Creative cigar blends come in all shapes and forms. From extended fermentation and barrel-aging techniques, to obscure tobacco strain cultivation and post-production vintage formulation, the foundation upon which premium cigar blends are built seems to grow wider with each passing year.
But one of the most intriguing (and bungled) forms of formulating a creative cigar, is by adding a dash of pipe tobacco to the blend. A tricky feat that even the most accomplished cigar manufacturers on the planet have either failed to perfect or refuse to touch in the first place.
One of the few cigar makers to successfully formulate a series of pipe tobacco-filled cigars is Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust. Founder and master blender, Steve Saka, has been a pipe tobacco smoker for decades.
As the story goes, "Papa Saka" had always wanted to create his own line of cigars sporting these aromatic, pipe-inclined leaves, but needed an expert to serve as his advisor and collaborator. So Saka commissioned the help of longtime friend and fellow blending guru, Jeremy Reeves of pipe tobacco specialists Cornell & Diehl, to help spearhead this little experiment.
One of the blends that the two came up with (along with the help of Joya de Nicaragua) is Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust's "StillWell Star Bayou No. 32" in toro form. A nutty, spice-oriented, lively, mineral-rich medium-strength cigar with just enough potency to keep you on your toes. One filled with a heart that pumps upon a concoction of Bright, Red Virginia, and St. James Parish perique pipe tobaccos, as well as Nicaraguan long-fillers.
So naturally, we were shocked to learn that Dunbarton is considering discontinuing this blend's production in the near future, if not already. For while we may enjoy this cigar immensely, it continues to be the slowest seller in the "StillWell Star" line for whatever reason.
So to help save this blend, we plan to sell a shit-ton of these cigars, and maybe "Papa Saka" will keep the beloved Bayou No. 32 for around a little longer. That, or you lucky bastards get to snag up the very last of what is without question one of the most unique cigars in the ever-expanding Klaro Cigars portfolio.
"Due to the nature of pipes, they are a contemplative process in which one needs to be 'still' in order to be rewarded with the feeling of wellness. 'Be Still, Be Well' is the origin of StillWell Star."—Steve Saka, founder of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust
Sharply dressed in its ruddy red sun-grown Habano cigar wrapper, with the signature StillWell Star sitting in burnished brass atop a band of navy blue, this blend prefers to pour pizazz straight from the firkin.
This is a spicy and sweet-smelling stick too, with the perique pipe tobacco playing a key role in kicking things up a notch down at the foot. A foot that upon closer inspection, shows a magnificently bunched long-filler blend, all rolled up with a hefty amount of Nicaraguan leaf to keep things in check.
Cold draws will surely delight those of you who dig the taste of quality pipe tobacco, or at least the aromatics of a good blend. Habano sun-grown spice, pipe tobacco sweetness, and earth mix with mineral-rich alkalinity to create a balance that tastes and smells damn divine.
Smoother than a set of silk pajamas on a slip-n-slide, this Bayou No. 32 blend eases you into the action with a mild nuttiness, and zero pepper spice whatsoever. Smoke production starts in earnest, and with it comes what might be some of the most memorable cigar aromatics on the planet.
Habano sun-grown spice comes out to brighten things up almost immediately, while that Mexican San Andrés Maduro keeps the pipe tobacco end of this blend earthy and grounded. Together, they formulate a medium-bodied, medium-strength cigar flavor profile that favors dry and nutty over sweet and herbal.
The thick clouds of smoke produced are on the upper end of medium in body and continue to be a lead attraction. Retrohales were intended for cigar blends such as this, and with each passing nasal blast comes a craving for the next. It just smells that damn good!
Get beyond the center of the barrel, and those pipe tobacco tastes really start to sing. They may still be secondary notes, but the chorus of spiced aromatics and fruity flavors that they produce really pops with that earthy maduro binder and habano cigar wrapper.
As you go, mineral notes materialize, and offer a bit more depth to the soil-like taste that is imparted upon your palate. It's nothing too extreme, but neither is it easy to ignore. A pleasant accent that first contrasts, and then emphasizes all that comes before its detection.
Darker, richer, maltier, and more sun-grown habano strength forward toward the end, parting puffs are packed with character. Just go slow, because this blend will go bitter on you really quick if you are too hasty. This blend goes for a Medium+ in all directions here folks.
Ash / Burn / Smoke / Draw
If lush layers of cigar smoke and a perfect draw are your jam, then this Bayou No. 32 blend has got you covered. Not only is the smoke itself rich and extremely satisfying, but the aromas it contains are intoxicatingly enticing.
Ash issues and heat seemed to be the biggest problems with this cigar. Premature ash drops are never a fun surprise, and there was a fair deal of flakiness to be found when the stuff did stick around. As for the heat issues I encountered, that was more of a concern in the first half of the review cigar itself.
For as good as this blend is, I couldn't help but find myself craving a little bit more sweetness. Maybe it's just fond memories of my sweeter pipe tobacco smoking days, but the dryness of the cigar seemed a little bit... one-sided.
Transitions weren't really much of a thing either, which is perfectly fine, as some blends aren't intended to vary wildly. The heat and construction issues were a bit more of a concern though, so keep that in mind if you plan on smoking inside.
But my personal tastes and experiences could vary greatly from what you encounter with the Bayou No. 32, which is precisely why I think you should try it. It could be "that one cigar" you've always been in search of, you just didn't know it until now...
So snag up a 5-pack while you still can, throw on your quilted smoking jacket, and pull that diamond-stitched Chesterfield leather chair a smidgeon closer to the hearth. We get the feeling you are going to enjoy this particular pipe tobacco blend all the way down to its very last parting puff...
Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust "StillWell Star Bayou No. 32"
San Andrés Maduro (Mexico)
Bright/Red Virginia/St. James Parish perique pipe tobaccos (USA)
Fábrica de Tabacos Joya de Nicaragua, S.A. (Nicaragua)
6" x 52 "Toro"
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