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There have been cigars named after people, snakes and even space shuttles, but Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust might be the only cigar company with a cigar named after a lake.

In fact, the Umbagog is named after owner Steve Saka’s favorite fishing lake, Umbagog Lake State Park in New Hampshire and true to its roots it is the company’s most affordable offering to date. To help the lower price, the cigar is packaged in 10-count craft paper bundles instead of boxes and incorporates Connecticut broadleaf wrapper that has been designated as being too ugly to be used on another of Dunbarton’s more expensive releases, Mi Querida. The Nicaraguan tobacco in both the binder and filler rounds out the blend and the cigars are being produced at Nicaraguan American Cigars S.A. (NACSA) in Estelí, Nicaragua.

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“It is robust and durable, designed to endure the rigors of outside activity with its thick broadleaf capa and easy burning liga,” said Saka in sales material. “This is a cigar that doesn’t pretend to be special or seek to elicit the ‘oohs or aahs’ of the cigar snobs. It is an honest, hardworking cigar that is meant to be smoked, chewed upon and lit however many times you wish. For me, it is the perfect cigar for mowing the yard, hiking, four wheelin’ and of course, fishing!”

There are six different vitolas offered in the Umbagog line, all packaged in bundles of 10.

  • Umbagog Corona Gorda (6 x 48) — $6.45 (Bundles of 10, $64.50)
  • Umbagog Robusto Plus (5 x 52) — $6.45 (Bundles of 10, $64.50)
  • Umbagog Toro Toro (6 x 52) — $6.95 (Bundles of 10, $69.50)
  • Umbagog Gordo Gordo (6 x 56) — $7.45 (Bundles of 10, $74.50)
  • Umbagog Churchill (7 x 50) — $8.95 (Bundles of 10, $89.50)
  • Umbagog Short and Fat (4 3/4 x 56) — $8.45 (Bundles of 10, $84.50)

  • Cigar Reviewed: Umbagog Toro Toro
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Nicaraguan American Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $6.95 (Bundles of 10, $69.50)
  • Release Date: March 2017
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

If Saka was going for a rustic, rough looking wrapper for the Umbagog, he nailed it. The color is a reddish leather brown, and it is extremely rough to the touch, featuring quite a bit of tooth when your finger up and down on it. There is a bit of oil noticeable as well as a number of prominent veins and it is somewhat firm when it is squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of surprisingly strong sweet floral that reminds me of roses, dark chocolate, earth and leather with a touch of vanilla sweetness, while the cold draw brings flavors of creamy oak, leather, bread, hay, licorice and slight black pepper.

Starting out the first third, the Umbagog Toro Toro features a strong flavor of creamy oak brought over from the cold draw, along with almonds, gritty earth, dark cocoa nibs, seared steak, leather and grass, along with nice amount of black pepper on the retrohale. There is a bit of spice on my tongue that seems to be getting stronger as the first third burns down, and I am noticing a slight cherry sweetness on the finish. The smoke production is massive from the first puff, and while the burn is far from perfect, the draw is excellent so far. Strength-wise, the Umbagog Toro Toro hits a point just below medium by the end of first third and it seems content to stay there for the time being.

The flavors shift a bit in the second third of the Umbagog Toro Toro with a rich espresso bean flavor taking over the dominant spot, followed other notes of creamy oak, leather, nuts, toast, cinnamon and dark chocolate. The cherry sweetness from the first third has increased and morphed into more of a marshmallow note by the halfway point, but the black pepper on the retrohale is noticeably reduced. Construction-wise, the burn has evened up nicely, and the draw remains excellent, and the huge smoke production remains fairly constant. As expected, the overall strength stays around the same level, seemingly content to remain just under the medium mark as the second third comes to an end.

The rich espresso note remains the dominant flavor through the final third of the Umbagog Toro Toro, but the creamy oak note is very, very close to it, along with other flavors of dark cocoa, leather, earth, anise and hay. While the marshmallow sweetness remains unchanged, it does gain in strength right before the end of the cigar, combining nicely with the slight black pepper that is still present on the retrohale. Both the burn and draw are wonderful until the end of the cigar and the strength stalls out at a solid medium by the time I put down the nub with a little less than an inch left.

Final Notes

  • Interestingly, the sweet floral note that was so prevalent in the scent of the wrapper was nowhere to be found in the actual profile.
  • I am not going to lie, the first time I heard what the name of this cigar was, I thought it sounded like something a previously unknown monster from The Dark Crystal would be named.
  • Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust won halfwheel’s Company of the Year award in 2016.
  • The construction on two of my samples was near perfect, with both the draw and burn giving me no issues whatsoever for the entire smokes. I had to touch up the third sample once in the first third and once in the second third, but neither time was really horrible, and I feel like that cigar was somewhat of an aberration..
  • Along with the above, I am reviewing the cutter at the moment, and so I alternate between a straight cut and v-cut for each of my reviews. The two samples that performed well were straight cut, while the one that had minor burn issues was v-cut. Make of it what you will.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 33 minutes.
  • If you would like to purchase any of the Umbagog cigars, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar, Elite Cigar Cafe (972.661.9136) and STOGIES World Class Cigars have them in stock.
89 Overall Score

Anyone looking for a great cigar at a surprisingly low price, you have found it. The flavors, construction and balance in the Umbagog are all excellent, and the profile changes constantly. This includes the sweetness, which starts out as a distinct cherry note before morphing into a marshmallow flavor in the second third. Yes, the complexity does die down a bit as the final third comes to an end, but this cigar smokes like a blend that costs twice as much.

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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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