Wrapper: Connecticut Shade
Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo
Filler: Nicaraguan (Jalapa)
Size: 6 x 46 Box Pressed
Today we take a look at the Black Star Line Cigars War Witch.
I found this cigar at Cigar Federation and it piqued my interest. I knew nothing about them. Just a leap of faith. I’ve smoked one stick prior to this review. This blend was released only 3 months ago.
From the Black Star Line web site:
“Adetola “Aric” Wimberly-Bey a Chicago Firefighter by trade started the idea of having a cigar company in the garage of his house. His love and knowledge of the leaf encouraged him to fulfill his dreams. With the help of his childhood friend Derrick Bell this was possible. Derrick and Aric went to numerous cigar events to network with owners and meet people. Jonathan Drew of Drew Estates took a liking to Derrick and Aric and decided to advise them on how to get into the cigar industry and ideas of who would do a blend for them. This led Derrick and Aric to Sandy Cobas of El Titan De Bronze. It literally took Derrick and Aric a year of cold calling the secretary at El Titan and sending flowers to Sandy to get her attention. Once Sandy finally spoke with Derrick and Aric she welcomed them with open arms to the El Titan De Bronze family.”
“A Nicaraguan puro hand rolled in Nicaragua at the Aganorsa Leaf factory. The is a 6 x 46 box-pressed corona. The most prevalent tasting notes include citrus, cedar, coffee and a nuttiness with a spicy white pepper on the retrohale.”
This is a nice-looking stick. Some seams are visible but tight. Some veinage but nothing distracting. A nice oily wrapper that is smooth as glass. The cigar feels good in the hand. It has some heft to it. Feels perfectly constructed with no hard or soft spots. And finished with a nicely applied triple cap. I did remove the band from the first cigar I smoked because there is a lot of info on the band and impossible to see all of it as it rests on the cigar.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Floral and caramel hit my schnoz first. Then followed by white pepper, milk chocolate, malt, cedar, a touch of barnyard, creaminess, baking spices, lemon zest, and a hint of café au lait.
The cold draw presents flavors of milk chocolate, extreme creaminess, white pepper, citrus, caramel, malt, barnyard, and melon.
The draw is exactly how I like it…just the right touch of resistance. I put my trusty PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool away.
I love the size…just a scoche bigger than a Corona Gorda.
The War Witch gets down to business immediately. A blast of creaminess, white pepper, citrus, chocolate, malt, and cedar on the first two puffs.
And then it delves deeper…white pepper turns to black pepper, BBQ dry rub…cumin, chili, cardamom, and cinnamon.
Strength races quickly to hit a high-end medium+.
Vanilla toffee grabs hold giving the lemon zest an unusual but appealing flavor.
There is one thing I dislike about reviewing a cigar with a Connie wrapper…it is virtually impossible to conceal my slobber on the cap. My apologies.
Complexity builds. Transitions start off slowly. The finish is creamy and buttery.
Construction is excellent. The char line is on point…something unusual for me with box presses…I am cursed with almost every cigar with corners and its burn. I’ve reviewed some good box pressed cigars as of late and they too were rolled by experts…and no issues evolved. So, I’m beginning to think it isn’t me.
The citrus, with the creamy regimen, becomes a lemon meringue pie.
There is a delicate savory component…more earthy than anything else…I can taste a steak-like Portabella mushroom along with a charred meat element.
Strength started out strong, but it has now mellowed into a medium flow. But this is a deception. The one I smoked last night kicked my arse. So, I know what’s coming.
The lemony cream is dad gum delicious. The spiciness is not overpowering and adds an agreeable punch.
This is a nice change from the never-ending blends of Nic puros that start to taste like one another. The Connecticut Shade takes this blend out of the ordinary and shines a spotlight on the contrasting flavors.
Aganorsa and cream. A cigar bar should adopt this name for a cocktail. And then, of course, I think of The Dude. The Duderino.
Dry boxing is the key. This baby got a couple days of lying naked outside my humidor. The one I smoked last night did not. This one is mellower, and the delicate nature of the balance is more prevalent.
This cigar is relaxing and forces deep contemplation. Unfortunately, I am bereft of any sort of introspection; so, I’m just spit ballin’ here.
A nice slow smoke due to the proper filling of this tobacco sausage.
I am struggling to compare this to any other blend; but I am brain locked. The War Witch has its own identity. Very nice.
