December 04, 2016

Sobremesa Short Churchill (4 3/4 x 48)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from website)
Just prior to the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show, Steve Saka‘s Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust announced two line extensions to its Sobremesa line. The two new sizes introduced were the 7 x 50 Elegante en Cedro (Double Corona) and the 4 3/4 x 48 Short Churchill. While these cigars keep to the core tobacco components used in the rest of the Sobremesa line, the blends for these sizes were tweaked to be bolder. Saka has referred to these tweaks as “poco más intensa” – meaning “a little more intense”. With the Sobremesa Short Churchill, this has become a “go to” cigar for Saka himself. Saka had been known to smoke the Liga Privada Unico Serie Dirty Rat on a daily basis, but also gone through quite a bit of his remaining personal stock of that cigar. As a result, the Sobremesa Short Churchill has taken on the role of Saka’s daily smoke. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Sobremesa. Overall Sobremesa has been a fantastic debut, and with the new Short Churchill offering, this one adds another outstanding offering to the line.

In the press release, additional background on the name of the first cigar Sobremesa was given:

Sobremesa, “over the table”, has no precise English translation, perhaps because there is no cultural equivalent in the US. It is an idiom used among the Latin culture to describe the leisurely time spent tableside after you have finished dining, but before you rise. It is the experience of lingering casually with family and friends in conversation, relaxing, drinking, smoking, and enjoying each other’s company. Sobremesa is one of life’s simplest, yet greatest pleasures.

Recently on his Facebook page, Saka explained what Poco Más Intensa means:

“poco más intensa” – my way of describing the new Sobremesa Elegante en Cedros and Short Churchill ligas – they are still the core blend, but tweaked to be a bit stronger. I did this for my own smoking pleasure to satisfy my cravings for a cigar with a more pronounced pepper note within this marca.”

Blend Profile

Sobremesa is a multi-national blend with tobaccos from four countries – Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, and U.S. (Pennsylvania). As we noted, the blends for the Poco Más Intensa (Short Churchill and Elegante En Cedro) are tweaked from the other sizes to produce a bolder cigar.

The cigar is produced at the Joya de Nicaragua factory. During the process of coming up with Sobremesa line, Saka has been hands-on involved with the process – including the procuring of tobaccos and development of the blend.

Wrapper: La Meca Ecuador Habano Grade 1 Dark Rosado
Binder: Matacapan Negro de Temporal
Filler: 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
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Joya de Nicaragua SA)

Vitolas Available:

The following are the two Poco Más Intensa offerings in the Sobremesa line:

Elegante en Cedros: 7 x 50
Short Churchill: 4 3/4 x 48 REVIEWED TODAY

The Elegante en Cedros is packaged in 13 count boxes, while the Short Churchill is packaged in 14 count boxes.

The following vitolas are the first six vitolas that were first released in 2015. These offerings are available in 25 count boxes:

Corona Grande: 5 1/4 x 44
Cervantes Fino: 6 1/4 x 46
Robusto Largo: 5 1/4 x 52
El Americano: 6 x 52
Torpedo Tiempo: 6 x 54
Gran Imperials: 7 x 54

The cigar looks very nice. The gold crown band looks very regal. Here is a shot of the foot.

The test draw after cutting the cap was good. The initial flavors were boysenberry, heavy sweet cream, brown sugar, and a ton of black pepper. I rate it at a 9. Yes, really. It may tone down but for now, at light up, it's fantastic. The boysenberry notes are almost in the direction of a black licorice.

About one inch in there are now buttery cream notes with brown sugar. The boysenberry notes did not last. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The finish is a sweet cream with a nice amount of lingering black pepper. 

Very close to the midpoint the buttery cream is so sweet it's coming across as a white chocolate. There are flashes of cinnamon with the brown sugar. The pepper has toned down to an 8. Retro haling really brings it out! the finish is unchanged; a sweet, thick cream. The cigar is medium to full bodied but it's moving up.

