In 2017, Gran Habano cigars brought its the latest installment under its S.T.K. brand, the Gran Habano S.T.K. Black Dahlia by George Rico into widespread distribution. Gran Habano Cigars is a fourth generation company that today is run by the father and son team of Guillermo and George Rico. S.T.K. stands for “Stay True Kid” and its a small batch production brand in the Gran Habano portfolio spearheaded by George Rico. For a while the S.T.K. releases were being produced in Miami, Florida, but Gran Habano has lately been consolidating its production in Honduras. Today we take a closer look at the S.T.K. Black Dahlia in the Robusto size.
Black Dahlia is best known as the name of a flower. Black Dahlia is a name that was given posthumously to 1940s murder victim Elizabeth Short. There were also a book and film with the name about Short. The title has also be used in several songs and musical compositions. The S.T.K. Black Dahlia joins other releases in the S.T.K. line that includes the G.A.R. Opium S.T.K, S.T.K. Barracuda, S.T.K. Barracuda Maduro, STK Zulu Zulu, S.T.K. Zulu Zulu Mas Paz., and S.T.K. American Puro releases.
Without further ado, let’s break down the S.T.K. Dahlia Robusto and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The blend of the S.T.K. Black Dahlia is a multi-national blend that is Nicaraguan centric. The wrapper is Nicaraguan Corojo that is shade grown. The blend also features a double binder and incorporates Colombian and Costa Rican tobaccos with Nicaraguan tobaccos in the filler. The S.T.K. Black Dahlia is produced at the company’s G.R. Tabacaleras Unidas S.A. in Honduras.
Wrapper: Corojo Shade Grown Nicaraguan
Binder: Habano and Nicaraguan
Filler: Habano, Nicaraguan Cubita, Colombian, Costa Rican
Country of Origin: Honduras (G.R. Tabacaleras Unidas S.A.)
The S.T.K. Black Dahlia by George Rico is available in three sizes. Each is presented in 20-count boxes.
Corona Gorda 5 5/8 x 46
Robusto 5 x 52
Gran Robusto 6 x 54
While the name Black Dahlia might imply this cigar would have a dark wrapper, this is not the case. This is a shade-grown layer, so its no surprise this wrapper is on the lighter side. I considered the wrapper of the S.T.K. Black Dahlia Robusto to have a toffee color to it. There was a light coating of oil on the wrapper. This cigar had several prominent veins and pretty much bordered to having some toothy wrapper portions. Most of the wrapper seams were on the thin side. The cigar also featured a Cuban style flat cap.
The band of the Gran Habano S.T.K. Black Dahlia features a white, gold, black, gray, and pale pink color scheme. This is highlighted by a black and gray design the resembles the Black Dahlia flower on the front. Above the flower design is the text “S.T.K.” in small gold font. To the left and right of the flower is the text “BLACK” and “DAHLIA” respectively in gold font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the Gran Habano S.T.K. Black Dahlia Robusto, I used a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed, I proceeded with the pre-light draw ritual. The cold draw delivered a mix of coffee, natural tobacco sweetness, classic wood, and cedar. I was quite pleased and considered this cigar to have a very good pre-light draw. At this point, I was ready to light up the S.T.K. Black Dahlia Robusto and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The start to the Gran Habano S.T.K. Black Dahlia Robusto picked up right where the pre-light draw left off as I detected notes of classic wood, sweet natural tobacco, coffee, and cedar. Early on, the classic wood notes moved to the forefront where they were quickly joined by a creamy component. The coffee and cedar notes settled in the background. The natural tobacco sweetness was also a secondary note, but was more prominent and at times showed up in the forefront. Meanwhile, the retro-hale produced notes of cedar and a slight fruit-like sweetness.
Later in the first third of the S.T.K. Black Dahlia Robusto, some white pepper notes also settled into the background. During the second third, the creamy wood combination that dominated the first third slowly morphed into what I would describe as more of a creamy earth note. The natural tobacco sweetness diminished while the cedar notes increased in intensity and the coffee notes dissipated.
The last third saw a slight increase in spice. The cedar notes made their way into the forefront joining the creamy earth notes. There was another increase of the white pepper notes. By this point, the natural tobacco sweetness was a distant note. This is the way the S.T.K. Black Dahlia Robusto finished up. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The S.T.K. Black Dahlia Robusto had no problem maintaining a straight burn path. There were a few points where the burn line was jagged, but this was remedied with some touch-ups. The resulting ash had a salt and pepper color scheme. This wasn’t an overly firm ash, but it wasn’t a loose or flaky ash either. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both were ideal.
The draw to the S.T.K. Black Dahlia Robusto was what I describe as open, but not loose. This was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from. It also was a cigar the produced a significant amount of smoke.
Strength and Body
The intensity levels of the S.T.K. Black Dahlia Robusto started out on the lower end of medium. There was a slight increase in these levels as the cigar experience progressed, however by the end of the cigar, I still assessed this as a medium strength, medium-bodied cigar.
In terms of strength versus body, I found both attributes balanced each other very nicely with neither one overshadowing the other.
Overall, I found the S.T.K. Black Dahlia Robusto to deliver an enjoyable smoking experience. It delivered excellent flavor and there was enough complexity to keep me interesting in the cigar. The best part is that the S.T.K. Black Dahlia Robusto is a cigar that I found could be enjoyed any time of the day. When we think boutique/small batch, many times Gran Habano is not a brand doesn’t come to mind, but one should definitely give the S.T.K. brand some attention.
The S.T.K. Black Dahlia Robusto is a cigar I would recommend to either a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke again – and it’s one I’d buy multiples for my humidor.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Cream,. Classic Wood, Cedar, White Pepper, Coffee
Burn: Very Good
Complexity: Medium Plus
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy Multiples
News: Gran Habano Releases S.T.K. Black Dahlia by George Rico
Source: Gran Habano
Brand Reference: Gran Habano
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted