The Black Label Last Rites Is Easier For Newer Cigar SmokersThe Black Label Last Rites was one of the six blends the boutique tobacco producer went with out of the gate and one of two Maduro blends. Founded in 2013, Black Label Trading Company is the brainchild of James Brown, a former tour guide who spent most of his time leading adventurous souls into Central America. While jetting back and forth between the U.S. and the Caribbean, Brown developed a love and passion for tobacco, and is now channeling this passion into his own boutique. The company maintains a simple focus that less is more and that craftsmanship should be the selling point of a cigar, not its marketing or packaging. This is highly apparent with this blend, which challenges smokers with a varied and robust flavor profile.

The Black Label Last Rites has an Ecuadorian Habano Maduro, a Honduran binder and fillers from Nicaragua and Honduras. It is dark chocolate in color and has a few visible veins, along with a pronounced oily sheen. The sticks finish has a double band, the first displaying a crowned skull and some filigree ornamentation. The second is near the foot and features the name of the blend in script type. James Brown has stated in interviews that he doesn’t believe in producing an immense variety of vitolas for every blend, believing it takes away from the quality of the stick at some point. For this reason, this stogie is only available as a Robusto (5 x 54) or Gran Toro (6 x 60), though there are box pressed versions for each size. Reviewers found the cold draw to be classic Maduro, producing a combination of spice, mocha, and earth flavors.

The first-third of the stick starts like most other Maduros do, with a surge of black pepper and a sweet chocolate note underlying everything. The black pepper soon transitions to the retrohale, where it will stay for the remainder of the stick. While the black pepper settles down on the palate, some earth and leather flavors emerge and balance off of the chocolate note, creating a nice three-pronged attack.

In the middle third of the Black Label Last Rites, the earth flavor becomes the primary player, slowly elbowing the chocolate note out of the way and pushing it into the background. The leather flavor remains a complementary flavor as well, while the black pepper moves to the front of the palate and reasserts itself. Some reviewers considered the black pepper to be dominant again around the halfway mark as it provides another kick of heat.

During the final third, the black pepper and earth flavors take hold of the profile and don’t let up until the cigar smokes out. The chocolate and leather flavors are still noticeable in the background, and some aficionados also detected a wheat toast note that fills out the background as well.

This stick is medium to full and offers a sizeable punch of nicotine, though not as much as other Maduros, so it should be easier for newer smokers to handle. Overall, it is a well-made, conceptually smart stogie that demonstrates the virtues of a no-nonsense approach.

POSTED ON Oct 14, 2017


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