It has become a tradition with the Cigar Coop Coalition coverage that on the morning of Day 4 of the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) we will have our visit with Steve Saka of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust. Saka is always generous with his time, and the visit becomes so much more than a recap of his new products. It mixes in a mini-recap of the trade show, a bit of the state of the industry, a bit of the state of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, and lots of other pearls of wisdom both related to cigars and not related to cigars. It has customarily been our longest interview of the Trade Show and 2022 was no exception. Therefore, in this PCA Report, we present 33 Minutes with Steve Saka.
As for the products, while some might say this was a quiet year for Saka as most of the products showcased were limited production, in a way there is no quiet year for Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust.
First up, Saka will be taking the Mi Querida Black blend national for a limited production one. Mi Querida Black actually made its debut at the end of 2021 as a part of the JR Cigar 50th Anniversary series. At the time the cigar wasn’t called Mi Querida, but the Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Limited Edition EM Maduro. The EM was inspired by Frank Llaneza and Estelo Padrón of Villazon factory in Honduras that made “heavy,” but not overpriced Broadleaf cigars. EM actually stands for Ed McVey, a buyer at the time Saka worked at JR Cigars. Both Saka and McVey would smoke these heavier Broadleaf-style cigars.
Saka has now made the decision to take the Mi Querida Black blend and introduce it nationally. While Saka has stopped short of officially calling this Mi Querida Black, it appears that will be the moniker for now. He is launching the blend in the same size as the EM Maduro – a 7 1/4 x 54 parejo, but is calling the cigar SakaKhan. What’s unique is this is the first Mi Querida to use Honduran tobacco. Llaneza and Padrón used a specific Honduran tobacco from a farm in northern Honduras as one of the key ingredients in those cigars. While the farm doesn’t exist anymore, Saka was able to get his hands on the seeds from people who used to grow on the farm. He got a crop planted of that tobacco four years ago in the Jamastran valley in a pilot crop and was happy with it. The tobacco was limited, but he had enough to do the JR release with some leftover for a limited run of the SakaKhan, but not a full run of the Mi Querida Black as a whole.
As for the blend, it features a Connecticut Broadleaf No. 1 Dark wrapper, a San Andres binder, and a combination of Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Dominican fillers. The cigars are still packaged in ten-count boxes and are described as limited production.
StillWell Star is getting a fifth blend. It’s called the StillWell Star Holiday Y2022. According to Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust owner Steve Saka, the end of the year holidays are a big thing when it comes to the pipe business. Many pipe carvers make special holiday-inspired pipes, and many pipe blenders will make a special annual holiday blend. Saka decided to incorporate this into his StillWell Star line and do a limited edition cigar themed around the end of the year holidays. The filler incorporates Black Cavendish burley and Virginia pipe tobaccos. Saka describes it as a milder, aromatic cigar. The cigar comes in one size – a 6 x 52 Toro. The cigars come in 13-count boxes. Saka expects the cigar to arrive at retailers just prior to the 2022 Thanksgiving holiday.
The Todos Las Dias Thick Lonsdale Mas Fuerte is returning. Saka had made a decision to put the Todos Las Dias on hold due to the fact that one of the tobaccos was limited in supply and he was using it in another line. The Mas Fuerte is a stronger variant of the core Todos Las Dias line and a personal favorite of Saka’s. Saka originally wanted to make 300 cigars for himself, but decided to expand the run and make it available for another limited run for other retailers. At the same time, while he has enough tobacco for Mas Fuerte, he doesn’t have enough tobacco to bring back Todos Las Dias full time. This cigar is being built to order and is not making extras. Whatever was ordered before July 29th will be produced. He plans on shipping this cigar in the first quarter of 2023.
Finally, just before the Trade Show, Saka shipped the sixth national installment of Muestra de Saka, Bewitched. Originally “The Bewitched” was a limited edition store exclusive to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Owl Shop of Worcester. With the blessing of the owner, Saka has moved forward and added it into the company’s portfolio. The cigar consists of a Grade 1 Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over DTT’s exclusive Cultivo Tonto San Andres Negro binder and a combination of Nicaraguan and US-grown fillers. The cigar comes in one size – a 6 5/8 x 50 Prensado. It is packaged in individual coffins with a total of seven coffins per box. Saka said he is considering for the first time making this Muestra de Saka cigar available in multiple sizes, and is considering making it a regular production cigar.
Saka also gave an update on Muestra de Saka Krakatoa. Last year Krakatoa was scheduled to make its debut, but Saka opted to put some more work on the blend. Saka said he is getting very close to what the blend should be – and there is a chance it will be released in 2023.
33 Minutes with Steve Saka, Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust
Due to age restrictions, you will need to click on Watch on YouTube to watch this interview.
- Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust to Launch Mi Querida Black SakaKhan at PCA 2022
- Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Showcases StillWell Star Holiday Y2022
- Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Todos Las Dias Thick Lonsdale Mas Fuerte to Return in 2023
- Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Ships Muestra de Saka Bewitched