In 2022 some people say Steve Saka finally jumped the shark with the release of Stillwell Star. The cigars are rolled with a small amount of pipe tobacco which created a new segment in the premium cigar marketplace and it was met with mixed reviews. But Steve Saka not being one to back down raised the ante with the release of a limited edition holiday blend.
The Stillwell Star Holiday Blend Y2023 which is limited to 3,000 boxes of 10 changes things up for this release. The cigar moves from a Habano seed wrapper to an Ecuador Connecticut seed for the first time. Like past releases the pipe tobacco comes from Cornell & Diehl.
Cigar Review: Stillwell Star Holiday Blend 2023
Size: 6 x 50 (Toro)
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut
Binder: Mexican San Andres
Fillers: USA (Cavendish Burley, Golden Virginia & Red Virginia)
Debut: November 2023
Box Count: 10
The Cigar: The cigar features two bands with the primary featuring a star and a secondary band at the foot denoting Stillwell Holiday Y2023 utilizing colors of white, gold and blue accents. Made at the Joya de Nicaragua factory for Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust the golden Connecticut seed wrapper has a few noticeable veins and some nice oils with a seamless roll. In the hand the cigar feels heavy for the size with no voids of tobacco.
The Taste: The aroma from the foot makes no attempt to disguise there is pipe tobacco with the quintessential cavendish aromas. It’s a classic pipe tobacco nose that you will either love or hate. The cold draw offers up vanilla and reminds of Nilla Wafers a cookie from Nabisco with a touch of lemon.
Once the cigar is lit the pipe tobacco components aren’t as strong as they were on the cold draw but they are present in a more subdued format. Much like when you smoke a pipe the room note is much more noticeable to those around you. It is also a cigar that produces a lot of smoke.
The first third sees the cigar develop a pipe like experience relatively fast with notes of vanilla, figs and a classic Cavendish sweetness becoming dominant 3-4 puffs into the experience. The retrohale adds some spice and nutmeg to the mix with a long finish on the front end of the palate.
Moving into the second third notes of cookie dough become the dominant flavor profile. In the background remains some hints of vanilla and figs. If you were to take a fig newton cookie and try to recreate it in a cigar this would be the result. As the second third comes to a close there is some citrus on the finish with a long lingering sweetness.
As we conclude our Stillwell Star Holiday Blend Y2023 the pipe tobacco is still the dominant flavor profile which is to be expected. There is a continued sweetness that is noticeable on the aroma and palate. Notes of caramel, marshmallows and vanilla dance on the palate with some spices on the retrohale that make its way to the palate as we move past the band.
Conclusion: I recently picked up pipe smoking again mainly for the winter months here in New England. The aromatic qualities are more enjoyable to those around you when indoors and my wife finds them enjoyable. Happy wife equals happy life. For those new to pipe smoking it can be a chore to properly pack a bowl and to keep it lit. If you ever wondered if pipe tobacco for you the Stillwell Star Holiday Blend Y2023 is a good entry point. If your a traditional cigar smoker this one probably isn’t for you but if you don’t mind a flavored or infused cigar from time to time you might want to grab a couple.
Price: $15.50 (Before local & state taxes)
*This cigar is scored on a curve taking into considering it has pipe tobacco in it.