Nicaragua American Cigars S.A.

Esteli, Nicaragua

Mi Querida SakaKhan

When I met Steve Saka at the Intertabac Trade show he gave me two cigars, the Sobremesa Short Churchill, which I reviewed back in January and rated 93, and this 7×50 Mi Querida Churchill nicknamed SakaKhan. Now I’m looking forward to smoke this beautiful looking cigar with the Connecticut River Valley broadleaf wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos but for this review I decided to google some background information and I glad I did otherwise I would have been writing some wrong information here, for example naming the wrong manufacturer.


I know Steve has tight connections with the guys at Joya de Nicaragua, I know Juan Martinez pretty well and he always praised working with Steve. When Steve Saka was CEO at Drew Estate they started working together with a distribution deal in the USA where Drew Estate up till today is distributing Joya as well and Joya producing some cigars for Drew Estate at their facilities, and once he started his Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust he went to Joya for the Sobremesa. So I was surprised to find out that the Mi Querida isn’t produced by Joya but by NACSA, a manufacturer that produces for more companies, for example they also produce Asylum for Christian Eiroa & Tom Lazuka’s Asylum Cigars. I asked Steve why and he explained that he picks the factory that suits the best for that specific blend, and in this case it was NACSA.


The cigar looks majestic, the combination of the length, the dark smooth wrapper with the flattened veins, the beautiful triple cap and the simple yet tasteful ring just scream elegance yet power. This is a cigar I would pick at the cigar shop if I didn’t know anything about cigars and just shopped on appearance. The ring is dark blue with thick golden outline and a swirly font saying Mi Querida in gold as well. The ring has gear wheel like edges that set it apart from all other simple bands and can only be done on thick paper. The construction feels great, evenly filled, not too soft or too hard. The cigar has a mild ammonia and forest aroma. I punched the cigar and get a good cold draw with a peppery flavor. My trusted Ronson varaflame lit the cigar.


Right from the start i taste a very pleasant coffee flavor with sweetness, like espresso with a sugar cube. After a centimeter the flavor is woody, with some caramel and some pepper. Slowly i start to taste spices too. After a third the cigar gets sweeter. The flavors are not strong but so beautifully balanced, it’s amazing. Halfway I taste chocolate with a little cayenne pepper. There is also a honey like sweetness along with the other flavors. The sweet chocolate is getting stronger. After two thirds I taste some dark wood again, mild spicy, honey and a very mild citrus. Near the end the flavors all grow in strength with a nice, balanced dose of pepper. The last centimeter is pepper and nuts.


The smoke is medium thick at the start but is slowly gets thicker. The draw is great. The white ash is beautifully layered with some black smears. The burn is slow and just a little bit off. This medium full bodied and full flavored, extremely well balanced cigar gave me two and a half hours of cigar enjoyment.

Would I buy this cigar again? Without a doubt, I thought there wasn’t much room for improvement at the Sobremesa but this Mi Querido is even better.

Score: 94

94
edit: Steve Saka responded to the review on Facebook: “The manufacturer is NACSA – a very well known factory in our industry for producing value priced cigars. About 2 years ago they decided they really wanted to step up their game which included a total retrofit of their facility, a wholesale change over of their top and key personnel and the decision to work with a total pain in the a$$ – me. Many people in the industry said I was crazy, but imo they are just lazy and do not understand potential or what is needed to push a factory into being its best. I got the wacky-tabacy factory to make Liga Privada, while JDN has been a great factory on their own merits I was able to get them to expand their horizons flavor and blending wise, so working to improve an economy factory into becoming a factory that could craft true premiums was a walk-in-the-park particularly since they wanted to change, to do more and they took aggressive action to do so… many people forget that master cigar makers like Fuente and Padron originally started out as bundle cigar operations. And through hard work and dedication to the craft they have become two of the very best in the world. IMO, Mi Querida is the finest cigar every produced at NACSA, but it will not be their last – they have the right people and practices in place now to make exceptional handmade premiums in addition to maintaining their value priced production cigars.”

Categories: 94, Mi Querida, Nicaragua American Cigars S.A., Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Asylum 13 Ogre 770

This is a review I dread, not because of the blend of the cigar or the brand but because of the sheer size. I like the classic sizes, lancero, lonsdale, corona, robusto but anything over ring 55 is 99 out of the 100 times to big for me, unless its a torpedo or perfecto, then it might just work. So this 7 by 70 is way out of my comfort zone. Actually, when we got these cigars in, I worked at the Dutch distributer at that time, and I walked into our retail location in Rotterdam, my employer was there and asked me if I wanted to try one. My initial reply was “if I want to suck a donkey dick, i’ll go to the petting zoo”. But the other day I found one in my humidor, probably left over from a sample I gave to a retailer, so I decided to smoke it. The 7 by 70 was the initial release of the Ogre line, before all the line extensions, and it was in the early days that this happened.


The cigar itself is a cigar made at NASCA in Esteli, Nicaragua for Asylum Cigars, the company of Christian Eiroa and Tom Lazuka. I do like the regular Asylum 13 robusto and I always like the way barber poles look so if this was a robusto size I’d be quick to try one, especially since its a barber pole that doesn’t use Connecticut shade as a contrast wrapper, most of the times that kills the cigar for me because I hate Connecticut shade even more than I hate big ring cigars, although they come pretty darn close to each other.


The cigar, first of all, I love the name, its big, its green, so its an ogre. And it doesn’t come wrapped in cellophane but to protect the foot the foot is wrapped in a piece of wrapping paper. The ring is big, simple, shiny black with white lettering saying Asylum 13 and little drawings of something, but I don’t know what, could be a flower, a cloud of a mental patient from an asylum mooning me. They are all connected by a red dotted line. The ring doesn’t make any sense to me, but maybe thats deliberate to match the name. The quality of the printing is fine though. Then the wrapper, the brown wrapper is nice and dark, like dark oak and mild shiny while the candela wrapper is more rustic with more veins. They make a nice contrast. The construction feels good, and the dark cap is placed razor sharp on the top of the cigar, creating a beautiful horizontal line on the parts with the candela wrapper. The cigar has a mild and fresh smell to it, a little grassy too but I guess that comes from the candela wrapper.


I cut the cigar instead of punching it because I felt punching it wouldn’t be enough. The cold draw is great and tastes a little bit of raisin and a lot of pepper. Because of the ring gauge I opted for a torch flame and it still took a minute to get the cigar properly lit. I taste coffee with grass and pepper. I also taste a little sweetness. After half an inch the cigar gets creamy like butter with a lot of pepper. After an inch and a half I taste some vanilla and with the cream I think of vanilla ice cream but with lots of pepper. Near the end I taste nuts and pepper and the flavors are still creamy.


The smoke is medium thick and medium in amount. The draw is a little too easy, but that’s expected from a 70 ring cigar. The ash is light gray and frayed but very firm. The burn is uneven, but I never had a barberpole with an even burn, the different wrappers all burn with their own speed. I actually have to work to keep the cigar lit. As expected there isn’t a bit of evolution as is always the case with big ring gauge cigars. The cigar is medium bodied at most and medium plus flavored. The amount of pepper surprised me though. The smoke time is less than I expected, only two hours but it’s long enough for me.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, but I would try the lancero or the robusto if they ever make it to The Netherlands

Score: 85
85

Categories: 85, Asylum, Nicaragua American Cigars S.A., Nicaraguan cigars | 5 Comments

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