|Swag Black by Boutique Blends Cigars|
The Swag Black is one of four cigars launched by Boutique Blends Cigars at the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show. The Swag Black is the fifth blend to be released under the Swag brand. The origins of the Swag line date back to 2010 when the company was still operating under the Oliveros Cigars umbrella. When Oliveros reorganized into Boutique Blends, Swag along with the Aging Room Cigars brand became the two primary brands. While Aging Room has mostly focused on small batch production, it has taken a more conservative approach to marketing. Swag goes the opposite as it takes a contemporary approach. While Aging Room has gotten much attention, there have been some very good blends under the Swag umbrella. The Swag Black represents another excellent blend in the Swag brand. I’ve recently had an opportunity to smoke this in the VIP (Short Robusto – 4 x 48) format. Overall I found this to be a powerhouse cigar that is loaded with flavor – and one that is very enjoyable.
The Swag Black is a Dominican puro described by Boutique Blends as an “almost all ligero blend with eight to nine year old tobaccos”. It is meant to be a stronger and fuller bodied cigar. Last year, the company also released the Aging Room Small Batch M21 ffortissimo which was also designed to a stronger, full smoke.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Swag Black in the VIP (short robusto) size and see what this cigar bring to the table.
As mentioned the Swag Black is an all Dominican puro. It features a Dominican Havano wrapper and contains a good amount of ligero
Wrapper: Dominican Havano
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (Tabacalera La Palma)
The Swag Black is being launched in four sizes packaged in 20 count boxes. These are the same four sizes found on the Swag SoBe Edition which was released back in 2012.
VIP: 4 1/2 x 48
Lavish: 5 x 54
Infamous: 6 x 54
Ego: 6 x 60
The Swag Black VIP cigar itself is a well-packed cigar. The Dominican Havano wrapper has a classic looking medium brown habano wrapper. There is a light coating of oil on the surface of the wrapper. While there are some veins, the wrapper itself is quite smooth. The wrapper seams are actually well-hidden.
There are two bands on the Swag Black. For the primary band, ass one would expect the band is mostly black in color. It pretty much is a black version of the band found on most of the other Swag releases (minus the 2013 Swag S Maduro). The band is also finished with gold, black, and white striping across the top and bottom. The text “swag” is on the front in a very contemporary white font on the black background. Over the upper right of the “g” is a gold crown. On the lower right of the “g” is a red box containing the letters “DR” in white. Below the “swag” text is the “CIGAR LIFESTYLE” in a small white font. On the far right is a white circle with an “S” and a gold crown.
The secondary band is on the footer. It is also a black band with gold, black and white striping. the text “black” is also in a contemporary white-colored font sitting on the black background.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the Swag Black VIP, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut to remove the cap. After clipping the cap, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw delivered a mix of nut, natural tobacco, and pepper. Overall I was quite pleased with the pre-light draw from the Swag Black VIP. At this point I removed the footer band from the Swag Black VIP, lit up the cigar and now awaited what the smoking phase would have in store.
At the start of the Swag Black VIP, I was treated to a mix of black pepper and nut. This was soon followed by a slight mixed fruit note in the background. The black pepper was also quite strong on the retro-hale. As the Swag Black VIP moved through the first third, the pepper notes did recede from the forefront on the tongue, but still remained prominent on the retro-hale.
The second third saw some natural tobacco notes surface in the forefront. The fruit and nut flavors were still secondary. The pepper also remained secondary on the tongue, but prominent on the retro-hale.
By the last third, I found the nut flavors returned to the forefront joining the natural tobacco. The fruit notes had pretty much dissipated. There was a slight increase in the pepper toward the end. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Overall I found the Swag Black to be a well constructed cigar and this was reflected with the burn and draw attributes. For a cigar with a lot of ligero, this burned extremely well. The burn line remained relatively straight from start to finish. There was a slight bit of jaggedness, but this didn’t impact the straight path the burn took. The ash had a white color. From looking at the photo, it appears to be this was a loose ash with some flaking, but this is more of a lighting issue with the photo. Overall I found this to be a tight ash with very little flaking. The burn rate and burn temperature were
|Burn of the Swag Black VIP|
As I mentioned there was a tight pack on this cigar. The pack seemed to put a little resistance on the draw. This is something I consider ideal on a smoking experience – especially a short robusto like the VIP. Overall I found this to be an enjoyable cigar to puff on from start to finish.
Strength and Body
This was a cigar that lived up to its billing in terms of being a strong and full-bodied cigar. I had these cigars resting for about 90 days and they didn’t seem to lose any edge. The strength level remained full from start to finish. The strength level pretty much remained constant and I didn’t find it to increase along the way – however there was plenty of firepower with this cigar.
As for the body, when you factor in the retro-hale, this is a full-bodied cigar. If you are not one to retro-hale, you might say this is a medium to full-bodied smoke. Again if you factor in the retro-hale, I found the strength and body to counter each other nicely.
As I mentioned the Swag brand sometimes gets overlooked, but with the Swag Black, this is one to keep an eye out for. Company President Rafael Nodal once said when he launched the Swag line “this is not your father’s Dominican cigar” – and that is exactly what the Swag Black delivers. It definitely ranks as one of the stronger and fuller cigars to come out of the Dominican Republic. I did mention that this cigar burned very well for one with a lot of ligero. At the same time, there is no doubt when you smoke this cigar, it has plenty of ligero.
Overall this is a cigar I’d advise more for a seasoned cigar enthusiast who prefers a stronger and fuller cigar. As for myself, this was an enjoyable smoke. It’s one I will definitely smoke again and it’s worthy of a box split.
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split