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Cigar Review: Polpetta

8 Sep 2020

At the end of 2019—back when the world was a much different place—Steve Saka’s Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust (DTT) announced a new event-only line called Polpetta (Italian for “meatball”). The key there is “event-only.” It’s challenging to stick to that strategy in a year when COIVD-19 effectively brought in-person cigar events to a screeching halt.

Flash forward to July 16, 2020. Smoke Inn, a Florida-based retailer with a robust e-commerce presence, hosted a “Saka’s Smorgasbord” online event, which featured a conversation between Saka and Smoke Inn chief Abe Dababneh, as well as special deals on Dunbarton samplers. And, just as if the event had been conducted in-person, certain purchases included a varying number of Polpetta cigars.

I jumped at what was likely my only chance to secure some Polpettas and made an online purchase of a sampler. Today I am reviewing the cigar after sampling two specimens.

Saka describes this small (4 x 48) parejo as “utilizing the long leaf table trimmings from three of our current ligas.” He wrote on Facebook: “If this concept sounds familiar, it is. I have done it a few times in the past and we are now producing enough Broadleaf cigars to make it viable from a production point of view at DTT.”

In addition to “meatball” being “the perfect moniker for this tasty treat,” it should be noted meatballs have a special place in Saka’s heart—and evidently he’s quite good at making them. Twice he has won the “Meatball Showdown” event held at Two Guys Smoke Shop in his home state of New Hampshire.

The cigar includes a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper around a Mexican San Andrés binder. The filler is comprised of the aforementioned “table trimmings” from Saka’s Mi Querida, Mi Querida Triqui Traca, and Umbagog lines.

Seemingly everything Steve Saka touches turns to gold these days. Yet Polpetta doesn’t have the look of a winner. It’s rough around the edges—literally. I realize Broadleaf makes for a thick wrapper, but here the seams stick out to the point they are prone to peel, crack, and nearly unravel. The cap isn’t pretty, either.

When you get a “table trimmings” cigar, though, you’re more interested in a high flavor-to-cost ratio, not necessarily aesthetics. In terms of flavor, the outset is an interesting, bready mix of raisin, cocoa, espresso, white pepper, and earth. The mouthfeel is dry and oaky. After the first inch or so, the rest of the cigar is characterized by periods where the taste seems to stall—low intensity, papery, dry—and periods when the notes from the beginning shine through.

In terms of physical properties, I have no complaints. The draw is smooth, the ash holds well off the foot, the burn is straight, and the smoke production is average.

That said, it’s clear to me the highlight of the sampler I purchased (notwithstanding my motivations) is not the two Polpettas that were thrown in, but rather the ten other DTT cigars, including vitolas of Sobremesa, Mi Querida, Mi Querida Triqui Traca, and Umbagog. While Polpetta is not a bad cigar by any means, I don’t think it’s worth going out of your way to seek out. In my book, it earns three stogies out of five—which makes it the lowest-rated DTT cigar on this site.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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