There’s always a new cigar brand, the latest of the bunch just happens to be Dunstable. There is no story of ancestral history in tobacco, no stories of top Cuban rollers, there’s actually very little story. Dunstable was started by Frederick Boucher—a longtime smoker—who wanted to make a cigar for him and his friends.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing is that Boucher is releasing just one cigar. Not just one blend, but a single blend in a single size. He did make more than one cigar, the first production run was 1,001 boxes of 10 cigars. The size is a 6 1/2 x 42 lonsdale that uses a pronounced pigtail similar to the Liga Privada Papas Fritas. It’s known as the Dunstable Cervantes and made at Plasencia Cigars S.A. using Nicaraguan filler and a habano rosado wrapper.
The cigars have a suggested retail price of $9 and have already begun shipping to retailers.
- Cigar Reviewed: Dunstable Cervantes
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Plasencia Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Habano Rosado
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 6 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 42
- Vitola: Lonsdale
- MSRP: $9 (Boxes of 10, $90)*
- Date Released: April 21, 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 5
Some of the Dunstable Cervantes I smoke seem a tad bit light and show some other signs of being slightly underfilled. That being said, others seem appropriately rolled. The simple and small blue band is a dramatic change of pace in today’s world, but it seems to work well in the whole feel of the brand. Aroma from the foot has some pepper, a ton of sweet milk chocolate, mint and leather. The cold draw is fantastic with orange, some grainy bread, meatiness and mild cocoa. At first, I can definitely see how it comes off as nutty—as there’s a lot of flavors that when combined can equate to nuttiness—but there’s a certain saltiness and earthiness missing. That being said, the deconstructed nuttiness is enough for me.
While not entirely present on the cold draw, once the Dunstable Cervantes is lit, it’s very clear that there’s a lot of Nicaraguan tobacco in the filler. Sweet cocoa, salty leather, earthiness, pepper and some citrus are what first engulfs the plate. The finish reminds me a lot of the first Herrera Esteli prototype I smoked, a vibrant mixture of hearty cedar, mild pepper, a big nuttiness and some faint hints of floral flavors through the nose; but balanced. Fortunately, that mixture picks up with each puff. An inch in and the nose is now floral, then cotton candy, a salty popcorn and then some mesquite woods. In the mouth, there’s touches of the sweet floral flavor—a bit more generic and sugary than before—along with nuttiness, earth and white pepper in the back. It’s a very balanced cigar, which helps to mask quite a bit of the medium-plus nicotine content behind a very full flavor.
By the second third, things are heading down two different roads. Some of the samples I smoke manage to stay lit, maybe requiring a touch-up, while others begin to go out, and go out again, and go out again. Without question, the less filler, the more relights.[ref]While I didn’t weigh the cigars, it did seem the case here of where the cigars were missing filler and not over humidified. In additional, all the cigars were stored in the same conditions, so the drastic water content difference would be a bit odd, particularly after two weeks in the office humidor. Regardless, there’s some consistency issues.[/ref] Flavor-wise, the sweetness recedes, although there are still quite a few sweet flavors including cranberries and a reduced floral component. The big and vibrant cedar smooths out and becomes the dominant flavor, followed by a nuttiness on the finish and pretzel on the middle of the tongue. There’s still a touch of white pepper in the back, but it’s very restrained.
Somewhat predictably, the sweetness of the Dunstable Cervantes fades completely by the final third. Pretzel, nuttiness and creaminess take over as the core flavors, while the cedar moves to an undertone. On some samples I’m able to get floral flavors on the finish, but it’s not consistent across the five cigars I smoke. By the end, I find the strength has picked up to medium-plus, while the flavor remains full.
- The Dunstable Cervantes does not enjoy getting hot.
- That’s a bit problematic given the propensity of some of the samples I smoked to go out. This definitely required a lot more attention to how a cigar is burning than what I normally give.
- In addition to the issues going out, one sample’s draw was overly tight.
- One sample I had to put out because it started raining sidewise. That sample was not scored and sadly was one that avoided the filler issues, which seems like a waste.
- Frederick Boucher’s collection of non-Cubans is fairly impressive, including a stupid amount of AVO Limited Editions.
- This is definitely an example of where having very balanced cigar can mask strength. It’s a medium-plus to medium-full cigar, but the strength isn’t apparent unless you go looking for it.
- There’s some sort of launch event scheduled for May 29 at the Castro’s Back Room location in Nashau, N.H. I’m not sure how much of a “launch event’ it is since multiple retailers already have the cigar, but I digress.
- Cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by Dunstable Cigar Co.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 45 minutes.
At times, the Dunstable Cervantes is the best new cigar I’ve smoked from a new company in a very long time. And to be quite honest, the balanced, delicate and semi-sweet flavor should garner that praise regardless of the construction woes. I think Plasencia as a rolling operation is an easy target for criticism and I think a lot of that criticism towards the Nicaraguan factory is unwarranted. But the consistency issues are a shame. It’s a shame because I normally don’t find that to be an issue and it’s also a shame because this is a very good cigar. The minor bunching issues overshadow a blend that was balanced, detailed and very enjoyable. And yet, for as good as the cigar tasted, there’s a bit of a—figurative—bad taste in my mouth in regards to the consistency.