Black Label Trading Company “Redemption” | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 5 x 54
Body: Medium
Price: $12.00
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I bought a six count sampler of the blends around 6 weeks ago, or so. So far, I’ve just about been batting zero. Four of the six blends go for $9 each. The last two go for $12 each.

Either these cigars are so old school that they need a year in your humidor or they just ain’t that good. And who, in this day and age, starts a revved up, ready to go cigar company full of piss and vinegar and sells cigars that need you to put them away and forget about them til Christmas?

If you want to read the reviews of the cigars I’ve smoked, here you go: Benediction, Last Rites, Lawless, and Royalty. Lots of background on this company there.

All the cigars pretty much look the same as the other. Very dark wrappers. A bit of oil. A lot of veins. Very toothy. I can’t tell if this is a double or triple cap. Well executed. Jam packed with tobacco.

I clip the cap and find aromas of dark chocolate, a bit of coffee, spice, some wood and leather.
Time to light up.

The first puffs find red pepper dominating the flavor profile. There is some nice cocoa and coffee and cedar. Also, some oak.
Sweetness appears quickly. This stick seems to have a brighter future than the four previous blends. Creaminess appears early on. The draw is great and smoke is blinding me while I type.
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There is something zingy in the nest of flavors. Lemon zest. Very strong flavor component. It dominates everything else but the red pepper.

A floral note manages to sneak in underneath the radar of the omnipotent citrus.

Lawdy, Lawdy, Miss Clawdy..well, Hallelujah and thank you baby Jesus! We have a winner.

Clearly, the cigars need to time to mature and I denied them their proper due. I am so used to having boutique blends ready to smoke between just days to maybe 2-3 weeks; that I didn’t figure into this flashy new brand that it would be more along the lines of old school. Not their fault. Mine. But I was like a Pavlovian dog trained by the good folks at Cigar Federation to expect instant gratification. Of course, it was only my stupidity that allowed this to happen.

The strength hits medium/full within the first inch of the cigar. The char line is spot on.
I like this cigar. And I should; for $12 friggin dollars!

I like to compare cigars in this price range to the Paul Stulac White Blinding Light blend. Same price. The Stulac WBL is a phenomenal blend and worth $12. Is the Redemption as good? More cigar to smoke before a determination is made.

Sweetness dominates just a tad over the citrus. The spiciness ratchets down a bit. And the creaminess moves way into the background. The cocoa has found middle ground. And the floral note hovers and zips like a hummingbird.

Methinks the real flavor boost will emerge at the halfway point.
This is a slowly building flavor profile. Step by step, inch by inch.

The large gray and black ash hangs tough and my arrogance tells me I can smoke it and take photos prior to it falling into my lap.
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The sweetness is enhanced by toffee. Like the chocolate Turtle candy. Which, to me, is a combo of caramel and toffee. A nuttiness appears: Pecan. All in line with the cigar’s theme of sweet and sour.
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I pass the second third and am on my way to the halfway point.

Creaminess returns. Here are the flavors, in order: Sweetness, earthiness, creaminess, citrus, spice, cocoa, pecan, toffee, oak, and leather.
The char line is perfect.

The flavor profile makes a quantum leap. Flavors explode on my palate. Now we’re talking. There is a fruity element but not sure what it is. I hope it is not black cherry. Such an overused flavor. A toastiness makes it to the scene. With a yeasty quality.
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The strength remains at medium/full with no signs of nicotine.

The last third begins. The cigar seems to be stuck. The flavors become somewhat muted. Its flavor bomb status has been revoked. And the strength has moved back to medium body.

It is a nice cigar given some humidor time. But either this is all there is or it needs months of humidor time.

The New Breed of cigar blenders make it their sole duty in life to make sure the cigars they blend are aged properly so only a modicum of humidor time is required. That is a big reason I like boutique blends.

But there are still a few brands out there that stick to the old school of blending; requiring enormous amounts of humidor time.

I believe that the entire BLTC bag of blends are old school. The Redemption has been the closest thing to a very pleasant cigar experience.

But the halting of its flavor bomb status tells me it needs more time.
All of the earlier described flavors are present. But they are subtle.

Back to the Paul Stulac comparison. His White Blinding Light, as well as his other blends, take 3 weeks and they are good to go. Not to mention the wonderful flavors that are bountiful within the flavor profile.

This cigar is not in the same class as any of the Stulac blends. Yet, they are in the same price range. So do I recommend this cigar? Yes, only if you have the patience to allow them to rest for 6 months.
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I’ve always had this wild notion that cigar manufacturers should put a note on the side of each cello encased cigar. It should tell you the optimum amount of humidor time required in order to enjoy the blender’s intent. Of course, that will never happen as it would affect sales. Not to mention that not everyone has a finely tuned palate.

I have one blend left: Salvation. I shall let it rest for a couple of months before I review it and see, once and for all, if my analysis is correct.
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ADDENDUM 4-30-2014:
I just gave up on this brand. I think that either I don’t care for the blends or they need extensive humidor time beyond what I gave them. So, I just picked up the last blend: “Salvation.” I figured it wouldn’t bring salvation to the brand so I smoked it without reviewing it. Guess what? It is a GREAT cigar! Murphy’s Law. So it isn’t humidor time as it is only 4 days after this review.

And now for something completely different:

It is getting to become so difficult to remember stories that happened when I was young and actually had a life. My 10 years in the music business all happened between the ages of 24-34. 30-40 years ago.

The chick singer had a woman from New York City help her with lyrics and costume design. She was also bedding her. Norma was 40. And at the young age of 24, I thought that was very old.

She was a nice looking woman but a real shark. Turns out she was, one by one, seducing the members of the band and I was last. I didn’t know this at the time.

She set up this scenario. I was asked to deliver some sort of important papers to her house that she shared with the chick singer in Hampstead Heath.

Norma had two teenage kids. A boy and a girl. All four of them lived together and Norma and the chick singer shared a bedroom.
It was on my way home to West London from Miles Copeland’s office. So no big deal.

By then, I had bought a car. Learning to sit on the right side, drive on the left side, and shift gears with my left hand was a real chore. But even a monkey trained with treats could eventually learn how to do this. It took me a bit longer.

It was early evening when I arrived at Norma’s home. Everyone was there.

I met her kids and asked to speak to their mom. Norma appeared in the doorway of her bedroom wearing only a silky kimono and open all the way down. She smiled and motioned me to come into the bedroom where we would be undisturbed.

Gulp.

I gave her the manila envelope and made my adieu. She then actually barred me from leaving by standing in front of the door. She opened her kimono and rubbed her naked body against mine. Yeah, she was attractive. But she was 40!! And I just wasn’t attracted to her. I had a girlfriend at home, who was gorgeous. And my pick of the litter, so to speak, on the road.

I move backwards and told her that I had a girlfriend that I was loyal to and could not do this. She would have none of that.
I moved to the other side of the bed using it as a buffer zone. And within moments, she was chasing me around the bed like a scene from a 1940’s Frank Capra movie.

She kept trying to trap me but I was too quick and agile.
She gave up and was furious with me.

I bolted from the bedroom when the chance presented itself.

I yelled goodbye to everyone as I dashed through the front door.

From that moment on, Norma held a grudge against me and was rarely kind to me. Another enemy. Just what I needed.

She later felt the wrath, and indifference, from the Copeland folks as the drummer in our band hooked up with the chick singer leaving Norma out in the cold.

When I got canned from the group, because of political reasons, I sought her out for solace and she basically told me to fuck off. She had her own problems.

I learned from the chick singer, around the late 1990’s, that Norma had died of breast cancer in her late 50’s.

It was the first, and last, time that a woman chased me around the bedroom trying to put me into submission. Looking back, it was hysterical. But at the time, my testicles shrunk to the size of raisins.

This is the only photo I have of Norma. Taken at Island Studios in London. L-R: Norma, Jose Feliciano, and Sonja. Note that they are sharing a doobie:
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