Monthly Archives: March 2017

Cigar Review – DTT Steve Saka – Umbagog

A Spritual Experience for the Everday Man & Woman

Matthew 13:1 – On that day after Jesus went out of the house, he sat by the lake

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About

Located on the New Hampshire and Maine border sits a lake call “Umbagog”.  It is a favorite fishing spot for this cigar’s creator, Steve Saka.  Dunbarton Tobacco and Trade is the manufacturer and distributor of Steve’s premium cigar lines such as “Sobremesa” and “Mi Querida”.  Both are elegant and tasteful smokes which have a huge following among the cigar aficionado community.

I myself am a fan, but when I heard about the release of the “Umbagog” I was excited to see what Steve had come up with.  Always a man to speak his peace, I have always viewed him as a no-nonsense, everyday man’s man.  Not knowing much about this new cigar, I decided to locate a bundle and try it for myself.

Manufactured with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper that was said to be “too ugly” for Steve’s premium Mi Querida line, I had to wonder what this stick was going to look like.  Perhaps a bit “saka sasquatch for me?  It was time to delve into the wilderness and get a taste of what the Umbagog is all about.

Construction

Wrapper – Connecticut Broadleaf

Binder – Unknown (Nicaraguan?)

Filler – Nicaraguan Blend

Vitolas:     Corona Gorda – 6 x 49    $6.45/ea

Robusto Plus – 5 x 52     $6.45/ea    (Size smoked in this review)

Toro Toro – 6 x 52     $6.95/ea

Gordo Gordo – 6 x 56     $7.45/ea

Appearance 

The Umbagog comes in a bundle of 10 cigars wrapped in brown paper with a simple label affixed to the front. The single stick is quite plain with a simple green label with off white borders and lettering.  Plain and simple.

When I first viewed the cigar I was surprised that just by it’s simplicity and color label (Army Green), it brought out the “Soldier” in me.  The cigar felt good in my hand; substantial with a good grip but not rough and “hairy” like I thought a Saka Sasquatch might be (laughing).  It’s a handsome looking cigar and does not try to be its more premium and elegant relatives.

For a woman who is over that beautiful and sexy woman time in my life, I found myself relating to this cigar.  Simple, handsome (yes, women can be handsome) and exuding a quiet statement of “I might not be fancy and gorgeous anymore, but I’m sturdy, comfortable and trustworthy”.  Like me, this cigar tells the world, “I’ve earned my imperfections and I come from a great bloodline!”

Draw and Light

Choosing to use my large punch for this 52 gauge cigar, I was able to make a nice cut into the cap with no dryness or overt softness noticed.  The dry draw was mildly tight but I was not surprised with the overall feel of the construction – sturdy. It was comfortable and revealed the taste of being in a straw and hay barn, much like its smell when I removed it from the cellophane wrapper.

The cigar toasted well and didn’t seem to take much effort to get a nice even burn right out of the gate.

First third

I was expecting pepper but did not get it.  The immediate flavor was that of dark cocoa and some leather.  There was a very subtle sweetness behind the scenes with just a hint of nuts and coffee.  As I took more draws I noticed that chocolate came through but again, not in an overly sweet way.  The retro provided a nice leather and chocolate experience.

Second Third

Going into the second third of the cigar it felt like it settled into it’s prime flavours.  Mostly leather with a nice balance of chocolate, nuts and coffee to keep me interested.  The dark cocoa floated in and out but I was too busy enjoying the leather to really care if it was there or not.  I was actually wanting a cup of coffee at this point as I felt it would be the number one pairing for this cigar.

The ash is a nice white overall with some grey accents throughout.  As the rest of the cigar seems to be sturdy, so is the ash.  It held nicely and I even hit it once while moving around and it didn’t come flying off all over me.  The burn is even and the feel of the cigar is warm but not hot.  Not the slowest burn in the world but not a speedster either.

Last Third

The Umbagog settled down even more as I came into the last third.  It was mostly leather with a bit of earthiness to it.  Dark cocoa continued to join in and it surprised me as the power sneaked up on me during this last stretch.  Since leather is one of my favorite tobacco notes, I was very happy to see this cigar all the way through.  I didn’t quite nub it but I may have if that desired cup of coffee had been along for the ride also.

Tasting Notes

Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this solid smoking experience.  The Umbagog is definitely a cigar I would like to keep in my smoking portfolio.  It can be smoked as a yard gar or after a nice dinner with friends hanging around for drinks and fellowship.

*Overall Rating – 89

The Robusto Plus was a good size for me and I think the Corona Gorda would be my other choice.  Anything larger would get a bit “old” for me but might be perfect for other smokers.  I can honestly say this was a really good smoke and I had a great time bonding with the concept and roots of the name and it’s intentions.  I feel a kinship to this cigar and I will definitely save these sticks for the times I long to be sitting by a lake with coffee and my tasty Umbagog.  Thank you Steve Saka!

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Cigar Review – Viva Republica Jason Holly – IVY Dudley

A CIGAR OF HAPPINESS AND COMFORT

Jonah 4:6 – Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort.  So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant.

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About

The Ivy cigar is the creation of Jason Holly and Viva Republica Cigars.  Released in April of 2016, the Ivy is a break in the more aggressive styles of Viva Republica’s line of cigars and provides an experience intended to revive memories from days gone by. Jason Holly was a student of the Ivy League College, Harvard.  He would find time to smoke cigars in Harvard Yard and found out that John F. Kennedy did the same.  An iconic picture of Kennedy smoking a cigar in the Yard inspired Holly to create the Ivy.  This elegant yet robust cigar is meant to honor and show respect to JFK, Harvard Yard and the cigar smoking experience.

Construction

Wrapper – Ecuadorean Habano

Binder – (Double) Cameroon and Dominican

Filler – Dominican (Cibao Valley) and Nicaraguan (Esteli’ and Condega)

Vitola. –  5 X 50

Average Price. –  $13.25 / single

Manufactured  –  La Aurora SA (Dominican Republic)

Appearance

The Ivy has a rustic and old school appearance.  There is a reddish hue to the golden brown wrapper and it is enhanced nicely by the label which is reminiscent of a time gone by. Even the paper used for the label give the cigar a rugged yet classical look.  The Dudley is a 5 X 50 vitola that feels very comfortable in the hand.  The wrapper is slightly oily and there are some veins throughout which contribute to the rustic yet sophisticated nature of this cigar.

Draw and Light

I began with my preferred method of preparation which is a punch for most any cigar that is a 48 or larger ring gauge.  Using a large circumference punch was accomplished easily with very little resistance and no dry cracking or extreme softness was felt.  The draw was easy and there were hints of wood and leather prior to the light.

Using a triple jet butane to light the cigar I did notice that it took a little more care to make sure the cigar was sufficiently toasted.  I attributed this to a thicker wrapper and double binder combination. I suspect this will be a longer burning cigar than I may have anticipated.

First Third

My first couple of draws immediately revealed leather and black pepper.  However, it did not take long for very pleasant floral notes to come forward while the pepper calmed.  The retro confirmed the floral notes and was not as peppery as I thought it might be.

Settling into the first part of the smoke, I tasted dark cocoa and an unexpected saltiness on the finish.  I was pleasantly surprised by the saltiness and found the mix of leather, cocoa, floral and salt to be quite unique and interesting.  There was way more complexity right out of the gate than I had thought there would be.

Second Third

As I was finishing the first third and going into the second, I picked up on a slight “pipe tobacco” flavor. This floated in and out but never came into the forefront too much.  Even though the pepper had definitely receded, a hint of white pepper still remained in the background.  The leather and floral notes had definitely taken over by the second third of this surprising cigar.

The Ivy remained burning well and although a bit of edgy points on the wrapper were slow to simmer on the burn line, overall the cigar smoked well.  Again, I attribute any slow burning issues to be related to the combined thickness of the wrapper and double binder.  It was nothing that caused me to have to touch up or keep relighting though as it seemed to take care of itself as the smoking experience proceeded.

Farther into the second third I noticed that the floral notes had muted and there was a little hint of nuttiness mixed in but very briefly.  What surprised me again, was the change in flavours.  A “meatiness” came forward that tasted like a good steak cooking on a wood fire.  Just a hint of smokiness along with saltiness made me want to light up my grill and get a steak going!

The burn continued to be slow and steady with a cool touch as I finished the second third.  The ash holds nicely through the smoke and produces a nice amount of smoke yet not over abundant.  Even with the increased movement due to taking pictures of the Ivy and repositioning my hand and cigar, the ash never broke off on its own.

Last Third

Just as I was getting comfortable with the flavours at the end of the second third, the floral notes re-emerged and mixed with a slight mineral taste.  That didn’t last long, maybe 4-5 puffs, before the leather, wood and floral notes took over again and brought this cigar into the home stretch.

Tasting Notes

Leather, floral, smoked wood, nuts, mineral, dark cocoa, salt

*Overall Rating  –  90

The complexity of the Ivy blew me away.  Very different than anything I had ever smoked, I found this to be a cigar that made me pay a lot of attention to it.  Ironically, I’m not sure that I relaxed like a wanted to with this smoke.  I seemed to just settle in when the flavours would change unexpectedly. The foundational notes of leather and floral remained consistent throughout although to varying degrees, while everything else around them seemed to continuously change.  Be prepared for the unexpected  –  this is one complex smoke.  It will leave you feeling pleasantly surprised, happy and content that you just had a truly unique cigar!

