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During the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, Steve Saka’s Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust debuted its first release to some of the most intense hype of any new cigar company in recent memory. Dubbed Sobremesa, the brand was introduced in five different vitolas, with an additional size shipping just a month later.

In June, Saka announced that there would be two additions to the line at this year’s IPCPR trade show, the 7 x 50 Elegante en Cedros and the 4 3/4 x 48 Short Churchill. Packaged in boxes of 13 and 14 respectively, the new vitolas are produced at Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A. and started shipping to retailers immediately after the show.

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As with the rest of the Sobremesa line, the Short Churchill is composed of  an Ecuadorian habano grade 1 dark rosado wrapper, a Mexican Matacapan negro de temporal binder and five fillers: Nicaraguan GK Condega C-SG seco, Nicaraguan Pueblo Nuevo criollo viso, Nicaraguan La Joya Estelí C-98 viso, Nicaraguan ASP Estelí hybrid ligero and broadleaf ligero from Lancaster County, Pa.

“Having produced Sobremesa for a year now, we are finding a quantity of exceptional, but too short of capa to make the larger formats within the line so the creation of the Short Churchill proved to be a necessity,” said Saka in an email to halfwheel.

“Rather than just regard it as a ‘gotta do it’ and just produce it, I decided to take the opportunity and revisit the liga and tweak it specifically for this short plump format. Although it remains true to the core blend, it is slightly increased in the strength department which I find extremely palatable. ”

There are now nine different vitolas in the Sobremesa line-up.

  • Sobremesa Corona Grande (5 1/4 x 44) — $9.95 (Boxes of 25, $248.75)
  • Sobremesa Cervantes Fino (6 1/4 x 46) — $11.45 (Boxes of 25, $286.25)
  • Sobremesa Belicoso Largo (6 x 52) — $13 (Boxes of 25, $325)
  • Sobremesa El Americano (6 x 52) — $12.45 (Boxes of 25, $311.25)
  • Sobremesa Robusto Largo (5 1/4 x 52) — $11.46  (Boxes of 25, $286.50)
  • Sobremesa Gran Imperiales (7 x 54) — $13.45 (Boxes of 25, $336.25)
  • Sobremesa Torpedo Tiempo (6 x 54) — $13.19 (Boxes of 25, $329.75)
  • Sobremesa Elegante en Cedros (7 x 50) — $13.50 (Boxes of 13, $175.50)
  • Sobremesa Short Churchill (4 3/4 x 48) — $10.45 (Boxes of 14, $146.30)

Sobremesa Short Churchill 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Sobremesa Short Churchill
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuador La Meca Ecuador Habano Grade 1
  • Binder: Mexican Matacapan Negro de Temporal
  • Filler: Nicaraguan (GK Condega C-SG, Pueblo Nuevo Criollo, La Joya Estelí C-98, ASP Estelí Hybrid Ligero) & Pennsylvania Broadleaf Ligero
  • Length: 4 3/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 48
  • Vitola: Rothschild
  • MSRP: $10.45 (Boxes of 14, $146.30)
  • Release Date: August 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Sobremesa Short Churchill is fairly petite, both visually and when held in my hand, and is covered in a mocha brown wrapper that feels like very fine sandpaper. There is a bit of oil present, and virtually no veins are visible, while the cigar is a bit spongy when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of hay, dark cocoa, sawdust, oak and leather, while the cold draw brings flavors of oak, leather, black pepper and creamy peanuts.

Starting out the first third of the Sobremesa Short Churchill, and the dominant flavors are a combination of sweet oak and roasted almonds, followed by notes of dark chocolate, bread, earth, toast and espresso beans. There is a nice vanilla sweetness on the retrohale, where it combines a small amount of white pepper, both of which seem to be getting stronger as the first third burns down. Construction-wise, the draw is excellent so far and while the burn is a bit wavy, it is not bad enough to need correction yet. Smoke production is above average off of the foot, while the overall strength barely makes it out of the mild range by the time the first third comes to an end.

Sobremesa Short Churchill 2

Both the vanilla sweetness and the white pepper are stronger on the retrohale as the second third of the Short Churchill begins, while the dominant flavors remain the same combination of sweet oak and roasted almonds. Other flavors of gritty earth, leather, hay, salty bread and dark cocoa flit in and out, while the smoke production has increased. The draw continues to impress, and the burn has evened out nicely, and the strength has increased noticeably to end the second third close to the medium mark.

Sobremesa Short Churchill 3

The final third of the Sobremesa Short Churchill features the same roasted almond note from the first two thirds as the dominant flavor, bur the sweet oak that was present has been relegated to background with other notes of grass, earth, leather, barnyard, ground coffee, dark chocolate and a nice meatiness. While the vanilla sweetness and white pepper are still obvious on the retrohale, the strength of both notes is noticeably reduced from their high in the second third. The draw remains excellent, while the burn has started to wander again, forcing me to touch it up a few times close to the time when I am done. The smoke production remains about the same and the overall strength level hits point solidly in the medium range by the time I put the nub down with less than an inch to go.

Sobremesa Short Churchill 4

Final Notes

  • Saka has always been forthcoming with information on his cigars and blends, and I love the fact that he has given such graphic details. I have had many conversations with him, both in group settings and one-on-one, and his knowledge of tobacco has never ceased to amaze me.
  • I absolutely love the simplicity of the band on this release: elegant without being pretentious, and simple without looking simplistic.
  • Saka told halfwheel that he opted for 14-count boxes for the Short Churchill in order to make box purchases more affordable.
  • Sobremesa translates roughly to “over the table,” although Saka has said that there is no precise English equivalent of the word.
  • You can see the portraits I took of Steve Saka here.
  • We covered Sobremesa during the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, you can see our coverage here.
    The cigars smoked for this review were given to halfwheel by Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, which advertises on the site.
  • The final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 15 minutes.
  • None of our retail sponsors have the Sobremesa Short Churchill listed in stock, but Atlantic Cigar, Cigar.com, Corona CigarJ.R. Cigar and STOGIES World Class Cigars are all Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust dealers.
89 Overall Score

I have smoked a few of the different vitolas in the Sobremesa line, and while I enjoyed the blend, I found those sizes to be lacking in a raw punch of flavor, something the Short Churchill has in spades. The blend features both creamy nuts and vanilla sweetness throughout, although most of the really distinct flavors are relegated to the retrohale. Yes, the Sobremesa Short Churchill is expensive for the viola, but it is also full of flavor, extremely well balanced, and has excellent construction overall, attributes that make it an easy cigar to recommend.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

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.

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