Wrapper: USA Connecticut River Valley Broadleaf
Size: 6 x 48 “Fino Largo”
Humidor Time: 4 Weeks
Smoked Prior to Review: 1
Today we take a look at the Mi Querida by Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust.
Many thanks to reader, Dash Two (Larry) for the sticks.
Debuted at 2016 IPCPR trade show.
From the Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust web site:
“Mi Querida (pronounced “me kay-ree-dah”) literally translates as “my dearest”, however in it is a rather provocative word within the Nicaragua used to expressly describe your secret mistress. While this may sound like an oxymoron, it is not. It is not uncommon in the culture for a man to have a mistress that is both known by and basically approved of by his wife, whereas the “Mi Querida” is the woman who neither his wife or mistress know about or would ever approve of. Cigar wise, it represents my personal maduro desires: a robust, extremely flavorful liga comprised of rich Nicaraguan leaf hand rolled in a 100% naturally fermented, heavy Broadleaf capa. Earthy and dense with a long teasing, slightly dirty finish, Mi Querida is delightfully lush and full bodied on the palate offering an extremely satisfying experience for the most passionate of cigar smokers.
“Mi Querida is handcrafted at the recently renovated NACSA cigar factory under the stewardship of their new Master Cigarmaker Raul Disla at my direction. Packaged simply in understated boxes, this brand is an expression of the greatest value possible for the hardcore cigar enthusiast. As always, the pace of its production is being dictated by the tobaccos themselves and therefore it will be limited in its availability via Select Purveyors for the foreseeable future.”
SIZES AND PRICE POINTS (MSRP):
I’m not seeing discounts on any of these cigars.
Comes in 20 count boxes except where noted.
Fino Largo 6 x 48 $8.79
Ancho Corta 5 x 52 $8.75
Ancho Largo 6 x 52 $8.75
Muy Gordo Grande 6 x 56 $9.95
Pequeño Pequeño 4 x 44 $7.45
Gordita 4.25 x 48 $8.35
Más Sucia 7 x 64 10 count box $13.45
Short Gordo Grande 4.75 x 60 $9.95
SakaKhan 7 x 50 10 count box $11.95
A nicely filled stick but a couple of them have soft spots here and there. I haven’t dry boxed my cigars prior to smoking this entire summer. The humidity has been way higher than my controlled humidor. I’ve kept it a dry 65%. I use an electronic humidification device with a Zederkoff digital hygrometer for back up to make sure the two match. And they do.
Seams are fairly tight but very apparent. Discoloration permeates the wrapper. It goes from very dark espresso bean brown to a medium brown color. It occurs in stages rather than being marbled. There is a slight toothiness.
The triple caps look alike. The first two are tight and squared away but the top cap is lifting away from the others. Like it’s tipping its cap. And lastly, a lot of veins cover the cigars.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I can smell floral notes, caramel, coffee, honeysuckle, peppery spice, fruitiness, cedar, and nuts.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell strong black pepper, hay, grass, cocoa, coffee, cedar, and black tea.
The cold draw presents flavors of black licorice, black pepper, malts, cream, caramel, chocolate, coffee, salt, meaty, and nuts.
A big blast of Pepin Garcia-like pepper starts the cigar’s character. Quickly followed by a nice caramel creaminess, malts, meatiness, espresso, chocolate, and an unidentified fruitiness.
A great start. A nicely well-rounded mix of flavors that always give a smoker a heads up of what great things are to come. No suffering through a listless first third waiting on the cigar to heat up and display its personality.
Strength is an even medium body.
Last year, the Sobremesa made my top 25 cigar list. I’m rolling the dice here but I fully expect the Mi Querida to do the same.
The draw is smooth as glass.
The nuttiness moves to the forefront with a mixture of ingredients: Walnut, pecan, and hazelnut.
The fruitiness finds itself in the realm of grape, plums, and currants.
Flavors begin to pile up on each creating a mosaic of elements all fighting for their place in the line-up.
The char line is behaving nicely.
I’m always tempted to see how far I can allow the ash to linger but worry it might find its unwanted home in my crotch. Screaming like a little girl usually wakes the neighbors.
Creaminess soars. Giving a real jump start to other flavors; such as the spiciness, chocolate, espresso, nuts, and fruit.
Malts increase in intensity.
The flavor profile, this early on, is a preamble to good things to come later in the cigar.
The soft spots make the cigar burn quicker than I anticipated. I am on the verge of the second third in only 20, or so, minutes.
Smoke time is 22 minutes.
Strength is now medium/full.
The start of the second third uses a battering ram of flavors to assault my palate. The pleasure quotient is blasting away now.
The bottom half of the cigar has become soft. Even in 65% humidity, that shouldn’t happen. Our local humidity has been in the 70’s and higher. So dry boxing just doesn’t work. My last two reviews came from the same humidor and I had no issues with softness.
No change to the flavor profile; More intense. Bolder.
The complexity has really settled in.
Velvet Underground is playing and could I be the only one on the planet that thought this was a terrible band? Andy Warhol gave the band his blessing back in the 1960’s and somehow that made the band valid even though the musicianship and vocals were awful.
A nice charred meat component arises giving the blend a savory direction.
The nuttiness has diminished quite a bit now.
The Mi Querida is a fine, fine blend but I think the Sobremesa was a better stick.
Pumpkin seeds…or pepitas. That’s a first for me.
There really aren’t a lot of great cigars out there. A lot are very good, but there are few great blends that take your breath away.
With a few months of additional humidor time, the Mi Querida may fall into the category of great cigars.
I’m impressed with the char line. No touch ups required.
New flavors: The waning nut coterie is back with a vengeance, especially the pecans…plus the sweetness of the hazelnut…mocha java, sweet Asian hot sauce, vanilla, and a touch of citrus.
The flavor profile is so complex now that that the elements are held together in a tight ball rotating on its axis. Spitting out individual flavors in random order.
The creaminess grabs me by the balls and won’t let go. Something my cat likes to do when I’m asleep at night. I’m thinking of wearing a cup at bedtime.
The stick is really soft now…causing the burn time to accelerate. This stick needs more tobacco. Light in the loafers. But the wonderful flavor lineup makes up for this construction issue.
At the halfway point, I’m only 35 minutes into the cigar.
The band, America, playing “A Horse With No Name” is one of the biggest joke songs ever recorded. A one or two chord change tune that bores within the first 30 seconds. And then…what? A song by Bread? Oy. My hero, as a teen, Larry Knechtel (Keyboardist) and part of the original L.A. Wrecking Crew joined the band. I was crestfallen when I heard this.
The char line requires a couple tune ups for the first time.
Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, the Doobie Brothers was one of my favorite bands. My band did a lot of covers of their tunes. It was all ruined when Michael McDonald joined. Glad to see they are rid of him and playing in the style that made them so popular.
Transitions can make or break a cigar blend. The Mi Querida is flush with them.
Unfortunately, the condition of the cigar not being jam packed will affect its rating.
The char line was really showing off during the first half. But now, it needs repetitive fixes. A result of the soft spots.
A major transition occurs driving the flavor profile to its nexus.
The sweet spot.
And it hits full body. Along with a strong dose of nicotine. Swirl….
The complexity is steady. No real changes except the exceptional boldness of existing flavors.
I like this blend because it started off with a bang. No hesitation of the exhibition of terrific flavors.
Smoke time is a little under 50 minutes.
The Mi Querida’s objective is to entertain and impress. It has accomplished that. It is a good follow up to the Sobremesa. Just not as good. That first blend is a tough act to follow.
The full body strength has retreated back to medium/full. A very smooth blend that doesn’t overwhelm.
A few flavors have fallen off the train. Like cocoa, coffee, and the charred meat.
The creaminess has diminished. Still sweet and nutty though.
The red hot spiciness is in the background.
Malts are in full swing.
In a blink of an eye, the blend returns to full strength. And nicotine soars.
I worked with an English producer back in the day and he told me this story. He was doing a David Bowie session and Bowie was in the studio, sitting on a stool…alone..singing to the tracks. It was an emotional experience for him and by the time the song finished, tears were falling down his cheeks.
My producer friend told a production assistant to grab some tissues for him. So this idiot grabs a roll of toilet paper and, from the open door, throws it at Bowie knocking him in the head with the roll.
The PA was given his walking papers.
That big bang that occurred only minutes ago is no longer flourishing. It has settled down.
I’m thinking that the blend would greatly benefit from 2-3 months of humidor time to get its ducks in a row. A month of humi time may not have been enough.