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Cigar Review – Quesada Dojo De Luxe (Limited)

A CIGAR FIT FOR A KING

Psalm 45:13-15 – The King’s daughter is all glorious within; Her clothing is interwoven with gold. She will be led to the King in embroidered work; The virgins, her companions who follow her, Will be brought to You. They will be led forth with gladness and rejoicing; They will enter into the King’s palace

About

The Quesada Dojo De Luxe is the result of collaboration between Quesada Cigars (Terence Reilly, Manuel Quesada) and Cigar Dojo (Eric Guttormsen, Jordan Guttormsen).  Seeking to bring about the reminiscent experience of cigar days gone by, the De Luxe was designed and crafted to remind us of the cigar’s roots and it’s glamour, all while maintaining the Cigar Dojo mantra of being affordable to the “every day” cigar smoker.

Construction

Wrapper  –  Ecuadorean Connecticut

Binder  –  Dominican

Filler  –  Dominican

Vitola  –  5 3/4  X  52  Perfecto

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Appearance

The Quesada Dojo De Luxe is packaged in a traditional Quesada Box (black with gold letters) with the addition of the Cigar Dojo nomeker.  Each box contains 10 individually wrapped (cellophane) cigars, and in this case, as is customary with the latest Dojo release cigars, a Boveda Pack is inserted before the boxes are wrapped for delivery.

Once removed from the box and its cellophane wrapper, the De Luxe exudes a certain classy and suave appearance.  The wrapper is a golden blonde brown and is oily and smooth to the touch.  This is a cigar that feels immediately comfortable in the smoker’s hand.  The labels (2) again exhibit the traditional and very recognisable Quesada logo but also include a second label in complimentary black and copper gold with the Dojo name and cigar title “De Luxe”.  It is a great combination of old tradition and new innovation with just that subtle addition in label.

Draw and Light

A straight cutter was used to make a slice about 1/4 inch off of the foot.  Once the cut is made the dry draw is clean and easy.

There is a certain carefulness that must be taken when lighting a perfecto as it can be the start of either a great burn line or a battle to keep it from being extremely crooked.  The limited lighting area can be a challenge with this vitola but in the case of the De Luxe (this is my fourth one) it has been minimal.

First Third

There is a slight hint of pepper at the start but this quickly fades to the back.  My immediate reaction is to the smoothness and cubanesque flavor.  I feel like my body is starting to relax already after only a few substantial draws.

A slight caramel flavor comes into my mouth with butter and toast notes adding a nice creaminess.  I notice that the wrapper is very thin and fragile so I am going to keep a close eye on construction as the cigar burns.

The retro is smooth.  I am not a big fan of retro simply because it can flare up my sensitive antihistamine reaction.  However, in this case I am almost wanting to keep retrohaling in order to soak up more of the subtle flavours.

Second Third

As I begin to move into the main body of the perfecto I am still enjoying the smoothness of this cigar.  The butter is beginning to taste more like whipped butter that has just the right amount of sweetness accenting the caramel notes that have been there from the beginning.

Cedar and a bit of nuttiness reminiscent of almonds also float in and out while I watch the white smoke rise when exhaling.  The smoke is quick to disperse yet it is abundant enough to fill the mouth nicely.

The ash is holding well and does not easily drop when I finally tap it into the ashtray.

As I near the end of the second third I notice a slight bitter citrus taste that comes forward only to retreat as I begin the last third.  It is a bit of a surprise but not unpleasant as it is mixed in nicely with the cedar, nuttiness and whipped butter.

Last Third

Consistent to the end, the De Luxe continues to be smooth, creamy and buttery.  There is more of a muted cedar now and the nuttiness is almost reminiscent of cashews.  The burn is cool and I am having no trouble being able to “nub” the cigar which is definitely my desire.

Miscellaneous Notes

The cigar burned well, fairly even and the wrapper remained intact throughout the smoke. There was a curious “split” in the ash at the beginning (first half inch in) but it had no effect on the burn nor the smoking experience.

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Tasting Notes

Butter, whipped butter, caramel, nuts (almond and cashew), cedar, toast, bitter citrus

*Overall Rating – 93

The Quesada Dojo De Luxe definitely provided a relaxing smoke experience.  I felt as though this would be the smoke I would definitely bring with me on an evening out for dinner and drinks, dressed to the nines and feeling like a classy lady, sporting a very classy cigar.  However, this will also be a great Sunday morning cigar for me when I am drinking my coffee and watching a church service online on my deck or in my Gal Cave.

Ultimately no matter where or when you smoke the Quesada Dojo De Luxe you are going to be in good company and your bros and sisses are all going to know that you are one classy guy or gal. Definitely a cigar fit for a King, or in this case the Queen!

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