One thing Steve Saka enjoys almost as much as cigars is fishing which is how this cigar got its name. It shares the name of a lake on the New Hampshire and Maine border and is consider one of the most pristine lakes in the country. The correct pronounciation puts the stress on the second syllable (um-BAY-gog) and is said to come from an Indian word that means, shallow water.
The cigar is the opposite of pristine, with wrappers that did not meet the cut for the Mi Querida line which this cigar is closely related to.
Cigar Review: Umbagog
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Ring Gauge: 52
Vitola: Toro Toro
The Look: Packaged in 10 count bundles wrapped in craft paper like that of a brown paper bag with a sticker denoting the size and “10 Broadleaf Seegars Made in Nicaragua”. The Umbagog features a mantis green band with white lettering. The cigar features a broadleaf wrapper with a few veins and slightly uneven coloring. As Saka said, these wrappers weren’t pristine enough for Mi Querida and that doesn’t make it a bad thing.
The Notes: The cold draw of the Umbagog Toro Toro (so good, they named it twice) is sweet with hints of molasses and maple. The nose of the foot reminds me of sesame seeds and there is a subtle sweetness to it as well. I can almost picture Steve Saka rolling his eyes as he reads this review, which I know he will.
The first third of the smoke serves up some hearty wood notes with hints of leather and some pepper on the aroma and on the retrohale that pepper borders on cayenne. For me the cigar is a bit rustic and I wonder if it will smooth out some with age. Don’t get me wrong, I love a cigar that has this feel and I could see enjoying it in the great outdoors; that is if I went hiking or something that is definitively New Hampshire.
The second third continues to serve up notes of leather and a heavy oak like finish. There is a subtle caramel like sweetness that lingers in the background. The retrohale calms down though as you begin to feel the strength on this cigar as it progresses. At this point I wish I had some Glenfiddich 14 years Bourbon Barrel Reserve to pair with it and as luck would have it a good friend just dropped off a bottle for my birthday although I can’t drink at work.
The last third of Umbagog I smoke down until I can’t hold the cigar anymore. It continues down the path of the first two-thirds with some cayenne pepper, leather and a hearty oak. There is a subtle sweetness on the finish that you might have to struggle to find, but it is there I assure you.
The Finish: Steve Saka said, “This is a cigar that doesn’t pretend to be special or seek to elicit the oohs and aahs of the cigar snobs.” Perhaps he is being to hard on himself or perhaps he is looking to slow play these. Yes, it is a little rough around the edges, but all in all this is a good cigar especially when you figure in the price of the bundle.
Price: $6.99 / $62.99