Bishops Blend Novemdiales

Black Label Trading Company Bishops Blend Novemdiales

Today, we review Black Label Trading Company’s Bishops Blend Novemdiales in the Toro size. Oveja Negra Brands launched the Novemdiales at the 2023 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show. The blend is an offshoot of Black Label Trading Company’s Bishops Blend. Bishops Blend has been an annual limited release since 2016 and has become one of the most acclaimed blends from blender James Brown. For 2023, Brown decided to change things up again and release a different expression of the Bishops Blend in the Novemdiales.

In terms of the name, Novemdiales refers to the nine-day mourning period following the death of a Pope. The name Novemdiales is derived from the Latin words Novem dies (nine days) This tradition dates back to the days of Ancient Rome.

Let’s break down the Black Label Trading Company Bishops Blend Novemdiales Toro without further ado and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Black Label Trading Company Bishops Blend Novemdiales Toro – Cigar Review


Blend and Origin

What is different between the Novemdiales and the original Bishops Blend is the wrapper. The original Bishops Blend utilized an Ecuadorian Maduro while the Novemdiales utilizes Pennsylvania Broadleaf. The remainder of the foundational components of the Novemdiales are similar to the original Bishops Blend. This includes the Ecuadorian Habano binder the Nicaraguan filler and a combination of Connecticut and Pennsylvania Broadleaf in the filler. Like all Black Label Trading Company cigars, production comes from Fabrica Oveja Negra.

Wrapper: Pennsylvania Broadleaf
Binder: Ecuador Habano
Filler: Nicaragua, Pennsylvania, Connecticut Broadleaf
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Fabrica Oveja Negra

Vitolas Offered

The Novemdiales were released in three sizes, each in 20-count boxes. Their sizes are completely different from those of the original Bishops Blend line.

Petite Corona: 4 1/2 x 46
Toro: 6 x 48
Robusto: 5 x 50

Appearance (*)

The Pennsylvania Broadleaf wrapper of the Novemdiales Toro was a dark roasted coffee bean in color. The surface of this wrapper had mottling and toothiness but not much in the way of oils. The surface of the wrapper had some visible veins. At the same time, the dark wrapper did an excellent job of minimizing any visible wrapper seams. The footer of the cigar is covered.

The Novemdiales Toro is non-traditional in that it is finished with a figurado-like head. In this case, it is a short, steep tapering toward the head, almost reminiscent of a chocolate chip.


Pre-Light Draw (*)

A straight cut was used to remove a portion of the tapered head of the Novemdiales Toro. I cut off about 3/4 of the tip. This was a short taper on a relatively narrow cigar, so the goal was to get as much tapering as possible. At the same time, I wanted to preserve as much surface area as possible.

Once the tip was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered earth, vegetal, and touches of pepper. This wasn’t the most exciting pre-light draw. Since the pre-light draw is not factored into the numeric score of value rating, there was no loss of points here. At this point, it was time to remove the footer band, toast up the Novemdiales Toro, and see what the smoking phase would have in store.

Tasting Notes

The Novemdiales Toro opened with notes of earth, minerals, chocolate, mixed fruit, and mixed pepper. Early on, the earth note settled into the forefront. At the same time, the mineral, chocolate, fruit, and pepper notes receded into the background. Meanwhile, the retro-hale delivered an additional layer of mixed pepper.

By the start of the second third of the Novemdiales Toro, the mineral notes had joined the earth notes in the forefront. In the background, the mixed fruit notes transitioned to more of a lemon-citrus note, which slightly increased in intensity. Meanwhile, the chocolate and mixed pepper notes rounded out the flavor profile.

The final third of the Novemdiales Toro saw the earth and mineral notes primary. The lemon-citrus, chocolate, and mixed pepper remained in the background. During this stage, the pepper notes slightly increased, but they never became overpowering. This is how the Novemdiales Toro came to a close. The cigar finished up with a cool, firm nub.


The Novemdiales Toro maintained a straight burn path and burn line, but it needed frequent touch-ups. While the touch-ups did their job, more were needed than I preferred. The resulting ash was a mix of light, medium, and gray colors. This was an overly firm ash. There wasn’t much in the way of flaking from this ash. In terms of burn rate and burn temperature, both maintained ideal levels.

Burn of the Black Label Trading Company Bishops Blend Novemdiales


The draw of the Novemdiales Toro was slightly resistant, making it ideal in my book. At the same time, this cigar generated some heavier layers of smoke throughout the smoking experience.

Strength and Body

When it comes to strength, the  Novemdiales Toro is a strong cigar. This cigar came out full strength out of the gate and remained full strength for the duration.  There wasn’t much variance in the strength, but it remained a powerhouse from start to finish. The flavors were more medium to full-bodied. While they increased in intensity as the cigar experience progressed, the flavors remained in the medium to full-bodied range of the spectrum.

When looking at strength versus body, the strength had a slight edge throughout the smoking experience.


One thing I really like about the workaround Black Label Trading Company (as well as its associated brands Black Works Studio and Emilio) is that not only does James Brown blend the cigars, but he also does the artwork—and he does a great job at the booth. With the Novemdiales, Brown uses the same design, but the orange font is replaced with a silver font. Overall, the color changes work quite nicely.

Packaging of the Black Label Trading Company Bishops Blend Novemdiales


Final Thoughts

The original Bishops Blend remains one of my favorite Black Label Trading Company offerings of all time. I was pretty excited to see the Novemdiales offshoot, but I also wondered how it would stack up against the original Bishops Blend. Novemdiales is undoubtedly a different cigar in terms of flavor. It’s also a bolder cigar. This cigar certainly has its moments, but overall, it falls short of the original. It’s still a cigar I would recommend, but I’d steer this to a more experienced cigar enthusiast in this case. As for myself, I can see myself buying and smoking this cigar again.


Key Flavors: Earth, Mineral, Chocolate, Fruit, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Full
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Excellent


Value: Buy One
Score: 88


News: Black Label Trading Co Bishops Blend Novemdiales Set to Hit Retailers
Price: $12.00
Source: Purchased
Brand Reference: Black Label Trading Company

Photo Credits: Cigar Coop

(*) Indicates this is not factored into the score or value rating