The Powstanie SBC 20 is the third installment of Powstanie cigar’s limited edition SBC series. Powstanie is a brand owned by Mike and Greg Szczepankiewicz, the owners of Cigar Hustler. To produce their brand the Szczepankiewicz brothers teamed up with Nica Sueño, the factory co-owned by Skip Martin of RoMa Craft Tobac. SBC stands for “Surrounded by Champions” and the name pays homage to the people who helped the brothers get their brand off the ground. The series was planned to see a new installment on a biennial basis – although it hasn’t worked out quite that way. In the case of the SBC 20, the year is a little misleading as it was released in 2022.
There are two common denominators with the Powstanie SBC series to date: 1) All of the cigars have been barber-pole releases; 2) All of the cigars have been Corona Gorda sizes. The following is a list of the SBC releases along with the year released and the barber pole wrappers
- 2017: Powstanie SBC 16 (Pennsylvania Broadleaf/Ecuadorian Connecticut)
- 2018: Powstanie SBC 18 (Mexican San Andres/Ecuadorian Connecticut)
- 2022: Powstanie SBC 20 (Ecuadorian Habano/Brazilian Mata Fina)
- 2023: Powstanie SBC 22 (Not Disclosed)
On a side note, Powstanie’s other limited edition series, Wojtek also has seen barber-pole releases.
For now, let’s turn our attention to the Powstanie SBC 20 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Powstanie SBC 20 Cigar Review
Blend and Origin
In addition to the Ecuadorian Habano and Brazilian Mata Fina wrappers used for the barber-pole, the Powstanie SBC 20 uses all Nicaraguan tobaccos. As with all of the Powstanie-branded cigars, the SBC 20 is produced out of Skip Martin’s Nica Sueño factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano/Brazilian Mata Fina
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Nica Sueño S.A.
As mentioned, the SBC cigars are all Corona Gorda sizes. The Powstanie SBC 20 is a 5 1/2 x 46 vitola. The cigars were presented in 20-count boxes. A total of 250 boxes of the SBC 20 were produced.
The Powstanie SBC 20 is what I would call a “dark” barber-pole – namely two contrasting wrappers that are both on the darker side. The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper is the base wrapper and had a coffee bean color while the Brazilian Mata Fina had a color closer to a dark espresso color. There wasn’t much in the way of oils on the surface of this wrapper, but there was some toothiness. In addition, the surface of the wrapper had some visible veins.
Prior to lighting up the Powstanie SBC 20 a straight cut was used to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed, it was time to commence with the pre-light draw ritual. The cold draw delivered a mix of coffee, wood, and cedar. Overall this wasn’t the most exciting of pre-light draws. Since the pre-light draw is not scored, there was no loss of points on the final numeric score and assessment rating. At this point it was time to light up the SBC 20 and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Powstanie SBC 20 picked up where the pre-light draw left off. There were more notes of coffee bean, classic wood, and cedar. The coffee bean notes moved into the forefront early on. Meanwhile notes of mixed fruit and mixed pepper joined the wood and cedar notes in the background. Meanwhile on the retro-hale, there was an additional layer of mixed pepper that was present.
The second third of the SBC 20 saw the coffee bean notes remain in the forefront. The classic wood notes moved into the forefront as well. Both the coffee bean and wood notes alternative in intensity. In the background, the cedar, pepper, and fruit notes rounded out the flavor profile.
As the cigar experience entered the final third, the coffee bean and classic wood nots continued to alternate in intensity in the forefront. In the background, there was an increase in the pepper notes and a decrease in the fruit notes. Cedar notes still remained in the background as well. This is the well the Powstanie SBC 20 came to a close. The cigar finished with a nub that was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
While there was a little unevenness on the burn line of the SBC 20, the burn maintained a relatively straight path and didn’t require excessive touch-ups. The ash was a medium-gray color. There was a minor amount flowering on the ash that occurred. This was an ash that wasn’t overly firm, but far from loose or flaky. Meanwhile the burn rate and burn temperature maintained ideal levels.
The draw on each of the samples of the SBC 20 was on the tight side. This is not something I expect from a Nica Sueño cigar. Normally I like a little resistance on the draw, but the resistance level was tighter than I prefer. While no re-lights were required, this was still a cigar that required more effort to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The SBC 20 started out with medium strength and medium-bodied flavors. There was a slight increase in the intensity of both the strength and body. In the end, the SBC stayed in the medium range for both strength and body. In terms o strength versus body, both attributes balanced each other nicely with neither overshadowing the other.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
While we don’t factor in the band and packaging int the score or assessment rating, there is something that needs to be said. SBC is one of the most premium-offerings by Powstanie Cigars. The bands simply don’t live up to the end product here. Powstanie has great bands on its core line and its Wojtek line. Powstanie can do better with the bands of the SBC series. My least favorite band of the four SBC installments is the SBC 20.
The previous iteration of the SBC series, the Powstanie SBC 18 was one of Powstanie’s best releases, earning a 2020 #15 spot on the 2020 Cigar Coop Cigar of the Year Countdown. Powstanie SBC 20 was a nice follow-up, but I wouldn’t put it at the same level as the SBC 18. Overall the cigar still scores a very respectable 89 points – even with a less than ideal draw. In the end, there was still enough going on with the SBC 20 for me to make a recommendation to almost any cigar enthusiast to give the cigar a try. As for myself, if I can still find this cigar, it’s one that I would still buy and smoke again.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Cedar, Wood, Fruit, Pepper
Value: Buy One
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop