Steve Saka’s Dondurma – Cigar Review

Hey Cigar Pals: Got some good news, I finally got the Dondurma Cigars that I have been promising you I was going to do a cigar review of.

This really isn’t a cigar review, as such, because when I do a normal review, I am talking to you about a cigar that you would be able to purchase, well in this case that is not possible.

Pic of Dondurma on red scarf

The way I understand it, Steve Saka of Dumbarton Tobacco and Trust blended this stick for himself and then somehow decided to make some more.

(If Steve or Ronnie read this post, maybe they can fill in the gaps and I will update the post)

Steve only made 1000 of them and I managed to get 10 of them!

While you can not purchase these sticks on the open market, you are going to have an opportunity to win two of them in a contest that I am holding here on Cigar Pals

Check out my cigar review video to find out how to enter the contest!

A Little About A Little

I really don’t know a lot about how these cigars ended up in circulation, but I can tell you how I came about getting some.

A while back, I happened to catch a post that Steve Saka did on Instagram where he talked about these limited edition sticks and mentioned who was selling them.

I immediately contacted Ronnie Haisha of Secreto Cigars in Ferndale, MI and ordered a 10 ct box. I am not sure exactly how Ronnie talked Steve into letting him sell these cigars, but they went like hotcakes.

I believe he sold 80 boxes over the week end.

I did find this info at Halfwheel

Saka made the cigars for himself in 2015 but opted not to sell them because he felt like it “was (a) difficult cigar to explain to consumers unless (done) face to face.” He said that the cigar is designed for the smoker to focus on the retrohale.

Saka said all the cigars are rolled by Artisto Torres and Josefa “Chepita” Perez at Joya de Nicaragua, the same pair that rolls the Muestra de Saka Unicorn. He said that the normal industry pricing structure would call for the cigar to be priced at $24.

“Dondurma is a strange, but delicious ice cream invented by the Turks and sold throughout the Middle East,” said Saka.”It has an odd taffy like consistency, it is actually chewy and does not melt. Crafted and served by street vendors. I first experienced it while in the Navy ported in the seaside resort city of Antalya, Turkey. As soon as I finished this “odd” blend it instantly reminded me of Dondurma – creamy, familiar and delicious, yet at the same time so different.”

Very Unhappy With The US Post Office

It’s a long story, but basically it goes like this. I was in Monroe, MI, which is about 50 miles from Ferndale. About a week after Ronnie let me know the cigars had shipped, I still had not seen or heard anything. (USPS tracking is crap).

I contacted Ronnie and asked him if he knew anything about why they had not arrived, and he didn’t, but said he was having problems with others that had not been received and would get back to me.

After a few more days of waiting, we still didn’t know anything and he suggested that I contact the local Post Office to see if I could glean any info.

I did and they told me that because of a shortage of personnel due to Covid, they were stuck in Pontiac, MI. These cigars were shipped priority, but that didn’t seem to matter to them and as for Ronnie, no refunds on the extra shipping cost would be forthcoming.

Deb and I had finished the job we were doing in MI and were anxious to get down the road, so she printed a shipping label and left it at the office of the campground and asked them to forward the cigars when they got there, they said they would!

So….We get down to Arkansas where we are visiting a friend and about a week later the Post Office notifies me that my cigars had been delivered (that’s about 3 weeks to go 50 miles (the Pony Express was faster)).

We don’t hear anything right away from the campground and Deb calls them and asks about the delivery, yep, they were delivered and she asked them to put the label on and give it to the FedEx guy when he delivered (about every day).

Two weeks later, I’m cussing out FedEx and I ask Deb if she has a tracking number, she says no and I ask her to call the campground to see if they have one.

She calls them and guess what, they still have my cigars, because they say the delivery guy won’t take it and we have to call for a special pick up (not true according to FedEx)

So Deb contacts FedEx and makes arrangements and a few days later, we have cigars!

So on to the review!

What’s Under The Hood Of The Dondurma

Strength: Medium

Size: 6×48

Capa (wrapper): La Meca Ecuador Habano Double Dark Rosado

Capote (binder): San Andres Negro “Cultivo Tonto”

Tripa (filler): Nicaraguan Jalapa C99 Seco

Nicaraguan C98 Viso

Wisconsin Comstock Sead Leaf Viso

Nicaraguan Esteli Hybridized Criollo Ligero (aged 5 years)

How’d She Run

Start: 1:53 PM End: 3:27 Burn Time: 1:29

Aroma: Earth, salted caramel

Cold Draw: Earth, salted caramel

Construction: Dark brown, tight wrap, small veins, triple cap, open foot, loose box press.

Burn: Nice and even

Draw: Nice open draw

Flavor Profile:

Light Up: hit of pepper, lots of smoke, earthy, espresso

First Third: earth, salted caramel, espresso, picked up some pepper on retro hale

Second Third: Became smoother and creamier, still earth, caramel starts to fade and espresso is still strong, no pepper

Final Third: Caramel reappears, earth, espresso. Started picking up pepper in the throat. Becoming stronger and kinda catching a buzz.

Notes: This is a fine cigar all the way around. From the construction, the interesting aroma and flavor on the cold draw, the even burn and open draw to the unique flavor profile. This stick kept my interest all the way through. Steve says that a good cigar is one that you hate to see end and can’t wait for the next one you get to smoke (or something like that) and that was my experience with the Dondurma!

Let’s Finish Up

The Dondurma, by Steve Saka is an excellent cigar and it is a shame that it is cost prohibitive to manufacture for wide spread distribution.

However if you watched the video, you now know how you can have the opportunity to win two of your own. I wish I had more to put out there, but I am excited to see who will be the winner.

You can answer the question in the comments section below, or in the comments section under the video in YouTube.

Please feel free to ask questions, make comments or suggestions in the section below.

Till Next Time Cigar Pals

Smooth Smokin!


  1. Sean

    You met Steve at Smoke on the Water Bar and it is a Muestra De Saka that you are reviewing in that blog post.

  2. Bill

    Great review. Finally had the Sin Compromiso sitting around the campfire with some good friends and really good whiskey. You were right that was one of the best sticks I’ve had. Thanks for the recommendation.

  3. Renee

    Lucky you.Sounds like it was wearth the wait.Is there anything to compare it too? Did it come in a cigar box? Hint hint….

    • Hi Renee: Thanks for checking out Steve Saka’s Dondurma – Cigar Review. Yes it was definitely worth the wait and Sean Peffer won my contest to win two of them. I smoked one and Sean says he smoked one of his, that leaves me with seven and I am thinking about sharing some of them with other Cigar Pals, but it’s hard to let go of them. Sean said he was thinking about giving one to a friend, but he might be having a hard time letting go also! I guess time will tell.

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