I don’t know why I didn’t add the humidor time I allowed before reviewing a cigar earlier in my experience as a cigar critic. Clearly, this is an important issue to readers that may have already bought the cigar or are thinking of buying the stick. All reviewers should add this bit of info to further inform the reader.
If you read the Big Guys, I have noticed that, in a hurry to be first on the block with a review of a new cigar, they never wait more than 4 weeks…or less…before they review a cigar. Being first, for some reason, has a self-importance attached to it.
Reviewing a cigar too soon, like I think I just did, has its consequences for the smoker. A less than rave review can color the purchasing nature of the buyer. Tasting the potential nature of the cigar may suffice but it is less effective for a solid review.
I have another stick that I will allow to settle for a couple months and will return with an update.
While strong and full of nicotine, the Mi Querida finishes without being harsh or bitter.
The last impression comes from a resurgence of black pepper that is so strong it burns my nostrils.
The price is right on for this blend.
Even with my criticisms, I definitely recommend the Mi Querida.
Final smoke time is one hour 10 minutes.
And now for something almost completely different:
The band was scheduled to tour Ireland back in 1975. Things were really bad between the British government and the IRA in those days. The winter of 1974 saw indiscriminate bombings in downtown London every day for 14 days during the Christmas holiday. It was the scariest thing possible. Bombs were placed in waist high trash bins, on main drags, and if you happened to walk by one when it went off, well…bye-bye. I remember two photos in the newspaper after one bombing. It showed a Bobby bending over to look at a package on the street. Next photo showed him blown apart about 30 feet away.
This following incident will stick with me til the day I die.
I had been fired from Curved Air. This guy, Andy Morris, contacted me telling me he was associated with Ringo Starr and he was putting a band together and they would rehearse in L.A. Ringo wanted me as his bassist. I was thrilled so I called and told all of my friends back in So Cal.
The guy’s name was very familiar. But I just couldn’t place it.
Our first meeting was to take place at the London Hilton lobby at 1pm on a Monday. We met, had coffee and discussed details. He even asked me to join him as he had an appointment with his lawyer. I thought I’d be invited in on the discussion. Instead, I sat in the lobby cooling my heels for an hour. This was the first red flag.
Exactly 24 hours later, to the hour, a huge bomb went off in the Hilton lobby killing dozens of people and injuring hundreds. I was in shock. For the grace of God, I could have been there.
A week passed and this guy was giving me excuses about meeting with Ringo.
He told me that he was an original member of the English band, “Badfinger.” These guys were big for a while but had broken up before this guy contacted me. The Beatles discovered them and even wrote a hit song for them.
I needed to check out his story.
I went to record stores trying to find Badfinger records but they were out of print. I couldn’t verify this guy.
So I made a bold move and called Apple Records and asked to speak to Derek Taylor. He was the Beatles’ press agent. He was their guy for the entire time the Beatles were together. Everyone knew who this guy was. I was thrilled just to talk to him but I had business to discuss with him.
Derek took my call, because I was in Curved Air, and I asked about this guy. Derek said this guy was never in Badfinger. And then we chatted. He told me some inside Beatles stories and I was on Cloud 9. He confirmed to me the names of some of the famous musicians that played on their albums but were never given credit.
I now realized I had been had by this Andy Morris.
I got on the phone with this guy and called him a fraud and it was the last time we spoke.
A month later, I was listening to records at my Edgeware home (a suburb of London) and I grabbed a CA album that I played on. On the back of the Curved Air “Live” album, I noticed something. Down at the bottom were credits. And here was this guy’s name as a production assistant. The fucking fraud! A music assistant’s duties were merely being a gopher. He got us tea and coffee. And if necessary, cleaned the toilets.
I had bragged to all of my friends about this project. I was about to live a dream come true: play with a Beatle.
I did, for a moment, run into a Beatle while in London. The only big guitar shop was on Tottenham Court Road called the Fender Sound House.
I was leaving when I grabbed the glass door to open it. On the other side was McCartney grabbing his side of the handle. I was in shock. He rattled the handle a couple times motioning to let him in but I was frozen in time.
I finally let go and he entered and as he passed he said, “Thanks mate.” I wanted to go back in and talk to him but I was too sheepish.
My final analysis of the music business is everything you imagine it is. Corrupt and full of bullshit artists. Being naïve is the death knell for any musician..especially, young ones.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS
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