Team Cigar Review: Dalay Istanbul Robusto

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Cigar Details: Dalay Istanbul Robusto

  • Vitola: Robusto
  • Length: 5″
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Corojo ’99
  • Binder: Pennsylvania
  • Filler: Dominican Republic, Kentucky and Turkey
  • Factory: Zauberberg
  • Blender: Undisclosed
  • Price: $18.00
  • Release Date: September 2023
  • Source: Developing Palates

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

Aaron: The wrapper on the Dalay Istanbul Robusto is a light reddish-brown that also has some small green spots. There are some prominent veins present, the seams are smooth and the caps are decently applied. There are two bands, with the primary having an image of the city on the water and it has postage stamp style borders. The secondary band has the line name on front with the brand name on each side. The aroma from the wrapper is smoky wood while the foot brings stewed fruit and light cedar. The pre-light draw brings brings stone fruit sweetness, cedar and a bit of the smoky wood.
Seth: The Dalay Istanbul Robusto is an average looking cigar, the wrapper looks a little faded and rough. In some ways, it’s fitting with the band that focuses on the Bosporus and old Istanbul. Veins throughout, small to medium in size, the coloring is between Natural and light Colorado. Aromas of dry earth, tobacco, spices and wood.
John: The Dalay Istanbul Robusto comes in cellophane and has a UPC sticker that tears when opened. The cigar is double banded with the primary band being a sunset vista of Istanbul, and the secondary band indicating ‘dalay istanbul 1965’ in cursive font. I weighed the cigar at 15.0 grams and measured the humidity with the HumidiMeter Pro at 61.4%. Aromas from the wrapper I could pick out were sweet spices and tobacco. From the foot, there was raisin, fig and wood.
Jiunn: The Dalay Istanbul Robusto has a Colorado wrapper shade showing good oil content. Veins are roughly pressed, seams tight, bunch and roll even and the head is well wrapped and capped. Aromas from the wrapper tell of baking spices and cedar. Aromas from the foot reveal a rich, spicy and creamy nuts mixture. Cold draw gives hay and cedar.

Dalay Istanbul Robusto

Dalay Istanbul Robusto

First Third

Aaron: The cigar begins with toasted cedar and earth. At a quarter inch in, a light smokiness becomes present. The retrohale is toasted cedar with light amounts of earth and black pepper. At an inch in, the cedar has become pretty detailed and a faint black pepper joins in. As the third comes to a close, the profile is toasted cedar up front, earth in the middle with smoky wood and black pepper in the background. The strength was right at medium.
Seth: The first third starts out with this dry wood and spice profile. Bits of earth and tobacco as well. Somewhat lacking and dry. Medium in strength and body.
John: My initial flavor impressions were sweet wood, tobacco, and a lingering wood to finish into the post draw. A creamy wood with delayed spice finish comes into the retrohale. As the first third settles, sweetness joins the finish as well in a complimentary way. Graham cracker starts to come into the retrohale at light plus strength as the cigar continues to progress.
Jiunn: The first third’s flavor profile is fairly linear and mundane. Traditional notes of cedar, nuts and hay. Retrohaling is more exciting as there is a nice pop of dried red pepper spice. The finish is a jumbled mixture of cedar, nuts and hay. Strength and body is medium.

Dalay Istanbul Robusto

Dalay Istanbul Robusto

Second Third

Aaron: As the second third begins, the black pepper is no longer present. The retrohale is now just toasted cedar and earth. As the third comes to a close, the toasted cedar is up front, earth in the middle and smoky wood in the background. The strength remained at medium.
Seth: The second third is in line with the first. Dryer flavor profile still. Bits of tobacco, wood, leather and earth. Medium in strength and body.
John: Creamy wood leads off with spices to follow, then combining with wood into the post draw. A sweet and spicy tobacco medley makes up the retrohale here. The center of the retrohale evolves to add marshmallow. As the second third continued, there were no remarkable flavor changes to comment on until the halfway point. At the halfway point, the post draw is being driven almost entirely by a wood component.
Jiunn: The second third shows a slight uptick in the intensity of flavors, but it still doesn’t cut away from the overall jumbled notes of cedar, nuts and hay. Strength and body remains medium.

Dalay Istanbul Robusto

Dalay Istanbul Robusto

Final Third

Aaron: As the final third begins, the toast level increases a bit and the smoky wood note also picks up. The retrohale is now toasted cedar and earth with some light smoky wood. As the cigar wraps up, the toasted cedar is up front with the earth and smoky wood both a bit behind. The strength remained at medium.
Seth: The final third continues to deliver that dryer flavor profile from the first and second. Leather, tobacco, wood and earth. Mineral spices.
John: Creamy wood starts the last third with the wood taking on some mild tannins and dryness on the post draw. The profile remains unchanged until the bottom half. In the bottom half, wood and earth are defining the post draw.
Jiunn: Getting into the final third, the profile still tastes linear. Nothing new to write about. Still the same general flavors of cedar, nuts and hay. Strength and body finish the same medium.

Dalay Istanbul Robusto

Dalay Istanbul Robusto

Burn

Aaron: The burn was a bit wavy throughout and the cigar went out once, requiring a re-light. The ash held on in inch and a quarter increments.
Seth: Average burn throughout. Sometimes a little off.
John: The burn started straight, going out spontaneously an inch in, requiring a re-light. The burn was uneven in the second third and straightened out by the last third.
Jiunn: Burn performance was perfect. Even burn, ample smoke production, tight ashes and cool burning temperature.

Dalay Istanbul Robusto

Dalay Istanbul Robusto

Draw

Aaron: The draw was perfect, with just the right amount of resistance that I prefer.
Seth: Solid draw from start to finish.
John: The draw had some mild resistance to it, roughly 1-1/2 notches into the resistant spectrum which nets it a very good rating.
Jiunn: Draw performance was on point, providing the ideal balance between air flow and resistance.

Overall

Aaron: The cigar began with toasted cedar and earth. A light wood smokiness joined fairly quickly and some black pepper a bit later. The second third saw the black pepper depart. The final third saw the wood smokiness pick up a bit. The Dalay Istanbul Robusto had a pretty average flavor profile throughout and from the second third on, the flavor profile was quite linear. I didn’t really get anything unique from the Turkish tobacco. Overall, the cigar was just pretty plain. The high price point I don’t think does any favors and it’s not a cigar I’d see myself coming back to.
Seth: This is not how I remember Istanbul, but it has been some years since I visited. The Dalay Istanbul Robusto was lacking and too dry a profile. This really smoked like one of those blends that should have been released 20 years ago. Not sure why it is being released now, but this will not speak to the modern cigar smoker.
John: The Dalay Istanbul Robusto was an enjoyable review with the profile hanging between the light plus and medium strength spectrums for most of the experience. I had a mildly resistant draw and the cigar went out on me once, requiring a re-light. There’s no question I enjoyed the flavor profile of the Dalay Istanbul Robusto, but the price point would likely hold me back from seeking these out as I personally wouldn’t find a good flavor to price point ratio. Total smoking time was 2 hours exactly.
Jiunn: There’s really nothing special or intriguing about this Dalay Istanbul Robusto. It has all the traditional flavors of a cigar, but where it fails is not having the flavors meld well and being so monotonous. Also, to charge $18 per cigar without a strong brand and not disclosing a lot of details is ballsy and doesn’t build much confidence with consumers. This is a pass for me.

Aaron
Seth
John
Jiunn
AveragePre
Light
AveragePre
Light
GoodPre
Light
Good
AverageFirst
Third
AverageFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
Average
AverageSecond
Third
AverageSecond
Third
GoodSecond
Third
Average
AverageFinal
Third
SubparFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
Average
GoodBurnAverageBurnGoodBurnAmazing
AmazingDrawGoodDrawVery GoodDrawAmazing
AverageOverallSubparOverallGoodOverallAverage

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

5.55

Cost/Point

$3.24

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

4.43

Cost/Point

$4.06

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

6.47

Cost/Point

$2.78

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

5.75

Cost/Point

$3.13

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Dalay Istanbul Robusto

John McTavishTeam Cigar Review: Dalay Istanbul Robusto

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