This year we didn’t sit down with with Steve Saka of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust until the 3rd day of IPCPR. He was self-deprecating as always, but you don’t have to brag when your booth is constantly full of people. Initially he was a little annoyed by the trade show venue change up, but after a couple of days in the Las Vegas Convention Center, he decided he liked it there. Because it was less convenient to get sucked into the distractions of Vegas than the Sands Convention Center, people were actually spending more time on the show floor.
One of the first things we look at is not cigar. It’s a fun gadget Steve was using to measure moisture content in the foot of cigars, called a pocket psychrometer. He tells us about the differences in absolute moisture between rolling time and smoking time. As it turns out many of the new Todos Las Dias had not yet lost enough of that moisture at the show to hit the optimal smoking level of about 11.7%. The ones that were pretty close, he was giving out as samples, the ones that were still too high he was holding back. We definitely appreciate that attention to detail.
Moving beyond the geeky gadgetry part of the interview, Steve shows us the two new Mi Queridas. First the diminutive Gordita (4 x 48), that actually smokes longer than many robustos on the market. And the much larger Más Sucia (7 x 64), a cigar Steve calls a “baseball bat”. It makes sense both in size of the cigar, and because the cigar is blended to be stronger than the other Mi Queridas.
And then we circle back to Todos Las Dias, a cigar Steve designed to fill the strong cigar segment. He wanted to do something different, so he designed the cigar to start off in the medium range but slowly intensify as you smoke it. It uses a new tobacco from a farm in Jalapa which gives “a sweet chili sensation” instead of the black pepper hit commonly associated with potent cigars.
Justin asks Steve what his favorite beverage is to pair with a cigar. Because he smokes between ten and fourteen cigars a day, everything he drinks is paired with a cigar. You’ll have to watch the video to see what his beverage preferences are. His spirit of choice makes a lot of sense to me, considering his preference in cigar blends. There is also some hot Blizzard talk. And Justin asks about palate cleansers for tasting cigars. No surprise, Steve’s answers are very specific.