Review: Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Sobremesa
Well, the cool weather didn’t last long. One or two cool evenings and BAM, back in the 80s baby. One thing we Texans are fond of saying, is “if you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes, it’ll change”. Hell, just ask a Texas weatherman, they couldn’t predict daylight. Still celebrating the post-turkey day decompression, this Sunday afternoon is a perfect time to enjoy one of Steve Saka’s latest creations – the Sobremesa. This will be my first from Saka’s new company, Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust or DTT. It’s easy to get caught up in what others are smoking AND saying about a particular cigar, especially on social media. Seems like every guy down the street just launched his own boutique cigar line. I mean, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting another up and coming stick that’s going to change the…well, you get the idea. Weeding through this menagerie of choices is not easy, so you gotta pay attention and lets face it, when Steve Saka has some new smokes available, a lot of folks are going to perk up. Plus, there was just something about that name – Sobremesa. Even the name sounds delicious.
The word, sobremesa, is a Latin cultural idiom that loosely translates to “over the table.” It represents the time after the meal is complete with those still sitting at the table simply talking, drinking and yeah, smoking – just enjoying each other’s company. Yeah, I get it, this might have been the most appropriate smoke after the Thanksgiving coma – no
excuse. Mr. Saka sure picked the perfect name for this marca. But then again, Steve Saka is no stranger to getting things right. Steve has an impressive resume including working as a consultant with JR Cigar’s Lew Rothman and serving as President and CEO of Drew Estate, where Saka is largely credited with the development and blending of the Liga Privada lines. Like few others, Saka is all about high, exacting standards of tobacco and cigar quality and wields his expertise to achieve a uniqueness many other makers can only dream of. Launched shortly after DTT’s formation in 2015, the Sobremesa and its sister stick, Mi Querida, were very well received.
Did you know: Steve Saka graduated college with an engineering degree.
Here are the stats:
- Profile: Medium-Full
- Vitola: El Americano [Toro]
- Length / Ring Gauge: 6.0″/ 52
- Purchased: Local Humidor
- Origin: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: Ecuador Habano #1 Rosado
- Binder: Mexican Matacapan Negro de Temporal
- Filler: Nicaraguan and US
- Cutter: Xikar Xi1
- Lighter: Colibri Firebird
- Price Range: $11-12.50
The banding is very simple with a thin, embossed gold crown at the front and finished with the company logo on the back. The cigar’s namesake is embossed in gold script on an equally simple brown band hugging the foot. I think this is Saka’s intention as the star here is the cigar and the focus is the smoker, sitting around the table, enjoying a laugh or discussing the issues of the day. I’m reasonably sure at some point we’re going to see Saka’s Sasquatch on a cigar in the not too distant future. The “Sakquatch”? Made at the Joya factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, the Sobremesa comes in 11 vitolas, including a rare Diadema (6.25’x60) perfecto, and are packaged in boxes of 13 or 25. The tobaccos are unique and it is reported that production will be dictated by the available leaves, thus making this a limited stick. The Sobremesa has an excellent, uniform firmness from head to foot. While not officially listed, the shape of the cigar looks to be Spanish pressed. The shaft is semi-veiny and the seams are almost invisible. The satin, chocolate-colored wrapper smells of hay and barnyard, but the foot will entice you with hints of herbal tea, raisins and hay. A snap of the cap and the draw is excellent with a delicious duo of chocolate and raisins.
The initial light begins with a burst of cashews and cream against a background of overall nuttiness. I was also treated to heapfulls of coffee and leather. There is a definite hint of cocoa in the mix and as the initial third gets going she does gets earthier as she goes. Interestingly, the Sobremesa turns on her charms and becomes more savory with a slight cedary tang. She’s also sporting some nice pepper elements as well. Burn is good but the char line does become jagged at times, something that manages to work itself out.
There is a noticeable transition into the middle third as the profile becomes more woody and earthy with a toasty finish. There’s a noticeable spice now and an uptick in strength and body as the Sobremesa leans more to the full strength side of medium-full. After a couple of retouches to correct an unruly char line, the earlier hints of coffee have returned but as wonderful notes of espresso. A nice baked bread quality lingers on the finish and the retrohale.
Approaching, and well into, the final third, the Sobremesa’s profile is mostly woody with soft earth and espresso undertones in the finish. A nice surprise lurking is momentary whiffs of cinnamon which balances out the fuller strength and adds a nice sweetness. A little past mid way through the final third, she gets a bit smokey and loses some of the early flavors. Time to take a bow.
Man, I really enjoyed this cigar and it was every bit as delicious as it looks. The Sobremesa is, like many cigars, a perfect after meal smoke. I’ve smoked several critically acclaimed sticks with a similar profile, at least in the initial third, and unlike the Sobremesa, they either lose their way with poor balance of flavors or lack any complexity passed the first third. The Sobremesa keeps your attention and never gives up so be prepared to lose some skin and perhaps some knuckle hair as you whittle this beauty down to the nub. The roll of the cigar is superb with not a single leaf put wrong; however, the only knock on this beauty is her char line which merits watching as the combustion is not uniform. The cigar seemed to fix itself in the first third but in the middle third, it required some touching up. This is a minor nuisance. There was really no issue in the final third. It’s tough some times allowing your cigars to get enough humi time, and this may be part of the issue as she was only in there a few weeks. I have since purchased another Sobremesa and will probably keep 4 to 5 in the humi as they are also great to share. I’m looking forward to my date with Sobremesa’s sibling, Mi Querida, which has a little more body and umph.
The pricing of the cigar, I think, is a bit higher than I expected. I would have no problem with $10-11. Sure, you can get sub $10 and even $8 cigars with a great flavor palette and decent complexity, but few of them will mix it up quite as nice or have the level of quality. Still, pricing may be high enough to push some to go for the less expensive, but still impressive offerings. If that’s the case for you, then consider this a treat, a veritable triple scoop Rocky Road, to be enjoyed after a bad day or week or just when you need to recharge or simply want to extend a special camaraderie across the dinner table. – In Fumo Pax!