With only about an inch I noticed the cinnamon notes are gone. The white chocolate is secondary to the heavy buttery brown sugar. The pepper remains very good on both ends. The cigar is now full bodied. 

The heavy brown sugar with buttery notes continued to the end. I seem to get hints of caramel but they were faint. The pepper was one of the stars of this cigar. The finish was unchanged. The cigar was full bodied from about the 3/4 point onward. This was a very good cigar with plenty of sweetness and black pepper with some nice power. Very good cigar.

Score: 93

December 03, 2016

Mi Querida Fino Largo (6 x 48)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from website)
At the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show, Steve Saka and Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust showcased several new lines, but the one that was front and center was Mi Querida. This is a cigar that according to Saka is the type of cigar most people have expected from him.

Saka says Mi Querida as a very different cigar than Sobremesa, his debut release with Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust. He described the cigar as more gritty and a bit dirtier – but at the same time full of flavor. This profile also plays into the cigar’s name. When translated literally “Mi Querida” means “my dearest”, but it is also a term commonly referred to a husband’s mistress. In particular, in Nicaragua it refers to one’s “secret mistress” (since it is often common for a wife to know about the mistress”). This secret mistress is the “dirty little secret” and thus plays into the connection of the cigar’s profile.

As for the cigar itself, Mi Querida utilizes a wrapper that many will often associate with Saka – Connecticut Broadleaf. The remainder of the blend is all-Nicaraguan. For Mi Querida, Saka chose to use NACSA (Nicaraguan American Cigar S.A.) to handle production of his blend. Back when Saka launched Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust, he had selected Joya de Nicaragua to make Sobremesa, but also stated he would not be single factory focused. This is what he said at the time he launched his company:

“Unlike most cigar companies, we will not be single factory focused. I have learned over the years there is no one single factory that is the best, but rather there are many great factories and each has its own unique attributes from its personnel, methodologies of fermentation, inventories of leaf and/or construction techniques that make each of them capable of creating something exceptional. My approach will be to select an individual factory based on its inherent strengths, incorporate my own skills and selected leaf and to create something that elevates together the art of handmade cigars.”

This decision was made to keep the Mi Querida under ten dollars.

Blend Profile:

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (NACSA)

Vitolas Available:

The following are the four regular offering by Mi Querida. Each of these are offered in 20 count boxes:

Fino Largo: 6 x 48 REVIEWED TODAY
Ancho Corta: 5 x 52
Ancho Largo: 6 x 52
Muy Gordo Grande: 6 x 56

The following are the four limited offerings that are planned. All are planned to be in 20 count boxes except for SakaKhan and Mas Sucia which are planned to be in 10 count boxes.

Pequeño Pequeño: 4 x 44
Gordita: 4 x 48
SakaKhan: 7 x 50
Mas Sucia: 7 x 64

The cigar is very dark and has an oily wrapper. It has a nice feel in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors were molasses and dark coffee. There was a ton of black pepper rated at an 8 1/2.

1 1/2 inches in the molasses notes have separated into the flavors of brown sugar, chocolate, and dry cocoa. The pepper remains very good. The finish is a cream with a little aspect of chocolate with nice lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium to full bodied and moving rapidly toward full bodied. The cigar is rather full bodied yet smooth.

About 2 1/2 inches in there are flashes of blackberry notes. They are not in abundance but I get flashes here and there. The cigar is now full bodied. The other flavors are still there; dark coffee, brown sugar, light cocoa notes and chocolate., plus the pepper remains very good. The finish is unchanged. The cigar is very dark noted.

With about 1 1/2 inches remaining I noticed the sweetness has decreased as the cigar goes along. There is also an earthy note that goes along with the dark coffee. The brown sugar and chocolate is still there but they are now out manned by the heavy earthy coffee. Perhaps this is playing off the "dirty" aspect of the description of this cigar. The cigar is still full bodied. The cigar has changed from one that was fairly sweet to a heavy, earthy coffee noted cigar.

At the end I got a few notes of dry wood to go along with the other notes. The cigar remained heavy on an earthy coffee with light brown sugar and chocolate notes. The pepper actually decreased slightly to a 7 1/2. The finish was unchanged. This was a good dark noted, full bodied cigar. Those of you who like Steve's style will no doubt enjoy this cigar.

Score: 92

November 29, 2016

General Cigar Company Announces Departure of VP of Marketing

For Immediate Release

November 28, 2016

Richmond, VA—General Cigar announced that effective today, Vice President of Marketing Alan Willner is leaving the company to pursue other interests.

Régis Broersma, president, said, “Since joining the company in 2011, Alan has contributed to the success of our portfolio of brands and we wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”
Régis continued, “I will provide day-to-day leadership of the marketing team. Change is always uncomfortable, but with this change I have great confidence in the team to drive the business forward. Our strategy and brands are strong, and we are well positioned to take General Cigar to the next level. It’s time to release the company’s full potential.”

About General Cigar Company
General Cigar Co. is a leading manufacturer and marketer of handcrafted cigars for the premium market. The company is owned by Scandinavian Tobacco Group. Committed to delivering cigars of the finest quality, General Cigar’s skilled artisans produce Macanudo®, Cohiba®, La Gloria Cubana®, Partagas®, CAO®, Punch®, Hoyo de Monterrey®, Excalibur® and several other leading premium brands in the company’s Dominican, Honduran and Nicaraguan factories. In addition, the company cultivates proprietary tobacco which is used exclusively in its blends and has a dedicated R&D practice that develops new varieties of tobacco and revitalizes vintage seeds. General Cigar also operates Club Macanudo®, a cigar bar in New York City. In 2010, General Cigar entered into a joint venture agreement with Plasencia Group to expand its leaf growing and processing expertise and increase its access to tobacco. Based in Richmond, VA, General Cigar sells through tobacconists in the U.S. and exports select products to 62 countries. For more information, visit

November 27, 2016

Lucious Lyon Robusto (5 1/2 x 50)

Video review HERE.

In keeping with its strong tradition of innovative cigar goods and merchandise, Meier & Dutch is pleased to announce a limited edition line of luxury cigars and cigar accessories, inspired by the hit FOX television program, EMPIRE, with a strong focus on the show’s charismatic lead, Lucious Lyon.

Fans of the award-winning series will instantly find appeal in these lavish offerings, as each piece has been designed with the utmost attention to detail, drawing from the shows iconic imagery and stylish, eye-catching elegance. Each of the high-end cigars are hand-crafted utilizing premium, aged long-leaf tobaccos and pristine wrappers. Presented in glass tubes, and nestled within dress boxes of 10, no expense was spared in creating the cigar worthy of the Lucious Lyon name. Yet as impressive as the cigar is, it does not stand alone. Joining forces with this handmade is a full lineup of premium accessories, including a crystal ashtray, stunning high-gloss humidor, razor-sharp cutter, and a lighter designed by Xikar, a company with a renowned reputation for making the highest quality accessories in the cigar industry.

Wrapper: Connecticut
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf, Mexican
Filler: Dominican, Honduran, Mexican, Nicaraguan
Origin: Honduras

Available sizes:
No. 1 Tubo (Robusto) (5.5"x50) REVIEWED TODAY
No. 2 Tubo (Torpedo) (6.0"x54)
No. 3 Tubo (Toro) (6.0"x52)

The cigar is a golden brown and fairly dense feeling.

The test draw after cutting the cap was good. The initial flavors were a sweet, creamy white chocolate and black coffee notes. There was black pepper rated at a 7 1/2. Pretty good start. Based on how the cigar is burning initially you will need to go very slowly to keep an even burn.

Close to an inch in there are now brown sugar and sweet cedar notes to go along with the white chocolate and coffee. The cigar has a touch of richness. The pepper is very good and also good on the finish, which is a sweet cream. The cigar is mild to medium and I do not expect it to move up.

About 1 1/2 inch in the cigar has not changed a bit. The flavors are just like the last segment. The cigar is very sweet with a nice black coffee base.

At the midpoint I can comfortably call this a consistent cigar. The flavors and sweetness are unchanged.

With the challenging daylight conditions I had to get a little creative. Here is a shot of my set up once the sun went behind my neighbors house casting a huge shadow on my back porch.

The cigar ended just like it has been since the 1 1/2 inch point; very consistent with the same nice sweet flavors of lightly buttered white chocolate, brown sugar, light cedar, and black coffee with a nice amount of black pepper. The finish was also unchanged. The cigar ended at mild to medium but the star of the cigar was the white chocolate and brown sugar. They were so nice and sweet. This would make a good morning cigar with a cup of black coffee. The robust sells for around $10 and change so it's not too terribly priced. A very good mild to medium cigar.

Score: 92

November 26, 2016

Viaje Farmer Bill Hatchet (4 1/2 x 52)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from website)
The story of Zombies is one that permeates throughout the Viaje portfolio. At this year's IPCPR Viaje announce the next in the series. It turns out that Farmer Bill Hatchet will be next to be infected.

Farmer Bill Hatchet is a Thanksgiving-time seasonal release that made its debut in 2014. The past two years has seen this cigar released as a box-pressed Nicaraguan puro. How has the “Zombie” blend been incorporated? It is unknown at this time.  In terms of what the “Zombie” blend exactly is has always been a mystery.

The cigar uses Nicaraguan criollo wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and fillers. The 100% AGANORSA leaf cigar is made at Fábrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L. in Danli, Honduras. 

The Viaje Farmer Bill Hatchet Zombie Edition will be sold in 30 count boxes – each containing six five packs. The cigar will be in wider distribution come November, 2016. Retail price, approximately $12 each.

The cigar has a dark wrapper and is well made with a nice feel in the hand. It features a closed foot.

The test draw after cutting the cap was a bit firm. The initial flavors were orange citrus, cinnamon, leather, sweet cream, black pepper rated at an 8+. A very good start for Farmer Bill.

One inch in there is a heavy presence of whipping cream and there is now brown sugar added to the mix. There is a clean leather note. The pepper is still very good. The finish is a custard-like cream with lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium bodied but I expect it to move up quickly.

About 2 inches in there is a heavy nutmeg presence. I did not notice it previously with all the other flavors. The whipping cream, citrus, brown sugar, and pepper are still there and in a nice amount. The cigar is still medium bodied. The finish is unchanged.

At the band the nutmeg is very heavy. The other flavors are still in play but the citrus is getting overpowered by the other flavors. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The finish is unchanged. The flavor percentages seem to change as the cigar goes along.

The cigar ended with heavy whipping cream notes, nutmeg, brown sugar, and minor citrus notes. The pepper was very good throughout. The cigar reached full bodied in the final quarter. This was a very good cigar from Viaje. I enjoyed it very much.

Score: 93

November 25, 2016

A. J. Fernandez Bellas Artes Gordo (6 1/2 x 58)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from website)
The blend of the Bellas Artes is the big story around this cigar. It uses a proprietary wrapper known as Rojita. This wrapper is a hybrid that crosses three types of tobacco: U.S. Connecticut Shade, Corojo 99 and Havana 2000. The binder comes from a region of Nicaragua known as Quilali – located northeast of Esteli. Meanwhile the filler consists of tobaccos from three countries.

Wrapper: Proprietary Hybrid Rojita: U.S. Connecticut Shade (50%),  Corojo 99 (25%), Havana 2000 (25%)
Binder: Quilali, Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran, Brazilian
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Tabacalera Fernandez)

Vitolas Available:
Bellas Artes is available in four box-pressed sizes. Each are packaged in 20 count boxes.

Robusto Extra: 5  x 52
Short Churchill: 6 x 48
Toro: 6 x 54
Gordo: 6 1/2 x 58 REVIEWED TODAY

The cigar is box pressed and a lighter shade of brown. It has a nice dense feel in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors were a sweet, candy like orange citrus, heavy whipping cream, and brown sugar. Black pepper was rated at an 8 to 8 1/2.

About one inch in the burn is perfect. The cream notes have changed over to a dry cocoa. The finish is a combination of dry wood and cocoa with nice lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium bodied at this point.

About 2 inches in the dry cocoa notes are now a dark noted fudge. The citrus is about 40% of the flavors, the fudge is 50% and the brown sugar is 10%. The pepper continues to be very good at an 8 1/2. The cigar is still medium bodied. The finish is now a fudge influenced cream.

At, or just past the midpoint the citrus is now only about 30% of the flavors, with 60% going to the fudge like flavor with black coffee and about 10% brown sugar. The pepper is still very good and the finish is unchanged. The strength is medium to full bodied.

In the final third the citrus went back to the same percentage as earlier; about even with the fudge notes. There was still a touch of brown sugar with coffee notes. The cigar ended at medium to full bodied. The finish was unchanged. This was another very good cigar from A. J. but not my favorite he's come out with this year. Nonetheless this was a winner and I'd love to smoke more of them. On shelves now.

Score: 92

November 20, 2016

Warped Cigars Villa Sombra Mecedora (5 1/2 x 50)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from website)
Warped Cigars debuted its newest line at this year's IPCPR, Villa Sombra. This is a significant line for Warped Cigars because it marks the company’s first Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade cigar.

Villa Sombra is being produced at Casa Fernandez’s TABSA factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. It features a Connecticut Shade wrapper over 100% Aganorsa Nicaraguan-grown tobacco for the binder and filler. This is Warped’s first cigar from TABSA to not feature 100% Aganorsa grown tobacco. It is also one of the very few Connecticut Shade cigars to come out of TABSA.

There will be two sizes offered- Mojitos (5 1/2 x 44) and Mecedora (5 1/2 x 50). The cigars will be packaged in 25 count cabinet boxes.

“The inspiration for the marca came awhile ago as I have an affinity for Jalapa, the sweet profile and aroma it gives off is just relaxing to me. So when I started playing around with the idea of captivating a blend of dominant Jalapa leaf, the Conn Shade capa was the ideal choice. But the final decision to actually make this marca a reality was on one of my recent trips to TABSA when time after time, I kept going back and smoking these throughout the days at the factory. I couldn’t stop, it was just the right cigar,” commented Warped Cigars’ Kyle Gellis in a press release.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Conn Shade
Binder: Nicaragua Corojo ’99
Filler: Nicaragua Jalapa Corojo ’99 and Criollo ’98
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (TABSA)

Vitolas Available:
Mojitos: 5 1/2 x 44 ($8.80 SRP)
Mecedora: 5 1/4 x 50 ($9.00 SRP) REVIEWED TODAY

The cigar is a golden brown with a nice feel in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors were a tangerine citrus, cream and raw almonds. There was black pepper rated at an 8. There is a lot of black pepper in this cigar.

About one inch in there are now a lot of brown sugar notes. The raw almond flavor is not as noticeable but it's still there. The finish is a sweet cream with some toasted aspects. There is also some nice lingering black pepper. The cigar is mild to medium at this early stage.

About 1 1/2 inches in the cream notes are now coming across as a white chocolate. So you now have tangerine, white chocolate, and brown sugar with a sprinkling of raw almonds. 

At the midpoint there are caramel notes. The citrus is in a minor amount now. There is a lot of brown sugar. The white chocolate is just enough to give it some added sweetness. The pepper is very good. The finish is about the same. The cigar has jumped from a mild to medium cigar to a medium to full cigar. 

At the end the citrus is more like a sweet cedar. There were also brown sugar, caramel, minor amounts of white chocolate and plenty of black pepper. The finish is unchanged. The cigar reached a high medium to full bodied and you may call it full bodied. This was a good Warped Cigar but not nearly as rich as some of their others. This would make a good morning cigar. A little on the low key aspect for Warped but still a good cigar nonetheless.

Score: 91