Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust famously debuted in the premium cigar market in 2015, noted for its creator, Steve Saka. Saka has held many positions in the industry for roughly two decades and has become known as somewhat of an industry guru. Shortly after the brand’s launch in 2015, we wrote:
Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust is the much-anticipated, welcomed return to the cigar industry for Steve Saka, the highly-revered, former CEO of Drew Estate. Steve has now made it through the industry nearly full-circle, beginning as a blogger, then working for cigar retailer JR Cigar as an executive consultant, and eventually taking the prestigious role as President of Drew Estate (finishing as CEO). With this kind of a track record, there’s really only one thing left to check off the list, a dream that many (nearly every) cigar enthusiast shares—creator and owner of a cigar brand.
The first release under the family-held DTT brand was Sobremesa, a Nicaraguan-based blend, with Steve turning to the revered Joya de Nicaragua factory for production. Following a slow and methodical release schedule, DTT introduced Mi Querida as the brand’s sole offering in 2016—a highly-anticipated sophomore release that showcased Saka’s notorious usage of Nicaraguan tobaccos cloaked in Connecticut Broadleaf. But alongside the introduction of Mi Querida came the promise of many other blends in the DTT portfolio—perhaps revealed years before schedule due to impending FDA regulations on the cigar industry. Of these four promised releases from 2016, three have now seen official launches in 2017: Umbagog, Muestra de Saka, and Todos Las Dias.
Of these three, Todos Las Dias is the brand that could be categorized alongside DTT’s core-line cigars, following Sobremesa and Mi Querida (with Umbagog being more of an offshoot of Mi Querida, filling the gap of an affordable product from DTT, and Muestra de Saka being classified along the lines of an experimental series of limited edition blends from Saka’s blending table). Todos Las Dias marks the first Nicaraguan puro from Dunbarton, described as the strongest blend in the DTT portfolio, intended for the seasoned, no-nonsense enthusiast.
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Todos Las Dias Robusto Breakdown
- Wrapper: Nicaragua (Cuban-seed & Sun-grown)
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, S.A. (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production / Small Batch
- Vitola: 5″ × 52 Robusto
- Price: $11.45 (MSRP)
Now, anyone familiar with the outspoken tendencies of Steve Saka knows there’s much more to the backstory than simply a strong cigar that translates to “All the Days.” For starters, the correct phrase is “Todos Los Dias” (not “Las”), translating to “Every Day.” This subtle mixup is the genesis the Todos Las Dias backstory.
In 2001, Estelo Padrón (brother of Jose Orlando Padrón) handed Saka a particularly brazen cigar from his personal blending samples. Taken aback by the overwhelming strength and nicotine output, Saka asked in disbelief, “You really smoke these?” to which Estelo replied, “Todos los dias Saka, todos los dias.” This translated to, “every day Saka, every day,” a remark that Saka took to heart, envisioning the phrase as a fun concept, should he ever craft a blend strong enough to justify the title.
Fifteen years later, this manifested itself in the form of Todos Las Dias (TLD) by Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust… with Steve’s misinterpretation finally being brought to his attention as he pitched the concept to Joya de Nicaragua—the eventual manufacturers of the cigar. In the end, the “Spanglish” mispronunciation stuck, providing an amusing backstory to tie the overlying concept together.
The uncut, unfiltered, all-encompassing and exhaustive version of TLD’s backstory can be found below, as explained by Saka himself—
As previously mentioned, Todos Las Dias is the first Nicaraguan puro from DTT. The blend seeks to highlight the fiery and intense characteristics of Nicaragua’s volcanic soil, centering around tobaccos of the Jalapa and Estelí regions and topped with a Cuban-seed, sun-grown, Nicaraguan wrapper. TLD marks the third cigar from Dunbarton to come out of Joya de Nciaragua (JDN), and the concept feels like an homage, of sorts, to Nicaragua’s oldest manufacturer. JDN’s breakout release was the Antaño 1970, which utilized a Nicaraguan puro blend to set a new standard for powerhouse experiences when released in 2001. In comparison, TLD is a Nicaraguan puro that aims to satisfy thrill-seeking, “nicotine bomb” enthusiasts, with the cigars coming out of the same JDN factory. One of the sizes even showcases the same mold used to roll JDN’s 4¾” x 60 Gran Cónsul vitola in the Antaño 1970 collection (named Double Wide Belicoso in the TLD marca).
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When Todos Las Dias was first seen in 2016, the cigars showcased a gold trim highlight—this has now been replaced by a matte-finish silver. The look is superb, clearly using a very premium paper stock in conjunction with top-tier foils and inks to set the look on par with the royal feel of Sobremesa and Mi Querida (more comparable to Sobremesa, in my opinion). The switch from gold to silver was a good move, as both of the previously mentioned cigars use gold as either a focus or highlight.
Adding confusion to the cigar’s misspelled title, the artwork features a monogram that converts the cigar’s acronym (TLD) to “TDL,” which is actually the proper etiquette for a design such as this, according to Steve Saka. While this look is quite similar to CAO’s World Series cigars (Brazilia, Colombia, etc.), it is actually done in a much more sophisticated and pleasing manner and sets itself apart.
TLD also features a foot band, where the same color scheme is used to display the cigar’s full name, “Todos Las Dias.” The cigars are packaged in plain wood, hinged boxes and are displayed horizontally, making for long and skinny boxes that are intended to take up less space in retail humidors. The full presentation is eye-catching and tantamount to Dunbarton’s best works.
Todos Las Dias is dark, with a mocha hue and subtle, purple undertones. The wrapper is webbed in an intricate display of fine veins and the wrapper appears well-placed, with almost invisible seams. The bunch feels medium to firm, having a hard, papier-mâché-like exterior. There is a muted sheen of oil on the cigar’s wrapper, exposed when held to sunlight. The cigar is very solid and has a substantial feel in the hand.
On the wrapper there are very subtle notes of cedar and leather, while the foot shows stronger notes of chocolate and spicy, black pepper. The pre-light draw is on the firm side, showing musty notes and black pepper spice in the back of the throat.
As advertised, TLD lights up with a smooth sensation across the tongue. Not long after, there are biting notes of white pepper zest in the nostrils. The smoking texture is dry, delivered through a draw that veers towards firm—though it isn’t bothersome enough to be a true criticism. In addition, the smoke output is greater than expected from the draw (around medium), making for an enjoyable start to the cigar.
At one-half inch in, the cigar requires a minor touchup from a wavering burn line—this ignites a unique profile that oscillates between mint, menthol, wintergreen, and fresh, mountain pine. I often find that strong cigars can have a cooling, menthol-like sensation, but this profile is registered more as a fresh flavor, rather than simply a sensation in the nostrils. There are loads of white and black pepper notes on the tongue, and the cigar could be described as medium flavor, medium-plus strength, and medium-plus body at this point.
Passing the one-inch mark, the cigar needs another touchup, giving me the feeling that the blend may benefit from dry-boxing or more time in the humidor. TLD clearly doesn’t cater towards sweetness, but there are subtle notes of toasted caramel bobbing in and out through this section. The texture remains dry, adding a chili powder note and cocoa on the finish. This leads into the midsection of the cigar, where the nicotine suddenly rushes over your body—a nostalgic feeling, reminiscent of one’s first encounter with tobacco. This isn’t a strength that had me “turning green,” but rather a relaxing, numbing sensation that certainly set the experience apart from the pack.
Once the strength really kicks in, the cigar doesn’t have many more tricks up its sleeve. There is a slow progression afterwards, eventually showing thick notes of dark chocolate and anise, as well as bursts of cedar and prunes that keep the interest alive until the cigar’s eventual completion.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
This is a tough one. I’ll admit, I’m not typically a “nicotine junkie,” with my preferences leaning towards big flavors and complexities over anything else. But the cigar certainly has its place, and I could see myself enjoying this on occasion with a barrel-proof bourbon or perhaps a steak dinner. As a side note, the cigar did display an added sweetness when paired with bourbon (as most do), giving a much longer finish as well.
- Smoking Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.
- Pairing Recommendation: Kentucky Straight Bourbon (barrel-proof), Espresso, Zinfandel wine, water
- Purchase Recommendation: 5-pack (experienced smokers only)
Images without Cigar Dojo watermark were provided by Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust
- Steady progression of strength
- Refreshing profile of mint/wintergreen/menthol/pine in first third
- Pairs well with heavy drinks/food
- Needs dry-boxing or extra acclimation - multiple touchups
- Lacks complexity
- Price seems a bit high