Mi Querida Triqui Traca No. 552

I’m sure Steve Saka is a lot of things, besides his famous Bigfoot effigy, but as far as the cigar world is concerned, they’re just thankful he knows his way around satisfying cigars blends. While not alone, Saka is well known for coaxing subtle nuances and unique flavors from his blends but like a master whisky/ey distiller, he seems to put some distance between himself and everyone else in the level of refinement. Saka’s cigars won’t appeal to everyone or every palate, but from his days at Drew Estate (Liga Privada Series) to the portfolio of his own Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, there’s a lot of reasons his finessed cigar blends have garnered legions of fans.

Our first review of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust’s inaugural, original Mi Querida line came in mid-2018, which walked away with a well-deserved “go to” recommendation. Two years on and this sentiment remains true, at least as evidenced by my own personal supply. Even while cloaked in Saka’s favorite capa, Connecticut broadleaf, some smokers overlook the maduro nature of the Mi Querida line, simply because it doesn’t smoke like the maduros we’re used to. And that’s the point. Saka has transformed the maduro into a lush, complex, well-rounded cigar you should smoke anytime: a go to.

Saka continues down this path with the sophomore release in the Mi Querida line, Triqui Traca. This year’s new release with the funny name that sounds like an Amtrak conductor’s worst nightmare, actually began life two years ago as a one-off, limited run blend for Dave Garofalo’s 2 Guys Cigars. It was called the Mi Querida Firecracker and even sported a long fuse, an homage to the oversized fireworks dubbed by Nicaraguan locals as “Triqui Traca” which were daisy-chained together in a long line, sometimes the length of a city block during celebrations.

For regular production, Saka adopted the local firecracker slang, “triqui traca” and altered the blend slightly to include the darker corona varietals of Connecticut broadleaf in the wrapper and a more powerful internal ligero leaf. Our attractive No. 552 is similar in texture to its Mi Querida sibling, but takes on a reddish, almost cola-like coloring. This thing is as hard as a rock throughout its lumpy, toothy length so I was concerned about the draw, which turned out to be surprisingly open. The lush wrapper offers a tantalizing mix of cinnamon and leather aromas.

The word on this cigar was that it was designed as a more powerful blend compared to its sibling, but at least the opening profile cast some doubt as Triqui Traca served up a, warm, lush draw of cinnamon and toast followed by a rich, spicy mélange of vanilla, black pepper, cedar and espresso intonations. Dark chocolate and sweet mesquite notes dance in the background as someone continually turns up the spice knob. Bold and flavorful, Triqui Traca, is still light on the palate and very refined. The overtly toasty nature comes through on the long finish, along with hints of cinnamon.

Body and strength do approach max power during transitions but again, the refined nature of the texture and flavor wheel keeps the profiles from becoming unbalanced or overpowering. Nutty and woody foundations dominate but with intonations of well-timed notes of salted cashews and salted caramel amidst a residual backdrop of black pepper, espresso and a crescendo of cedar notes. While very flavorful, Triqui Traca’s overwhelming strength is its ability to be bold yet polished, strong yet light on the palate. Oh, and the spice Gods have spoken.

Good conduct medals in performance are also in order as Triqui Traca is an excellent smoke producer, produces a strong 1”+ ash and maintains pretty good combustion though with a slight unevenness at times. The hard body nature of this cigar lends itself to be a slow burner as this cigar is packed tighter than Dolly Parton in a life vest. The original Mi Querida blend tickled all the taste buds and senses, including those I didn’t know I possessed, and while their mutually shared trait is sophistication, Triqui Traca further ups the ante on the power-maduro, as Saka notes, “for those who crave the boldest of maduro cigars.”- In Fumo Pax!

Recommendation: Boxworthy

Did you Know: “Triqui Traca” is local Nicaraguan slang for large firecrackers that are often used in celebrations, linked together in a chain that often stretch for entire city blocks.

  • Profile: Full
  • Vitola: No. 552 [Robusto]
  • Length / Ring: 5.0″ x 52
  • Purchased: Online
  • Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf No. 1 Darks
  • Binder: Nicaraguan
  • Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican
  • Production: Nicaragua American Cigars S.A. [NACSA]
  • Blade: Xikar xi1
  • Fire: Colibri Firebird
  • Price:$10.75 [Box $215]
  • Humidor Age: 6 wks.
  • Box: 20
  • Other Vitolas: No. 648 [6″x48], No. 652 [6″x52], No. 764 [7″x64]


Smoke Time: 1:16
: Open
Construction: Attractive; toothy; veiny; rough to touch; sloppy cap; hard body throughout; reddish, cola hue; holds strong, 1″ dirty-gray ash.

  • WrapperCinnamon, leather
  • Foot – Chocolate fudge
  • Cold Draw – Spiced Raisin

Tasting Notes:

  • Initial: Toasty nucleus; rich notes of cinnamon and bread crust on initial draws; lush intonations of vanilla, black pepper and cedar; velvety smooth, light tinge of spice on palate; crisp, light, toasty finish of cinnamon and pepper; notes of espresso more prominent on retro; foundation evolves into sweet mesquite; spice increases prior to transition; bold and flavorful; medium-bodied and still easy on the palate.
  • Transition: Center becomes more nutty in character; warm, salted caramel notes on draw and finish; spicy retro notes of salted cashews with residual black pepper; bold finish with mesquite and espresso notes; ligero goes full Monte as spice bomb detonates.
  • Transition: More wood-dominant core; espresso and cedar notes driving bus on retro and finish; bold and full bodied; retains some nuttiness at top of retro; pleasant touches of anise play hide and seek on retro.

Complexity: Excellent
Balance: Excellent
Touch upsN/A
Combustion: Excellent
Weaknesses: N/A
Recommendation: Boxworthy

Recommendation scale:

  1. Go-to
  2. Boxworthy
  3. 5 packer
  4. Yard ‘gar
  5. NR [No Recommendation]

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