Today we take a look at another offering in Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust’s StillWell Star line, the StillWell Star Bayou No. 32. StillWell Star is a series of cigar blends produced by company founder Steve Saka that incorporate pipe tobaccos into the filler. Not known to many, Saka has been a pipe smoker for 30 years, and for the past two decades, he has incorporated some of his favorite pipe tobaccos into cigar blends for his own personal consumption. When the COVID-19 pandemic came around, Saka decided to explore the concept and see if he could scale things from a personal cigar project to a brand. For the project, Saka turned to Jeremy Reeves of Cornell & Diehl. Cornell & Diehl has experience with many of the best luxury pipe blends out there including G.L. Pease, BriarWorks, Two Friends, and Drucquer & Sons. It turned out that Reeves was also a cigar smoker and Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust was one of his favorite blends. When Saka told him of what he was doing with the personal blends, Reeves was equally intrigued and the project was underway. The result would be StillWell Star. It would be a line of cigars that would debut at the 2021 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show in four blends. Today we will focus our attention on one of those original blends, the StillWell Star Bayou No. 32.
The following are the four original blends that were released as a part of the StillWell Star collection. All of these releases are regular production. Listed are the pipe tobaccos that are incorporated.
Aromatic No. 1 (Black Cavendish, Golden Virginia, Burley)
English No. 27 (Burley, Turkish Leaf, and Cypriot Latakia pressed cake)
Bayou No. 32 (Bright and Virginia Leaf, St. James Perique)
Navy No. 1056 (Red and Golden Virginias with a touch of “Naval Rations” combined with Orientals and Latakia).
There is also a limited edition StillWell Star Holiday Y2022 that has recently been released. This cigar incorporates mild, aromatic “holiday” seasonal pipe tobaccos in the blend.
Without further ado, let’s break down the StillWell Star Bayou No. 32 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The StillWell Star Bayou No. 32 blends Bright and Virginia Leaf, St. James Perique Pipe tobaccos with traditional Nicaraguan cigar tobaccos. Like the other StillWell Star blends, the Bayou No. 32 features a San Andres binder and is finished with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. Production for all of the StillWell Star bands is from the Joya de Nicaragua factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: San Andres Negro Cultivo Tonto
Filler: Nicaraguan plus Bright and Virginia Leaf, St. James Perique
Country of Origin
Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua S.A.
Each of the four StillWell Star blends is available in one size – a 6 x 52 Toro. In addition, each of the StillWell Star blends is presented in 13-count boxes.
The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper of the StillWell Star Bayou No. 32 had a dark brown color with a slight dark cinnamon tint to it. There was some oil on the surface of the wrapper. The surface of the wrapper had a few visible veins and a few visible wrapper seams to it.
A straight cut was used to remove the cap of the StillWell Star Bayou No. 32. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered a mix of earth, mixed fruit, chocolate, and some smoky notes. Overall I found this to be one of the better pre-light draw experiences of the StillWell Star series. At this point, it was time to remove the footer band, toast up the StillWell Star Bayou No. 32 and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The StillWell Star Bayou No. 32 opened up with grass, mixed fruit, chocolate, and smoky notes. Early on the grass notes became primary with the chocolate, fruit, and smoky notes settling in the background. Meanwhile, there was an additional layer of smokiness as well as some black pepper on the tongue.
During the second third of the StillWell Star Bayou No. 32, earth notes joined the grass in the forefront and black pepper notes entered the equation in the background. The mixed fruit was now more pronounced and seemed like a cross of fig and citrus. Just past the midway point, the grass notes were replaced by classic wood notes that joined the earth in the forefront. Meanwhile, there was an increase in the pepper and smoky notes and a decrease in the sweetness coming from the chocolate and fruit notes.
The final third saw the smoky and pepper notes kick up and join the wood in the forefront. The earth notes settled in the background. By this point, there were only traces of chocolate and fruit in the background. This is the way the StillWell Star Bayou No. 32 came to a finish. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The burn of the StillWell Star Bayou No. 32 maintained a relatively straight burn path and straight burn line, but on each of the samples smoked, the number of touch-ups needed became more frequent as the smoking experience progressed. While the touch-ups kept the burn intact, the number of touch-ups needed was more frequent than anticipated. Meanwhile, the resulting ash had a mostly light gray color with some darker streaks mixed in. This was an ash that wasn’t overly firm, but not loose nor flaky either. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both maintained ideal levels.
Overall the draw of the StillWell Star Bayou No. 32 was on the open side. Normally I prefer more on the way of resistance on a draw. While the Bayou No. 32 didn’t deliver the resistance level I desired, the draw did not produce any adverse effects on the cigar experience.
Strength and Body
The StillWell Star Bayou No. 32 started out with mild to medium strength and medium-bodied notes. Both the strength and body gradually increased in intensity. The strength increased slightly more rapidly during the first half. By the second half, the strength progressed into medium territory. While the strength and body both continued to increase in intensity gradually, both came short of moving from medium to full.
In terms of strength versus body, the body maintained the edge throughout the first half. In the second half, the body still had a slight edge, but the gap closed between the two.
Banding and Packaging Notes
The StillWell Star Bayou No. 32 features the same blue and gold bands as the rest of the series. The primary band is denoted with the StillWell Star logo while the secondary note indicates which of the four original StillWell Star blends it is. While I really like the blue and gold color scheme, it can be a little difficult identifying which StillWell Star is which. It is going to require paying attention to the footer band. Given the wrappers have a very similar look, it can get a little confusing when looking at each of the cigars.
There are two observations I have about the StillWell Star Bayou No. 32. First, this cigar definitely delivered in terms of complexity – there are lots of flavor nuances and flavor transitions. Secondly, this cigar definitely delivered in terms of enjoying the pipe tobacco experience. There was little doubt of the fact that I was puffing on pipe tobacco in this cigar. As for the flavors themselves, they were most enjoyable in the first half. The second half saw the flavors become more muddled and the spice increase really didn’t help. On another note, I’ve smoked several of these cigars throughout the year before tackling this assessment, and I found the flavors improved nicely over time.
As I said with the English No. 27, there is a reason I will smoke a cigar over a pipe – namely I like cigar tobacco better. In the end, this cigar might not be for everyone. Priced at $15.00 plus, this is one that I would encourage giving a try first and seeing what you think.
Key Flavors: Smoky Flavors, Earth, Grass, Fruit (Fig/Citrus), Wood, Chocolate, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st Half), Medium (2nd Half)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Try a Sample
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop
Originally posted on November 7, 2022 @ 8:17 pm