In 2016, the Powstanie brand debuted a new limited called SBC, an abbreviation for Surrounded by Champions. That first cigar was called the SBC 16, named for the year of its release, which was limited to just 250 boxes of 20 cigars, a total run of 5,000 cigars.

At the end of 2023, the company released the fourth installment in the line, the SBC 22. Like its predecessors, it is a 5 1/2 x 46 corona gorda with a barberpole wrapper, but unlike those three previous cigars, the company is not disclosing the blend.

Pricing of the SBC 22 is set at $17 per cigar and $340 for a box of 20 cigars. The SBC 22 also marks the largest production run, as the company released 500 boxes as opposed to the 250 boxes released for each of the previous three editions.

Note: The following shows the various Powstanie SBC vitolas. Some of these cigars may have been released after this post was originally published. The list was last updated on May 8, 2023.

*Not pictured.

88 Overall Score

For as many times as I used the words earthy and terroir in this review, I don’t know if I would call this an inherently earthy cigar. It’s certainly not the earthiest cigar I’ve ever tasted, and while it was predominantly driven by flavors of earth and terroir, it was dominated by those two flavors. As noted, there is a bit of sweetness and creaminess, and the changes in the specifics of the earth and terroir keep the profile moving. There’s also variation in the amount of pepper that is in the profile, as well as how that pepper and the associated flavors interact with the senses. As noted, the construction is fantastic, so credit to the Fábrica de Tabacos Nica Sueño S.A. team on doing such a great job in that department. I’d have no qualms about smoking a couple more of these as I found the flavor both engaging and very agreeable for my palate.

Since the original release in 2016, every SBC box has had the same message—updated for the year and production numbers—that explains the meaning behind SBC. The SBC 22’s box reads as follows:

This truly limited cigar has a production of only 500 boxes. It’s important to recognize that great accomplishments require the team to be successful. Too often we see success only as a face of a single man. Surrounded by Champions 22 is a cigar that pays homage to the people that made Powstanie possible. The main ingredient of greatness is the rest of the team.

While all four cigars have names that indicate the year they were supposed to be released, only the SBC 16 and SBC 18 came out in their scheduled year. The SBC 20 was delayed until 2022, while the SBC 22 came out at the end of 2023.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Powstanie SBC 22
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos NicaSueño S.A.
  • Wrapper: Undisclosed
  • Binder: Undisclosed
  • Filler: Undisclosed
  • Length: 5 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 46
  • Vitola: Corona Gorda
  • MSRP: $17 (Box of 20, $340)
  • Release Date: December 2023
  • Number of Cigars Released: 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The three cigars are all rock hard, and it’s when I detect that firmness that I immediately remember that the cigars were produced by Fábrica de Tabacos Nica Sueño S.A., the home of RoMa Craft Tobac. That factory seems to produce some of the firmest cigars on the market, yet I rarely run into construction issues from those cigars. All three cigars appear to be rolled quite well, particularly from the perspective of creating the barber pole design. Each cigar has a pretty typical number and size of veins, noticeable but not obtrusive. The foot has a very light aroma, with hints of cake donuts and sandwich bread crust when I pick up anything, as one cigar offers nearly nothing in terms of aromas. The cold draw is smooth, maybe a touch firm, with a slight sweetness that builds off the bread but isn’t jammy or anything like that. Rather, it’s closer to a sweet cream spread when it’s there, though, like the aroma, the flavor is very mild and subtle, if it’s present at all. One cigar has a fuller bread flavor than the other two, one that signals wheat bread more instead of a more generic flavor.

The Powstanie SBC 22 gets off to a dry, kind of dusty start, a profile that is reminiscent of Honduran terroir, with a touch of pepper appearing both on the palate and in the nostrils. One cigar has a notably more intense flavor profile than the other two, and I’m not sure which one I enjoy more, as both have their merits. There is a quick hit of Altoids peppermint in the retrohale in the second cigar that is attention-grabbing and has me hoping it shows up in the next cigar. This leads to a bit more retrohaling than I might do on average, but the cigar is up for it and eventually rewards me with another hit of peppermint, though it’s now accompanied by more pepper, which makes it harder to stand out. Both puffs and retrohales offer a lingering finish and tingle for some added effect. Not long after the first clump of ash drops off, the flavor evolves into a more developed version of the first puffs, with the pepper a touch brighter and more complete, though not heavier or sharper, just a bit more lively. The flavor intensity in the first third varies from mild in one cigar to medium-full in another, while the body is consistently medium and strength is medium-minus. Construction is essentially flawless, as the draw, burn line and smoke production are all outstanding.

The second third brings in a slightly drier flavor, leading me back to the thoughts of Honduran tobacco I had at the start of the cigar though I don’t get as much earthiness as earlier. Retrohales have a lot more tingle, almost getting to a bit of a hot sauce sensation but not delivering that flavor. There’s a subtle sweetness that makes brief appearances, reminding me of a sweet chili sauce before leading to cedar, leading me to wonder if there’s some Brazilian tobacco in the Powstanie SBC 22. If there’s one thing I’m not crazy about in this section, it is that it has a mouth-drying effect, particularly as the finish sets in on my tongue. A soft, dry earth flavor comes in around the midway point, setting the stage for a little more terroir in the final puffs of this section, while a gentle black pepper tingles the nostrils on retrohales. There’s also a very subtle finish that lingers in my mouth of a more robust and dry earth. Flavor is medium-plus to medium-full, body is medium-plus, and strength is medium-minus. Construction remains outstanding and essentially free of any notable issues.

The final third of the Powstanie SBC 22 starts working back toward a profile that reminds me of good, slightly aged Honduran tobacco that takes the edge off but leaves the core earthiness and terroir intact. Since I’ve been writing about terroir, there’s a shift that occurs in this section that has me thinking of other regions, particularly Nicaragua and Pennsylvania. It’s a change that turns the profile richer and heavier, but not heavy enough that I would call it weighty on the palate. With the change, retrohales seem to have lost a bit of pepper and are now focused on creaminess and earth. There’s also a more pronounced tingle on the tip of my tongue as the cigar enters its final puffs. The final inch-plus has a little bit of creaminess as well, giving the cigar one final expression before it’s time to put it down. Flavor finishes around medium-full, body is medium-plus and strength is at medium. Construction is still fantastic, needing only regular puffs to burn beautifully.

Final Notes

  • With an undisclosed blend, it led me to guess what tobacco might be in the cigar, both by look and flavor. Given that the SBC line has never used Honduran tobacco, I was surprised to find my palate gravitating in that direction.
  • I’m also left wondering if Mexican San Andrés tobacco was in the blend, as it was used as a wrapper on the SBC 18. If forced to commit to a guess, I don’t think it was used here, but I’ve been wrong plenty of times before.
  • I don’t know how much of a difference it makes to the experience, if any, to use this kind of barber pole design where one wrapper is more visible than the other.
  • From what I can tell, there hasn’t been word of an SBC 24 release yet.
  • The Powstanie SBC 18 placed #12 on halfwheel’s Top 25 Cigars of 2018.
  • The Powstanie SBC 16 placed #10 on halfwheel’s 2017 Packaging Awards.
  • In terms of nicotine strength, I didn’t get much from the Powstanie SBC 22, and even then, it was limited to the very end of one cigar.

  • The company lists these as a 5 1/2 x 46 corona gorda. The numbers above are the measurements we found for the three cigars used for this review.
  • The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was two hours and five minutes on average.
  • Site sponsors Famous Smoke Shop and JR Cigar carry the Powstanie SBC 22.
88 Overall Score

For as many times as I used the words earthy and terroir in this review, I don’t know if I would call this an inherently earthy cigar. It’s certainly not the earthiest cigar I’ve ever tasted, and while it was predominantly driven by flavors of earth and terroir, it was dominated by those two flavors. As noted, there is a bit of sweetness and creaminess, and the changes in the specifics of the earth and terroir keep the profile moving. There’s also variation in the amount of pepper that is in the profile, as well as how that pepper and the associated flavors interact with the senses. As noted, the construction is fantastic, so credit to the Fábrica de Tabacos Nica Sueño S.A. team on doing such a great job in that department. I’d have no qualms about smoking a couple more of these as I found the flavor both engaging and very agreeable for my palate.

Avatar photo

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and previously the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for Major League Baseball, plus I'm a voice over artist. Prior to joining halfwheel, I covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.