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Old 09-16-2019, 11:21 AM   #1
TommyBB
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ANOTHER Steve Saka Thread

Steve has been really busy, and he just posted a list of 12 questions and answers he has been getting from his customers, mostly tobacconists, but likely smokers, too. Some of these blends as he calls them in the parlance "ligas" are things many of us have never heard of. Sorry for the long post, but it IS informative.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Saka
Question Overload so I am going to answer a bunch of them here:

[Note: added answer #11 about the Sin Compromiso El Amsterdammer crafted for Cigaragua - and I added a Q12 also to end.]

--

Q1. What is Dondurma?

A1. Dondurma is a liga I created back in 2015 - it features what today has become a relative rare tobacco in handmade cigars, a variation of Wisconsin Comstock. I tabled the liga because IMO while it was solid, it really is only extra special when you retrohale it and then it is magnificent. But there is no way I am ever going to get Retailers to explain this, heck I can't get them to explain Umbagog correctly... anyhow I made a about 1,000 of these cigars. I promised Cigaragua 60 of these for our event this week. After that I just sent a few to Ronnie Haisha of Secreto Cigar Bar a few to sample because he is a retrohaling fiend. Turns out he loved them and asked if he could sell the rest to his customers and I figured heck if anyone can represent or explain this cigar to folks it is him. There are only about 90 10ct boxes - I will be in Detroit at the end of the month to drink The Balvenie US and smoke Dondurma. I can make more, but it will always be in tiny batches like this, I simply do not have enough Comstock, nor do I plan on ever having a lot of Comstock.

--

Q2: What is Mi Querida Triqui Traca?

A2: It is a variation of the core Mi Querida liga that I so love that I developed for the Mi Querida Firecracker project for our friends at Two Guys Smoke Shop - we produced this for two years in a row for them and both times they sold out very quickly. So I wanted to make it in larger formats, so this year we introduced the No. 552 and No. 648 - frontmarks = sizes. I utilize No. 1 Darks Broadleaf as the capa and have incorporate a special ligero from the DR - it is actually the Dominican leaf that amps up the power. It is definitely stronger, but really not more peppery - it is more like a density, a body, the just feel heavier when you smoke them . They can be easily identified as they have a RED band vs the blue one. We just started shipping these, we are backordered, but strongly recommend Retailers place followup orders to ensure they get some additional ones over the next few months - as always, we fill orders in the order in which we receive them.

--

Q3: Are you ever going to ship more Sobremesa Brülée?

A3: Yes, like Triqui Traca it is continually being crafted, it is just sales are way out pacing production currently, but the supply will begin flowing again within the next 30 days or so.

--

Q4: Is Sobremesa Brülée sweet tipped?

A4: No, but yes there is a natural sweetness - once you smoke a few of them you will notice that slight initial sweetness is variable, this would not be the case if they were sweet tipped. I knew the blend was sweet, I blended it to be sweet and I named it Brülée because it does have that note. For those who think I am lying, oh well, wtf can I do to prove a negative? And honestly I don't care if people think it is or isn't, the question for me is do people like it. Sidebar: All of this discussion prompted me to make a few of these sweet tipped because now I am curious what it will taste like - I will be smoking these in October/November and no, I wont send you one.

--

Q5: Will you be making _____ size of Sobremesa Brülee and/or Mi Querida Triqui Traca?

A5: Maybe - today I just want to get the current sizes production levels to where they need to be before I worry about tweaking the ligas for the other sizes... I need another project now like I need a hole in the head.

--

Q6: What is the deal with the Famous 80th?

A6: Nicaraguan Puro, box pressed, crafted at NACSA - we are really stepping up our game there - there are only 250 10ct boxes - they will sell on Oct 26th - again I will be on hand for the launch event. It is f'ing great and no, there are no current plans to craft more.

--

Q7: When will there be more #NLMTHA Lanceros?

A7: I can't believe I even got to answer this one... stunned that the first one SOLD OUT, but I am even more stunned that we actually received orders for more of these that exceeds their March 2019 release - all the cigars are made, expect to ship to Retailers in October 2019. And NO, I have zero plans to make any of my other ligas into a lancero - just because people are willing to buy something, doesn't mean it is good. It took me forever to make the #NLMTHA, over 70 variations, just stupid... no way will I endure that misery again. That being said, maybe I will make in 2020 a 7ct Sampler from the 70+ variation I made, try to make some of that work pay... maybe call it the "Lanceros Suck Sampler"! <snicker>

--

Q8: Are you making more Red Meat Lovers?

A8: I did, they are done, resting in the aging rooms and will be packed and shipped to Smoke Inn in mid-November 2019. Same great liga, dense, heavy, earthy, medium plus in the same format - actually the identical tobacco from the very same crops, I knew this was a winner so I set aside the materials needed to make more when we released them last year. Again, it is limited.

--

Q9: Where can I buy the Muestra de Saka UnStolen Valor?

A9: No where yet, this will be our 2020 Muestra de Saka release - it is actually a liga developed by Raul Disla - it is awesome, I love it and want to share it with folks. I am doing this for 2 reasons: 1) It is great, 2) Raul runs NACSA and is a very good cigar maker, but they do not currently produce any brands for themselves so this will provide a means for people to get a taste of his work. It is named "Unstolen Valor" because I want to ensure he receives the credit for the cigar. I think folks who smoke on the stronger side are going to really like it. We will start accepting orders on this in November, with March 2020 being the ETA.

--

Q10: Where can I buy a Unicorn?

A10: No clue, there are just 1,000 of these each year and there is no way I can keep track of this. That being said, the warehouse just began shipping out the 2018 production - any Retailers that want more are ordering in advance for the 2019 production that will ship in 2020. And no, I won't just make more, it defeats the whole concept of what a Unicorn is... DTT's success or failure is not ever going to be determined by Unicorn sales.

--

Q11: What is the deal with the Sin Compromiso El Amsterdammer?

A11: It is a 6x60 with a Cuban 109 Style Bullet head we crafted for our friends at Cigaragua. Sasja Van Horssen is such a big supporter of Nicaraguan cigars in the EU and I wanted to make him something special for his market. I assumed he would want something corona or lonsdale like, but he specifically asked for this format - he says his Dutch customers love big cigars. It is currently an exclusive to him, I do not even have any in the US to sell - the first one I will smoke since its development will be in the Netherlands this Friday at our Launch Event!

--

Q12: You do know that every cigar you talked about above you referred to as "great", "magnificient", "awesome", etc?

A12: Yeah, that is because they f'ng are... if my name is on it, it means I developed the blend, selected the tobacco, etc. etc. and I don't do "ok" when it comes to cigars. My putting my seal of approval on Unstolen Valor is a radical departure for me, but even on this project I will be personally warranting the quality of the blend and the cigars, so I will be very involved. Since day one, our mantra has been was "Puros Sin Compromiso" and it is just not a tag line for us. We take it very seriously.

Thanks!
"Retrohale" take a shot.
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+In Memory of E.Guevara(Cubano67) A.Morris (Knife) D.Odom (dodom) D.Revermann (dgr) S.Bouchard (sb1396) M.Cole (Matt76) S.Faccenda (TOJE) R.Smith(IBMer) V.Vandermeer (van55)M.Davis(boxdoctor)S.Singer(bassman)K.Doetze l (drillrk1)D.Hart(garme1962)J.Coleman(John C 81)T.Gossett(Dartplayer1)J.Bolt (jb)E.J.Ferralles(CaballoPinto)M.Cataldo(FVFanMC)K Payne(SanchoPanza) + Libby DeMers,MrsCrimson, MrsPhilip, MrsDeriffe LB
+Connor Olson+Micah Kercheval+Maggie Bonefas (LittleMean)+


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Old 09-16-2019, 01:14 PM   #2
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I love his passion!
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Old 09-16-2019, 03:35 PM   #3
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Great read. 👍🏼
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Old 09-16-2019, 04:43 PM   #4
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One of a kind among thousands of divas and dilletants. He, however, follows through on his vision.

I just had a caldwell funfetti a while back. Supposedly made by an absolute master of the great cigars. How was I supposed to know that it was literally made with confetti? Went flat as cardboard before I was finished, and when I stripped the nub of it's binder/wrapper it fell apart like flaked parsley. It could have been floor sweepings.
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:28 AM   #5
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About Umbagog...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Saka
Umbagog Explained... Again

This brand really seems to confuse many Retailers and their Staff as to what it actually is, many tell consumers incorrectly they are Seconds/Segundos.

They are NOT!

The Umbagog is a liga very similar to Mi Querida, but not as precise - there is a little wiggle room in the filler tobaccos. Now this sounds subpar, but it isn't - the standards for the Mi Querida are exceptionally high - really the type of standards you would expect on an ultra-premium cigar that costs $15+. Whereas Umbagog is more like a typical premium handmade cigar in the $10-$13 range.

The way we keep the cost down is four fold:

#1 - Very inexpensive packaging - bundle wrapped, simple stickers and locally Nicaraguan printed bands.

#2 - We utilize the broadleaf wrapper/capa that -I- deem not aesthetically pleasing enough to MY EYE to be use on Mi Querida. This is where most of the Retailer/Consumer confusion comes from - this wrapper is fine, most companies would be ecstatic to use it on any of their broadleaf cigars, but that just isn't how I roll. Quite simply put, it is exceptional leaf, properly cured, fermented, and aged - it burns and tastes great but isn't as sexy. Using this wrapper helps to maintain the low price point and top shelf quality on MQ, while also allowing us to roll UMB at an exceptional expressed costing at the factory level.

#3 - Added this one after rereading what I wrote - there is a third factor that helps to keep the cost lower on Umbagog, we actually pay brokers LESS percentage for selling it. Basically we tell them to not actively sell or promote it and whatever sells, sells and they get whatever commission as a windfall. Notice you never see an Umbagog event...

#4 - Another added point: We rarely do any sort of sales promotion or discounts on Umbagog... I may be wrong on this, but I think in the last three years we have only offered any sort of deal on this product at one IPCPR. Maybe twice...***

Because we are selecting and sorting into MQ vs UMB appearance grade prior to production when it is still in its whole leaf form, often times it doesn't end up being nearly as ugly when utilized on an Umbagog, sometimes it looks just as pretty.

However, the capa does often end up being a touch thicker - so while MQ are very durable, the Umbagog are even more so.

In the end though, Umbagog are true firsts, made by the very same pairs that produce Mi Querida and provide a way for cigar consumers to get one hell of a great cigar at about $4+ less than they would typically pay for a like cigar.

I hope this better explains Umbagog.

ps: We warranty every Umbagog exactly the same way we do Sin Compromiso and Muestra de Saka Unicorns.

*** and this is what I mean about too much info... as I have always said, "Our typical customers are the most experienced and informed cigar smokers... they can tell the difference on their own and don't rely on others to tell them what to select."
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+In Memory of E.Guevara(Cubano67) A.Morris (Knife) D.Odom (dodom) D.Revermann (dgr) S.Bouchard (sb1396) M.Cole (Matt76) S.Faccenda (TOJE) R.Smith(IBMer) V.Vandermeer (van55)M.Davis(boxdoctor)S.Singer(bassman)K.Doetze l (drillrk1)D.Hart(garme1962)J.Coleman(John C 81)T.Gossett(Dartplayer1)J.Bolt (jb)E.J.Ferralles(CaballoPinto)M.Cataldo(FVFanMC)K Payne(SanchoPanza) + Libby DeMers,MrsCrimson, MrsPhilip, MrsDeriffe LB
+Connor Olson+Micah Kercheval+Maggie Bonefas (LittleMean)+


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Old 10-01-2019, 04:51 AM   #6
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It’s always so refreshing to read Saka’s posts.



