- Vitola: Fino Largo
- 6” x 48 ring gauge
- MSRP $8.95
- Purchased at Burns Tobacconist
It’s no secret that I loved the first release from Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, Steve Saka’s new cigar company. I’ve smoked all but one vitola and enjoyed them all, recommended them to nearly every regular and semi-regular customer that walks into my cigar shop, and named the Cervantes Fino vitola as my 2015 Cigar of the Year. I was an early-adopter for this blend and after smoking at least a box worth of cigars, I’m still completely sold on the blend. So when I heard about Saka’s 2016 headlining project, I was more than intrigued…
While he was at Drew Estate, Steve headed the team that created the Liga Privada #9, a rich, full-bodied cigar with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. He’s not hidden his love for the leaf since…and it happens to be my favorite wrapper leaf, as well. This is how he describes his new release:
Mi Querida (pronounced “me kay-ree-dah”) is a rather provocative word within the Nicaraguan culture. Although it literally translates as “my dearest”, when it is uttered in Nica it is used expressly to describe your beyond sultry, secret mistress of whom you crave with an unbridled, wanton lust. Cigar wise, it represents my personal maduro desires: a robust, extremely flavorful liga comprised of rich Nicaraguan leaf hand rolled in a 100% naturally fermented, heavy Broadleaf capa. Earthy and dense with a long teasing, slightly dirty finish, Mi Querida is delightfully lush and full bodied on the palate offering an extremely satisfying experience for the most passionate of cigar smokers.
One of the others who worked on the Liga #9 team was Nick Melillo, who also released a new Broadleaf-wrapped cigar this year—The Tabernacle. This set up a “War of the Broadleaves”…although the real winners are those of us who love a great Broadleaf Maduro cigar. More interesting to note, though, is that Nick sees Broadleaf as a “holy place” while Steve sees it as a “passion.” I agree with both.
Mi Querida is available currently in 4 sizes, with more to come. I smoked a show sample of the 6 x 56 Muy Gordo Grande; I liked it, but felt it just gave me a preview of coming attractions. I smoked the 5 x 52 Ancho Corta and the 6 x 52 Ancho Largo; I found them both very good for different times and some smokers will undoubtedly favor these sizes. Then I smoked the Fino Largo…and when I finished the first one, I bought 3 more.
In contrast to Sobremesa, Mi Querida ships in fairly plain wood boxes with little in the way of additional art or decoration. There are simple burned/stamped cliches and text on the box but that’s about it. I’m sure that contributes to the lower price point for these cigar, as compared to Sobremesa, which is fine with me…but another part of me would have liked to see something a little more elaborate. Maybe there wasn’t time with practically every cigar-maker in the world hitting up band printers and box factories in advance of the FDA regulations starting up. The band itself uses a high-quality paper stock with blue ink, gold foil and embossing. It’s a simple look at first glance, but if you look more closely, it’s surprisingly intricate, with a pattern hidden in the blue part of the band and really only visible under certain lighting and if you’re looking for it.
The wrapper leaf was a dark chocolate or espresso bean shade of brown with a bit of oily glisten under the lights, but an excess of oil on the fingers. The aroma from the leaf was earth, oily tobacco, and leather, while the foot had richer earthiness with touches of cocoa powder and coffee in the mix.
I clipped the end and took a test draw which was very good and tasted of dark coffee, cocoa powder, and dried fruit, while leaving a slight peppery burn on my lips.
Initial fire-up of Mi Querida gave off a very spicy start, though not just pepper spice. There was also a bit of baking spice, cinnamon specifically, in there, though the pepper did manifest strongly on the first couple puffs. It did take just a couple puffs for the peppery heat to die down, though, leaving room for notes of dark earth and unsweetened cocoa to come through, followed by something with a little sweetness, perhaps some dark chocolate or dried fruit…it was almost too subtle to tell. The retrohale had cocoa powder and red pepper to it. The body started off medium-plus and graduated to medium-to-full by the end of the first third.
Moving into the second third, the texture of the smoke was smooth and silky and it had a dark chocolate sweetness and peppery afterburn, with enough earth and coffee underneath to balance out the sweeter notes. That’s odd to say because usually I end up looking for more sweetness to balance out the earthier flavors in a cigar, but this smoke was exquisite so far in its flavor and balance.
The Mi Querida burned slow and sweet and dark and earthy in the last third, though I wanted it to burn even slower because I was enjoying it so much. Pepper notes had smoothed out to just a low burn and there was some cedar on the finish.
I had to touch up the burn line, which is nothing unusual for any Maduro, but especially Connecticut Broadleaf. The draw was flawless and the ash was never flaky.
The price point on Mi Querida is astounding for the level of enjoyment I got for it. Fantastic value.
This is Broadleaf done right…about as right as you’ll ever get it, in fact. Mi Querida had tons of sweetness, but balanced with earth and coffee and wood and pepper in such a way that it never grew dull or predictable. Some people have compared this to the Liga Privada #9, which is both a fair and unfair comparison. I say that Liga #9 was how Steve Saka (in conjunction with Nick and the rest of the team) was feeling about Broadleaf a decade ago, while this is how he feels about it today. And I like today’s expression better…both in flavor and in price point. And if you want to talk about a comparison with Nick’s Tabernacle, I would say that I prefer Mi Querida, although I totally understand how other people might favor the Foundation Broadleaf release. This was a fantastic, damn near perfect cigar. The other sizes are very good, but this Fino Largo is a contender for Cigar of the Year.