Team Cigar Review: Dondurma

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Cigar Details: Dondurma

  • Vitola: Toro
  • Length: 6″
  • Ring Gauge: 48
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Mexican San Andrés Negro
  • Filler: Nicaragua Criollo Estelí, Criollo ’99 Seco Jalapa and Wisconsin Comstock
  • Factory: Joya de Nicaragua
  • Blender: Steve Saka
  • Price: $15.90
  • Release Date: December 2019
  • Source: Secreto Cigar Bar

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The Dondurma has a rectangle press with a wrapper that is a marbled dark brown with well pressed veins. The seams are easily visible as they are slightly raised in some areas. The caps are slightly wrinkly and finished with a slight stump left over from the twist finish. The band is a black and gray strip that has the brand name in gold. The aroma from the wrapper is creamy wood and light cocoa while the foot gives a stewed fruit and aromatic pipe tobacco vibe. The pre-light draw brings a light, dry cedar.

Pre-light Experience

The Dondurma is pleasant in appearance and it has a lovely milk chocolate colored wrapper. There are some toothy aspects present throughout and with that are some medium sized veins. It is slightly firm throughout the cigar and it has a soft grit texture. There is an aroma of raisins, currant, wood and earth on the foot, and the wrapper is giving off leather and tobacco notes.

Pre-light Experience

The Dondurma has a UPC code designed to stay intact when the cellophane is opened. The cap has a twisted end on it, and the wrapper is smooth and chocolate brown colored. For aromas, there’s a lovely aged wood, nutmeg, other baking spices and rye bread. From the foot, a very sweet cherry and prune.

Pre-light Experience

The Saka blended Dondurma has a uniform maduro wrapper shade. The wrapper has a nice touch to it being fairly smooth and oily. Veins are well pressed, seams tight, bunch and roll even and the head has a deep layered cap. Aromas from the wrapper give cedar and black tea. Aromas from the foot tell cedar, baking spices and instant noodle spice mix (what?). Cold draw gives dry wood, black tea and hay.

First Third

The cigar begins with oak and light mustiness. At a half inch in, the oak gains a slight toast and the mustiness picks up. The retrohale provides a very similar profile. As the third comes to a close, the toasted oak is up front with the mustiness right behind. The strength in this third was mild-medium.

First Third

The cigar begins by delivering rich earth notes with some sweet spices on top of that. I am picking up some currant and raisin qualities, and it has a woody, peppery, meaty and metal finish. The cigar is medium-full in body and strength, and flavors right there as well.

First Third

The first third opens with bread, wood and trailing baking spices that carry into the post draw. For the retrohale, a honey sweetness, cocoa and baking spices. As the first third settles in, a red pepper flake starts to linger on the tip of my tongue. A molasses type syrupy sweetness takes up the center of the profile shortly afterwards. The baking spices have moved up to medium plus and continue to finish each draw. The bread on the retrohale moves up to medium by the 30 minute mark. By the 40 minute mark, a general cedar flavor is up to medium strength. By the halfway point, sweet cedar finishes each draw.

First Third

The first third has a smooth delivery of flavors. The mouth feel is quite oily with flavors of sweetened cream, chocolate shavings, plenty of bread/yeast and layered baking spices. Retrohaling highlights the baking spices more along with some roasted nuts. Strength and body is medium.

Second Third

As the second third begins, the toasted and musty oak maintains its profile. The retrohale maintains its near mirror image of the toasted and musty oak. As the third comes to a close, there’s a bit of a fire cured flavor now present. The strength in this third bumped up to slightly below medium.

Second Third

I am in the second third of the cigar now and finding some transitioning taking place. I am still getting those sweet spice notes, but they are now paired with some cocoa and earth qualities. There are touches of red pepper present and also coffee beans on the finish. Like before, the cigar is medium-full in strength, body and flavors.

Second Third

Sweet cedar and some mild mustiness takes up the center of the profile. Baking spices are still at medium-full and carry into the post draw. As the second third settles in, bread flavor rounds out the middle of the profile. By the one hour and thirty minute mark, cocoa and light earth have combined. In the bottom half, that earth builds up to medium strength. Some time later it falls back to light plus.

Second Third

The second third transitions to a profile that is more baking spice forward, but still holds up the other flavors (chocolate shavings, sweetened cream, bread/yeast). The sharper baking spices are most prevalent on the finish, creating a longer finish. Strength and body are still medium.

Final Third

As the final third begins, it continues on with the toasted and musty oak along with a light fire cured note. The retrohale continues to mirror the primary profile and adds the light fire cured note. At three quarters of an inch in, the toasted note transitions to a decent amount of char and masks any remnant of the fired cured note. At an inch and a quarter, the char increases a bit more and rests heavily on my tongue post draw. The strength in this third bumped up to medium.

Final Third

The final third shows a lot of similar qualities to that of the second. I am picking up sweet spice notes and they are paired with earth and cocoa qualities. I am getting touches of leather as well and the finish is showing some nutty and coffee flavors. Like before, the cigar is medium-full in strength, body and flavors.

Final Third

Cedar carries the profile into the last third. There is a slightly charred earth on the post draw, and toasted bread in the center of the profile. The toasted earth falls to the background as the last third settles in. By the halfway point, earth takes up the center with some minerality to round it out.

Final Third

The last third, while still focused more on the baking spices side of things, has less influence in other notes, especially on the sweetness. I’m still really enjoying the slick and oily mouthfeel, which is leagues better than having a dry palate and constantly sipping on water. Strength and body finishes medium.

Burn

The burn line was a bit wavy throughout, but never needed any attention. The ash held on in inch and three quarter increments.

Burn

The cigar had a lovely burn line throughout the entire cigar, good draw as well, but for some reason it continuously went out. Either I was taking too long between draws or something, because it wasn’t the draw that was the issue.

Burn

One touch-up was required in the last third as the burn became uneven. The ash held on well in roughly 1-1/2 inch increments.

Burn

The burn was almost flawless. The only downside was an uneven burn. Other than that, cool burning temperature, tight ashes and no use of my lighter past the initial light.

Draw

The draw was perfect, with just the right amount of resistance that I prefer.

Overall

The cigar began with oak and light mustiness. A toasted note joined the oak fairly quickly. At the end of the second third, a fire cured note joined the profile. The final third saw a decent amount of char replace the toasted note and build up to mask the fire cured note. Construction was very good and strength built from mild-medium up to medium. The Dondurma was very basic in it’s flavor profile and didn’t really transition until the end of the second third and significantly in the final third knocking down the enjoyment level. The price point is steep and with the flavor experience I had, along with the limited availability, I don’t see myself returning to this one.

Draw

The draw was pleasant throughout the entire cigar and had a nice level of resistance.

Overall

The Dondurma was a solid cigar and enjoyable, but I did not find the cigar to deliver something extraordinary. In some ways, it delivered a flavor profile that I was expecting when I saw the blend. I was intrigued by the Wisconsin tobacco, but it did not have an effect the same way the Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia tobacco have delivered for brands like RoMa Craft, Cornelius & Anthony, Davidoff and J.C. Newman. Overall, not impressed, and when you look at the price, there is no interest in returning.

Draw

The draw had some resistance to it, roughly 3 to 3-1/2 notches.

Overall

The Dondurma was overall good with the top scores for flavor coming in the first and second thirds. Flavors included bread, wood, baking spices, red pepper flake, molasses, mustiness, earth, toasted earth and toasted bread. I would smoke this cigar again if I had the opportunity. Total smoking time was 2 hours and 5 minutes.

Draw

The draw was almost flawless as well. A tad snug but overall it is a non-issue.

Overall

Apparently Dondurma is Turkish mastic ice cream. So to that extent, if the vision was to make the cigar taste like Turkish ice cream, I can definitely see some similarities, especially within the sweet creaminess and oily/buttery mouth feel. Overall, the Dondurma had a smooth delivery of flavors that are a bit of a deviation from the typical heavier and more rustic Saka blends. I would definitely smoke this again, but the near $16 price point is a bit steep. But nonetheless, a good cigar.

Aaron
Seth
John
Jiunn
Very GoodPre
Light
GoodPre
Light
Very GoodPre
Light
Good
AverageFirst
Third
AverageFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
Good
AverageSecond
Third
GoodSecond
Third
GoodSecond
Third
Good
SubparFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
Average
Very GoodBurnGoodBurnVery GoodBurnVery Good
AmazingDrawVery GoodDrawGoodDrawVery Good
AverageOverallAverageOverallGoodOverallGood

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

5.30

Cost/Point

$3.00

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

5.75

Cost/Point

$2.77

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

6.42

Cost/Point

$2.48

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

6.57

Cost/Point

$2.42

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Dondurma
Jiunn LiuTeam Cigar Review: Dondurma

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