I look forward to Dunbarton’s Muestra de Saka releases each year and 2023’s Krakatoa is no exception. The cigar was to be released originally back in 2021 but was delayed and then last year’s offering, The Bewitched, jumped ahead in the line. Dunbarton main man Steve Saka had this to say in a press release, “Presented in an expertly crafted 6.00 x 48 parejo with a unique ‘volcano’ spiral colita, this is a very elegant vitola. This puro’s liga was truly agonized over and took well over three years to perfect.” Okay, Saka has my attention…
Size: 6 x 48
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Grade A1
Binder: Nicaraguan Sungrown
Filler: Nicaraguan Broadleaf, Criollo, and Corojo
Price: $20.75 (while the samples reviewed tonight were provided by DTT, you can head over to Famous Smoke Shop and snag a box of Krakatoa right now and save $20 by using promo code TNCC20)
The Krakatoa is encased in a reddish brown, fairly seamless, habano wrapper that features some slight tooth and a distinctive twisted cap. While Steve Saka has described the cap as a “volcano spiral colita”… I just see a rather unpleasant, sad looking nipple.
The cigar offers very little in regards to a prelight aroma and it there’s only a slight amount of give when pressed between two fingers.
I’m able to easily twist off the “volcano spiral colita” and there seems to be ample airflow without cutting the remaining cap. The cold draw is comprised of muted hay and just a tiny touch of red pepper. Upon ignition, the Krakatoa emits a warm, highly inviting aroma as white pepper, mineral, and a slight vegetal essence are introduced via the retrohale. Rich cedar is the dominating note through the draw early on. The pepper spice is crisp and highly pronounced, you can’t miss it, and around the 1” mark it begins to outshine all those other sensations that were attempting to make an impression through the nose. Adios “vegetal essence”… whatever the hell that was.
Construction so far has been outstanding with a smooth draw, straight burn line, and the Krakatoa is producing a strong impressive ash. There’s a coffee note developing underneath the draw’s cedar that’s accompanied by a muted creamer flavor similar to Nestle’s original Coffee Mate. While the strength of the white pepper is a notch above medium, it is far from overbearing and it’s creating a nice balance with the softer flavors coming through the draw.
The Krakatoa is smoking incredibly smooth at the halfway mark. The cedar, coffee, and creamer flavors are all gelling together extremely well and – unlike many new cigars I’ve smoked recently – the retrohale’s peppery zing isn’t fading away in the slightest. Smoke production has been copious from the get-go and that’s fortunate as the Krakatoa smells damn good. A sweetness, reminiscent of Nestle Nesquik Vanilla Syrup, suddenly shows up at the party on the backend of the spice. Yes, that’s two references to Nestle products that I’ve made so far. What can I say, sweet dreams you can’t resist N-E-S-T-L-E-S…
The Krakatoa’s volcanic ash has yet to fall on its own volition, it requires a forceful thump from yours truly before it will even consider disengaging. The final third of the cigar showcases the best aspects of the previous two: strong but far-from-scary spice, and warm cedar commingling with a creamy coffee note. The one notable exception is that the vanilla sweetness has mostly vanished from the retrohale here towards the end but that’s nothing to cry about. I guess we can’t have it all… I’m not crying! It’s just seasonal allergies goddamnit!
The Muestra de Saka line features some of Dunbarton’s finest offerings and this year’s release does not disappoint: smooth, complex, expertly constructed, and highly consistent over all the samples smoked for review. The Krakatoa smoked like a dream over the course of 77 minutes. And a dream as sweet as this, N-E-S-T-L-E-S… C’mon Nestles, hit a broke-ass podcast up with some sponsorship dollars! And some chocolate crunch bars, that’d be cool too.