Several members have told me that the Lawless will do me just fine on only a week’s worth of humidor time. I am not divulging their names in case I have to kill them.
Black Label Trading Company puts out 1000 boxes per year for each of the size blends. And those blends are: Royalty, Benediction, Salvation, Redemption, Lawless, and Last Rites. Very foreboding.
From the BLTC website:
“Our attitude re-thinks standards for cigar making, and caters to cigar lovers and aficionados tired of a mainstream, mass produced approach to cigar making. At Black Label Trading Company, we have created a market for those with the attitude that they deserve the best, and the confidence that they deserve to experience the Black Label Experience.
“Our philosophy is Less is More; Small is Big; Small is Elite; and finally, Fine Tobacco making is Fine Art. Much like when we experience fine art, the Black Label Experience involves slowing down, taking in, being in the moment and letting expectation be replaced by surprise, and ultimately, total satisfaction.
“Black Label Trading Company creates hand crafted premium cigars of the utmost quality in small batch, highly limited quantities. This allows us to meticulously select the finest tobacco from the richest tobacco-growing regions of Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico and Ecuador. This allows our master blender, expert growers and hand rollers to produce utterly unique cigars of unsurpassed quality and flavor. Finally, this approach to cigar making replaces the standard cigar experience with the Black Label Cigar Experience.”
There is a lot more to read about on the BLTC web site.
So let’s take a look at this cigar.
The wrapper is coffee bean brown with a lot of oil. And smooth as satin. A very nice triple cap in place. Seams are invisible and very small few veins; but a couple big honkers.
The main cigar band is another in a long line with a skull as its main theme. Only this time, the skull has a crown above it. The secondary band at the foot merely tells us the blend’s name. What the marijuana leaf logo was to the 1960’s, the Skull is to the 21st Century.
I clip the cap and find aromas of a perfumey floral note that just overwhelms the other aromas, cherry hard candy sweetness, ginger, cedar, toast, leather, and baking spice.
Time to light up.
This is nice. A barrage of flavors come out to play. First is buttery toast flavor. Then a dash of cocoa, very rich earthiness, spice begins to build, raw cashew nuts, some sweetness, and several other flavors that are so subtle, I cannot yet define them yet. But I will dear reader, I will.
The draw is a bit tight. Feels like there might be a plug in the vicinity of the cigar band. I use my cigar awl and that’s exactly where it was and the draw opens up nicely.
The ring gauge is right at the limit of my preferences. I have a small delicate mouth. Only good for one thing….nah, nah, nah…filthy minded bastardos! For kissing my wife.
“And how that elephant got into my pants, I will never know.”
The stick is such a slow burner.
The second third begins and the cigar is really flying now. Creaminess joins the pack giving more legitimacy to the other flavors. Nothing worse than bastard flavors.
It is here that everything about this cigar breaks free from the restraints of propriety.
It is a flavor explosion. I duck and weave as the flavors, like lasers, zoom past my head.
Of course it is a flavor bomb now. The spiciness ratchets up and becomes quite strong. The sweetness is not only from raw cashews and cherry but from dried apricot; giving it a slight tartness. The cocoa makes a break for it but I stop it dead in its track by grabbing a Diet Coke for my NYC egg cream experience. The creaminess is swathed all over my palate.
And by the way, learn how to spell “Palate.” I see pallet. I see pallete. Those versions of the spelling have different meanings. Your “palate” is the roof of your mouth, and by extension, your sense of taste. A “palette” is the flat board an artist mixes paint on (or by extension, a range of colors). A “pallet” is a flat platform onto which goods are loaded.
At the halfway mark. Flavors are stupendous. The strength was medium to start but now reaches medium/full bodied.
The stick is super balanced, rich and earthy, smooth and creamy, and as spicy as your first love affair.
Marco L., my brother, my Daddy-O, is your cigar.
My good friends at Cigar Federation steered me right. I should have asked before I smoked the first BLTC blend: Royalty. But I didn’t.
Let’s talk about price point. Yep. It ain’t cheap. But it also is not ridiculously expensive either. First, it is a boutique blend and they tend to cost more.
Second, the care and attention put into this blend is seen in every nickel spent. It seems that the $10 stick is the new $7 stick. So $9 ain’t that bad.
The cigar takes its time due to sheer packing of tobacco. It has taken me almost an hour to get to the halfway point.
The cigar becomes very complex. Very complex. The flavors are swirling on a ball with an undisclosed axis. Man, this is some cigar! I suppose with more humidor time, this would have happened sooner but I don’t care. I want more of these sticks. I have four more of the six pack sampler to review. When I am done, I will pick my favorites and go loot the Cigar Federation Online Store. That place is a virtual candy store. 39 great brands and countless more blends.
Gooey, rich caramel is a new member of the tribe now….it brings out the creaminess, cocoa, and sweetness.
The last third begins after 90 minutes. This is Flavor Bomb Extraordinaire!
Except for one thing….they are so intense my toupee is slipping off.
I should add that the construction of the cigar has been impeccable throughout the smoke. A char line that never needed a single touch up. And no loose tobacco at the cap. And not a single crack in the wrapper.
While the cigar is moving towards full bodied, I haven’t sensed any nicotine yet.
I’m down to the last 1-1/2” and the cigar is singing to me. But nicotine has kicked in and I’m swooning. I find it very difficult to finish a cigar to the nub with a lot of nicotine.
But overall, I highly recommend this cigar. It is absolutely delicious and can be found either in the B & M’s listed on the BLTC web site or at Cigar Federation.
And now for something completely different:
There is a whole laundry list of things I did that led to my eventual demise in Curved Air. Things that really bothered the band leader, Darryl. He was the most arrogant SOB I had ever met. Really. And remains so til this day. Yes, he was classically trained at some fancy upscale English university and was a brilliant violinist and composer..but still a big putz.
He was also very good looking and considered himself a ladies’ man. He proved it during my tenure with the band when he married a very famous French model. Oh my God, she was gorgeous and the first time she undressed in our dressing room before a show, I almost passed out. She had no trouble with nudity. Neither did I except for the passing out part.
One day, we were traveling and while I don’t remember the circumstances, it was just me and Darryl and his new bride. We were on the way to a gig. Darryl liked me and then he didn’t like me and then he liked me..well, you get the picture.
Reporters hated Darryl because of his caustic nature. And he hated them back. And since he discovered how funny I was and how I charmed reporters with my brilliant wit, he asked for advice. Now I remember. He took me alone with him on this ride without the other band members.
He asked that I coach him how to talk to reporters. Now this had a sinister back story. Word got out how funny I was and the reporters began to ignore Darryl after a gig and would interview me instead. This infuriated Darryl.
I was, and am, a huge Marx Brothers fan. So I started to teach him shtick. He picked up on it quickly. His wife, who barely spoke English, kept interrupting with brilliant repartee like, “What? What?”
We laughed for two hours til we got to the gig somewhere in Europe. We worked out routines that Groucho and Chico did. I kept telling him, “Faster, faster!” Our timing was perfect.
On that day, Darryl liked me.
So that night, after the gig when reporters were allowed into the dressing room, we were ready.
As they had done in the past, they came to me or Sonja. No one else.
Darryl sauntered over to me to join in the interview and I gave him a straight line. And then…nothing. He had completely forgotten everything in the moment of pressure. So I gave him another straight line. Nothing. He stood there like an idiot. We kept trying until I started to make fun of our mentally challenged band leader. His face turned red and stomped off. He didn’t like me that evening.
In the music trades the next day, the whole thing was reported. They made Darryl out to be the fool.
We tried to hide the papers from him but to no avail. He damn near fired me on the spot but the rest of the band calmed him down. Darryl had no sense of humor.
But Stewart Copeland, our drummer, did.
After many shows or before many shows, we did radio interviews on the biggest station in town.
Stewart was wittier than Darryl. Shit. A beaver was wittier than Darryl.
Stew and I completely manipulated the interview with jokes and stories.
And then it happened. One day, we get a call from Miles Copeland III. He said that from now on, only Stew and I were to do the radio interviews. Oy vay.
This was the real beginning of the end for me.
Stew and I became the Groucho and Chico, the Abbot and Costello, the Laurel and Hardy, the Burns and Allen of the radio interview.
I had a couple stories I used when an interviewer asked how I got into music. My response was clever and dry.
Years later, when I saw The Police in Santa Barbara as they kicked off their gold album tour for their first album, I sat in the dressing room with Miles and Jerry Moss. Moss was the partner of Herb Alpert (the famous player of trumpet with many gold albums under his belt.)
Miles goaded me to tell one of the stories I told from 6-7 years ago. I couldn’t believe he remembered so I told it to a stone faced Moss who didn’t laugh.
A bit later, I told Miles about my latest project of a band called The Attitude. We had a single climbing the American charts. It was a remake of “Hound Dog.” And Little Richard played piano on it. It was a kick ass version. We even did our own music video.
Miles feigned interest as I handed him a PR kit. He looked next to him where his assistant sat and told him, right in front of me, “You know what to do with this.”
Later, I found the whole PR kit in a trash can in the dressing room.
What a bastard!
Now, every quarter, I have to beg BTM Records for my royalties. And I get them. But you think I was pulling teeth. In fact, I think I am overdue for my begging tour and should contact them today.
The music business is not for the squeamish. Or sensitive. It’s a nasty, horrible, and political industry that spits out great talent in lieu of something mundane and popular.
I was in the big time music industry for 10 solid years before I just gave up. I continued to play bass in cover bands that played clubs because my roots were in the music; not the business. I continued to play until I was 62 when the harm done to my body from a 2001 skydiving accident really took its toll. I could no longer hang a 12lb bass around my neck for four sets.
I know. 12lbs. My bass is made from a very dense and heavy wood: Brazilian Rosewood. This has been outlawed to import into this country for 20 years. I bought it new in 1980 for $1000. It is worth a fortune now. A Schecter made by the original owners with a serial number of 008.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS