Black Label Trading Company Morphine 2020 | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés & Ecuadorian Maduro
  • Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
  • Filler: NIcaraguan
  • Size: 5.5 x 48 Corona Gorda
  • Strength: Medium
  • Price: $10.50 (I paid $9.45 per stick in a fiver)

I’ve had these cigars, naked of course, for 2-1/2 months prior to review.

BACKGROUND:

Press Release:

“December 9, 2020 — Black Label Trading Company is pleased to announce its Seventh annual release of MORPHINE: Hand crafted in Esteli, Nicaragua at BLTC’s own factory, Fabrica Oveja Negra.

“This is our seventh vintage of MORPHINE so we wanted to change things up a bit to celebrate. I designed new artwork and each of the three vitolas is wrapped in two wrappers, Ecuador Maduro and Mexican San Andrés. The 2020 vintage is rich and earthy with bold spice on the retro. The key flavors are raisin, black cherry and a big blast of anise on the finish. The dual wrappers work together to make this vintage very unique and one of the best so far,” said James Brown, creator of BLTC and partner at Fabrica Oveja Negra.”

SIZES AND PRICING:

Corona Gorda 5.5 x 48 $10.50

Lancero 7.25 x 42 $11.00

Short Robusto 4.5 x 50 $10.50

APPEARANCE:

A pretty stick. Feels good in the hand. Just dense enough to be solid but a nice bit of resistance when I squeeze. The San Andrés part of the barber pole wrapper is toothy, shiny like the bottom of a 20-year-old oil barrel, and the darkness wades into the act of hiding the few veins visible. Seams are crisp and sharp. The triple cap is expertly applied with a cute pigtail atop the cigar.

SMELL THE GLOVE:

This is a potent mother…big ass notes of gorgeous floral, rich dark chocolate, malt, creaminess, espresso, cedar, barnyard, black pepper, cinnamon, butterscotch, nutty, some sweet berries, and baking spices. That was impressive.

The cold draw presents flavors of black pepper, malt, baking cocoa, espresso, some creaminess, cedar, earth, wind, and leather.

FIRST THIRD:

I knew it. I could tell by the feel of the cigar. The draw has the perfect resistance I treasure so I put my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool away.

Without lighting this cigar, the flavors attack like Rodan.

And we have liftoff. Immediately, a touch of complexity waxes my lips. Black pepper is strong. It’s followed by a bit of creaminess, espresso, nuts, and chocolate. So far, it tastes like a Nic puro…but it is very early in the vivisection.

I smoked 3 sticks prior to this review. And the cigar is reminding me at this very moment that it had burn issues. Nicht gut. Nicht schiessen.

A tiny amount of mustiness appears to put a damper on things. The spiciness is starting to calm down. Sehr gut. Gehen wir zu bibliothek?

The complexity is wasting time. It should have kicked in. I’m down an inch and the forward momentum is going backwards.

Flavors are no longer vibrant…and move to the background. Uh-oh.

Strength is medium.

It is also burning quicker than I like. After only 10 minutes, I’m only half an inch away from the start of the second third.

I was truly looking forward to this blend blowing me away. But there is a very linear quality to the character. Complexity is not improving. Transitions are minimal. The finish is just black pepper. Nearly 3 moths of naked humi time should have been more than enough time for this cigar to strut its stuff. It is beginning to dawn on me why I couldn’t find any written reviews of this blend.

I did find one online store that carries them…Smoking Pipes.

Flavors dissipate to the mediocre level. Could it be this cigar needs 9 months of humidor time? Still, at this period, I should be getting a whopping version of the blender’s intent. BLTC is capable of making some great blends but also capable of putting out just so-so stuff.

At least the burn issues seem to have gone away.

The cigar is a dud. I have two thirds to go but a great blend makes your head explode in the first 5 minutes. My head is intact.

I don’t get it. Interesting leaf stats. A sensible amount of humidor rest. And now I’m smoking a cigar that is basically without the vital narrative that allows me to praise it.

SECOND THIRD:

Took only 15 minutes to smoke the first third.

The cigar becomes bitter. Oh crap.

My first sip of water and…nothing. Double crap.

This review is not going to end well. It won’t improve unless a baby Jesus miracle occurs. While it is a limited edition, there are still enough cigars to make it worth a review. And I’m it. I need to learn to read tea leaves.

So, now I’m killing time. How do I serve and protect while I choke down a flavorless cigar?

I hate writing a review like this…sucks the funny right out of me. I could go on a tirade about clubbing seals or how to barbecue afterbirth…but this cigar caught me by surprise.

The bitterness never goes away. It goes up and down like a roller coaster but never disappears. WTF?

I got my 2nd vaccine 5 days ago. Any of you that got the second one have strange side effects? I was sick for the 24 hours afterwards but then fine. Then, two days later, I got sick again for half a day. Then yesterday, the same thing. I’m good today. Just try and find something about this online and you will be disappointed. Everyone is guessing and I really feel like a guinea pig at this time. But at Charlotte’s and my age, we had no choice. Had to get it. I figured what’s the worst that can happen…we die young?

Approaching the halfway point, the cigar tries to kick the bitterness to the curb; allowing some flavors to reappear. Not exactly a glowing critique.

The spiciness is too much. What the bitterness doesn’t destroy, the nuclear black pepper does.

