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If there has been a phrase that feels a bit overused when it comes to cigars, it’s long awaited. In the case of Sin Compromiso from Steve Saka’s Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, it’s a phrase that gets uttered after nearly three and half years of waiting.

Word of the cigar first emerged in June 2015 when Saka launched Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, his post-Drew Estate venture. A search of trademark filings revealed the name, along with Sobremesa, Todos Las Días and Lote Limitada. It would show up on a price sheet the following month at the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, with 10 vitolas available for a line that Saka said “was not close to being ready,” and for which he had just started to purchase tobacco. What we did know, by Saka’s own words, was that the cigar was to be “a  Nicaraguan Puro of only the absolute best of everything that is being crafted at JDN – absurdly priced, your wallet would be wise to ignore. 13 amazing cigars for ridiculous money…”

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The cigar world would get a look at the box via social media in July 2016 ahead of that year’s trade show, though the cigars were not on display there.

Jump ahead to the summer of 2018, and it appeared that the Sin Compromiso was finally ready to be released. Saka announced in June that the cigar would be ready for the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show the following month, and they were, though with a different blend than the Nicaraguan puro promised three years earlier. Instead, it uses a Mexican San Andrés Negro “Cultivo Tonto” wrapper, an Ecuadorian habano binder and a Nicaraguan filler.

In September, the line began shipping in five soft-pressed sizes, with pricing ranging from $15.95-18.45 per cigar.

  • Sin Compromiso Selección Intrépido (5 2/3 x 46) — $15.95 (Boxes of 13, $207.35)
  • Sin Compromiso Selección No. 2 Torpedo (6 x 52) — $17.95 (Boxes of 13, $233.35)
  • Sin Compromiso Selección No. 5 Parejo (6 x 54) — $17.45 (Boxes of 13, $226.85)
  • Sin Compromiso Selección No. 7 Parejo (6 x 56) — $18.45 (Boxes of 13, $239.95)
  • Sin Compromiso Selección Espada Estoque (7 x 44)— $17.45 (Boxes of 13, $226.85)

Each cigar is packaged in a Spanish cedar sleeve and while the line is considered regular production, it is limited in supply due to the tobaccos used.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Sin Compromiso Selección No. 2
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Mexico (San Andrés Negro “Cultivo Tonto”)
  • Binder: Ecuador (Habano)
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Torpedo
  • MSRP: $17.95 (Boxes of 13, $233.35)
  • Release Date: September 2018
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The cedar sleeve that wraps the Sin Compromiso Selección No. 2 prevents the majority of the wrapper from being seen, and when I go to slide it off, I’m met with enough resistance on two of the cigars that I’m left to peel off the tape instead and remove it that way. With the cedar removed, I’m greeted by a rich, dark chocolate brown wrapper that is only marred by the occasional stray glue mark. Seams and veins are both flat, the box press is seemingly perfect, and other than the primary band being a bit closer to the head than I would prefer, there’s nothing with which I can find much fault. The cigar is firm with just the slightest bit of give, a familiar sensation for those who are aware of such a sensation that this particular treatment delivers. Aroma off of the foot gives me a very mild earthiness, almost like what I’d expect to find in a planter that hasn’t been watered or fertilized in a while. There’s a bit of cherry pie and liquid chocolate sweetness in the subsequent sniffs, and while occasionally mild and slightly thin, is by far the preferred sensation. The cold draw is a tick firm but ideal for what I tend to like in my cigars, while the flavors show a spin on the earthiness, giving it a chocolate top note with a bit of custard in the background.

It’s not long into the Sin Compromiso Selección No. 2 that the pepper kicks in by way of a retrohale, delivering a blunt punch of pepper into my olfactory nerves. But this doesn’t seem to be just a strength machine; once the pepper dies down it delivers some very subtle sweetness in the aroma that still seems rooted in the chocolate note but now manifests almost as Cadbury Mini Eggs, in particular, the coating of the candies. There’s still a good amount of earth and pepper to be found, but they are balanced well by the sweetness, creating a fairly lush and enjoyable profile that seems to counter every hit of strength with a bed of sweetness. The burn line gets slightly tilted in the first sample, which is the cigar that was photographed, unable to correct itself without a quick touch-up from the lighter. It was a fairly isolated incident with other samples burning well with smooth draws and plenty of smoke.

Entering the second third, the Sin Compromiso picks up a more chocolate-forward profile, reminding me a bit of malted milk balls for a few puffs before shedding the flavor that the core of those candies deliver in favor of a richer chocolate brownie note. From there, the profile seems to dabble in woods and a return to pepper, pushing a good bit of the sweetness out of the way to achieve this new profile, though with some thick creaminess, reminiscent of condensed milk at times, that carries the cigar through the transition. I also get these suggestions that the cigar is going to take on a coffee profile but it never seems to, giving me a bit of a freshly brewed cup through the nose before darting away from it. As an avid coffee enthusiast, I find it both enjoyable yet frustrating to be teased in such a manner. There’s still plenty of smoke to be found with each draw, which continues to offer just the right amount of resistance. Flavor is a hearty medium-plus to medium-full, accented to full through retrohales and the occasional puff that happens to be more pepper-laden than others.

The Sin Compromiso Selección No. 2 pivots its flavor profile as it heads into the final third, taking on the notes of plain black coffee for a few puffs before moving towards a rocky earth that finishes with a bit of dry candy bar chocolate. I don’t know if it’s the holiday season and my winter cravings kicking in, but my attention seems continually drawn to the chocolate notes that the cigar has been offering, as it provides a substantial balance to the other flavors, and gives the cigar the kind of complexity I search out and find so enjoyable. In the final puffs, I find just a bit of marshmallow sweetness coming through in the profile, a very subtle but welcomed addition to the profile that adds both balance and complexity. While the profile has been flirting with some coffee notes at times, the final puffs taste like a mocha made with heavily roasted beans, an enjoyable profile that largely masks any underlying robustness from the earthy core notes.

Final Notes

  • While I didn’t get a chance to see it in person, I’m told that when the box showed up at the office, they weren’t packed as tight as you’d expect. One cigar had a damaged cap and another cigar had turned 90 degrees within the box. Additionally, the cigars aren’t in cellophane, so that doesn’t help protect them.
  • I have no doubt Steve Saka will take note of the burn line in the first pictures and assume the score will be affected drastically. It wasn’t.
  • The primary band being higher on the cigar than I like ended up not being an issue; I left it on the first cigar for the pictures, didn’t even notice it on the second and took it off more out of habit than anything on the third. I’m not sure it’s an exact replica of a Celtic cross, but I do find myself with a bit of an affinity for the design, as well as the green color.
  • As for the cedar sleeve, I have to admit being impressed by how close the printing went to the margins.
  • Cigars like this are a reminder of how rarely you see green ink used on bands and packaging. As I understand it, it was a color often shunned by the industry as it represented young, under processed tobacco, and thus inferior cigars.
  • Of note about the wrapper, it is grown in a manner inspired by Japanese fruit farmers. As the tobacco plant grows, the bottom leaves are removed from the plant forcing more nutrients to the top, producing a bolder leaf.
  • While the finish can linger on the taste buds, I didn’t find myself suffering any adverse effects from nicotine after finishing the Sin Compromiso Selección No. 2. It’s got plenty of flavor with no nicotine hangover.
  • The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was one hours and 30 minutes on average.
  • Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Cigars.com, JR CIgar, Serious Cigars carry the Sin Compromiso Selección No. 2. Corona Cigar Co. doesn’t list this size, but carries the line as well.
92 Overall Score

To paraphrase him a bit, Steve Saka has long proclaimed that he would rather people either love or hate his cigars rather than just simply like them or find them to be okay. In the case of the Sin Compromiso Seleccion No. 2, I find myself leaning more towards love than any other hate, and certainly think it’s more than just an okay cigar. There’s a certain richness that I think might be missed or at least under appreciated if not smoked with both intent and attention, or at least at the right time of day. I’m hesitant to call it a dessert cigar, but the chocolate and richness that it conveys has me thinking of the term, something to be enjoyed on such occasion when dense, rich and hearty flavors are sought.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

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 the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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