In the spring of 2021 Steve Saka, founder of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, announced plans to release a new cigar towards the end of 2021. He was cryptic about the cigars for quite some time, but hinted that it would be a “controversial” cigar line. In July, the explanation finally came for the Stillwell Star. As it turns out, Steve Saka had been a pipe smoker for over 30 years. He would often make his own cigars that incorporated some pipe tobacco in the blends. When this was discussed with the head pipe tobacco blender of Cornell & Diehl, Jeremy Reeves, the idea for Stillwell Star was born.
The concept of pipe tobaccos in cigar blends is not a new one, however, it has historically been an unsuccessful one. The intent of this line was to create 4 cigars that utilize the same wrapper and binder, but with 4 different carefully curated pipe tobacco and filler tobacco blends. The goal was to create 4 elegant cigars that allowed the pipe tobacco and cigar tobaccos to balance and highlight one another. These 4 lines are the Aromatic No.1, English No. 27, Bayou No. 32, and Navy No. 1056.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
Binder: Mexican San Andres Negro “Cultivo Tonto”
Filler: Nicaragua, Bright & Red Virginia Leaf, St. James Parish Perique
Vitola: 6 x 52 Toro
MSRP: $15.30 MSRP
Release Date: November 2021
Company Website: https://www.dunbartoncigars.com/
I really do not know what to expect from this cigar given that I have little to no experience with pipe tobacco. Knowing what Saka likes and the impression I get from the intention of the blends, I expect a fuller flavor and body with an overall rich profile. It is going to have an elegance to it and, I’m sure, some nuance. However, I am not going to guess at particular flavors.
I am in love with the band design for the Stillwell Star. The simplicity and the color combination, especially against the medium-dark wrapper leaf, are beautiful. The foot bands are perfect for aesthetic and differentiating the blends. The wrapper leaf is very clean and the cigar is quite firm. The cigar certainly smells of sweet tobacco. It reminds me of a tangy chewing tobacco. The cold draw is like nerds candies.
First light is interesting in that its medium body and medium flavor, but the finish has a punch to it that is seeming full in both. The beginning flavors are kind of tough to pin down. There’s a general tobacco note, a bready quality, and some subtle fruits. The finish is quite toasty and has a spice cabinet type earthiness to it. There is already a heaviness to the smoke, like there could be some strength behind it. The draw is perfect by the way. I am really enjoying the toastiness on the finish. Midway through the first third the draw is still bready, but more doughy than toasty, and there is still a subtle tangy fruit. The aroma of the smoke is quite perfumy. Nearing the end of this third the flavor and body are up to full. This is a slow burner to this point. The performance has been great.
The second third begins with no notable changes. I had no idea what to expect and was slightly concerned it would be blatantly obvious there was pipe tobacco in the filler. While I can say that the overall texture and smoking experience hints that the fillers are not standard cigar tobaccos, I wouldn’t have guessed there was pipe tobacco in it. Nearing halfway, the subtle fruits are coming down a bit. There’s still bready qualities there and soft sweetness. The finish is still carrying a bit of toast, but there’s some earthy coffee notes now as well. We are an hour in and at the halfway mark. There has been the introduction of some woodiness to the profile, as well as a tang that causes salivation along the sides and back of the tongue. Crossing the halfway point there is a sweet milk chocolate note dancing around in there. The draw and performance are still spot on.
Going into the final third, the burn started to lag a touch on one side, but it corrected itself. The milk chocolate is still present on the draw, some of the tang comes and goes, and wood is still present in small quantities. The finish is seeing some more earthiness and maybe a bit of toastiness still. Approaching the band I needed to perform a touchup. There has been a decent bump in the tang and it's more distinctly citrus fruits. There is a bit of bitterness coming in on the finish, but not overwhelming or negative. The cigar has still been full in body and flavor, but there is now some strength becoming more noticeable around medium to medium-full. There’s a bit of a floral component joining in. The smoke is quite oily now and really coats the mouth with citrus. The wood is becoming a bit more prevalent. The end shows the first noticeable pepper so far and there’s a bit of dark cocoa and coffee coming in as well.
This has been an interesting cigar. Overall, I enjoyed the flavor profile throughout. The second half was a bit more enjoyable than the first half. This was because each half was a bit over an hour, and the first half was more static in flavor. I liked the way the second half showed more transitions in flavor over that hour period. I also really enjoyed how the cigar ended with the dark cocoa, coffee, and pepper. I did not want to put it down. I mentioned this in the review, but I would not have guessed that there was pipe tobacco in this blend, which is a good thing for me. The complaint with previously released “pipe tobacco” cigars was that they were overpowered by the pipe tobacco. This Bayou No. 32 hit the mark for what they were going for: elegance and balance. I would feel comfortable recommending this cigar to a cigar smoker. On one hand because of the experience of smoking a high quality pipe tobacco cigar. On the other hand because it was just a good cigar. The final burn time was about 2 hours and 15 minutes.
I got this cigar from a friend, but you can try the cigar yourself at Small Batch Cigars and let me know what you think! Use code “Whiskey” to get 10% off your entire order. Plus, sign up and begin earning 5% back in rewards points with each purchase.
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