|Black Label Trading Company Last Rites|
The Black Label Trading Company Last Rites is one of several cigars made by boutique cigar maker Black Label Trading Company. The company was founded by James Brown who has built his company around a model of small batch cigar production. The company was launched back in 2013 – and ambitiously launched six blends, and now has a seventh blend called Morphine in the works. Last Rites is one of two maduro blends the company has launched (the other being the Black Label Trading Company Redemption). Recently, I have had an opportunity to smoke the Last Rites. Overall I found this to be an excellent maduro overall – and one that many boutique cigar enthusiasts should take a look at.
The company does an excellent job at articulating its philosophy on their web site:
“Our philosophy is Less is More; Small is Big; Small is Elite; and finally, Fine Tobacco making is Fine Art. Much like when we experience fine art, the Black Label Experience involves slowing down, taking in, being in the moment and letting expectation be replaced by surprise, and ultimately, total satisfaction.”
Without further ado, let’s break down the Black Label Trading Company Last Rites and see what this cigar brings to the table:
The Last Rites is a three country multi-national blend. This differs from the Redemption which is a Nicaraguan puro.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Maduro
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan
The Last Rites is available in both rounded and box press sizes. The cigars are sold in 20 count boxes. At total of 500 boxes are produced annually.
Robusto: 5 x 54
Robusto Box Press: 5 x 54
Gran Toro: 6 x 60
Gran Toro Box Press: 6 x 60
For this cigar experience, I smoked the Last Rites Robusto Box Press. The Last Rites is a classic maduro. It has a rich chocolate colored wrapper with a moderate amount of oil on it. There are a few visible veins, but the wrapper’s dark color and oily complexion do a nice job at hiding the wrapper seams. I found this cigar to be a firm box-press.
There are two bands on the Last Rites. The primary band has a black background with white font. At the center of the band is a white skull with a white crown over it. Above the crown is a gothic style “B” and below the skull is a gothic style “L”. To the left is the text “TRADING” and to the right is the text “COMPANY”. On the lower left of the band is the text “Hand Made” in cursive font. On the lower right is the text “Est 2013” in cursive font. On the far right (toward the back of the band) is a cross. There are a variety of white adornments on the band as well.
The secondary band also has a black background with white font. The text “Last Rites” is in a classic cursive font. There are white pinstripes going across the top and bottom.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the Black Label Trading Company Last Rites, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap. I then moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw also had a very classic maduro profile as it delivered notes of mocha, earth, and a slight spice. Overall I considered the pre-light draw to the Last Rites to be excellent. At this point, I removed the footer band, lit up the Last Rites and awaited what the overall smoking experience would have in store.
The start to the Last Rites provided a nice mix of dark chocolate and black pepper. The dark chocolate notes provided a nice, but not overwhelming sweetness. The pepper was also very prominent on the retro-hale right out of the gate – and remained that way throughout the smoking experience. The pepper settled down on the pallet early and moved to the background. I detected some leather and earth notes that joined the dark chocolate notes in the forefront.
In the second third, the earth notes took center stage as a primary flavor. The dark chocolate notes receded slightly and became more of a complementary note. Meanwhile, as the cigar moved through the second third, the pepper notes that were in the background slowly moved back toward the forefront.
In the last third, the earth notes remained in the forefront and were now joined by the black pepper notes. The chocolate notes remained in the background. This is the way the Last Rites remained until the end. The Last Rites was flavorful right until the end. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The burn to the Last Rites was a low maintenance on in terms of the cigar burning straight. The Last Rites required little in the way of touch-ups. There was a slight jaggedness on the burn line early on, but overall the burn line never got off kilt. The resulting ash was tight with a salt and pepper color. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of Black Label Trading Company Last Rites|
The draw of the Last Rites had a touch of resistance – which is something I like on a draw. This was a very enjoyable to puff on.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength, I did not find the Last Rites to be a nicotine bomb. I found this a maduro to have what I term “just enough strength”. I assessed this cigar as being on the upper end of medium strength – falling just short of medium to full. As for the flavors, I found there was a decent amount of weight on the pallet. I assessed the Last Rites as being a medium to full-bodied cigar. Overall, the strength and body countered each other nicely – but I gave a slight edge to the body.
The Last Rites was a cigar that grew on me with each subsequent smoke I had. There were three cigars I smoked for this assessment – and each time I smoked it, I enjoyed the cigar more. This was a cigar that tasted as it looked – namely it looked chocolatey and provided some chocolate notes along with a real tobacco experience. This is not an overpowering maduro, but this allows the flavors to shine. I found this a real nice small batch cigar and a nice find. This is a cigar I would recommend to either a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I look forward to smoking again – and it is one certainly worthy of a five pack in my humidor.
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
Source: Cigars provided by manufacturer (*)
Stogie Geeks Podcast: n/a
Stogie Feed: n/a
* The cigars for this assessment were given to Cigar Coop by Black Label Trading Company. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the sample, but this does not influence this assessment.