A spinoff of a spinoff—in TV Land, this would be a recipe for disaster. But when it comes to craft cigars, such a concept is quick to get the blood flowing for collectors and die-hard enthusiasts alike. This is the case with the Sobremesa Brûlée Blue, a limited version of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust’s Connecticut-wrapped Sobremesa Brûlée, which is itself a variation of the company’s 2015 freshman release: Sobremesa.

The cigars were first announced this spring, growing in anticipation until the eventual release in August, at which point the “Blue” could easily be considered among the most (if not the most) sought-after releases of the year. The release had seemingly come at just the right moment, as the Sobremesa Brûlée proved a sleeper hit from the year prior. Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust owner, Steve Saka, capitalized on the success with a sweet-tipped Brûlée sampler known as STFU!!! and the Sobremesa Brûlée Blue.

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Sobremesa Brûlée Blue Breakdown

  • Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut Shade G2BW
  • Binder: Mexican San Andrés Negro
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Production: Limited/Ongoing (1,000 boxes of 13 cigars at launch)
  • Vitola: 6¼″ × 46 (Corona Gorda)
  • Price: $14.95 (MSRP)

While the original Sobremesa Brûlée was designed to recreate Saka’s nostalgic recollection of Connecticut-wrapped cigars such as Macanudo and Romeo y Julieta during the ’80s, the “Blue” dialed into a more specific smoking experience from his past. This was a 12-year-aged Davidoff Dom Perignon Churchill from an era when the brand was still produced in Cuba. As described by Saka:

“Those Habana Davidoff Dom Perignon puros, those were magical – so smooth, so subtle yet complex, creamy, sweetness, touches of cafe and almond butter. Folded with light notes of cedar and a delicate spice.

This was my goal: to tweak the Brûlée liga to reward me with the smoking experience like offered by those amazing aged DDPs.”

Despite originally setting out to accomplish the feat using the same Churchill format, the cigars eventually materialized in a slightly smaller corona gorda, which better showcased the profile of the Dom Perignon. Sobremesa Brûlée Blue uses a similar tobacco blend as the original Brûlée, with more precise tobacco selections and positioning within the cigar employed to fine-tune the experience. This process was described by Saka as “[being] micro-tweaked ad nauseum, the smallest of changes, dozens of times all with the goal of recapturing a memory of an experience from long ago.” As a final touch, the cigars are laid to rest in cool aging rooms for over 12 months after being rolled.

Appearance

As has come to be expected with Dunbarton’s ultra-premium releases, the Brûlée Blue is virtually flawless in presentation. In terms of packaging, it’s your standard Sobremesa (which just so happens to be one of our favorite cigar bands), only the brown backdrop has been replaced with a new baby blue look. Aside from the bands, the cigar’s head is the primary attention-grabber, showing a tightly coiled pigtail cap. This leads to a nicely rounded head and a rigid feel from head to toe. The wrapper shows consistent coloring, being a bronze-like hue that is darker than the conventional Connecticut. There are fine veins throughout and visible yet well-placed wrapper seams. It’s a supremely elegant specimen clearly geared for the traditionalist connoisseur.

On the wrapper there are light but discernible aromas of lemon grass, twangy leather, and citrus. The foot has notes of clean cedar, sage, and generic barnyard. With a cut, the pre-light differs slightly between samples, as some left a lingering sweetness on the lips and others did not. The draw is just barely on the firm side, giving off elements of lemon, pine, and white pepper.

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Smoking Experience

From the first puff, there is a flavor/texture combination that sinks into the palate like oily butter. The profile is sweet and clean, with the most discernible flavor holding out until the finish, where cotton candy cuts through as a glaring rarity in the spectrum of flavors associated with premium cigars. As the profile develops, sweetness is joined by saltiness and umami, reducing the aforementioned butter down to a nutty, more concentrated browned butter flavor. Further developments come by way of vanilla candy (think the vanilla dip sticks from Fun Dip candy), toffee, and peanut brittle, with the profile moving from cleanness to sweetness from draw to finish. In fact, the smoke seems to hit its sweetest moment at the tail end of the finish, just before the flavors dissipate altogether. If the conspiracy of a sweetened tip holds any weight, this could help explain an added sweetness in the final moments of each puff, with added chewing transporting sweetness from the lips to the tip of the tongue by the latter portions of each finish. Then again, it could just be that it’s a complex cigar…

Sobremesa Brûlée Blue cigar smoking

As the pre-light draw indicated, the draw is a touch on the firm side. This translates to a wispy smoke output, occasionally requiring double puffs to pull the desired amount of smoke from the cigar. Construction proves on point, with a steady burn line producing a slightly flakey ash that builds in roughly two-inch segments. On the palate, the smoke hits the tongue on the tip (sweetness) first, followed by the back sides (mouthwatering acidity), front sides (saltiness), and a touch down the center (umami, followed by bitterness). The smoke is fully retrohalable, having only the slightest amount of heat in the way of white pepper or sage. Altogether, the profile flirts around the medium-light body range, showing medium-plus flavor and mild-to-medium strength.

With further progression, the cigar darkens in tone, becoming zestier in the retrohale with touches of black pepper and nutmeg. There is a distinct moment when cream cheese enters through the finish. This is one of the most clear flavors I’ve come across in recent memory—when you find it, you’ll know it. The cigar continues to darken and eventually loses a good chunk of the sweetness found early on. This is not before bubble gum hits the palate ostentatiously, seeming like a remnant of the cotton candy from before but with more of a juiciness to it. This where the sweetness departs, leaving behind flavors of barnyard hay and a warm, soft spice. The cigar continues to produce engaging flavor well beyond the point where I typically discard and move on. This includes an enjoyable tartness from the raw tobacco against the tongue, making for a flavor in the realm of lemon cake. Hazelnuts and vegetation emerge, accompanied by pine through the finish. Cream cheese can still be found in the background, sometimes coming across more like buttermilk after the addition of the aforementioned tartness.

Sobremesa Brûlée Blue cigar ash

Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?

Without a second thought. I haven’t had the luxury of smoking a 12-year-aged Davidoff Dom Perignon—or any Cuban-made Davidoff, for that matter—but it made for a fun addition to the smoking experience, knowing that Saka’s well-trained palate found it comparable. The cigar is certainly different than the standard Sobremesa Brûlée, though perhaps not quite as much as anticipated. Where the original is casual and refreshing, this is more concentrated and precise—still sweet, but with darker elements of browned butter, toffee, and peanut brittle.


Profile
  • Flavor: Medium-plus
  • Strength: Medium-light
  • Body: Medium
Core Flavors
  • Cotton candy
  • Browned butter
  • Vanilla candy
  • Peanut brittle
  • Cream cheese
  • Hazelnut
Tips
  • Smoke Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
  • Pairing Recommendation: Wheatwine ale | Whiskey sour | Mineral water | Cappuccino
  • Purchase Recommendation: As much as you can afford

Sobremesa Brûlée Blue cigar nub finished

Sobremesa Brûlée Blue
A finely tuned, slightly stronger Sobremesa Brûlée with a full year of age—it's quite the attractive concept. And the end result delivered as promised, showcasing added depth, evolution, and long-lasting flavor. However, don't expect an entirely different breed when comparing the "Blue" to its Sobremesa Brûlée ancestor. In my experience, the cigar performed more along the lines of a size change than a metamorphosis. After all, a typical size change undergoes recipe tweaks as well, including tobacco proportions and positioning, with any corona gorda being capable of showcasing more concentrated flavor. It's then the added tobacco specificity and the year of age that are left to make the difference and set the more premium price point. Is it worth it? Yes, I'm a fan of both the original and the new incarnation, perhaps coming down to a situational decision; the original is fun and carefree, the "Blue" is serious and introspective.
Appearance95%
Burn/Construction94%
Draw86%
Flavor93%
Complexity94%
Price/Value89%
Pros
  • Contemplative, rewarding experience with proper attention
  • Nice depth of flavor attributes across the flavor wheel
  • Evolving and long-lasting finish
Cons
  • Slightly firm draw
  • Inconsistencies of tobacco sweetness on lips from sample to sample
92%Epicurean
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