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Old 10-01-2019, 06:31 AM   #7
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It really is.
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+In Memory of E.Guevara(Cubano67) A.Morris (Knife) D.Odom (dodom) D.Revermann (dgr) S.Bouchard (sb1396) M.Cole (Matt76) S.Faccenda (TOJE) R.Smith(IBMer) V.Vandermeer (van55)M.Davis(boxdoctor)S.Singer(bassman)K.Doetze l (drillrk1)D.Hart(garme1962)J.Coleman(John C 81)T.Gossett(Dartplayer1)J.Bolt (jb)E.J.Ferralles(CaballoPinto)M.Cataldo(FVFanMC)K Payne(SanchoPanza) + Libby DeMers,MrsCrimson, MrsPhilip, MrsDeriffe LB
+Connor Olson+Micah Kercheval+Maggie Bonefas (LittleMean)+


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Old 02-26-2020, 10:31 AM   #8
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Post Muestra de Saka

Muestra de Saka, just posted on other socialist media outlets

Quote:
Muestra de Saka Primer

Muestra de Saka is one of our most popular and yet, one of our most misunderstood lines.

The “MDS” brand is the home for some of my absolute best work, but it is important to understand the concept of the brand and the ligas within it.

Each frontmark is completely independent of the other – they share nothing in common tobacco or blend wise. Every SKU is unique: different recipes, different tobaccos, different strength levels, and totally different smoking experiences.

MDS is my “personal playground” as a blender and creator. It allows me to experiment and create unique cigars without the burden of worrying about launching an entire brand in multiple sizes. It allows me to do fun and challenging projects without the commercial concerns associated with introducing a core product. And it allows me to express myself and share world class cigars that otherwise never would be enjoyed by anyone, but myself and my closest friends.

All of them present some sort of personal challenge whether it be tobacco wise, technique wise or even challenging my own personal biases.

The common thread between the lines is that they are all expressions of my work product and my efforts to only create, craft and share the very best cigars possible. Each needs to be viewed as a unique smoking experience – it is my way of sharing the creativity of bench samples with the world.

Here is a short primer of each of the current MDS ligas:

Exclusivo - 6 x 52 Parejo – comprised entirely of tobaccos aged a minimum of 5 years. I always avoid using tobaccos with this much bale aging as I find them too often dull, hence the challenge.
Balanced, nuanced, smooth – Mild to Medium Bodied

Nacatamale - 6 x 48 Parejo – a true “farm” style liga comprised of wrapper and binder from one Farm and all the filler from another using classic Cuban blending techniques. I am known for creating 6-7 ingredient blends, whereas this one has just 2 different tobaccos within it.
Rich, spicy, robust – Medium-Full Plus Bodied.

#NLMTHA - 7 x 38 Parejo – a classic Lancero format. What can I say that I haven’t said a million times? Lanceros imo are boring, simplistic and fraught with construction related issues, so this is my embracing this skinny vitola and my attempt to elevate the format.
Elegant, sophisticated, refined – Medium Bodied.

Unstolen Valor - 6 x 52 Parejo – this is the extra oddball in the line. This cigar is not the result of a challenge to myself, but rather my challenging Raul Disla to create a series of “personal best” ligas for himself and I loved this blend. So I am using our MDS brand as a way to share his own unique creation with the world.
Peppery, pungent, bold – Full Bodied

Unicorn - 6.25 x 60 Figurado – the grand daddy of the entire line. This cigar is a personal experiment in taking everything involved in creating an ultra-premium limited edition cigar to the absolute extreme. Rarest of tobaccos, crazy construction techniques, absurd quality control standards to the factor of 10 while not caring about costs. We only make 1,000 of these rare “baby huey” perfectos each calendar year.
Earthy, dark chocolate, complex – Medium-Full Bodied

---

Typically we launch one MDS liga per year.

The first year it is available only via pre-order. Then if I have the tobacco needed to maintain the quality, we make it available for reorders.

Currently the MDS Unstolen Valor is "Pre-Order" only.

MDS Exclusivo, Nacatamale and #NLMTHA are all available in limited quantities on an ongoing basis.

MDS Unicorn is just as crazy as its price point - the number of backorders on this is as equally absurd. That being said we do our absolute best to ensure all our Retailers with back orders get some each year.

---

It is important for Retailers and Consumers to understand that each of these blends is an island unto themselves. This is a brand that allows Cigar Smokers who will never have the chance to spend hundreds of hours at a factory bench in Nicaragua or do not have a very close friend who creates and blends cigars to mooch samples from the opportunity to enjoy something extra special and unique.

As a blender, this brand allows me to share ligas that commercially would otherwise never see a tobacconist's shelf and I love inviting folks to join me in experiencing it.

---

Thank You!

---

Added PS: Yes, if you are a Retailer and you wish to have any Unstolen Valor or Unicorns in 2020 - you MUST place a pre-order/backorder - Unstolen Valors will land around May, Unicorns will be sometime between May - July - I personally have to hand inspect all of these, plus I need to ensure they all have 1 year minimum of age on them in the cool room.

AND sending me a PM/DM/TXT/SMOKE SIGNAL does not count, you need to contact the OFFICE via phone or email to ensure your order is placed - I just make cigars, smoke and look pretty - I have NADA to do with orders so messaging me is really worthless - the folks in the office handle all of this.
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+In Memory of E.Guevara(Cubano67) A.Morris (Knife) D.Odom (dodom) D.Revermann (dgr) S.Bouchard (sb1396) M.Cole (Matt76) S.Faccenda (TOJE) R.Smith(IBMer) V.Vandermeer (van55)M.Davis(boxdoctor)S.Singer(bassman)K.Doetze l (drillrk1)D.Hart(garme1962)J.Coleman(John C 81)T.Gossett(Dartplayer1)J.Bolt (jb)E.J.Ferralles(CaballoPinto)M.Cataldo(FVFanMC)K Payne(SanchoPanza) + Libby DeMers,MrsCrimson, MrsPhilip, MrsDeriffe LB
+Connor Olson+Micah Kercheval+Maggie Bonefas (LittleMean)+


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Old 05-04-2020, 06:15 PM   #9
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Saka's Question of the Week

Taken from Facebook:
Quote:
Saka's Cigar Question of the Week

How do you feel as a Consumer when you see a cigar brand you really enjoy and support now being sold regularly at a deeply discounted rate online?

I am not talking about a flash sale or an occasional sweet deal, but a cigar that cost $8+ two years ago that can now be readily purchased for 40%-60% off continuously. Basically there is a never-ending deal...

Happy that you can now buy your favorites for less?

Angry that you spent significantly more before?

Do you assume the company/sale channel became more efficient and cost effective?

The quality of the product has decreased?

You were simply being over charged to begin with?

Does the brand lose some of its luster in your opinion?

Does it reaffirm an opinion that cigars are just cigars and the brand is irrelevant?

Do you find yourself remaining faithful to that brand now that it has become a deeply discounted brand?

This is a genuine question on my part. I know how I feel, but I am truly curious about what are the feelings and reactions of the cigar consumer.

Note: I would really love if some of you would post this question in your favorite cigar group as they have a far more diverse group of consumers than those that follow me - If you do and could tag me, that would be great as I would really like to see a lot of feedback on this topic.

ps: There is no right or wrong answer to this question imo as I am asking about how it makes -you- feel, so I will be "liking" every reply to show I read it - thank you!
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+In Memory of E.Guevara(Cubano67) A.Morris (Knife) D.Odom (dodom) D.Revermann (dgr) S.Bouchard (sb1396) M.Cole (Matt76) S.Faccenda (TOJE) R.Smith(IBMer) V.Vandermeer (van55)M.Davis(boxdoctor)S.Singer(bassman)K.Doetze l (drillrk1)D.Hart(garme1962)J.Coleman(John C 81)T.Gossett(Dartplayer1)J.Bolt (jb)E.J.Ferralles(CaballoPinto)M.Cataldo(FVFanMC)K Payne(SanchoPanza) + Libby DeMers,MrsCrimson, MrsPhilip, MrsDeriffe LB
+Connor Olson+Micah Kercheval+Maggie Bonefas (LittleMean)+


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Old 05-11-2020, 08:46 PM   #10
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Joel was looking for a Sobremesa Brülee today at Tobacco Junction, but I don't think he found one. I'd like to try one, myself. Whatever palate I used to have is long gone and being completely rebuilt from the ground up. I don't consider that a bad thing - I just can't wrap my head around the word I want to use to describe a flavor. It'll come.
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Last edited by bunnybread; 05-14-2020 at 09:20 AM. Reason: To Correct TJ's Cigar Lounge to Tobacco Junction
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