Look at that crisp burn line…this is well assembled cigar.
My first sip of water…flavors go bananas. In fact, there is a hint of banana that also pairs well with the delicious creaminess.
The current market is just flooded with boutique brands now. When I started reviewing 10 years ago, the closets were pretty much bare. Now, you can’t swing a bat without hitting a new boutique blend. The choices can make you nuts. And so do the prices.
The price point on the War Witch, at $12, resides in the acceptable and agreed upon denominator of new boutique blends. Plus, this is a new, but small company. So, a $12 price point is understandable…but only when the end product delivers on the goods.
Black Star Line has a couple other blends: El Milagro Nicaraguan Sun Grown and El Milagro Mexican San Andres…both in a 6 x 54 size at $14 each. They also produce 3 infused blends: Bourbon, Coffee, and Rum in Robusto size…at the $10 price point.
A black cherry component makes its debut. A pleasant savory v. sweet balance.
Strength hits medium/full on its way to a higher plane.
The finish is all over the place. I find myself smacking my lips like a dog finishing up a big juicy bone. The complexity is moving towards a meticulous place in the universe. The cigar grows and teases with each puff.
This is one of the more unique cigar experiences I’ve encountered. I get the depth of the Nic leaves but also get a light and airy intimacy.
The cigar takes its time. No rush. It will be at least a 90-minute trip.
Cream, milk chocolate, coconut, banana, meaty, cherries, lemon meringue, malt, vanilla, black turns to white pepper again, earthy mushroom, cedar, and BBQ spices.
This is a very delicate blend. No flavor overpowers the others. A beautiful balance.
And we are now at full tilt. I can still see but the last third will probably make me myopic.
I don’t mind spending this kind of dough on a really good blend. If you get what you pay for, then everyone wins.
I am in a state of total repose. Just letting the War Witch wash over me while I listen to the blues. Clapton’s live version of “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” is playing. If I get any more relaxed, I’d be unconscious. For such a potent strength cigar blend, this is highly unusual. Charlotte uses the term ‘highly unusual’ when describing me to friends. And I don’t believe she is referring to my breaking out into mimicking the voices of all the Looney Tune characters in totally inappropriate settings. I’m seriously good at Foghorn Leghorn.
I love the War Witch. Is it unrequited love…or a crush? I need 7-8 more sticks to decide.
Now I really want to try the other Black Star Line blends.
Albert King and SRV are now going at it and I start bopping. Perfect.
I’m still waiting on a luthier to open its doors so I can get my fretless Fender Jazz set up correctly. Making me nuts, my dears.
Super complex and rising. Transitions whip by like the first time I had sex. The finish is getting better all the time.
The creamy lemonesque element is dazzling. It is the showstopper in this blend.
Know how some cigars can dry the hell out of your mouth? Not this baby. I only take sips of water to taste the flavor fireworks.
At the halfway point, I’m 50 minutes in. Keep on chooglin’.
I decide to just let go and finish the second third without talking. See you in the last third.
I am very impressed with the construction of this cigar. Not a single touch up is required. Bliss.
I’m adamant that Black Star Line is a real up and comer in the boutique world.
The power of the cigar is unrelenting; yet totally controlled. This is rare. Normally, once you hit full tilt, you find yourself at the mercy of the blend.
This is more fun than my first Playboy magazine.
Speaking of which, back in 1972, I played in a band that somehow got this gorgeous blonde to be our lead singer. It was impossible to concentrate during rehearsals. She left us as all gorgeous blondes do…next thing I know, I’m in England and the guitarist tells me to buy the new Playboy. She is the cover girl and centerfold. She became The Eagles’ Glen Frey’s girlfriend.
The War Witch is also a gorgeous blonde. But I don’t have to cover my below the belt area with my bass.
You should visit the Black Star Line web site.
For you newbies and those afraid of strong cigars, this is a great blend to trifle with. You won’t need a defibrillator. Due to the tranquilizing effect of the cigar, your sensibilities will never experience recoil. Totally enjoyable. I’m ruined for the day.
Its complex nature is through the roof.
Flavors rotate like a motorized dreidel. One moment is lemon meringue, the next is café au lait, after that…a slurry of all aforementioned elements zoom past like a parade in downtown Havana. The cigar has very Cubanesque qualities.
I’ve hit the 2-hour mark.
You gotta try this cigar.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS