Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust StillWell Star Aromatic No. 1 | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Grade A Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Mexican San Andrés Negro “Cultivo Tonto”
Filler: Nicaraguan with Black Cavendish, Golden Virginia, and Burley pipe tobaccos
Size: 6 x 52 Toro
Strength: Mild/Medium
Price: $15.30

“Each cigar is delicately finished with a cabeza dulce (Sweet Head).”

In my research, I found something startling about different websites’ descriptions of the leaf stats. They all include the above tobaccos but not necessarily in the order as shown above. I reproduced the leaf stats directly from the DT&T website. This is the last word on the confusion.

From 2014-2017, I attempted to become a real pipe smoker. Unfortunately, the more I got into it, it evolved into a high-maintenance hobby. I was always buying new pipes. Rotating them as directed. Experimenting with an avalanche of different tobaccos. Constantly lighting the pipe was too much work for this lazy bum.
I am dying to try this blend. I have only one stick, so I am reviewing it blind.
Thanks to Steve Saka for the samples.

Limited Production in 2021. Regular Production gearing up.
From DT&T:
“The initial release includes four unique expressions, each representing a particular pipe tobacco genre custom blended by the famed head blender, Jeremy Reeves, of the legendary American pipe tobacco maker Cornell & Diehl® (C&D). Our master ligador, Steve Saka, then crafted four different independent cigar blends to best showcase each of these pipe tobacco styles to cigar smokers.

“Sometimes the stars just align.” states Saka. “Although handmade cigars are my first passion, I have also been a pipe smoker for over three decades. During an impromptu discussion with Jeremy as he was sharing with me that really enjoyed my cigars, I replied in kind that I was a big fan of his pipe tobaccos. I think he was surprised when
I just started rattling off some of my favorites and why. And then it really caught his interest when I told him that for decades I had been using some of my favorite C&D tobaccos added into cigars just for my own enjoyment.”

“Saka continues, “He expressed an interest in trying them and it was at that moment the basic concept for StillWell Star was born – to see if it was possible to do what I was doing privately to scale. Honestly, this was one of the most extensive and difficult blending processes I have ever engaged in – it involved sampling hundreds of existing pipe blends, then a myriad of custom pipe blends crafted solely for this project and ultimately hundreds of variations of cigars to get them just right. For me the goal was to make a cigar that delivered a truly different experience to the cigar smoker, but also stayed true to the style of pipe tobacco each featured. Although these are cigars first and not a pipe replacement, I wanted the seasoned pipe smoker to be able to spark up a Bayou No. 32 and instantly recognize the citrus zest and unique umami aromas and tastes of a classic “vaper” pipe blend that they would enjoy in a bowl.”

“While there have be pipe tobacco cigars offered in the marketplace in the past, they have typically been of subpar quality in both their tobaccos and construction. They also tend to be uber sweet and syrupy on the palate. I don’t smoke that, I don’t make, I don’t want that. The StillWell Star’s puros are crafted for balance and nuance with the absolute best pipe and cigar tobaccos available with meticulous attention paid to their leaf, their blends and their crafting. It truly is the world’s first Luxury pipe cigar and I am genuinely excited for my fellow cigar smokers to enjoy this new experience,” states Saka.”

A nice-looking stick. Seams are nearly invisible. Some veins populate the circumference but nothing to make you running screaming into the night. A solid stick that feels weighty in the palm of my hand. The triple cap was done by pros. While the cigar feels smooth, there are spots of fine toothiness like a cat’s tongue permeating the cigar wrapper. And bereft of hard or soft spots. Very oily with a mixture of hues: chocolate, burnt umber, and seal brown. Very nice.

I am not an expert at picking up specific aromas of pipe tobacco. All the same, I will relate what I experience…Deep floral notes, chocolate, sweetness factors of assorted fruits, and strong vanilla. I detect grassiness, rich tobacco, cedar, sugar cane, café au lait, creaminess, a slight mintiness, a hint of black licorice, and barnyard.

The cold draw presents flavors of mint, black cherries, chocolate, big fat vanilla, coffee, creaminess, black pepper, fruitiness derived from oranges and tree fruit, black grapes, cedar, licorice, floral notes, and cloves.

The draw is spot on, so I put my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool back into the bat cave for safekeeping.

The cap is slightly sweetened but poses no threat to real He-Men. I like it.

A whole lotta love pours from the clipped cap. Half the flavors are pipe tobacco oriented and the other half are straight ahead unflavored cigar tobacco.
Strength is mild.

The tobacco tastes nicely aged. I get immediate complexity with a nice balance and equally distributed flavor profile. The mixture morphs in step. Nothing screams out at me that is out of order.

I just began but I’m digging it. The pipe tobacco falls into the background to allow the other tobaccos to shine. They become accents to finely aged cigar tobacco.
The creaminess is great. The vanilla hosts the party and I have a craving for vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup.

This is nothing like I expected. It is very smooth, and nothing is overbearing. The team works in harmony. Nice.

While I am not a fan of mild/medium cigar blends because most I’ve smoked lack great gobs of serious flavor points. Strength and flavor work together to make strength a secondary influence. A good morning cigar with coffee.

The stick is packed as it burns oh so slowly.
The burn line is razor sharp.

I’m listening to Led Zep’s “What Is and What Should Never Be.” Cracks me up. There are going to be sides taken on these blends. Some calling mixing pipe tobacco with cigar tobacco a blasphemy. Others will love it to death.

If I felt that the pipe tobacco slivers were overbearing and hosting the event, I’d cry out like a banshee. So far, it all works. A nice treat. I’d love to smoke one in the evening with some Courvoisier cognac. I’d wear a smoking jacket, rabbit slippers, sipping my snifter, while watching “Tiger King.”

If you’ve ever been a wannabe pipe smoker, this is the ticket. All the flavor without the hassle. I envision serious pipe smokers jumping up and down and not saying nice things. If nothing else, these blends might open straight cigar smokers to the hobby of pipe smoking. Or in my case, this is the perfect compromise and definition of mixing two sectors of the smoking industry.

I get a continual blast of complex cigar tobacco that runs the show. The balance is 80% ceegar tobaccy and 20% pipe tobacco.

The sweetness and other ancillary flavors of the pipe tobacco never tread into unwanted territory putting me off the blend. I would go nuts if this was just a sweet cigar, but it is not. The balance improves with each puff. The intensity of the cigar tobacco increases the peace.

Charlotte walks into my office and asks what smells so good? She never does that when I smoke straight ahead cigar tobacco. She hides in something I built for her akin to the Cone of Silence when I smoke a cigar.

A very slow and enjoyable roll. It takes its time, and nothing is rushed.

My review could easily be a slew of flavor examples. But you’d nod off…like usual.

Both types of tobacco are very easy on the throat. No harshness or too much of this or too much of that. The balance is maintained.

This would be a phenomenal cigar blend without the added pipe tobacco. The pipe tobacco enhances the experience with something different for a change. I mean, you can only smoke so many Nic puros without screaming for Momma. This series of blends breaks up the monotony. It’s a treat; plain and simple.

The purists will go batshit crazy but that is to be expected. You can’t please everyone all the time.

I’m a friggin’ snob and I’d be the first to eviscerate the blend if I didn’t like it. I like the mild/medium approach for my first try of the four different blends. A nice introduction.

Now, some smokers are going to point their fingers and claim this is just a switch around of ACID blends. Not so. Back around 2000, I discovered ACID cigars and while they were hard to find back then, I enjoyed them for a couple of years. But I tired of them and went straight back to regular blends. Snobby smokers will scream this is just another version of the aforementioned brand. It is not. The reason I gave up on ACID was due to the constant intensity of the infused flavors…they just got too strong. They ran over the fine tobacco in the cigar.

The StillWell project finds that perfect balance so that adventurous smokers will endeavor to light one up for a nice change.

That first third took almost 40 minutes. Impressive.

The complexity rises with each puff. The intensity of the cigar tobacco finds its home amongst the pipe tobaccos and makes nice.

The pipe tobacco becomes very delicate now. It settles down to a mere enhancement that reinforces the cigar tobacco into a fun event. The pipe tobacco smooths out big time.

The cigar tobacco pushes its way to the front of the palate. The combo is so expertly meshed, by design, that differences between the two worlds intertwine like a Culebra.

The nature of the cigar makes a huge leap. Its complexity pushes the flavor profile into high gear. There is just the perfect amount of black pepper to kick the blend in the arse properly.

I begin not to notice the parts so much. The cigar has transitioned into just a high premium blend that is unique and highly enjoyable. I really wasn’t expecting this. I had my reservations just like everyone else.

I’m sure pipe smokers consider this a travesty as well as rigid cigar smokers do. Some folks just aren’t willing to accept something different…but having this unicorn be damn fine should really help sway the naysayers. I’m on board.

No linear qualities about this blend. It is on a journey of exploration, and it succeeds. The cigar is on a quest.
Strength is a solid medium now.

At the halfway point, morphing continues until the over all experience pleases the hell out of me.
Still 80/20.

I have all the windows open, and it is minus 50 degrees outside here in Milwaukee. It seems like that…sort of. Normally, the cold will cause cracks in the wrapper but not this baby. It is Thor. Construction is on the money. I’m sure Kevlar was used in the wrapper.

Man, what a relaxing cigar. The synapses on the left side of my brain have gone to sleep.

This is going to be a 2-hour smoke. OK with me.

Flavor tidbits fly over, under, sideways, down across my palate.

I know nothing about pipe tobacco anymore. But I know that its surgical insertion into this blend was well designed. I can’t imagine the time it took to please the blenders. They must have become cross eyed at some point.

I primarily taste the cigar tobacco. The added intruders just put a nice sheen to the thing. A mild sweetness that does not offend…just an added depth to a finely orchestrated blend.

I’m sure that smarter reviewers than me will be able to describe the flavor points in more detail. I approach this blend as a unit now. Morphing is complete. One type of tobacco cannot be separated from the other. Total unison and harmony. “All we are saying is give peace a chance…”

I wasn’t sure which of my humidors to store these cigars. I chose my regular go-to cigar humidor. The aromas over time will only enhance my daily sticks.

The last third sees the strength hit medium+. I like it. That was a long journey from mild to kick ass.

The added strength deepens the flavor profile. It is heartier. Earthier. The tip of my tongue tingles from flavors and pepper.

I would have liked being a fly on the wall during the early discussions for producing this unique style of blending. I wonder who screamed the loudest?

This is a great cigar. I truly look forward to smoking and reviewing the other three blends. Kind of exciting for an old man. But then the art of excitement for me includes being regular, not getting up constantly at night to pee, and avoiding liver and onions.

The cigar is so beautifully constructed that with all my breaks, the cigar never goes out. No re-lights. Plus, the char line has been exemplary. A no trouble tube of tobacco.

Maybe the idea of pipe tobacco puts you off. I get it. But I ask that you be open for something new. It has certainly been worth it. I have truly enjoyed this marvel of blending.

The cigar finishes up at just over two hours.

After I complete the next three reviews, I plan on picking the one I like the best and snagging some for my pleasure.
Don’t be a moon calf…snag some.



3 replies

  1. I can’t recall ever smoking one of Steve’s cigars that I didn’t like. I’m looking forward to trying the StillWell Star. If my local shops don’t offer it, how can I buy a few sticks? Thx for your luminous review. My palate is salivating.

  2. Hi Lonnie,
    I feel the same way. Saka = Good.
    Small Batch Cigar has them. Use promo code: Katman for 10% off.

  3. Katman,
    I tried pipe smoking last summer and it was too much trouble. The relights were killing me (even with a great Japanese lighter). I missed the simplicity of cigars. Plus, the recommended tobaccos were flavorless. I had just started reading about Cornell & Diehl when I decided to sell my pipes. A few months later, Saka was talking about the Stillwell project and it was too good to be true. I could finally smoke high-end pipe tobacco without the hassle. Thanks for the review. I’m looking forward to trying all 4 of these sticks. BTW, I did keep my IM Corona soft flame lighter. A pleasant reminder of a hobby gone wrong.


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