Wrapper: Ecuadorian Maduro
Binder: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan, Pennsylvania Broadleaf, Connecticut Broadleaf
Size: 5 x 48
Humidor time: 9 weeks
Number of cigars smoked prior to review: 2
Today we take a look at Black Label Trading Company Bishops Blend.
Thanks to Miguel Castro and Bryan Kinnaman for the sticks.
Debuted at the 2016 IPCPR trade show
Factory: Fabrica Oveja Negra
Release Date: July 2016
I counted over 10 reviews of this blend. I’m sure that if you are interested in the story of BLTC and how this blend came to be, there is no shortage of information available to you. No point in repeating it for the 11th+ time.
SIZES AND PRICING:
Robusto 5 x 48 $9.50 (150 boxes of 20)
Corona Larga 6.25 x 46 $10.00 (150 boxes of 20)
There is no information on the BLTC web site about this blend other than to show off a Halfwheel rating of 93. So I went on over to Halfwheel to read the review. The reviews of this blend are all in the Robusto size. So I thought I would follow suit.
A gorgeous, very oily, toothy, coffee bean brown colored wrapper. Seams are tight. Some very large veins up and down the stick. Firm but not hard.
The cigar has a closed foot.
Gotta put my 2 cents in here…if I see one more cigar band with a skull on it I’m going to mow down every person in the nearest post office. They’re disgruntled, disgusted, folks who hate their jobs but the money and benefits are excellent so they stay…especially the older folks. They’re stuck. To those that are young, I say: RUN! The monotony of a never ending supply of mail will make you nuts.
Three things keep a person from getting a CCW: a Felony, Domestic Abuse, and being a Postal Worker.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell dark chocolate, spice, cream, hickory, and peppercorns.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell strong dark coffee and bittersweet chocolate, red pepper, cream, hickory, honey with nougat (Like Bit O’ Honey), and barnyard.
The cold draw presents flavors of meatiness, dark cocoa, black pepper, malt, cream, burnt butter, and coffee.
First puffs are delicious…malt, chocolate, coffee, nuts, cold roast beef, pepper, and peanut butter nougat.
A combo of both red and black peppers merges creating a nice compilation of building spice elements.
The draw is spot on. Very easy going.
Flavors begin to feel their oats. The creaminess is very potent now over shadowing the spiciness of the blend. Chocolate and malt teams up.
Flavors are delightful but delicate. This isn’t a slap in the face by Mae West. It is more of a soft glove being draped across your face by Ali MacGraw. (In the late 90’s, I sat on a Southwest jet right next to her. I fell in love).
Grape jelly shows up. The only cigar in which this was a major factor was the CAO Amazon Basin. I reviewed it here on Sept. 8, 2014.
The flow of the blend has gone from nothing special to extraordinary. One moment, it was unoriginal cigar blending…and the next moment, it became a big macher. (Hybrid English-Yiddish term for big shot).
Strangely, the finish is short. Complexity is on the cusp of becoming brazen. Transitions haven’t kicked in.
The Black Label Trading Company Bishops Blend is rich, elaborate, and is blessed with a multiplex of finely tuned tobacco leaves.
The blend isn’t going for the record in kitchen sink lists of flavors. Rather, it is boldly subtle. I know. A contradiction in terms.
Strength is medium.
The Bishops Blend is for those with palates that are finely tuned. It is a sum of its parts rather than several outlandish flavors combined with other ancillary flavors.
Haven’t had a cigar like this in a while. If I had any memory left, I’d list those I thought to be in the same league.
The first couple I smoked did not possess the potential of what I am experiencing. But left alone for another couple of weeks and voila.
There is a touch of Old School in this blend. It needs its rest before lighting up.
Construction is good as I almost made it through the first third without tapping the ash. But of course, it did collapse at a critical moment.
Smoke time is 25 minutes.
Strength is medium body.
The cigar band is so huge; it must come off as I begin the second third.
The Black Label Trading Company Bishops Blend is extremely tasty but it’s missing something. No grasp of that yet.
I believe this is the first nuanced flavor bomb I’ve smoked. Flavors don’t expel themselves like Ethel Merman singing “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”
They lay low and surround your palate like a predator ready to attack.
Graham cracker appears. That’s the carb I wasn’t getting.
OK. Here is the best I can come up with: Creaminess, malts, chocolate, mint, coffee, sweetness, smoky hickory, black pepper, graham cracker, buttery blintzes with cream cheese filling (I know. Nuts.), and that wonderful grape jelly.
The short finish started out limp. It has become a heavy hitter…with long, lingering bits of flotsam and jetsam testing my palate with each puff.
Smoke time is 35 minutes.
The Black Label Trading Company Bishops Blend is so delicious it seems to smoke much too quickly.
BLTC struck gold with this blend. This is their quantum leap in blending.
But beware…do not smoke this stick too soon. None of that ROTT bullshit. Give the cigar the respect it deserves and let it rest a couple months…at the least.
There are still some online stores selling them. Use your search engine.
Holy crap. The expansion of the intensity of the flavor and character of the Bishops Blend is phenomenal. This blend is monumental. I don’t use that word often.
I find it amazing, that in this time of every new cigar seeing its price point at $15, a $9.50 cigar blows their shorts off.
Constantly listing flavors is a waste of time. When I said the Black Label Trading Company Bishops Blend is a sum of its parts, that phrase has become even more accurate at this juncture in the cigar experience.
Strength became medium/full several minutes ago.
Smoke time is 50 minutes.
The Black Label Trading Company Bishops Blend is tremendous, stupendous, prodigious, phenomenal, remarkable, and exceptional.
The first two sticks smoked didn’t taste remotely like this morning’s review cigar.
Construction has been without issues. The char line has behaved like a pro.
Strength surges to full body. No nicotine.
The Bishops Blend is a work of blending mastery.
Notice how I haven’t used the work “fuck” once?
I have one stick left. I shall mount it like a moose head to the wall of my cave. To keep it perfect, Lucite is in order.
I don’t have the vocabulary to remedy this all the adjectives needed to describe the Black Label Trading Company Bishops Blend.
This is shock and awe. And we don’t have to invade Iraq.
As the nub begins to lose itself into the ether of the atmosphere, I don’t want it to end. It remains smooth as Miguel’s tummy and Bryan’s tush.
Another month of humidor time might improve the blend even more. Though, I feel that at two months, I have gotten all the ingredients that the blender intended for me to experience.
I find it a shame that most of the great cigars have a short lifetime as they are produced in small batches.
I’m now scorching my thumb and forefinger that holds the cigar.
Brilliant blend. Kudos BLTC.
Final smoke time is one hour 10 minutes.
And now for something completely different:
I had to fuck that woman to keep my job.
Wham, bam, thank you ma’am. No. Not the sex. My initiation into the legendary Brit band Curved Air. Started in 1968 and still going strong some 20+ albums later.
The original band got together, once again, to make good on a record deal agreement and the path of least resistance was a Live Album.
They hadn’t played together in 2 years. And they had gone through 16 bassists…or something like that…one even disappeared through spontaneous combustion…there was no shortage of old bassists to choose from for the new European tour.
I was playing in CA violinist and leader Darryl Way’s band at the time when the decision was made to do a one off Curved Air tour of 8 weeks and record a live album.
Way told me at rehearsal, “Kohn. You will be the bass player.”
Simple as that. I hadn’t even met the original CA members yet and I had the gig.
I learned quickly just how famous they were in Europe. Big time. The band sold out all their concerts for that tour. Arenas and concert halls holding 20,000 or more CA fans.
Sonja was a recovering junkie. And it was put upon me, as the new guy, to watch over her on the tour. I had no idea what it meant at the time. I was just glad to be there. A month earlier, I had 5 Pounds Sterling left in my pocket and thought I’d be stranded in England with my girlfriend and her little girl.
We rehearsed for a week in Covent Garden and off we went. This was a group of highly trained classical musicians playing very complex progressive rock. I had to study my ass off for the concert set. We played the exact same songs in the same exact order for the entire tour. Luckily, I didn’t have to learn the entire CA catalog…in case some improvisation on the set list took place.
Management put me in the same hotel room with Sonja for the tour. I was bedazzled.
She was a pig.
In the original production of the musical “Hair” in London, Sonja had a big part. During the nude scene where actors came out holding a giant parachute over themselves, she would run around the inside and jerk on all the guys’ dicks to give them boners so they would look ridiculous when they discarded the parachute for the audience. Yeah.
In those days, Brits…or Europeans in general, didn’t bathe that often. I bathed every day and the band made fun of me. They literally did their bathing on Saturdays…once a week. You can only imagine the smell of the inside of the touring limo. Oy vey.
The first night in our hotel room, she jumped me. She was so skinny from being a junkie that her bones jabbed me everywhere.
My pubic bone became red as a beet as she sat on top of me and pounded away. I would limp for days until I told her to stop doing that.
It’s not that she didn’t bathe…she never cleaned herself between weekly showers. Her quedgie had a high level of stank with gnats flying around it.
Once, early on, I came close to sticking my face down there but the smell was so bad that I never got closer than a foot away before my face involuntarily repelled itself.
“What’s wrong, honey? Don’t Jews like eating pussy?”
Afraid to tell her the truth, I just nodded in agreement. Small price to pay for a part in the big show.
I said nothing worrying about my place in the band. If she started spreading bad shit about me I could be gone instantly. A stinky woman scorned.
So for two months, I had to mount that thing about 3-4 times per week. Only broken up by the BJ’s she gave the band while touring in the limo between gigs.
She actually performed that act very nicely. Very nicely.
We stayed in the best hotels. Until the road manager fucked up and stuck us in a bedsitter: No bathroom. Only a sink.
I yelled at her when she got up after sex and mounted the sink and peed into it. I leaped up and turned the spigot on so it at least went down the drain.
I screamed that I had to use that sink. (I refused and used one of the other rooms to clean up.) I never told anyone why.
Towards the end of the tour, she and Stewart Copeland…the drummer in the new Way band hooked up. Boyfriend and girlfriend. But she continued to fuck me. Neither cared. This was fucking weird.
They were married for a long time but she was his elder and as Stew got older, he grew tired of her. Plus she got very plus sized.
He was a star now because of his position in The Police and moved on. Turned out he was a real prick towards his two sons. Sonja had custody and every time Stew was scheduled to visit, he called at the last minute, to bail. This infuriated Sonja.
He also stiffed her a lot on child support.
I learned a few months ago from my contacts with management in London that one of the grown boys had a serious cancer. Sonja put CA back together a few years ago with only one original member of the band. (Remember Steppenwolf? Same thing).
The only time that band had any spunk was when I was playing bass or Tony Reeves played bass in the band…and the band has been around since 1968!
So while they are all over YouTube with the new CA playing live, the band sucks. Everyone is a side man and there have been countless changes to the members of the band. And Sonja just keeps on getting bigger. Francis Monkman (Original keys player) told me they called her Mama Cass.
I had to fuck that woman to keep my job.
Two years later, she was the first one to tell me I was fired from the band…on the phone.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS