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Cigar Review: Muestra de Saka Nacatamale

11 Dec 2017

“A muestra is the vision of the ligador and torcedor realized, it is the promise of a new experience and possibly the key to financial success for the fabrica,” says Steve Saka, founder and Master Ligador of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust. “Muestras are hoarded and coveted by not only their makers, but by the cigar smokers who seek to catch a glimpse into the cigar maker’s soul within their smoke.”

In its young history, Dunbarton has amassed acclaim from seasoned cigar devotees that is as well-deserved as it is widespread. Sought-after brands like Sobremesa and Mi Querida are virtually universally praised by cigar veterans who trek to meet Saka at retailer events and hang on his every Facebook post. So when Saka introduces a “muestra,” you have to take notice.

Nacatamale is the second muestra from Dunbarton. It was announced in July and is intended to be “considerably more robust” than its predecessor, Exclusivo. It is made in the “old farm” style, meaning all the filler tobaccos are from a single operation (in this case, an undisclosed farm in Jalapa, Nicaragua).

Nacatamale (6 x 48) comes flawlessly presented in an individual wooden coffin. I paid over $20 for mine (including insane tobacco taxes here in Chicago; the MSRP is $15.95). Inside is a gorgeous, beautifully constructed cigar with a dark Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. It has tight seams, a firm feel, thin veins, and a smooth cold draw. The pre-light notes remind me of green raisin with milk chocolate and cinnamon.

After setting an even light with a wooden match, a spicy, bold, well-balanced introductory flavor emerges that reminds me of cayenne heat, dark chocolate, black coffee, and sweet nougat. The medium- to full-bodied profile steps off the accelerator as the midway point approaches. Here, hints of cinnamon, cedar, cream, and leather play a more active role, and the spice is more subdued. The finale witnesses a reprise of spice with notes of black pepper, dry oak, espresso, cedar, and a frothy, marshmallowy sweetness at the fore.

As you would expect from Saka (and any cigar at this price point), the combustion properties are sublime. The burn line stays straight and true from light to nub with torch touch-ups completely unnecessary. In addition, the draw is smooth, the ash holds firm, and the smoke production is outstanding.

What makes Nacatamale so outstanding—and, yes, it is absolutely outstanding—is not any individual flavor. This cigar is a great example of how the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. The overall balance, complexity, and harmony is simply on point. That Saka handicapped himself by relegating the entire filler recipe to one farm and still composed a symphony of deliciousness… well, that’s head-scratching. Pony up and grab one of these while you still can. Any rating besides five stogies out of five would be inappropriate.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here. A list of other five stogie-rated cigars can be found here.]

–Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1.’s Top Cigars of 2017 (Part II) | The Stogie Guys - Thursday, December 28, 2017

    […] Muestra de Saka Nacatamale: Since reentering the cigar business in 2015, Steve Saka, with his Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, has knocked ‘em out of the park like Aaron Judge: a five-stogie rating in 2015 followed by numerous four-and-a-half rated smokes. This year’s entry comes packed in a wooden coffin with an MSRP of $15.95. “What makes Nacatamale so outstanding—and, yes, it is absolutely outstanding—is not any individual flavor,” said our review. “This cigar is a great example of how the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.” […]