Nicknamed the SakaKhan, it is the third iteration of the successful Mi Querida blend and a very personal espression of Saka’s own passion for cigars.
Steve Saka notes:
“The Black retains the soul of our two other ligas within the line, however with the addition of a very select grade of Honduran grown Habano Seed tripa incorporated into the blend. I believe this is the closest possible re-creation of that smoking experience that beguiled me in my early cigar years, yet executed without the commercial constraints of cost or the need to craft the large volume of cigars HATSA needed to produce to be viable.”
The full blend of the SakaKhan is described as:
- Wrapper – USA Connecticut Broadleaf
- Binder – Mexican San Andrés
- Filler – Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua
The leaf used in the blend incorporates the finest materials from the exhaustively “creamed” tripas, to the very best grade of dark Connecticut-grown Broadleaf caps with acute attention paid to their craftsmanship.
The debut release of the Mi Querida Black is expressed in a single (7.25 x 54) parejo a size Saka literarily smoked ceaselessly back in the day. It is described as a Limited-Edition cigar and comes packaged in 10-count boxes with an MSRP of $15.95/cigar.
Steve notes that he dubbed this one the “SakaKhan”, a nickname he was given during his early days in the Navy, as it pays tribute to his own formative years.
For this review, I sampled two of these which I received from the company for the purpose of reviewing on Stogie Press.
The Mi Querida Black SakaKhan is a stout, dark brown cigar with a bit of marbling in the leaf. The wrapper has a mild toothiness to it and a slight oily sheen. Though mostly devoid of veins, there was one noticeable one running along the wrapper. The cigar is well bunched and rolled with no major soft spots and feels solid and heavy in the hand. An expertly applied pig tail cap finishes the presentation.
A thin black and silver band adorns the cigar that simply states Mi Querida in silver on a black background. You won’t miss this on a shelf just by its sheer size.
There was not much aroma along the barrel, but the foot offered pepper and fruit aromas.
Using my double blade cutter, I sliced the cap straight across the shoulder of the cigar and proceeded to give it some cold draw puffs that I found to be amazingly restricted – in a good way. The draw offered enticing notes of fruit and natural sweetness along with a pepper tingle on the lips. A few more puffs and the pepper revealed itself more as cinnamon like.
Using my double flame torch, I warmed the foot to an even orange glow as I drew in the first puffs of toasted cracker and pepper. Follow along as burn the SakaKhan to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Initial light offers toasted cracker and pepper
- Light grey ash forms on top of a medium thick char line
- Nut aromas develop along with a hint of espresso notes
- Ash fell early revealing an off centered burn cone
- Background of spice and citrus round out the early profile
- Earthy notes add to the mix – Saka describes this a “loam” (a soil with roughly equal proportions of sand, silt, and clay.) I am learning every day!
- Slight off-burn required a touchup
- Ash falls often
- Sweet Cream nuances deep in the second third
- Cocoa notes add to the pleasure
- Continued earthiness
- Cocoa intensifies down to the final
- Medium to Full in Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 2 hours and 25 minutes
I want to thank Steve Saka for introducing me to ‘loam”, though I still don’t get the depth of that note as described. Either way there was certainly a decent amount of sweet and earthy notes running through the blend. Overall, the blend was nicely balanced with notes of cream, coffee, and nut to add to the long smoking pleasure of the SakaKhan. It is complex with a fine array of flavor nuances that the most experienced palate would certainly enjoy. The construction was decent though it did have an ash that dropped often and there was a slight off burn that required a touchup. If you are looking for a bold and long smoking cigar, pick up a box of these or split a box with friend. As for me I will let another age a bit and see how it develops. I rate this a 93.
Point Deductions: (-1) Ash Falls Often; (-1) Off Burn; (-1) Touchup Required; (-1) Off-Centered Burn Cone
Bonus Points: (+1) Pleasantly complex; (+1) Balanced and Consistent Flavor Experience across Multiple Samples; (+1) Buy a Box