While many consumers may not be familiar with the De Los Reyes name, frequent readers of this site are likely to be familiar with the Saga Short Tales, perhaps better known by some version of those cigars that come in a book.
The Short Tales Series debuted in 2016 with a long name, a promise of a larger series and most notably, a cigar box that looked like, felt like and—in a small way—functioned like a book. The series is defined by its name and packaging, but the vitolas and blends share little else. Of course, the cigars are made at the company’s colorful Dominican factory and are sold by the company, but I think it’s worth stressing that the blends have been very different with the first release being very full and the second release being somewhere below a medium as far as strength goes.
Release number six is called Tomo VI: The Sixth Element: El Tabaco. Fittingly, there’s a great picture showing the primings of a tobacco plant inside the book.
As for what tobacco is used for El Tabaco, it’s a Mexican San Andrés wrapper over a Sumatra binder from an undisclosed binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and North America. It’s offered in a single 5 1/2 x 58 size.
- Saga Short Tales: Tales of High Priming (4 x 58) — 2016
- Saga Short Tales: Tales of the Land Cotuí (4 7/8 x 52) — 2016
- Saga Short Tales: Tomo 3 L.I.V. (4 1/4 x 42) — 2017
- Saga Short Tales: Tomo 4 L.O.V. (4 x 44) — 2017
- Saga Short Tales: Tomo 5 L.A.V. (5 x 34) — 2017
- Saga Short Tales Tomo VI: The Sixth Element: El Tabaco (5 1/2 x 58) — 2018
- Cigar Reviewed: SAGA Short Tales Tomo VI: The Sixth Element: El Tabaco
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: De Los Reyes
- Wrapper: Mexico (San Andrés)
- Binder: Country Not Disclosed (Sumatra)
- Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua & North America
- Length: 5 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 58
- Vitola: Gordo
- MSRP: $9.20 (Boxes of 10, $92)
- Release Date: July 2018
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
It certainly doesn’t feel like this cigar is a half-inch short and two ring gauge shy of the ubiquitous 6 x 60, but it is. The first thing I notice is the band—more on that below—but the Mexican wrapper shows an above average amount of oils and a pleasant enough appearance. Aroma off the wrapper is a combination of sweet cherries and some berries, mild-medium, though it’s worth noting the cigars were removed from cellophane over a month ago. The foot is much stronger and reminds me of the smell of Coca-Cola with lemon—a common order from my sister—with just a bit of cedar. Flavors from the cold draw are sweet with floral on both the front and back ends, nuttiness and a slight amount of pepper.
More often than not, if I find consistent and dominant floral flavors on the cold draw, I don’t pick them up on the initial puffs of any given cigar. The exception is happening here with the first puffs of the El Tabaco dominated by floral flavors in front of oak and some red pepper. One sample has an interesting dry mustard flavor and also had a lot of spice on the lips, but the floral note is still the dominant flavor. Eventually, the profile turns to be led by an interesting mixture of raspberry and cedar. Retrohales provide more raspberry, some wasabi, saltiness, cayenne pepper and dry saltine crackers. The finish is more of a peanut flavor, but the Saga also has some sharpness and bread-like flavors. Flavor is medium-full, body is full and strength is medium-full.
For a variety of reasons, the second third fo the Short Tales El Tabaco is decidedly less sweet than the first third. It starts with the lack of raspberry, then there’s a transition by the nuttiness to move to more of a peanut shell than regular peanuts and finally, an uptick an earthiness. It’s not to say that there’s no sweetness, because I taste some generic citrus and even an underlying sugar sweetness at times, but their respective presences are a lot less impactful than before. In addition, there’s white pepper and some oak, the latter, particularly through the nose. Intensity-wise it’s a near carbon copy to the first third: flavor is medium-full, body is full and strength is medium-full.
The underlying sweetness remains for the final third of the Saga Short Tales El Tabaco, though it’s now joined by more complementary flavors in the form of creaminess, sourdough and walnuts. Pepper has a much larger presence, sometimes black pepper and other times white pepper, though a noticeable step back in sharpness from the wasabi notes I picked up earlier in the cigar. While this is probably the most sensible mixture of flavors of any of the thirds, it’s still a diverse group of flavors that, while individually nice, probably wouldn’t be your first choice in a meal or cocktail. Flavor and body end up at the full level by the time I put down the cigar, strength is a few notches below that at medium-full.
- The name—Saga Short Tales Tomo VI: The Sixth Element: El Tabaco—is both long and a bit odd with the double colon use.
- One thing I never noticed is that the SAGA letters have been cut out of the band, meaning that the wrapper is the color that shows through. It appears this is the first time this has happened on the Saga Short Tales Series.
- That being said, I’m still not a fan of the band or more so, the font.
- I think this cigar will age well in the short-term and probably for the next two years or so.
- I rarely mention the aroma of the smoke once lit, but the Short Tales El Tabaco was extremely toasty, particularly in the first third.
- Construction was fantastic across the board hence why it didn’t get mentioned until here. I made zero touch-ups, had zero burn issues and only ashed on myself once across three samples.
- Cigars for this review were provided to halfwheel by De Los Reyes.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 50 minutes on average.
Like the Monster Series or Davidoff’s Chinese Zodiac Series, it’s somewhat inappropriate to group the Saga Short Tales Series’ cigars together. I understand they share a bond in the form of packaging and a name, but the blends are radically different. As such, it’s not easy to confidently say that if you liked the first release or the second release that you will like this version, the sixth release. As someone that has smoked all six, I can tell you that this is my favorite. That being said, while the flavors are developed and detailed, they aren’t particularly harmonious. Pairing the cigar with a drink or even food like chocolate or cheese would probably help to mask this flaw, but even if you smoke the cigar without anything to eat or drink, you are still smoking a good cigar.