Black Label Trading Company Morphone – Lancero

The Morphine is the latest release from boutique cigar maker Black Label Trading Company.  It is the company’s seventh blend to be released, and third maduro overall.  However, the Morphine is perhaps the most unique cigar the company has released in that incorporates a double maduro wrapper.  By double wrapper, this cigar has a outer and inner wrapper (as well as a binder).  A couple of months ago, I had smoked one of the other company’s maduro smokes, the Last Rites and was quite impressed.  The idea of this double wrapper was very intriguing to me.  With the Morphine now hitting shelves, I have recently had an opportunity to smoke this cigar.  Overall, this was an excellent cigar and it really has me impressed with what this company is doing.

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 since its inception.  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 Morphine and see what this cigar brings to the table:

Blend Profile

The external facing wrapper of the Morphine is a San Andres Maduro while the inner wrapper is an Ecuadorian Maduro. Overall, this is a four country multi-national blend.

Wrapper: Mexican San Andres Maduro, Inner Wrapper: Ecuadorian Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

The Black Label Morphine has been released in two sizes. Both sizes are slanted toward thinner ring gauges.

Corona: 5 1/2 x 42
Lancero: 7 x 38


For this cigar experience I smoked the lancero vitola. The Morphine lancero has a rich chocolate colored wrapper. I describe the complexion of the wrapper as more on the silky than oily. The surface of the wrapper is bumpy, but not toothy. There are some visible veins but the wrapper seams are well hidden. Overall, this is one of the cleaner San Andres maduro wrappers I have seen.

There are two bands on the Morphine. The primary band has a black background with white font. At the center of the band is a white skull sitting over a butterfly like design with a white crown over it. At the top is the text “BLACK LABEL” and on the lower part is the text “TRADING CO”. On the lower left of the logo is the text “Hand Made” in cursive font. On the lower right is the text “Est 2013″ in cursive font.

The secondary band also has a black background with white font. The text “ Morphine” is in a cursive font. There are white pinstripes going across the top and bottom.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

As I normally do, I started things off with a straight cut. Once the cap was removed, I immediately proceeded with the pre-light draw. The dry draw produced a nice mix of espresso, black licorice, and a baker’s spice. Overall, the pre-light draw provided an excellent appetizer of what was to come as I was most impressed. At this time I removed the footer band of the Black Label Trading Company Morphine and lit up this cigar.

Flavor Profile

The start to the Black Label Trading Company Morphine provided a mix of mocha, black licorice and black pepper.  The black licorice was something that would be a signature flavor from start to finish.  While licorice is a good analogy, make no bones about it – this cigar very much had a tobacco taste to it. The mocha notes became primary early on with the black licorice and pepper notes secondary.  I was actually quite impressed with the retro-hale as it not only had pepper notes, but some of the licorice flavor seemed to enter through the nasal pages as well.

By about the ten percent mark, the licorice notes moved into the forefront.  The mocha notes moved into the background.  As the cigar moved through the first half, the licorice notes became more prominent while the mocha notes diminished.The black licorice notes that I got on the pre-light draw continued once the cigar was lit.  This would prove to be a signature flavor of this cigar throughout the smoking experience.  By about the midway point, the licorice notes were firmly in control flavor-wise.

The pepper notes now started to slowly move toward the forefront.  The mocha notes were now also very distant and by the end of the second third had dissipated.In the last third, the pepper notes now were much more prominent, but they stopped short of overtaking the licorice flavors.  This is the way the cigar experience came to a close.  The end of the cigar featured a slightly soft nub, but one that was cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

Construction-wise, I found the Black Label Trading Company Morphine to be excellent – and this was reflected in both the burn and draw.  While there was some slight jaggedness on the burn line, the Morphine was still relatively a straight burn – and one that really only required a few cosmetic touch-ups.  The resulting ash was tight and firm with a nice white color to it.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.


Burn of the Black Label Trading Company Morphine

The draw was excellent.  This lancero’s draw was as good as any I have had from a cigar in this vitola format.  It had that touch of resistance that I think is key on a lancero and it made this a very enjoyable cigar to puff on.

Strength and Body

From a strength perspective, I did not find the Morphine to be a nicotine bomb.  It pretty much maintained medium strength from start to finish.  As for the flavors, they had some nice depth to them.  While the Morphine was positioned as a bolder smoke, I still assessed the flavors as being medium to full in depth.  With the Morphine, I found this to be a cigar where the body had the edge over strength.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt that 2014 is proving to be the year of the lancero as many companies seem to be gravitating toward releases cigars in this vitola.  In a competitive field, the Black Label Trading Company Morphine does a great job at distinguishing itself.  While I didn’t find this to be an overly complex cigar, there are some really good flavors – and that licorice note really stood out for me.  Black Label Trading Company is definitely a boutique cigar maker to keep an eye on.  This is easily a cigar I’d recommend to lancero enthusiasts – novice or experienced to give a try.  As for myself, this is definitely a cigar I’d smoke again – and it’s one definitely worthy of a box split.


Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Good
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
Score: 91


News: Black Label Trading Company Morphine to Feature Double Maduro Wrapper
Price: $10.00
Source: Sample Provided by Manufacturer
Stogie Geeks Episode: 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.