Cigar Review: Sobremesa Robusto Largo

19 Nov 2019

These days, when cigar enthusiasts think of Steve Saka’s Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, the “marcas” they’re most likely to conjure are the ones Saka features in his frequent social media posts. Sin Compromiso. The Muestra de Saka iterations, including Nacatamale and (especially) Unicorn. Maybe a close-up of a lit Umbagog taken at Saka’s favorite fishing lake in New Hampshire.

But when I think Dunbarton, I think Sobremesa. Sobremesa was announced in July 2015 to almost instant excitement as the first line from Saka’s new independent cigar operation. It marked the culmination of a two-year non-compete agreement Saka had with his former employer, Drew Estate. Seemingly everyone was clamoring to see how the man who played a critical role in growing Drew Estate into a Nicaraguan juggernaut would fare in his first solo foray.

In my opinion, Sobremesa was—and still is—worth the hype. To date we’ve written about the Elegante en Cedros, Gran Imperiales, Corona Grande, El Americano, and—my personal favorite—the Cervantes Fino. All have received exemplary marks.

Today I look at a Sobremesa vitola that has thus far escaped my reach: the Robusto Largo (5.25 x 52). Like its brethren, the Robusto Largo sports an oily, velvety, toothy, slightly reddish Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper leaf with minimal veins and tight seams. It envelops a Mexican binder and a filler blend of Pennsylvania Broadleaf Ligero with four different Nicaraguan tobaccos (Gk Condega C-SG Seco, Pueblo Nuevo Criollo Viso, La Joya Estelí C-98 Viso, and ASP Estelí Hybrid Ligero).

The cap clips easily to reveal a smooth cold draw. At the foot, the pre-light notes remind me of cocoa powder, earth, and caramel.

After establishing an even light, I find a creamy, balanced, delightfully familiar profile of café au lait, gentle cinnamon spice, salted nuts, and a bit of cayenne heat. The finish has both black pepper and baking spices. The texture is bready.

As the Robusto Largo progresses, flavors like dark cherry, green raisin, cedar, molasses, and caramel come and go. The texture shifts to thick syrup around the midway point and thereafter. As I’ve written before about Sobremesa, “the complexity is palpable and highly enjoyable, and the sweetness of the resting smoke is mouth-wateringly intoxicating. Fortunately, the combustion qualities do not detract from the experience; rather, they enhance it. The burn line is straight, the smoke production above average, the draw easy, and the ash holds well off the foot.”

For me, the Cervantes Fino remains the flagship of the fleet. But don’t sleep on the other vitolas, including the Robusto Largo. It is worthy of another outstanding rating of four and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Cohiba Siglo I (Cuban)

17 Nov 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

I don’t smoke as many Cubans as I used to, even though they are now easier to acquire than they have been for decades (you can import them for personal consumption as long it is in your own luggage). For example, I brought this petit corona back with me last year when I visited France and Germany. One of the reasons I’ve not gone out of my way to smoke more Cubans is the inconsistent construction and quality. Fortunately, this small, 40-minute smoke didn’t suffer such issues, as combustion was excellent. With balanced flavors of cedar, hay, cream, nuts, and light spice, this is a Cuban well worth smoking.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Boutique Blends La Boheme Pittore

13 Nov 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

From the makers of Aging Room, La Boheme has earned high ratings, including a showing on a Top 25 list or two. The cigar features an Ecuadorian wrapper around Dominican binder and filler tobaccos. Light cedar, pepper, paper, and cream notes create a medium-bodied smoke. It is well-made but lacks the complexity I had been expecting given the elevated praise. Still, it has solid construction and a pleasant (if unexceptional) flavor profile.

Verdict = Hold.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Protocol Probable Cause Lancero

11 Nov 2019

I’m not sure how Cubariqueño Cigar Company co-founder Juan Cancel gets any real work done. Being a brand owner surely must entail plenty of grind and grit. Spreadsheets. Forecasting. Sales calls. Long, over-caffeinated nights. Flights to and from the factory. Arduous days spent in airports, rental cars, and countless cigar shops/lounges.

Yet, according to his (often hilarious) Facebook posts, seemingly daily he is at some exotic locale with a wide, toothy, bearded grin. He might be shirtless. He might be with some “internet famous” cigar babe well-known for her bikini-laden Instagram page. He might be dressed as Santa Claus. Wherever he is, and whatever he’s doing, the two constants seem to be (1) a smile as exaggerated as the day is long and (2) a Cubariqueño cigar.

Cubariqueño has been around for four years, having introduced itself to the cigar world in 2015 with a nondescript table at Erik Espinosa’s booth at the IPCPR Trade Show in New Orleans. Founders Juan Cancel and Bill Ives count among their brands Protocol, Protocol Probable Cause, Protocol Official Misconduct, Protocol Gold, and Sir Robert Peel (both Natural and Maduro).

When it was launched in 2015, the Protocol Probable Cause came in two sizes: Robusto (5 x 52, $9.69) and a box-pressed Churchill (6.6 x 48, $9.89). In 2017, a Lancero (7.5 x 38, $10.50) was added. It is made at Espinosa’s La Zona Cigar Factory in Estelí with a Mexican San Andrés wrapper around Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos.

I am a fan of lanceros and was eager to try the Probable Cause line in this format. Despite its narrow ring gauge, it has a smooth pre-light draw. It comes handsomely presented with dual bands of red, silver, and black. “La Zona” is inscribed on the back.

Once lit, there is an initial blast of black pepper spice, which is only slightly balanced by a faint background of natural tobacco sweetness. From there, the Lancero settles into a medium-bodied, classic-tasting smoke with a thick, leathery texture.

At the midway point, while the black pepper remains, a spicy red pepper cayenne heat is introduced. Other flavors include steak, dried fruit, and espresso. The overall effect is simultaneously earthy, leathery, and dry. The final third is much of the same.

In terms of physical properties, the burn line isn’t perfect—but it also doesn’t really require any touch-ups along the way. The smoke production is good, and the gray ash holds well.

Bottom line? This is this is a good lancero at a fair price. It may not make my smile as wide and enthusiastic as Juan Cancel’s—not many cigars would—but I’m smiling nonetheless. In my book, the Protocol Probable Cause Lancero earns four stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

 

Quick Smoke: Partagas Ramon y Ramon Robusto

10 Nov 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

partagas

My colleague reviewed this Partagas blend a few years ago when it debuted. I agree it is impressive. Right from the start, I find a creaminess combined with light but flavorful spices and a touch of cedar. Although I might classify the cigar as mild in body, it is anything but dull. Add in the excellent construction I’ve come to expect from smokes produced by General Cigar, and this is one I’d recommend to novices and aficionados alike.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Quick Smoke: Old Henry Gold Label Toro

8 Nov 2019

A couple times each week we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief verdict on a single cigar of “buy,” “hold,” or “sell.”

For cost-conscious fans of José “Pepín” García, the Old Henry brand from Philadelphia-based Holt’s Cigar Co. is a no-brainer. This Gold Label Toro sells for $110 for a box of 25, $26 for a 5-pack, or $5.50 for a single. It sports a bright Connecticut-seed Ecuadorian wrapper around Nicaraguan tobaccos. The profile exhibits mild- to medium-bodied balance with tastes ranging from roasted nut and café au lait to dry oak and white pepper. The texture is buttery, and the combustion qualities are solid. This cigar won’t knock your socks off, but it gets the job done for the price.

Verdict = Buy.

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Cigar Review: Curivari Sun Grown 550

6 Nov 2019

Last week I reviewed the Curivari Gloria de Leon and noted the brand’s “reputation as a brand that appeals to fans of Nicaraguan cigars and provides excellent value for the price.” Now I’m looking at another Curivari line, the (comparatively simply-named) Sun Grown blend.

I smoked three robusto-shaped “550” vitolas. The Sun Grown line consists of box-pressed smokes that feature sun-grown Nicaraguan Habano wrappers around Nicaraguan binder and fillers. The cigars sell for around $6, slightly less when purchased in consumer-friendly boxes of 10 cigars.

The cigar is a medium-bodied smoke with espresso, damp earth, and clove notes. As it evolves, leather and black pepper spice flavors emerge with the pepper spice lingering on the palate.

It’s a gritty flavor profile that at times lacks balance. Construction is excellent, with the firmly box-pressed smoke featuring an even burn, sturdy salt and pepper ash, and good smoke production.

Curivari makes a lot of cigars (with a flurry, including the Sun Grown, introduced at the 2017 IPCPR Trade Show). While there are many blends, all stay true to the brand’s Nicaraguan-centric character. The Curivari Sun Grown is no exception.

While hardly my favorite Curivari blend (I far prefer the Buenaventura and Gloria de Leon lines), it is still a solid smoke, especially considering the price. That earns the Curivari Sun Grown 550 a rating of three and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys