Cigar Review: Todos Las Dias by Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust

  • TLD_straightVitola: Robusto
  • 5” x 52 ring gauge 
  • ~$11.49
  • Purchased at Burns Tobacconist

Background

There is one thing for certain about Steve Saka in his post-Drew Estate years…he’s following no one’s script but his own. His first release under the Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust banner was Sobremesa, an extraordinarily complex and rich—but medium-bodied—blend that won my personal “Cigar of the Year” honors…and is still one of my all-time favorites. He followed that up with Mi Querida, what many people saw as an updated take on the Liga Privada #9—it trades in some power for a deeper flavor profile and much lower price point…and it was my Cigar of the Year for 2016. Then he released Umbagog, a lower-priced Broadleaf blend utilizing lower-grade wrapper, and the start of the Muestra de Saka series, highlighting sizes and blending styles that were out of his comfort zone. Really it all seems to be engineered to keep people guessing.

The latest regular release from DTT is Todos Las Dias, Steve’s “personal Spanglish translation meaning ‘All the Days.’” His goal with this cigar was to embody the bold flavors of Nicaraguan tobacco with no pretentiousness about it. “It is an honest, hardworking cigar intended to be smoked by men who know what it means to be a cigar smoker and never give a damn about what other think.” After spending some time with Steve during his two-day stint at Burns earlier this year…that phrase pretty much embodies him, as well.

TLD is a Nicaraguan puro made at the Joya de Nicaragua factory in Estelí. It uses Jalapa and “Esteliano” tobaccos in the filler and a “supple, sungrown Cuban Seed” wrapper.

We had a “launch event” at Burns when these came in and they did sell fairly well…though not as well as his other lines have. I believe that is because it is a much stronger cigar than Sobremesa or Mi Querida, which necessarily limits its appeal…not everyone wants something that strong. I also saw the cigar as being quite divisive among fans of his other lines…a few people smoked one cigar and bought a box (or two) of 10…a few others smoked one and declared they wouldn’t smoke another.

For myself, I’ve smoked a couple of the Half Churchill (sold out before I could purchase any for this review), a Toro, a Robusto, and even a Double Wide Belicoso. I came back to the Robusto for this review about a month after the shipment initially hit the store. I bought all of these sticks at Burns Tobacconist.

TLD_bandPrelight

The retail side of me absolutely hates the 10-count boxes used for Todos las Dias. While the 10 sticks laid side-by-side flat in the very shallow box looks good in photos, the lids are affixed to the short side of the box making it swing up very, very tall. In the shop I work at, I had to shove the lids up into the slats of the shelf above these cigars to make them fit…and for one size, I had to remove the lid completely to have hope that it would fit. Lately there has been a lot of emphasis on keeping lids attached to boxes (it may become a legal thing if the FDA-mandated warning labels have to be shown inside the box lids)…having box lids that are this tall simply doesn’t work in all shops…probably not MOST shops, for that matter. I don’t count off “appearance” points for how dysfunctional a box might be in a retail environment, though…I’m just ranting because I have an outlet…so sue me! <snicker>

Seriously, though, if there is room for proper display, the boxes look great, and the cigars look good laying in them. The wrapper was the color of dark chocolate, with just a hint of red in there. The black and silver bands look striking against the leaf…much better than the gold used in prototypes a year or so ago. The wrapper had an oily feel to it and a ripe earthy aroma. The foot had a little sweeter earthiness, along with wood and natural tobacco aromas.

I clipped with my regular straight cut Xikar and the cold draw was excellent. The cold flavors were of natural tobacco, wood, and a bit of bell pepper.

TLD_footbandFlavor

Once I got the Todos las Dias fully fired up, I got an immediate medium-bodied cedar note dominating the front end of the profile. The woodiness also displayed a little of what makes me think of cinnamon in the flavor profile of the Sobremesa and it made me wonder if there is any commonality of leaf between the two. Beyond that there is a earthiness and a dark roast coffee note that comes in behind that. Pepper spice was picked up almost immediately on the lips and in a slightly lesser place on the palate. The retrohale was almost too spicy right from the get-go…but this is all in keeping with the goal of showcasing exactly what Nicaraguan tobacco is about.

The body of the Todos las Dias definitely ramped up from medium-plus to full-full before the end of the first third. As I headed into the second third, the profile was dominated by earth and espresso bean notes, with cedar flavors playing a more supporting role and the cinnamon long gone. Pepper spice also diminished quite a bit on both the palate and nose.

Coffee notes diminished in the last third until it was all just Nicaraguan earthiness and cedar enveloped in a rich full-bodied smoke. Strangely, peppery notes did not make a comeback, which is something I’m used to seeing in this type of cigar.

TLD_inhandConstruction

Every sample of TLD that I’m smoked so far has had great construction quality.

Value

I have to hand it to the FDA…they’ve done a great job at artificially increasing cigar prices. This stick at $11.50 should probably be $1 cheaper, but it’s just something we’ll have to get used to. It’s a solidly good smoking experience and the price is no higher than other competing cigars, so I have to call it worth the price.

Conclusions

It really comes down to “are you a fan of strong cigars or not?” If you aren’t…then you should probably just avoid this cigar. It has a flavor profile that I consider “good”…but not so outstanding that everyone should try it. I have a feeling it will appeal to a rather narrow range of people, rather than the broader appeal that Sobremesa and Mi Querida have. For myself, I do like it and I will smoke it on those occasions I want something stronger and more full-bodied than normal. It’s just that those occasions are fairly infrequent.

By-The-Numbers

Prelight: 2/2
Construction: 2/2
Flavor: 4/5
Value: 1/1
Total: 9/10

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

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