If you had to rank the collective cigar community’s most anticipated cigar of 2015, it was Sobremesa.
The debut line from Steve Saka, the former Drew Estate executive, wasn’t exactly shrouded in mystery. While Saka gave arguably the most detailed bill of tobaccos used the industry has even seen, he didn’t give out samples of the cigar at the trade show. By the time the cigar began shipping in November very few people had smoked it, which certainly only increased the anticipation.
In very basic form, Sobremesa uses an Ecuadorian habano wrapper, Mexican binder and fillers from Nicaragua and Pennsylvania. It’s offered in five–soon to be seven–sizes and Steve Saka has made it very clear he thinks the cigar is pricey.
I’ve watched Saka, both in interviews and in person, tell both consumers and retailers that they should start small before making large commitments to the cigar because of its price. It’s one of the more bizarre things to watch happen in today’s cigar business, given it’s the business of selling cigars. But then again, Saka’s reputation in the cigar business is one where he very directly speaks his mind.
Last December, I reviewed the Sobremesa Cervantes Fino, a lonsdale size in the line, and unfortunately had issues with draw and consistency:
The name, the branding, the tobacco info, the buzz—Sobremesa was one of the most anticipated releases of the year, even our own internal analytics regarding page views show that. As for the cigar; it was a bit all over the place. The three samples I had were pretty inconsistent, although none were “bad.” In an effort to better keep reviews on an even playing field, we’ve implemented a policy that allows us to smoke and score no more than three cigars per review. In the case of the Sobremesa, it’s a frustrating policy because I still don’t feel like I have really any grasp on just what this cigar is. My largest issue involves the draw, which was tight on two of the three cigars, although even then, my best tasting Cervantes Fino was the one with the tightest draw. My hope was that without the draw issue, the flavors would open even more, a tall task considering just how good that sample tasted. Fortunately, my third cigar avoided the draw issues, unfortunately, the flavors weren’t equal to the second cigar. The only thing I can say for sure is I want to try some of the other vitolas.
- Cigar Reviewed: Sobremesa Cervantes Fino
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuador (La Meca Ecuador Habano Grade 1)
- Binder: Mexico (Matacapan Negro de Temporal)
- Filler: Nicaragua (GK Condega C-SG, Pueblo Nuevo Criollo, La Joya Estelí C-98, ASP Estelí Hybrid Ligero) & U.S.A. (Pennsylvania Broadleaf Ligero)
- Length: 6 1/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 46
- Vitola: Lonsdale
- MSRP: $11.25 ($281.25)
- Release Date: Nov. 6, 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 3
The cigar looks the same as I remember. I do think the foot band perhaps steals the show from the main band, which is great, but very simplistic. The sample I am smoking feels a bit spongy, but there’s a consistent filling throughout the length of the cigar, which is really my largest concern given prior experiences. Aroma off the wrapper is strong with some hickory, saltiness and manure. From the foot I get a strong gingerbread flavor over some lemons and red wood. The cold draw presents a big mocha favor on top of some oak and some saltines.
The Cervantes Fino starts out with lemon, grassiness, oak, coffee bean, cedar and a touch of spice on the back end. While it’s only medium-plus, it causes a lot of salivation in my mouth. The flavor eventually picks up a lot more meatiness over sawdust and lemongrass. Through the nose, there’s a defined coffee, some acidic fruits and hard breadsticks. By the end of the first third, the Sobremesa is only medium-full flavor while medium in body and strength. The breads begin to take more of a role in the flavor, but the Sobremesa is still very much a meaty cigar in the second third. The fruitiness turns into a sour apple while the oak begins to be the centerpiece of the woodiness. By the final third, the meatiness departs, leaving behind an earthy, nutty and bready profile, with the latter reminding me of soggy white bread. For the first time in the entire length of the cigar, I’m able to pick up pepper, a white pepper note towards the end. In addition, the fruitiness shifts to a grapefruit-like sensation.
Construction through the first third is impeccable with incredibly even ash—something I’ve noticed on just about every Sobremesa I’ve smoked—and a great draw. The draw certainly loosens in the second third, but it stays right on the edge of where I can control it and it never gets to the point where I find myself needing to correct it.
Cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, which advertises on halfwheel.
After over a half year of rest, the Sobremsa Cervantes Fino is just about everything I originally wanted it to be. The flavor is the best its ever been in my opinion, the construction was substantially improved with only minor draw issues playing a part in the latter half, resulting in a very satisfying cigar experience. While I’m not sure time in the humidor helped to improve a tight draw, it certainly made the flavor much more harmonious. While this has not been my favorite of the five vitolas, this particular cigar was the best Sobremesa I’ve smoked, at least amongst the ones that are out. The new Short Churchill, which should be hitting stores soon, is the standout cigar of the line for me, which is saying something given just how good this one was.