Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Binder: Nicaraguan (Corojo and Criollo)
Filler: Nicaraguan (Corojo and Criollo)
Size: 7 x 60 “Super Gordo-Box Press” (Oy vay)
Today we take a look at the Gunslinger Black Powder by The Outlaw Cigar Company.
I received some samples from the gentleman himself, Kendall Culbertson..owner of The Outlaw Cigar Company. This has to be the most beautiful line of cigars I’ve seen. Each one perfect in its own way.
From The Outlaw Cigar Company web site:
“The Black Powder took three plus years and blending sessions in eleven different factories to find the best factory and tobacco to achieve a truly special cigar.
“An incredible amount of time and attention has gone into creating the perfect balance of pepper, earthiness, deep rich chocolate and sweetness.
“The peppers in this cigar are complex with a palate of smooth soft peppers and coarse sharp black pepper. Add the deep rich chocolate and earthiness finished off by a deep thick sweetness and you have an incredibly rich cigar.”
I had a nice conversation with Kendall Culbertson, owner and blender, of The Outlaw Cigar Company.
First, the man is 51 years old. He spent 20 years in the IT industry and then an overlap occurred in 1994. He opened his first cigar stores in 1997.
Culbertson spent 2-1/2 to 3 years just studying tobacco. Not blending.
The dice were rolled and marriage woes put a crimp in his passion for a bit. In 2004, he started once again and the second store was built in 2009.
He spent many years studying cigar tobacco. He was tutored by some of the most influential blenders from Cuba.
He visited most of the factories in Central America. He studied with Arsenio Ramos. And Eduardo Fernández. The king of AGANORSA tobacco. Which by the way is an anagram for Agricola Ganadera Norteña S.A. Fernández created it in 1997. And it has been used by many of the most famous cigar blenders that we all know and love.
Fernández is owner of Casa Fernández. One of the most esteemed farms and factories in the world.
The Gunslinger Black Powder took 3 years to blend and went through 400 incarnations before Culbertson was happy.
Culbertson also blended the Xikar Habano2.
Culbertson lives in Kansas City, MO where his secondary store is. The walk in humidor is 600 square feet. The larger store, in Overland, KS, has the largest, 1500 square foot walk in humidor in the country. Both stores are pure heaven for serious smokers with lounges, bars, poker rooms, etc.
It was because of his stalwart passion for cigars, and what he had accomplished, that all of the big blenders agreed to work with him.
He told me that it takes 50% getting a blend designed. And 50% maintaining it.
He worked with Jochy Blanco on the Gunslinger High Plains blend. To be reviewed this week.
He told me something funny. He said he couldn’t have some blenders in the same room with him while he did his own blending. Too many chefs in the kitchen syndrome. Once he had solid footing, the tables turned and many of the most important blenders learned a thing or two from Kendall. They all have great respect for him.
He spent 8 months working with the Mexican San Andrés wrapper before he got it to where he wanted it to be. He brought San Andres to Casa Fernandez and Arsenio Ramos.
The first few years, the famous blenders considered him a pain in the arse Gringo. But then they realized that he really knew what he was doing and happily worked with him as a peer.
And he is the only cigar outsider to be allowed in Oliva Tobacco to blend cigars.
There is a great article called “The Aganorsa Enigma” in the April/March 2012 Cigar Aficionado. You should read it.
Kendall has some very interesting information about the cigar industry that I will share with you in upcoming reviews of his blends.
This is a Redwood Tree from Sequoia National Park. I figure this review will take 1.5 days and require two showers.
It is a massive cigar. The press is sharp and perfect. The wrapper has more of a matte finish than an oily one. The triple cap is flawless. The wrapper is very toothy. Very solid.
And has a double cigar band. One with the Gunslinger logo and the secondary band merely saying, “BLACK POWDER.”
It really is a beautiful cigar. But then so are his other blends. This man knows how to get down on the good foot.
SIZES AND PRICING:
There are 7 sizes. Prices range from $7.50-$9.50 each. See below:
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
Massive doses of chocolate from the shaft. Same goes for bawdy spice. There is a nice Suzy Cream Cheese aroma too.
The clipped cap (I use a chain saw) and foot give off aromas of a startling amount of peppers. Triple sneeze. And a boat load of chocolate, creaminess, earthiness, espresso, and light floral notes.
