Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Maduro
Size: 5.5 x 42
Today we take a look at the Black Label Trading Company Morphine 2018.
Thanks to my buddy Charles Lim for thinking of me.
SIZES AND PRICING:
Corona: 5.5 x 42 $10.50
Lancero: 7.25 x 42 $11.00
Short Robusto: 4.5 x 50 $10.50
This is cigar has a dark and foreboding 10-40 oily color that erases evidence of seams and veins. The entire cigar is toothy like a fine grit sandpaper. The cap trifecta is expertly applied with a cow’s udder sized pig tail atop it.
The cigar is hard as a rock with what appears to be a serious block near the foot instead of the usual location of underneath the cigar band.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Glorious and copious amounts of floral permeate the room. A lovely sweet milk chocolate combined with malt, molasses, light mint, cinnamon graham crackers, black pepper, vanilla creaminess, barnyard, cedar, and cherries attack my schnoz like a ferret in heat.
There is absolutely no draw available due to the plugs. Nada. Nothing. Thank goodness for my PerfecDraw cigar poker tool.
BTW- PerfecDraw won first place of the Best Cigar Accessory from “Cigar Journal” (The most respected cigar magazine in Europe) in Germany on Sept. 21. Dr. Rod sent me photos of him rubbing shoulders with giants of the cigar industry. He is currently in OMG mode and making deals across the world like a mad man so he can eventually buy out Tesla.
I ream the crap out of the cigar starting at the cap. There is a huge plug behind the cigar band. And after clearing it, I ream from the foot upwards to snag the plug at the working end of the stick. We are good to go.
Smoke pours from the foot at a voluminous rate. Notes of chocolate mint, malt, molasses, black pepper, a rich complexity that starts early, caramel, espresso, graham cracker, cedar, and various small influences not ready for prime time before they expose their true intent.
Strength is an immediate medium/full. Uh oh.
The blend is nicely balanced with nothing off kilter. To be honest, this blend is not totally unfamiliar as a lot of manufacturers are using this recipe for a lot of cigars on the market at the moment. Still, even if I’ve been here before, BLTC has done an excellent job at bringing these ingredients to full fruition as a bona fide palate pleaser.
I’ve had this cigar at least a couple of months. I smoked the first one I had a couple weeks in and I totally wasted a good cigar. A couple months of naked humidor time is the minimum.
The char line is behaving beautifully. As the plug situation was resolved quickly and easily, I won’t be docking the rating. Plus, the first stick I smoked did not have any issue. It’s always the one I choose to review that is out of norm. Go figure.
The stick is packed solid so even though this is what I’d call a Corona Gorda rather than a straight Corona, it smokes slow and deliberate spreading joy and peas to the world. Carrots too if you must.
The Black Label Trading Company Morphine 2018 is rich and decadent. Sweet spots appear with each puff. Flavor transitions move faster than a cop watching a Dunkin’ Doughnuts shop burn down.
Flavors are perfect in their approach showing that even using similar leaves as a lot of other blends on the market, it was well thought out and perfectly executed.
This is a great cigar and worth every dime of its price point.
The band Cream is on and I’m listening to “Born Under a Bad Sign.” Funny because my rock n roll anecdote ties into this.
The creaminess is like being hit in the puss with a vanilla cream pie.
Strength is an easy going medium/full that is a real pleasure without being ball peen hammered in the head with nicotine.
The flavor profile continues its exploration of the senses and palate. An injection of lemon custard enters from stage left. The chocolate minty-ness is a perfect accompaniment. There is a sweet praline quality as it shifts from straight molasses to something a little more complex and identifiable. Green tea shows itself giving the blend a kick in the arse.
The spiciness is spot on. Not too much black pepper but retaining the pizazz and kick I expect from this particular blend of leaves.
This is a stick I could smoke all day. BLTC is one of those manufacturers that takes their inventiveness very seriously. They keep cranking out one magnificent cigar after another. And the people behind the mischief are all very nice and engaging people. Rare these days. And oh yes…it’s not another in a long line of cigar blends not from AJ Fernandez. What’s next? Quorum by AJ? Gurkha by AJ? Villiger by AJ?
It takes 35 minutes to get to the halfway point. All this time being put to good use by elevating my morning cigar experience to happy dance time.
This is one of those rare cigars that is on a preordained upward trajectory of sophistication from the moment it is lit right through all the different stages of downsizing.
I rarely use this term but the cigar is truly earthy with a Haitian boatload of complimentary flavors. The complexity makes my heart flutter. I think it’s my heart.
The finish. Outstanding. One of the chewiest cigars I’ve smoked.
