Sabor de Chattanooga is a shop exclusive cigar to Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The cigar is made by Noel Rojas’ Guayacan Cigars. The cigar was originally introduced as an event only cigar for the 2015 Chattanooga Tweet Up and Cigar Festival; an annual cigar herf held by Burns Tobacconist. After success with the original 30 box allocation for the event, Burns has received a subsequent shipment and it has gone on to become a limited production cigar for Burns. Sabor de Chattanooga is significant because it is the first Connecticut Broadleaf cigar to carry the Guayacan name. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke this cigar (from the original event allocation). 2015 has seen a flood of shop exclusives, but this one might be one of the hidden gems of the year as it delivered an outstanding overall experience.
It was in 2012, when Rojas came to the Chattanooga Tweet Up with his relatively unknown company called Guayacan Cigars. The original Guayacan Cigar became one of the hits of the 2012 event. Shortly afterwards, Rojas entered into a distribution agreement with House of Emilio. This past September, Rojas left House of Emilio and now is handling his own distribution.
Sabor de Chattanooga was produced at Rojas’ Aromas de Jalapa factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. In addition to producing his own Guayacan brand, Rojas has made releases for other companies such as Emilio Cigars, Nomad Cigar Company, Ezra Zion and United Cigar. Recently Rojas announced he is teaming up with Brandon Hayes to open a new factory in 2016 – also located in Esteli, Nicaragua.
The name of Sabor de Chattanooga is a play on one of Guayacan’s regular production lines, Sabor de Esteli, which is available in a Habano and a San Andres Maduro. The name Chattanooga refers to the city where Burns Tobacconist is based.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at Sabor de Chattanooga and see what this cigar brings to the table.
In addition to the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Sabor de Chattanooga features a Nicaraguan tobaccos for the binder and filler.
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Country or Origin: Nicaragua (Aromas de Jalapa)
Sabor de Chattanooga is available in one size – a 7 x 42 vitola that is described on the packaging as a lancero. Originally the cigar was said to be a 6 3/8 x 44 lonsdale, but the cigars that were packaged turned out to be the 7 x 42 size. The cigars are packaged in ten count boxes.
The Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper to this cigar is simply put – stunning. It has a rich dark espresso bean color. Upon closer examination, there is some darker marbling on the surface of the wrapper. The wrapper also has a slight amount of oil on it. The surface of the wrapper is relatively smooth with only some thin visible veins. The dark wrapper does a good job at hiding the wrapper seams.
The band of Sabor de Chattanooga is pretty much the same one that is found on Guayacan’s original eponymous line. It features an image of a farm on it. Above the image is a red ribbon design with the text “GUAYACAN” in a light colored font. Below the image is another red ribbon design with the text “by Noel Rojas” in a smaller light font. Above the image is a black, gold, and dark red crown. The remainder of the band has dark red, black, gold, and some pale yellow adornments. The band is finished with a gold trim.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I normally do, I commenced the cigar experience of the Sabor de Chattanooga with a straight cut. Once the cap was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw definitely had Connecticut Broadleaf written all over it. I detected notes of coffee, earth, and slight tingly cedar spice. There was also a touch of sweetness on the cold draw. Overall I considered this to be an outstanding pre-light draw. At this point, I was ready to light up my Sabor de Chattanooga and await what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Sabor de Chattanooga started out with a combination of coffee, chocolate, cedar, and black pepper. The coffee and chocolate notes became primary early on. One pattern that was present throughout the Sabor de Chattanooga is that the coffee and chocolate notes were very distinct as opposed to fused together (which I detect in a lot of cigars) in what t I term a “mocha” flavor. The chocolate did a nice job at lending some sweetness to the profile. The cedar and pepper notes became background notes. The black pepper was also present on the retro-hale.
During the first third, there was a underlying creaminess present – creating a very smooth profile. I found the coffee and chocolate remained primary with neither flavor overshadowing the other. By the second third, the creaminess began to subside. By the second third, the coffee became the sole primary flavor while the chocolate joined the cedar and pepper in the background.
During the second half, I noticed an increase in the spices. By the last third, the cedar and pepper spice joined the coffee notes in the forefront. The chocolate notes were now in the background. Toward the end, I found the spices to have a lingering effect on the tongue, but there was no harshness. This is the way the Sabor de Chattanooga came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Both the burn and draw scored very nicely on the Sabor de Chattanooga. The burn took a straight path from start to finish. The burn line was also relatively straight. There was a slight waviness to the burn line, but this was so minor, it didn’t warrant a large amount of touch-ups along the way. The resulting ash had a silver gray color. The ash was tight and firm and came off the cigar in clean chunks. As for the combustion, the Sabor de Chatanooga also scored nicely as it had an ideal burn rate and ideal burn temperature.
The draw was excellent. It had a touch of resistance – which is something I like. This made the Sabor de Chattanooga an enjoyable cigar to puff on.
Strength and Body
From both a strength and body perspective, the Sabor de Chattanooga delivered a medium to full strength, medium to full-bodied experience. There was a slight increase in intensity with both attributes, but overall this cigar remained in the medium to full range. In terms of strength versus body, I found both attributes balanced each other nicely with neither attribute having the edge over the other.
2015 is going to long be remembered for a year of shop exclusive cigars. Overall I found more of these shop exclusives to be misses as opposed to hits. With Sabor de Chattanooga, the story is different. This cigar is very much a solid offering. What I loved about this cigar is how it really showcased the great flavors that can come from Connecticut Broadleaf. The underlying smoothness of this cigar in the first half also really surprised me. Sabor de Chattanooga shows why Noel Rojas is a rising star in the cigar industry.
This is a cigar I would gear a little more for an experienced cigar enthusiast, but this is also a great cigar for the novice to “graduate” to something on the medium plus side. As for myself, this is a box worthy cigar – and one I look forward to smoking again.
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: 4.0-Box Worthy
News: Guayacan Sabor de Chattanooga to be Event Exclusive for Chattanooga Tweet Up and Cigar Festival
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Episode 169
Stogie Feed: Sabor de Chattanooga by Guayacan Cigars