Posts Tagged With: Steve Saka

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

Sobremesa Short Churchill

Back in 1996, years before I smoked my first premium cigar (that was a Cuban Cohiba in Indonesia late 2005) Steve Saka started what was most likely the first consumer oriented website on cigars ever. As I mentioned, it was years before I lit my first premium cigar so I missed that Steve started working for JR Cigars as a dedicated consultant for sales, marketing and product development. Actually, the first time I ever heard his name was after he moved to Drew Estate and created the cigar that was a game changer for Drew Estate, Liga Privada no.9, and the follow ups like the T52 and undercrown lines.

After leaving Drew Estate Steve took a hiatus before returning with his own company, Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust and his first line: Sobremesa. This cigar is made by Joya de Nicaragua but the blend is made by Saka and he actually owns the tobacco himself instead of using Joya’s tobacco. I heard and read a lot of the cigar and finally met Steve at intertabac last September. We chatted a bit and he gave me two cigars, his new blend Mi Querida and this 4 3/4 x48 Sobremesa short Churchill.

The wrapper is an Ecuadorean Habano rosado with a Mexican Matacapan binder and a filler consisting from Nicaraguan tobacco and Pennsylvania Broadleaf. The band is awesome, the shape is unique, it’s a crown, not a picture of a crown but completely shaped as a crown, very detailed and the brown of the ‘gaps’ in the crown matches the color of the wrapper perfectly. The simple yet matching foot band spells the name Sobremesa is beautiful curly letters. The wrapper is beautiful, shiny and I only see one vein. The construction feels good and the cigar has a medium strong barnyard aroma with also a hint of burned wood. I punched the cigar and found a great cold draw with some pepper and raisin.

After lighting the cigar with my Ronson varaflame I taste espresso with a woody background and a little sweetness. Soon the sweetness is stronger with wood, the espresso is gone.

After a third the sweetness is gone, the cigar now tastes like smooth oak with a little citrus aftertaste. Halfway I taste a little bit of sweetness again. The wood also changed a bit in flavor but it’s still wood. I also taste a very mild dark, mildly sweet, chocolate but is disappears quickly.

The smoke is white, thick and I get a medium amount of it. The burn starts of a bit crooked but it’s corrected itself. The ash is silver gray and beautifully layered. It’s also firm. The draw is great, no plugs and the right resistance. This is a great medium bodied yet full flavored cigar. The smoke time is about 90 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Hell yeah!

Score: 93

93

Categories: 93, Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, Nicaraguan cigars, Sobremesa | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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