When this particular cigar entered the market I was working in a cigar shop and remembered when it hit the shelves. I was thinking “Umbagog, what an interesting name”. Even though I had been smoking cigars on and off for 18 years, I just smoked cigars. I didn’t really read or look into a cigar as much as I do now. Friends would share cigars with me, I would purchase one from time to time and if the cigar was good it was good. It wasn’t until a year or two later when I REALLY started to get into cigars; saving labels, writing notes, heck, even when I went to apply at the cigar shop I worked at, my resume was my book full of labels and notes. My foot was in the door and had no idea the exponential growth my journey would take me on. This brings me to this cigar “Umbagog”.
Going back to when I first smoked it, not knowing anything about the cigar I enjoyed EVERY puff, draw, retro, right down to the nub. What an amazing cigar, sold a lot of them actually because it wasn’t just about how good the cigar was, but the price was phenomenal. In fact I had read that Steve Saka himself had referred Umbagog as his “version of an economy minded cigar”. With a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and a Nicaraguan binder and filler one might think “How can this cigar be a budget or an economy cigar?” Well, the story with Umbagog goes back to the production of Mi Querida. During the quality control process, Saka felt that some of the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper he was using was not aesthetically up to the standards of Mi Querida. While the wrapper wasn’t as pretty as Saka would like, the tobacco was still good. Rather then discard the wrapper, Saka decided to use the wrapper for another cigar. He chose to call it “Umbagog” and sell it at a lower price. To offset costs, Saka decided to package the cigars in bundles instead of boxes.
This is where it really gets exciting to not only know what’s inside this beauty but the meaning of the name. Now, reiterating that when I first smoked this cigar I had zero knowledge of this cigar, yet; now, here I am, feeling blessed and honored to type out a review in hopes that you all enjoy the read, learn as much as I did in regards to “Umbagog”, and perhaps even smoke a Umbagog while reading this article.
Umbagog is a wilderness lake located in Coos County, New Hampshire and Oxford County, Maine. It is one of the most pristine lakes in the state of New Hampshire. The word itself is said to come from the Abenaki Indian Tribe which means “shallow water” and properly pronounced (um-BAY-gog) but as Steve Saka likes to pronounce it (along with most of us out there including myself) “Oom-BAH-gog”. Umbagog Lake is actually one of his favorite fishing lakes. This cigar is meant for the great outdoors; hiking, fishing, camping, whatever you might like to do and as Steve Saka says “This is a cigar that doesn’t pretend to be special or seek to elicit the ‘oohs or aahs’ of the cigar snobs. It is an honest, hardworking cigar that is meant to be smoked, chewed upon, and lit however many times you wish”. Speaking of lit, let’s get into this cigar.
Before lighting up, as you know, I have to take a couple of dry pulls just to see if this cigar is really going to get me into the “Great Outdoors” mood. Leather, dark chocolate, coffee, earthiness, even a hint of molasses hit’s my palate. Yep, now I’m ready for a campfire right by the lake. Even if you can’t sit next to a lake right now, this cigar will definitely take you there, at least that’s where it took me. Upon light up, copious amounts of earthiness, espresso, oak, toasted almonds, and leather spring into action on my palate. Not really knowing what to expect, yet, if I was to anticipate a certain profile but, THIS is exactly how I would hope it would be.
Smoking into the first 1/3rd of this cigar the Leather and Oak really stay prominent yet with a tad bit of spice coming through with a layer of cocoa. At this point of the cigar, as I continue to smoke into the second 1/3rd, I start thinking about campfires, the smells, the foods we might eat, the drinks that might be had, or just the essence of being outdoors doing whatever it might be that we love to do. Maybe it’s a psychological thing since “Umbagog” has got me wishing I was by a campfire the taste of s’mores comes to my palate. graham cracker, chocolate, toasted marshmallow and that smell of campfire smoke hit’s my nasal senses while sipping on some coffee. This is really a treat to be experiencing the journey this cigar is sharing with me. The flavor profiles continue to remain the same and to put Steve Saka’s words to the test “ hardworking cigar that is meant to be smoked, chewed upon, and lit however many times you wish” I wanted the cigar to go out a few times just so I can relight and see if I get the same flavor profiles. Steve Saka was NOT wrong. Absolutely positively true in every way, flawless, especially smoking into the last 1/3rd of this wonderful masterpiece! Toasted almonds, oak, leather, milk chocolate, fire toasted marshmallow, like having a creamy mocha, it’s rather unbelievable but oh so true to my palate. At least now I know what cigar I will be sure to have in my travel case the next time I go camping.
Because “Umbagog” has the less atheistic Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, the production of this cigar has been somewhat limited. Yet, Umbagog does come in six sizes; Corona Gorda (6×48), Robusto Plus (5×52), Toro Toro (6×52), and Gordo Gordo (6×56), Churchill (7×50), Short and Fat (4 ¾ x 56). Steve Saka wanted to also point out that even though this cigar is made in the NACSA factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, that this cigar blend is not identical to the Mi Querida. Umbagog uses different priming’s and occasional “broken” (long filler with breaks in one half of the leaf). So you know what this means, if you have not tried this cigar then it’s certainly a must try! Because I’m giving this cigar a 5 out of 5!!! Why?? You might ask, smokes well, relight’s good, it is rugged, the flavor profiles are amazing, the experience, AND the price. MSRP for a Corona Gorda is $6.45 (bundle of 10 @ $64.50) up to the Churchill size at $8.95 (bundle of 10 @ $89.50) It’s kind of a no brainer and to leave you with the words from Steve Saka “Cigars without compromise: This is an expression of our closely held ethos and states in just three simple words everything we wish to accomplish here at DTT. Cigars are more than just a passion for us; they are our life.”
Wrapper – Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder – Nicaraguan
Filler – Nicaraguan
Rating: 5 out of 5 pints.