Without question, Steve Saka and Skip Martin—two of the most respected, opinionated voices in the craft cigar space—dominated discussions of new and buzz-worthy cigars throughout 2019. While the latter focused on an entirely new brand (curiously being mistaken for Saka’s own, due to its name: Baka), the former took the opposite approach, circling back to bolster two preexisting lines—one being a milder take on the original (Sobremesa Brûlée) and the other being a fuller rendition (Mi Querida Triqui Traca).

Mi Querida Triqui Traca originates from Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust’s 2016 sophomore release, Mi Querida. This cigar was named for a Nicaraguan term referring to one’s secret mistress; in company owner, Steve Saka’s case, the name is tied to his love for Connecticut Broadleaf tobacco (i.e. Mi Querida’s wrapper ingredient). With 2019’s Triqui Traca addition, the name (pronounced “tree-kee trah-ka”) stems from a Nicaraguan slang term, describing strings of interconnected firecrackers. These explosives are said to sometimes span multiple city blocks during holidays and other celebrations, exploding with “a cascading line of powerful concussions and blinding light down the entire length of the street.”

In the case of the Mi Querida Triqui Traca, the cigars use this concept to showcase a more fiery, explosive rendition of the original Mi Querida blend.

Mi Querida Triqui Traca No. 648 Breakdown

  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf No. 1 Dark Corona (USA)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua | Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Nicaraguan American Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Production: Regular Production
  • Vitola: 6″ × 48 (Toro)
  • Price: $11.75 (MSRP)

Mi Querida Triqui Traca was not only inspired by Mi Querida, but a 2018 limited-edition spinoff project known as Mi Querida Firecracker. Made as a shop exclusive for Two Guys Smoke Shop, the Firecracker was released as part of the retailer’s long-running Firecracker Series, where various manufacturers showcase short, amped-up versions of pre-existing lines—topped with long and exaggerated pigtail caps that resemble a firecracker fuse.

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Triqui Traca continues the firecracker theme and amped-up performance, featuring two prominent tweaks to the Mi Querida recipe. This includes a wrapper priming change and a new Dominican addition in the filler blend.

The capa has been switched from the traditional Connecticut Broadleaf Mediums to the rarer No. 1 Dark corona leaves plus a unique, high octane ligero grown in the Dominican Republic has also been introduced into the liga. The resulting cigar retains its inherent sweet loam and chocolate characteristics, yet delivers a significantly heavier smoking experience.Steve Saka, founder of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust

Triqui Traca is rolled at the same NACSA factory as the original Mi Querida, initially debuting in two formats: No. 552 (5″ x 52 | $10.75) and No. 648 (6″ x 48 | $11.75).

Appearance

Like the tobacco blend, Triqui Traca’s packaging is but a spin on the original, featuring the same wooden boxes and scalloped-cut bands. There is, however, a new red chevron on the box’s lid that distinguishes the blend apart from the traditional Mi Querida. The red theme carries over to the bands as well, otherwise being identical to the original.

Triqui Traca’s wrapper is not quite as dark as I’d expect, having a Colorado maduro hue. The leaf boasts a medium toothiness and an assortment of fine to medium-thick veins. Most noticeably, the cigar feels very densely packed, having a firm, papier-mâché-like feel from head to toe.

The wrapper—at least on some samples—is deeply aromatic, letting off distinct notes of barnyard leather and vanilla-mint (not unlike a Freshmints Tic Tac). The foot has more of this vanilla-mint quality, backed by oak and Chocolate Fudge Pop-Tarts (if you grew up on these, like I did, you’ll know it; if not, you’ll most likely perceive it as plain old chocolate). The pre-light draw is on the firm side, displaying a heavy mineral influence, as well as generic barnyard and soil.

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Smoking Experience

The first flavor deciphered as the Triqui Traca makes its opening case is, unsurprisingly, pepper. It’s a generic pepper that is felt more as a flavor on the palate than a stinging sensation through the nostrils. This is accompanied by a cherry-like sweetness in the background and a penetrating saltiness of the cut tobacco against the tongue—an attribute I find adds another dimension to a cigar’s overall experience and complexity.

The smoking draw is on the firm side, though not as tight as the pre-light suggested; it’s manageable and not really all that concerning. Aside from the less-than-ideal smoke output effectuated by the draw, this is the only possible knock regarding the cigar’s construction. While it’s been a good while since I’ve smoked the original Mi Querida, one of the qualities that stood out most to me was the cigar’s immaculate construction. This has largely carried over to the Triqui Traca, showing a straight burn, tightly stacked layers of white ash (lasting two-plus inches), and no need for touchups or relights whatsoever. Overall, the smoke feels much heavier than that of the Mi Querida, but is nowhere near strong in the nicotine department—at least in any noticeable sense. I’d peg the experience throughout the first half at medium in strength, medium-plus in body, and medium-full in flavor.

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Where the original Mi Querida was somewhat relaxed in the flavor department, focusing more on balance, the Triqui Traca is a bit more assertive, touting loads of mineral (sometimes approaching clay territory), pepper as the secondary component, and tertiary flavors of sweet coffee, vanilla, and mint—the latter three giving an alluring complexity that always feels just out of reach in terms of decipherability. It’s a consistent profile throughout the majority of the smoking experience, which is a plus when said profile has enough depth and complexity to keep your attention—which Triqui Traca certainly does, most notably due to a chewy smoking texture, salty-sweet sensation of the tobacco against the tongue, and a cryptic sweetness through the finish.

Apart from the first third, the cigar’s biggest changes come when passing the midsection. Pulling back on pepper, the experience picks up on cream and vanilla. This leads to the changeups, including menthol, allspice, and some sort of veiled concoction I’ll describe as Wax Lips candy (an eerily nostalgic amalgam of cherry, black licorice, and rye (don’t ask me why on the rye—it’s just there)). The cigar’s profile gets darker as it approaches the nub, showing a surprisingly cool smoking temperature and flavors of chocolate (like chocolate pudding, due to the cool temperature), oak, earth, and anise.

Dunbarton Mi Querida Triqui Traca No. 648 cigar smoking

Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?

Originally, I may not have been quick to answer this, as I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it. But with additional samplings of the Triqui Traca, I can confidently affirm I will be smoking many more. This is part of the appeal with the cigar—like an album that you initially only connect with one or two songs, then later appreciate front to back. It’s the challenge and the journey that it took that makes the full experience more enduring, compared to those that are easily approachable yet just as easily dispensable.


Profile
  • Flavor: Medium-full
  • Strength: Medium-plus
  • Body: Medium-full
Core Flavors
  • Mineral
  • Black pepper
  • Salty-sweet
  • Vanilla
  • Allspice
Tips
  • Smoke Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
  • Pairing Recommendation: Milk stout | Café Cubano | Kentucky straight bourbon | Zinfandel
  • Purchase Recommendation: Box

Dunbarton Mi Querida Triqui Traca No. 648 cigar nub finished

Mi Querida Triqui Traca No. 648
Sequels and spinoffs aren't typically known for their originality, nearly always falling short in comparison to the original work. But then there are some that break the mold and take on a life of their own, as is the case with Dunbarton's Mi Querida Triqui Traca. Despite having largely the same recipe (at least on paper), the cigar seems to have little in common with the blend it builds off of. Had I smoked the two cigars blind and side by side, I don't think I'd find much in common between the two outside shared traits of balance and quality construction. Despite the perception of added strength, Triqui Traca doesn't come off as such, apart from a dense smoking texture that elicits a chewing motion long after each draw (as you would when whiskey tasting). The cigar brings body with balance, positioned in such a way that it doesn't come off as strong. This includes a solid foundation of pepper and mineral, with added depth coming from a salty-sweet finish that can be somewhat cryptic and hard to pin down; these factors combine for a superb experience for the seasoned palate.
Appearance89%
Burn/Construction96%
Draw89%
Flavor93%
Complexity90%
Price/Value91%
Pros
  • Exceptional construction
  • Balanced and intriguing profile
  • Salty-sweet sensation of cut tobacco against tongue
Cons
  • Slightly firm draw
  • Can take multiple smoking sessions to understand/appreciate flavor profile (for some, this is a pro)
91%Triqui Saka
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