Cigar Review: Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Muestra de Saka

Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Muestra de Saka




Steve’s explanation of Muestra de Saka via FB


“MdS is a line of individual batch produced cigars. Each cigar within the line is a unique vitola and liga – no two are the same. Their taste, body, strength, materials, etc. will vary widely. As will their individual concept or premise.

The basic idea behind the line is they are a personal blending challenge for myself. Trying to create something out of leaf I do not typically work with, sometimes in a size I don’t typically like to smoke, or a style of cigar that I rarely find favor with. There are me trying to broaden my own horizons and see if I can make something of note. Basically, they are me stepping out of my own comfort zone.

They are packed in individual coffins as my thought behind the line is that most consumers who are curious will buy one, maybe two, to try. Basically join me in smoking my personal experiments and then comment on them: positive, negative and in between. I never envisioned it becoming a daily for anyone.

The first in the series was the 6 x 52 Exclusivo. It was me trying to make a creamier, milder cigar, but utilizing only Nicaraguan leaf and from some of the farms in the country best known for their STRONG tobaccos… so the challenge was: can I make a mild cigar out of tobacco that is notoriously know for being potent?

The reason for this explanation is we are about to offer the second in the series to Retailers and I want to try to limit the confusion about the Brand and Ligas as much as possible.




The second frontmark that is soon to be offered is the Nacatamale, a 6 x 48 parejo. What made this cigar a unique blending challenge is I went “viejo granja” style with it – for over a century most cigars entire filler recipe was comprised of just ONE farm’s tobacco and any complexity was introduced by extremely careful leaf processing, selection and positioning within the bunch.

Whereas these days as blenders we have hundreds of ingredients to work and blend with to create interesting and satisfying ligas. So the challenge was to see if I could make a liga “old farm” style that could hold its own with the modern blends we create today in factories. Fwiw, this liga is considerably more robust than Exclusivo.

Since this cigar’s filler and binder are all from just one small, independent farm in Jalapa, Nicaragua I will not be disclosing the name of the vega.

All of the Exclusivos have been sold, however we still owe a few retailers a few boxes which will be shipped to them later this month which will conclude this entire first batch.

We will offer Nacatamales to retailers at the END of this month for order. NO REASON TO CALL OR CONTACT US NOW ABOUT THESE. Our Select Purveyors will be afforded ample opportunity to order them.

FYI for all as we are are being asked constantly: Currently there are no plans to make additional Exclusivos in 2017, that being said though, none of the MdS series has ever been designated as a “one time only” product. Maybe in the future we will make more, but right now I am far more interested in going on to the next experiment”.



The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper is milk chocolate brown in color, toothy with notable vein and seam, rolled in the Toro version the vitola has a rounded cap and wide open foot. A silky yellow wrapper surrounds the foot of the cigar, this is the only identifiable landmark on the MdS. Around the band reads “MUESTRA DE SAKA” in a bright orange/red stencil font.

The word “EXCLUSIVO” is in solid black font on top of the stenciling. The real eye catcher is the packaging! Impeccably presented in an earthy brown box with gold lettering reading “MUESTRA DE SAKA”.

Inside are individual coffins each having the name etched in wood with the aforementioned name and the Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust logo looking like it was burned into the wood. Pre light aroma had notes of sweet cedar and caramel corn. The cold draw produced flavors of sweet tea and raw sugar.




At first light there is an interesting sweet flavor of sugar.  Several months ago, I procured one sample and thought to myself is this another Saka Bomb! Did he throw a curve ball at us and slip-in an infused cigar? Pleasantly the initial blast of sweetness is short lived, I haven’t talked to Steve about it but my guess is nothing infused but an overly sweet vegetable glue. Once combustion occurs flavors of dried fruit, glazed almonds and rich cedar with minimal char is present. Background flavors of muted milk chocolate and charred maple. The spicy element is in a med black table pepper dusting giving the MdS a sweet and spicy finish. Clean white pepper on the retro evolving into flavors of light caramel.

  • Raw Sugar
  • Dried Fruit
  • Glazed Almonds
  • Rich Cedar/Char
  • Black Table Pepper



Entering cruise control burn flavors of glazed almonds with a background of light sugar. There’s some upper echelon complexity present balancing in with roasted nuts, leather and maple. Background flavors of chocolate, sweet tea and dried meat. The spicy element has decreased but still present in the form of a black table pepper dusting giving the vitola a unique aftertaste in between draws that is predominantly sweet with a hint of leather. The retro is in the form of clean white pepper evolving into flavors of rich caramel. 

  • Roasted Nuts
  • Leather
  • Maple
  • Chocolate
  • Sweet Tea
  • Dried Meat
  • Black Table Pepper Dusting



In the final duration flavors of maple char, dried fruit and corn nuts. Background flavors are predominantly sweet with roasted nuts, rich cedar and smoked almonds. The spicy element has increased slightly in the form of a black table pepper dusting balancing in with a sweetness of muted sugar that has followed the duration of the cigar, always present on the palate in between draws. The retro has been consistent with clean white pepper evolving into flavors of signature Saka caramel corn. 

  • Maple Char
  • Dried Fruit
  • Corn Nuts
  • Raw Sugar
  • Roasted Nuts
  • Rich Cedar
  • Smoked Almonds
  • Black Table Pepper
  • Clean White Pepper on the retro evolving into signature Saka Carmel Corn



CONSTRUCTION: Above Average/Excellent 

BURN: Razor Sharp Perfect/Perfect Combustion

CUT: Straight

DRAW: Perfect Resistance 


STRENGTH: Straight Medium



This concludes our 2016 lineup of DTT offerings, a lineup that taught us about a “Side Piece” a perfect “Fishing Cigar” in a white and green label and two offerings that saw minimal air time in the form of “Todos Las Dias” and “Sin Compromiso“. Unfortunately for the Muestra de Saka the best wasn’t saved for last. I liked the cigar but didn’t love it. One draw back, for me at least was the ever present flavor of raw sugar! It showed up in many forms, nuances, up front and in the background.

IMO the cigar didn’t need it. As reported there was some upper echelon complexity going on but the sweet flavor of sugar was more of a hindrance than a compliment and it over powered a lot of the flavors coming through on the straight MEDIUM bodied but other wise balanced and tasty cigar.

As far as cost of the MdS it was on the higher side of offerings from DTT but I would imagine packaging and presentation probably set the bar for this one.  Price point has never affected a review score and with higher taxes coming down the pike in CA even an averaged priced cigar is about to double in cost! Brace yourselves California it’s coming in the form of Prop 56!


Cigars for review: Box Purchase – Plus One

Cigars smoked for review: 5

Cigar Smoke Rate: 88

Size: 6 x 52 (Toro)

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Nicaraguan, Independent farm in Jalapa

Filler: Nicaraguan, Condega, Estelí, Jalapa, and Ometepe

Country of Origin: Nicaragua

Factory: Joya de Nicaragua

Production: 1.500 Boxes





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