Partagas Black Label

Partagas Black labelThe Partagas Black Label is an excellent example of the quality and flavor that Partagas Cigars produces. Being a brand that has been around for over 150 years means most people know a little something about them but just to be safe here’s a quick history lesson. Originally founded in 1845 by Don Jaime Partagas and then owned by Ramon Cifuentes SR in 1900 followed by his son in 1940. In 1959 during Fidels takeover of Cuba (which included the Partagas factory) Cifuentes JR had to flee and start for all over again to create the brand to what it once was. When he retired in 1994 his long time friend Benji Menendez took over as master blender is still is to this day.

The Black Label looks very dark and has plenty of oily sheen to it. There is some veining but not so much as to make it unappealing. The seams are tight and it is dense and firm to the touch with little give. The smell is very floral and sweet with notes of coffee from the foot. The cold draw is easy and gives flavors of licorice and caramel.

The first half meets you with bold flavor of spices and meat. (Trust me this cigar is akin to eating.) The burn stays even and the smoke production is more than plentiful and has a nice medium weight mouth feel.

Second half – Each draw starts creamy and rich and ends with a full black pepper and chocolate. The burn did have to be touched up but I will blame this on user error as I am sitting outside and there is a fan blowing which is contributing to the uneven burn. Still plenty of smoke.

Partagas spent 10 years perfecting the unique wrapper and the La Vega Especial binder for the Partagas Black Label cigar. It was definitely worth the effort because this has resulted in a fantastic cigar. Full in flavor and a good deal of strength this cigar is perfect for the morning to get you going or nighttime with a nice bourbon. Reasonably priced these are the kind of cigars you’ll want to always have in your humidor.

Wrapper: Connecticut Medio Tiempo
Binder: La Vega Especial from the Dominican Republic
Filler: Nicaraguan Lgero and Piloto Cubano Ligero
Price: $8.50 – $9.50 a stick.
Website: Partagas.com
Rating: 4.7 out of 5 pints

 

Blind Mans Bluff From Caldwell

Blind Mans Bluff Caldwell CigarsBlind Mans Bluff from Caldwell Cigars is one of those cigars that I see from time to time when I’m in my local B&M but have never picked up. Since I am trying to explore things outside of my normal go to cigars I thought it would was a good time to try it. Originally released at the 2015 IPCPR trade convention and unlike the rest of Caldwell’s cigars, they are fabricated at Agroindustrias Laepe S.A. in Danli, Honduras, which is also the same factory that rolls all of Camacho cigars.

The cigar is milk chocolate in color, has some thin veining and has more of a powdery finish as opposed to appearing oily. Construction wise the seams are nice and tight and it feels dense but a touch lumpy near the band. It gives the smells of dried fruit, cedar and hay. These are all noticed from the foot but the sweet dried fruit smell is more prevalent. The cold draw has flavors of spice cinnamon and hay, the draw was easy but not loose.

The first half has the flavors os black pepper and wood with a bitter sweet finish. It burns sharp and produces plenty of smoke that has a light weight mouth feel. The ash does drop off about every 1/4 inch so you’ll want to keep up with it to prevent getting a lap full. A small concern and nothing that detracts from the cigar.

Coming to the second half it turns dark chocolate in flavor with nuttiness and earth. For a moment there was is a sweet and spicy cinnamon finish that quickly changes to a long pepper finish. These are the flavors for the rest of the cigar. The burn remains even and the smoke continues to billow and fill the room.

To me this cigar is full in flavor and medium in strength. It would pair well with just about anything you choose to drink and a great cigar to unwind with at the end of the day or with a group of friends. With a rich flavor profile it would be easily appreciated by either a novice or experienced smoker. After smoking this the Blind Mans Bluff I wish I had looked into the Caldwell line earlier and if you haven’t tried it yet once do, you’ll feel the same way.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Honduran Criollo
Filler: San Vincente, Honduran Criollo Ligero
Price: $7.50 – $9.50 a stick.
Rating: 4.6 out of 5 pints

 

Estate Selección Vintage (ESV) Sun Grown from Perdomo

Perdomo ESV Sun GrownThe Perdomo ESV caught my eye the other day at the shop and it occurred to me that I haven’t really smoked anything from them in a while. Nothing against the brand and, I have a drawer full of them in one of my humidors, I just don’t think to go tho them. But I digress. The Perdomo ESV is emblazoned with an ornate large double band which is what drew me to it. After looking at them for a bit I picked up a few of both the sun grown and the maduro (future article coming on that one soon) and skipped the Connecticut as I don’t generally go for those.

The wrapper is the color of milk chocolate with a subtle hint of red with a slight oil sheen to it. There is little veining and the seams are well hidden and tight. The body feels full but unlike most box pressed cigars it doesn’t have that pillowy feel to it and instead feels dense. While I stay away from describing bands since you can see what they  look like in the photo in this case it is worth noting. It has been my experience that most cigars with a large ornate band tend to be made of heavy material and become difficult to remove without damaging the body of the cigar however, this is not the case with he Perdomo ESV. The band is made from a lightweight material that comes off easily leaving no damage when you’re ready to remove it.

From the body there is the smell of cocoa and barnyard, from the foot I pick up notes of dried fruit. From the cold draw I notice spices, cedar and a slight sugary flavor. There is lite resistance but it is not loose.

In the first half it has the flavor of spice, hay, some sweetness and oak that all combine well. The burn is fairly even and it produces plenty of light weighted smoke with a great aroma. The ash is tight and holds easily for nearly an inch before I break it free.

During the second half the flavor picks up with the spice becoming greater and the addition of a nutty flavor with salt but there is still a fair amount of sweetness to it. Reaching the very end Earth and nutty flavor are the most prominent with a black pepper finish. The burn stays even for the duration and there is plenty of smoke production.

Perdomo describes their cigar this way “PERDOMO Estate Selección Vintage Limited Edition Box-Pressed is hand-crafted using the top five percent of the Perdomo family’s estate grown tobaccos from the prestigious Finca Natalie Farm in Estelí, Nicaragua. The PERDOMO ESV Limited Edition Box-Pressed is an elegant smoking experience with rich aromas and bold, complex flavors. cigar, easy draw makes it easy to smoke.”  I found this to be a fairly Mello smoke and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you see them at your B&M these are worth picking up a few. once you Strat smoking it you will ned up nubbing it, not because it’s a $12 stick but because it’s that good. Looking forward to trying the maduro.

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown
Binder: Cuban Seed Nicaraguan
Filler: Cuban Seed Nicaraguan
Price: Around $12.00 – $12.50 a stick.
Rating: 4.6 out of 5 pints