The cold draw presents flavors of sweet spices, red pepper, chocolate, cream, and a rich earthiness.
I’ve been looking forward to this. This is my first Black Powder.
So let’s take Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride together.
I love toasting the foot. It may take a couple minutes on a big cigar like this one. There is art in the process. Nothing galls me more than watching some shlub stick a nice cigar in his mouth and just put a four torch lighter to the foot scorching the shit out of the wrapper 2” up to the shaft.
Anyway, we are lit Houston and the draw is spot on.
I’ve really been impressed with the draw on the Outlaw Cigar Co. blends. Normally, big cigars have a plug or two; maybe too much filler, etc. Not these babies.
Chocolate, chocolate and some cocoa, a lovely fruity sweetness, creaminess, cedar, and that rich earthiness.
My gut tells me I’m in for a terrific ride.
The char line starts off perfectly. Nice.
I can taste the counterbalance of wrapper v. filler. One doesn’t always get to experience that.
Strength is a touch over medium body.
Then Blam! A “Whole Lotta Love” with a smash to the puss of red hot peppers!! Like a light switch. It is melting the roof of my mouth and my testicles are stinging. This is my kind of blend. Yeah, baby.
While developing spicy cigars years ago, blenders didn’t quite get the handle on how to control the spice. Time has passed and most everyone has learned how to get the monkey to dance. No more spice bombs that burn away your sideburns. It is a controlled burn.
I spoke in length with Kendall about this yesterday. I learned more from him in our one hour discussion on the phone than in all the years I’ve been smoking. Or I just forgot. LOL. I’m supposed to be taking another test right now and I have no idea what it was for or when I made the appointment. Totally gone.
Anyway, Kendall told me about how spiciness is tamed and brought about. And how he worked with all those wonderful Cuban expatriates to get what he wanted for his blends. Some of these old time blenders resisted. They thought that spiciness makes for a crap cigar. But Kendall explained that is what the American public, including him, like to smoke. It took a while, but he finally got them to understand; and even better: To enjoy a spicy meat’a ball.
I can taste several varieties of peppers: Poblano (I’m a huge Chile Rellenos freak), Cayenne, Hot Banana, Jalapeno, and a touch of habanero. This is a first for me. Kudos Kendall.
The Gunslinger Black Powder by The Outlaw Cigar Company is freaking me out. What an incredible blend. I know I say that a lot, but this is something else. Something in its own category.
Here we go: Rich earthiness, spicy peppers, chocolate, creaminess, cedar, sweetness, dried fruit, and leather.
It’s not a kitchen sink type of blend. But it does wondrous things with what it has. I mentioned in a couple earlier blends how I thought it would be difficult to pick my favorite. So far, the Black Powder hits the nail on the head. Stuff is going on that my puny brain can’t explain. Subtleties and nuances that aren’t clearly defined with 2” gone.
My favorite Rod Stewart song is playing…”Every Picture Tells a Story” Donut? Donut”
The Outlaw Cigar Company is one of the coolest cigar web sites I’ve seen. Right out of the Ol’ West.
And you should check out the “Swag” under “Tradin’ Post.” A gazillion accessories, hats, shirts, etc.
Smoke time is 40 minutes.
Forget your Padrons. Forget your Fuente. The Gunslinger Black Powder by The Outlaw Cigar Company is mystical. Something a well versed Hobbit would smoke.
The BP is so complex that I’m screaming laughter. Holy shit! In 25 years, we will have Smell-O-Vision and Taste-O-Vision. Unfortunately, here and now, you have only me.
The BP is better than any Cuban I’ve smoked. I know this is a bold statement. But you’re not sitting where I am. (In a chair).
Remember, it took Kendal 2-1/2 years and 400 tries to get to what I am smoking. This is no joke. This is serious commitment and passion. And it shows. One of the best smokes I’ve ever encountered. I have one left and I will let it humidor rest for a couple months and come back and report.
This cigar is so smooth. It passed the sweet spot before I even lit up.
Strength is still medium body+.
This will probably be the longest review I’ve written. It deserves a novelette.
I don’t want to write any more. I sit back in my office chair; leaning back and stare out into the back yard at the very green giant trees and my body is totally relaxed.
And then my neighbor walks by with his wife beater shirt and his man breasts hanging out and ruins everything.
I expect you take me dead serious about this cigar. There is a size for everyone. The price is ridiculously low. And you can buy singles or boxes. The box price is a few shekels lower than the single cigar price. But buy a few. Buy 5.
If I had the dough, I’d buy 5 boxes. And then horde them away like a crazed hermit.
And then while I am fending off the zombie takeover, I will have all the Black Powders I need. A 12 gauge and Black Powder is all you need during the fall of civilization.
I bounce against the walls all day long. I don’t know where I am. I can’t talk. I can’t remember anything. But a cigar review takes me back in the Way Back Machine before I had Alzheimer’s. I’m alive Igor, I’m alive!
The balance is better than spot on. The finish is remarkable. I guarantee no other review has done the Gunslinger Black Powder by The Outlaw Cigar Company justice like I am. Really. (I know you’re laughing at me).
I can’t wait to rate it.
Smoke time is one hour and 5 minutes.
Once again, with feeling: Earthy tobacco, chocolate, cream, caramel, spicy peppers, cedar, leather, and a fruity sweetness.
When I first took a look at this giant cigar, I sighed a heavy sigh. Oh no. But in the case of The Outlaw Cigar Company, size doesn’t matter. Kendall Culbertson is a genius.
I can’t think of another blend as good as this. The only brand that comes close is Ezra Zion.
A sip of water and a flavor explosion. I have had to get up and pee three times because I love that sip of water for flavor’s sake.
The Gunslinger Black Powder by The Outlaw Cigar Company proves once and for all that you don’t need a kitchen sink flavor bomb to be a good cigar. How many flavors do we have here? Eight? And a masterpiece.
The next cigar will be the Gunslinger Perdition. Or maybe the Gunslinger High Plains. I will decide later because when I finish the Black Powder, I will be spent. Left to wander the house in a cloud of confusion.
The chocolate is part milk chocolate, part hot cocoa, and part truffle.
The caramel is part flan, part praline, part crème brûlée, and part caramel apple.
The Gunslinger Black Powder by The Outlaw Cigar Company goes way past a series of transitions. It is a compendium of variations on a theme.
The sun has come out. You can see in this photo the light sandy toothiness.
Smoke time is one hour 40 minutes.
The mélange of peppers soars once again. Into the stratosphere. A resurgence. And there is a big smile on this ugly puss.
No change in the flavor profile. Thank goodness.
Strength is just touching the skirt hem of medium/full body.
Time has flown by. Usually, by now, my neck is tired from the camera hanging from it. My back hurts. And delirium sets in.
I’m fresh as a daisy. Or a clam. Not sure which. (Don’t you just love dementia?)
I’m now getting a touch of nicotine. Not out of control, head spinning, nicotine.
And the BP moves to a steady medium/full body.
All those expensive and inexpensive wish they could have the chocolate influence that the Black Powder has.
The cigar is nearly done. This was a helluva’ cigar experience in the widest spectrum of the phrase.
OK. Time to rate it. I give it a 96.
This could, easily, be Cigar Aficionado’s Cigar of the Year.
Final smoke time is two hours 10 minutes.
I cannot imagine that the smaller sizes will be any tastier or more intense than the 7 x 60 reviewed today.
Go get some at The Outlaw Cigar Company. Remember to tell them the Katman sent you. (Click on “Tradin’ Post to pick out cigars.)
Since a sampler isn’t offered, I’d shop around the site buying all the singles you can muster.
Prices range from $7.50-$9.50 by the single price. Cheaper by the box of 24.
This is friggin’ ridiculous. While the other chumps have come away from IPCPR charging your mortgage payment for their cigars, Kendall has made sure his blends are wallet and wife friendly.
Now this is a $16.00 cigar. Meanwhile, the real $16.00 cigars are $8.00 cigars.
I have a few new blends sent to me by a couple readers. I have no idea how they will compete with the Gunslinger Black Powder by The Outlaw Cigar Company.
Perfect construction the entire time. No char line issues. No touch ups required.
A cigar experience like no other.
This just may be my desert island cigar. But then, I haven’t reviewed the rest of the blends.
There are plenty of cigar 5 packs you can buy for $47.50. Not a single one can compete.
I know you will try this cigar. Tell Kendall the Katman sent you.
Then buckle your seat belts.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS