When it comes to cigar series currently on the market, very few are as ambitious as De Los Reyes’ Short Tales Series, which will eventually encompass 10 different releases. One reason is that each of the first seven entries in the series have used both different vitolas as well as different blends. However, there is also the fact that the packaging for each cigar so far features boxes made to look like vintage books, complete with individual paper pages that feature not only art and writing but also stains to simulate age.

The first two cigars in the series were released in 2016, followed by three additional cigars in 2017 that were shown off during the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show. A sixth cigar was released in July 2018, but nothing was heard about the series for another three years.

In June 2021, the company released the seventh member in the series named Tales of the Land: Navarrete, a 5 x 52 box-pressed robusto. According to the company, the cigar gets its name from a Dominican town located about 15 miles northwest of Santiago de los Caballeros that is considered to be the heart of the Dominican cigar industry. In fact, the town also happens to be the place where the Reyes family harvested its first crop of piloto cubano tobaccos.

Blend-wise, the cigar incorporates a Nicaraguan habano wrapper covering a Dominican San Vicente binder along with three different Dominican tobaccos in the filler: criollo 98, HVA and piloto cubano. The Sagas are packaged in boxes of 10 that debuted during an event on June 30, 2021 at the LG Cigar Club in San Jose before shipping to retailers nationwide in September of last year.

There have been seven releases in Saga’s Short Tales Series so far.

Here is what I wrote in my original review back in December 2021:
There is no nice way to write this, so I will get to the point: the three Saga Short Tales Tomo VIIs I smoked were not very good cigars. The profile starts out with an almost overwhelming bitterness on the finish that never dissipates, thus negatively affecting both the flavors and balance of the entire cigar as long as it is present. Construction issues that included both corrections and relights on all three samples, and combined with the flavor, it’s not the most pleasant cigar to review. There have been some very good cigars released as part of the Short Tales Series, but at this point in its life, the Short Tales Tomo VII – Tales of the Land: Navarrete is not one of them.
  • Cigar Reviewed: Saga Short Tales Tomo VII – Tales of the Land: Navarrete
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: De Los Reyes
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua (Habano)
  • Binder: Dominican Republic (San Vicente)
  • Filler: Dominican Republic (Criollo 98, HVA & Piloto Cubano)
  • Length: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Roubsto
  • MSRP: $9.30 (Box of 10, $93)
  • Release Date: June 30, 2021
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1

As was the case with the original review cigars, the wrapper covering this Short Tales Tomo VII – Tales of the Land: Navarrete is a lighter mocha brown color that is extremely dry to the touch. In addition, there are a number of protruding veins running from the top to the bottom of the cigar and the box-pressing looks very well done, although it is hard not to notice that both bands are more than a little off center. The aroma emanating from the wrapper is fairly light and includes cedar, leather, earth, nuts, barnyard and cocoa nibs. Thankfully, the foot is another matter altogether, with strong notes of hay, more cedar, roasted coffee beans and peanuts. Cutting the cap with a double guillotine cutter and taking a cold draw reveals medium flavors of aged cedar, tea leaves, dark chocolate, leather, earth, and slight vanilla sweetness.

Although toasting the foot immediately brings the familiar bitterness that was so obvious six months ago, the bitterness is neither as aggressive nor as long-lasting as the first time around. That bitterness has almost completely disappeared by the eighth puff, allowing main flavors of cedar and dark chocolate to take center stage. Secondary flavors of leather, generic nuts, cocoa nibs, hay, earth and toast flit in and out at various points, while a new floral sweetness combines with a bit of black pepper on the retrohale. Flavor hits a point just under the medium mark by the end of the first half, while both the body and strength are both at a solid medium. Construction-wise, the draw is excellent after a straight cut and there is no lack of smoke flowing from the foot, but the burn line is never even close to razor sharp and does need a fairly major correction with my lighter around the end of the first third.

There are no major changes in the profile during the second half of the Saga: cedar and dark chocolate continue to be the most obvious flavors, while the floral sweetness and black pepper show no signs of giving up control on the retrohale. Additional notes of toasted bread, baker’s spices, peanuts, roasted espresso beans and creamy hay show up at various points as well, but none come close to being strong enough to knock off the top flavors. Flavor hits a point just over medium, while the body and strength continue to increase hand-in-hand until they end at medium-full as I put the nub down after one hour and 34 minutes of smoking time. In terms of construction, both the draw and smoke production continue to impress until the end of the cigar, but the burn does need another two corrections with my lighter.

82 Overall Score

There are some significant differences in this sample of the Short Tales Tomo VII – Tales of the Land: Navarrete and the cigars I smoked in December: the bitterness that overwhelmed the first third has been noticeably reduced. There is a new floral sweetness on the retrohale and the profile is more cohesive overall. Having said that, there are still issues with the burn—albeit not nearly as bad—and complexity is still lacking. In the end, although I can’t tell you if more time will make the Saga Short Tales Tomo VII as good as some of the better releases in the series, I can tell you that it is a more enjoyable cigar now than it was seven months ago.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.