Naturally, the burn slows way the fuck down; causing my worst nightmare to occur…the cigar will take a while to vaporize…along with my good intentions.

I could have chosen to ditch the review. But that’s not me. I’ve lost the brotherly love from many manufacturers over a bad review. But then I’m not the one selling anything. I just report the facts, ma’am.

Since AJ Fernandez isn’t busy, James Brown ought to get him to blend a cigar for him…everyone else does. In an alternate reality, I’m imagining that AJ blended this cigar and its wonderful. Then I wake up and I’m still an old man.

The bitterness dissipates. I am whispering this to my laptop, so I don’t jinx it. I really want this cigar to do something. I’ll take the second half doing well; just to make the time I spend doing this more pleasing.

But nothing about this cigar is pleasing.

I’ve written 16 BLTC reviews…going back to 2014. Most were very good but there were some stinkers in there as well.

Flavors crawl from the primordial ooze: Creaminess, 16 tons of black pepper, espresso, cedar, malt, and licorice root. Not a note of sweetness is on the menu. It is all savory; and hence, off balance. Complexity is nil. No transitions. The finish is annoying. No subtleties or nuances. Straight ahead with the rest of the lemmings towards the cliff.

LAST THIRD:

I have cotton mouth. A sip of water. Not a single flavor is exposed.

I’m sure BLTC really put their hearts and soul into this blend…so, what happened? It’s been a couple weeks since my last try and the cigar makes no headway. I’m not a pro so how come the Black Label folks didn’t realize that this cigar ain’t so hot?

Were they back into a corner and said fuck it? Release it anyway. We will count on those with barely any palate to buy them. But even if you can’t pick out individual flavors, you know the difference between a great cigar and something found in the litter box. I’d love to hear from anyone that snagged some and had a totally different experience.

There is slight improvement but it’s a weak stick. It bites the bodine. It chomps the choda.

After the early burn issues, the cigar has performed beautifully due to good construction. It forgot to grab the flavor profile’s hand and drag it to the finish line.

Strength is medium/full. And now the perfect coda, nicotine shows itself.

Damn. A touch of complexity pops up. Not a redemption, but at least it’s something.

I’m not going to waste a good rock story after the review for this cigar. Sorry my dears.

It seems like the blend is struggling to break free of its constraints but is lost in a confusing maze.

I’m going to let Sammy the cat give me a BJ. I’m hoping it might make me generous and provide a better final rating of this cigar.

The last third is just slightly better than the rest of the cigar but this is not saying much.

Bonnie Raitt is playing on Pandora. Man, I had a real crush on her back in the day. Great writer, singer, and performer.

Bitterness returns and makes any character the cigar possesses vanish.

Wow. This blend is stuck in stasis. Maybe if someone can sneak a box into the cryogenic chamber that houses Walt Disney’s head, the cigar might improve when scientists discover what kind of forest animal they can use to place his head on.

I’m done.

Let me know if you had a good or bad experience with this cigar.

RATING: 75



Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

6 replies

  1. When these were first released I scrambled to get them as I didn’t want to miss out. So of course when they arrived i just could not resist and tried them right away. Well. super yummy good sweet, yummy, strong. In short everything I like in a cigar. Not very complex but exactly what I like, so that’s OK. Liked these so much I ordered a second box ( very unusual for me). Anyway… to the point here, when I got the second box I immediately tried a few, still yummy good. So, I controlled myself as much as possible and tried to reduce the rate at which I was burning these (I’m famous for burning up cigars while they’re too young and then kicking myself in the ass when they get great 6-8 month’s down the line) . After a while I noticed that these guy’s had gotten “dumb”. Like really dumb, so dumb… (Insert favorite dumb joke here) . I got my first ones on Dec 21, and the next ones on Jan 29. That kinda jibes with your 2 1/2 months, so I can only hope that there is light at the end of this tunnel and wait patiently.

    • I have only reviewed one other in the line: Viaje Pepper Series Carolina Reaper. It was almost 3 years ago and I loved it.
      I gave it a 97.
      I smoked most of the fiver I got early because I have no patience either.
      And I didn’t get any yumminess from any of them.
      Here is the underlying dilemma…the cigars were released in early December. Any Casdagli I’ve reviewed had 2-1/2-4 months of humi time on them and they blew my merkin off.
      This PHAT blend should have sparked something in my palate. A sign, a light in the sky, a Jewish laser beam.
      So why am I the only reviewer to write about the cigar. These other guys reviewed some of the other years’ blends. Why not this one? Especially since they ignored it en masse.
      That was the sign I should have taken heed to…but nooo.
      Good luck with yours.

  2. This latest review has sparked a question that I am compelled to propose to you Katman….is it possible that there are certain blends, certain cigars that can deliver a fundamentally pleasing smoking experience when young but with age they transform into something different, perhaps even getting worse with age? Clearly most cigars benefit from humidor time but are there any cigars you really enjoyed right off the truck but when revisiting the same cigar with months or even years of age it became worse or even bad?

  3. Have you found anything different with your palate- and not just with tasting a cigar but tasting food or drink – after getting your vax shot?

    • Hi Red,
      I had minor flu symptoms for a day afterwards. I did not smoke a cigar during that long 24 hours.
      But no smell or taste issues.
      I hope that passed quickly for you.
      If not, take two blotter acid squares and call me in the morning.
      Phil

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