Cigar Review: Sobremesa Gran Imperiales

Cigar Review: Sobremesa Gran Imperiales

Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano Dark Rosado)
Binder: Mexico (Metacapan Negro Temproal)
Filler: Nicaragua & USA (Pennsylvania Broadleaf)
Size: 7” x 54
Strength: medium-full
Price: $13.45

Click here to buy it now.

Overall Rating: 9.2

Perhaps the most anticipated cigar of the year (at least by the “cigar nerds”) is Steve Saka’s first cigar since leaving Drew Estate, the Sobremesa. Saka has been very open about the fact that the Sobremesa is not another Liga Privada, so people have been curious as to what they should expect. They should expect a really good medium-full bodied cigar filled with a creamy balance of cocoa, cedar and coffee flavors. The Sobremesa is one of those cigars that lives up to the hype surrounding it.


Pre-Light: A simple brown band with a golden crown, that reminds me of the crown used by hockey’s Los Angeles Kings in the 60s and 70s, stands out against the Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper of the Sobremesa. A brown and gold foot band simply states the cigar’s name. The Sobremesa Gran Imperiales makes simplicity look beautiful in the way the girl next door does. The wrapper in the color of a brown crayon, and is smooth to the touch. The cigar is firm to the touch, but not hard.


From the Ecuadorian Habano Dark Rosado wrapper there is mild aroma of earth and natural tobacco. A bit of barnyard mixes with scents of sweet tobacco and cocoa from the unlit foot of the cigar. The Sobremesa has a nice cold draw allowing through notes of cocoa, natural tobacco and cinnamon.


Burn: The Sobremesa is a slow and even burning cigar. A fine white ash clings nicely to the end of the cigar. The draw is perfect, and allows through a good deal of flavorful smoke.


Flavor: The first few puffs of the Sobremesa Gran Imperiales allow through a sweet earthiness, slightly tinged with hints of cocoa and grass. After the first few puffs, there is a pleasing mix of cedar, cocoa and cinnamon. On the retrohale, sweet cedar dominates with subtle hints of spice. As the cigar enters the second third there is a very mild spice on the palate. A creamy coffee note, similar to an iced coffee with cream and sugar from Dunkin’ Donuts, joins the existing cocoa and cedar flavors. At the halfway point in the Sobremesa, the strength picks up to the medium-full level, with coffee, cocoa and spice taking center stage. The spice takes on a slightly different character in the second third, and is more herbal during this portion of the cigar. The balance and interplay between flavor notes is wonderful. The retrohale, at this point, is still mostly cedar with background cocoa and mild spice. In the final third of the Sobremesa the flavors of cedar, cocoa, coffee and spice seem to become more prominent. The cocoa trades some of it’s powdered cocoa character for a creamy hot chocolate aspect. There’s an outstanding finish to the Dunbarton Sobremesa, making for a really enjoyable smoking experience. The Sobremesa is a hard cigar to put down.


Overall: While it is not another Liga Privada, even the most die hard Liga fans will likely be won over by the balance and complexity of the Sobremesa. There are certainly some similarities to Saka’s past cigars, but the Sobremesa seems to take things to a whole new level. Cocoa, cedar, coffee and mild spice blend together in this creamy medium-full bodied cigar. While the Gran Imperiales is medium-full, the Corona Grande I smoked was more in the full bodied range. Personally, I found the Sobremesa to be one of the best new cigars released this year. It was such a hard cigar to put down, that I managed to go through all five I had in the course of two days. I will definitely be adding the Sobremesa to my humidor. Though the cigar is a regular production cigar, it may be hard to get your hands on for a while, so I’d stock up when you find them.


Pairing: To experience the full flavor of the Sobremesa, I recommend trying it first with a bottle of sparkling water. A Cuban coffee of creamy cappuccino will compliment the flavor profile of the Sobremesa perfectly. Believe it or not, a Coca-Cola or root bear made with cane sugar (such as Abita or Dad’s) also go fairly well with the Sobremesa. The scotch drinker will find the Glenmorangie Lasanta, Oban 14, Tamdhu 10 Sherry Cask and Balvenie 12 DoubleWood will all pair nice with the cigar.


On a side note: I’ve complained in the past about being irked by people being overly secretive with the blend of their cigars. (See my reviews of the Fuente Eye of the Shark or Moya Ruiz Chinese Finger Trap.) That’s why I have to point out that Steve Saka has done the opposite, and I’m pretty sure the market is not going to be flooded with Sobremesa clones. The Sombremesa has an Ecuadorian Habano Grade 1 Dar Rosado wrapper and Mexican Metacapan Negro Temproal binder. The filler consists of Nicaraguan GK Condesa C-SG Seco, Pueblos Nuevo Criollo Viso, La Joya Esteli C-98 Viso, ASP Esteli Hybrid Ligero, and Pennsylvania Broadleaf Ligero from Lancaster County. Cigar enthusiasts love knowing the details about what they’re smoking, and it only deepens their appreciation when they know how many different types of tobacco from various countries is used in the cigar they hold. It sometimes seems a bit pretentious to be super secretive about the blend. (At the very least let us know what country the tobacco comes from.) Kudos to Saka.


Reviewed by Jonathan David (@JonDavid1210)