Is it any wonder why the Corona Gorda size is so popular? For me, small is good. My wife may differ in this opinion. Still, the concentration of complex balance is really shown off in a small cigar.
Strength hits full tilt. Based on the hair on my palms and my vision narrowing, nicotine has arrived.
Yesterday, I smoked one of the new Cornelius & Anthony blends and it was so strong that I couldn’t finish it. I found myself in a state of delirium that caused my brain to shut down and my natural openings to clench shut.
Whereas this blend makes a nice organic trek from easy going to being gored in the ass by an angry bull with aplomb, it doesn’t rule out that newbies will enjoy the blend.
Last go around with flavors: Chocolate, creaminess, malt, lemon custard, graham cracker, black pepper, cedar, mint, green tea, espresso, pralines, vanilla, and cherries.
I have zero criticisms for the Black Label Trading Company Morphine 2018.
Peter Gabriel is playing which reminds me of a story. Gabriel hired my old buddy Stewart Copeland to play drums on the track. When they were mixing the song, Gabriel eliminated everything but Copeland’s snare drum. I’m sure that pissed off Stewart.
OK. This was more fun than avoiding a colonoscopy. Get some.
And now for something completely different:
Curved Air was recording at Island Studios in London…it was smack dab in the middle of the Jamaican district. This was my second album with the band.
Food was great there. I showed up at the studio even when I wasn’t needed to get free food.
It was nice being a rock god because you could tell the production assistants what to do; like “Go get me some food. Get the money from our tour manager.” Or…” Someone needs to wipe my ass but use American toilet paper. Not English toilet paper more akin to wax paper.”
The building accommodated two separate studios. We were in Studio A and the Baker-Gurvitz Army was in Studio B. For you old timers, remember Ginger Baker? The drummer in Cream? This was a follow up band with two brothers from NYC.
I had to baby sit my girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter, Jenny, while she worked. I had basically finished my chores of laying down the bass tracks.
Back then, we laid down the rhythm section first and then layered the rest of the instruments. I think Curved Air would have been better suited to play live in the studio to give the music some authenticity…instead of its canned over produced progressive sound. Zero spontaneity.
Hanging out in the booth during the rest of recording and mixing was a blast and I certainly didn’t have anything better to do. I was a star inside that building and got treated as such.
The studio had a nice lounge. And a couple of pin ball machines.
I was sitting on the lounge couch, eating my lunch, when the “Army” came out for a break. Ginger walks over to one of the pin ball machines and drops some coins in. He plays for a few minutes when little Jennifer slowly walks over and stands next to him, looking up at Ginger.
Ginger stops playing and grabs a milk crate and tilts it on one end. He motions Jennifer to stand on it. Now she’s at the perfect height to observe and even play as Ginger teaches her.
Ginger never says a word, even when a direct statement is pointed his way. He is completely focused on the game. Jennifer is making little screeches of joy as she gets the hang of it. Ginger is shaking the machine to make the ball do what he wants it to do. Jennifer imitates his motions. Remember, she is 3.
They do this for an hour. The band’s manager has been telling Ginger that they need to get back into the studio. Ginger ignores him for a while, but finally relents. He asks Jennifer her name and she hugs him. His eyes widen and it was the only time in a month of recording that I saw him smile.
As the days and weeks passed in the studio, Ginger’s time at the pin ball machine got longer and longer. I was happy because little Jenny was happy.
Every night, she would chatter incessantly to her mother about her new friend, Ginger. This astounded her mother and she took me aside early and asked if I was always in their company? I nodded yes. There wasn’t a weird bone in Ginger’s drug addled body when it came to Jennifer. He was a Papa Bear.
During this time, the band’s manager pleaded with me to leave Jennifer at home. This was costing them a fortune. He even brought in the band’s wives to volunteer to baby sit her. Jennifer didn’t want them. She wanted Ginger. So, I refused. I told them that I didn’t know them and I wasn’t leaving her in their care.
So, their manager got a hold of our manager, Miles Copeland, and pleaded with him to do something. He just shrugged it off and told the guy to control his talent. Not his problem.
At the end of a month, we were done in the studio. Ginger still had another month booked. It was a very tender moment when the two said good bye. Jennifer cried and hugged and hugged Ginger. She wouldn’t let go when I tried to take her away. Ginger looked at me and I could actually see tears welling. The man still had never said a word to me.
Jennifer asked every day if we were going back. She cried every time I told her no. I was heartbroken for her. She had found an adult in her life beside her mother and I that she bonded with. And remember, we wrenched her away from all of her grandparents and uncles and aunts and cousins when we took her to Europe. So, this was the first genuine “love affair” she had. And she felt safe with Ginger. And with his reputation, that was rare.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS