In 2022, Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust released the sixth installment of its Muestra de Saka series, The Bewitched. The story of the Bewitched goes back to 2021 when the company released a special limited edition cigar to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Owl Shop of Worcester. Following that release, a decision was made with the blessing of the Owl Shop to release the same cigar as an ongoing release under the Muestra de Saka portfolio. The cigar itself would be dubbed Muestra de Saka – The Bewitched. Today we take a closer look at The Bewitched.
Muestra de Saka gets its name from Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Master Ligador Steve Saka. Saka has described the Muestra de Saka series as follows:
“Muestra is the humble, common word for ‘sample’ in Spanish, however it takes on much more important, sometimes reverential, meaning when used in a handmade cigar factory. A muestra is the vision of the ligador and torcedor realized, it is the promise of a new experience and possibly the key to financial success for the fabrica. Muestras are hoarded and coveted by not only their makers, but by the cigar smokers who seek to catch a glimpse into the cigarmaker’s soul within their smoke”. Muestra de Saka is just that. A line of unique blends and vitolas made in extremely limited quantities that reflect the blending machinations of myself. To smoke a Muestra de Saka is to embark upon a journey with me in which I greatly welcome your companionship.”
In terms of the name Bewitched, Saka provided some context at the time the cigar was announced for national release:
I wanted to honor the Owl Shop and (owner) Zach’s family legacy, so I decided to pay homage by keeping the Owl as the icon since that is where it all began, but here is where the story gets peculiar. It turns out totally unknown to me that there is a superstition among Nicaraguans that Owls are the physical manifestation of witches who cast their spells upon the people in the dark of the night. My understanding is that some consider black owls to be evil witches, while brown owls are regarded as good witches.
So I make a cigar I find mesmerizing for the Owl Shop, am encouraged by Zach to make more, decide to call it the “The Bewitched” because of how it makes me feel, then decide to keep the Owl as the icon to pay honor to ultimately learn that in Nicaragua Owls are regarded as witches… wow, that is just too much of a coincidence for even me to ignore. Fate is a fickle thing, but I am wise enough to not fight it. This was a project that simply was meant to be. Now whether it is the spell of a black owl or a brown owl, I don’t care because I love this cigar’s magic!
The following are the seven nationally released installments Muestra de Saka cigars series. The Krakatoa is scheduled to be released later in 2023.
Muestra de Saka Exclusivo
Muestra de Saka Nacatamale
Muestra de Saka Unicorn
Muestra de Saka #NLMTHA
Muestra de Saka Unstolen Valor (blended by Raul Disla)
Muestra de Saka – The Bewitched
Muestra de Saka Krakatoa
Without further ado, let’s dive into the Muestra de Saka Bewitched and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The cigar consists of a Grade 1 Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over DTT’s exclusive Cultivo Tonto San Andres Negro binder and a combination of Nicaraguan and U.S.-grown fillers. This is the same blend as the Owl Shop 75th Anniversary cigar.
Wrapper: Grade A1 Ecuador Habano
Binder: Cultivo Tonto San Andres Negro
Filler: Nicaraguan, U.S.
County of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, S.A.
The Bewitched was released in one size – a 6 5/8 x 48 Prensado. This is the same size as what was released for the Owl Shop 75th Anniversary. The Bewitched is packaged in individual coffins with a total of seven coffins per box.
The Owl Shop release was the same in blend and size, but it was packaged in ten-count boxes with a total of 300 boxes made.
The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper of The Bewitched had a chocolate brown color to it. There was a light coating of oil on the surface. The wrapper had a pristine and silky look to it. There were some visible veins and some thin visible wrapper seams. The cap is finished with a slight swirl cap. The cigar has a slightly soft press to it.
As opposed to pulling the pig-tail off, a straight cut was used to remove the cap and pig-tail of The Bewitched simultaneously. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered notes of natural tobacco, earth, cedar, and touches of chocolate. It was a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to remove the footer ribbon of The Bewitched and move into the smoking phase.
The Bewitched opened up with notes of cedar, natural tobacco, lemon rind, earth, and nuts. The cedar notes moved to the forefront and were joined by coffee notes. Some red pepper notes surfaced and joined the earth, lemon rind, natural tobacco, and nuts in the background. As the cigar moved through the first third, the coffee notes became richer. Meanwhile, there was an additional layer of red pepper on the retro-hale.
The second third of The Bewitched saw the coffee notes remain in the forefront. Meanwhile, the earth, pepper, cedar, and lemon rind notes increased in intensity. There still were touches of nuts that remained in the background.
Finally, the final third saw the lemon rind and earth notes displace the coffee notes. The coffee receded into the background with the pepper, natural tobacco, and cedar notes. The pepper notes were the most prominent of the background notes while the nut notes dissipated. This is the way The Bewitched came to a close. The resulting nub was on the firm side and was cool in temperature.
While there was a very slight amount of unevenness on the burn line of The Bewitched, for the most part, this was a low-maintenance burn that did not require many touch-ups. This wasn’t a burn prone to meandering. The resulting ash wasn’t overly firm, but wasn’t loose either. This was a cigar that had a silver-gray ash. There also was a slight amount of flowering on the ash of each of the samples. The burn rate and burn temperature maintained ideal levels.
The draw to The Bewitched performed great. It had a touch of resistance to it – which is something I like. In particular, sometimes a pressed cigar has a too-open of a draw for my liking. This was not the case with The Bewitched. And it was a low-maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The Bewitched started off with medium strength and medium-bodied flavors. There was a nominal increase in intensity of both attributes along the way, but the cigar remained in the medium range until the end of the smoking experience. In terms of strength versus body, both attributes balanced each other nicely with neither overshadowing the other.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
I have always been a fan of the coffin packaging of the Muestra de Saka series. I also like the Owl on The Bewitched because it pays homage to the roots of this release. The one thing I have not been a fan of is the footer ribbons on the Muestra de Saka that serve as a band. In general, I prefer footer bands to be secondary bands. Personally, I like having a band on a cigar while I smoke it so I can it can easily be identified.
Over the past couple of years, I have made the decision to reduce our single-store release coverage greatly. I stand by that decision, but sometimes things aren’t perfect. In the case of the original Owl Shop release, I missed covering something that was a very good cigar. The good news, I got a second chance with the Muestra de Saka Bewitched. The better news – it’s a national release that will be available on an ongoing basis.
The Muestra de Saka Bewitched had good flavor and a nice amount of complexity. The finish on the cigar was a little longer than I prefer, but in the end, this cigar still delivered for me. It’s a cigar I could recommend to any cigar enthusiast. As for myself, it is one I would buy and smoke again. This cigar comes in a very good 90 points, and that’s enough to earn the Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Earth, Lemon Rind, Natural Tobacco, Cedar, Nut, Pepper
Complexity: Medium Plus
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence
News: Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust Announces Muestra de Saka Bewitched
Source: Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust
Brand Reference: Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop
Originally posted on April 10, 2023 @ 5:18 pm