Black Label Trading Company is a newer cigar company that we are very excited to have here at Stack Cigars. Last Rites is one of the original six core lines introduced by Black Label when they got started in 2013. Despite being a core line they stick to their mantra of only making small batch cigars, so only a set number are produced each year. For this review I smoked the box-pressed robusto, which is a 5 x 54.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Maduro
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
Appearance and Construction (15 POINTS)
The Last Rites is draped in a very lush looking dark chocolate brown wrapper. It is fairly oily and very smooth to the touch and has no protruding veins. Feeling along the length of the cigar, there was was seemed to be some inconstancy in firmness, as their was a pretty noticeable soft spot just bellow the band. Overall it is a very visually appealing cigar, and one that I couldn't wait to start smoking. Due to the soft spot, I gave this cigar a 13 out of 15 in this category.
Flavor (25 POINTS)
The flavors on this cigar were robust, enjoyable,and offered a lot to taste. The Ecuadorian maduro wrapper brought a very nice natural sweetness on the lips overtop rich dark chocolate, earthiness, wood, and a light spice that lingered on the back of the palate. Overall very balanced and pleasant flavor, with enough body and complexity to keep my attention for the duration of the smoke. At times I noticed a somewhat bitter and acrid flavor that hung around on the finish, but it was not enough to warrant more than a loss of a few points in score. 22 out of 25 for flavor.
Smoking Characteristics (25 POINTS)
The burn for the Last Rites was sharp and consistent for the duration of the smoke requiring no maintenance. The cigar's draw was completely wide open, which in my opinion isn't entirely a good thing. I like a little bit of resistance to the draw of a cigar, but this is strictly personal preference. I would rather a cigar breathe too openly, than be too tight. Without anything else negative to say about this category, Last Rites gets a 24 out of 25.
Overall Impression (35 POINTS)
All in all, this was a cigar that I really enjoyed. Medium plus bodied cigars with a lot of flavor are right in my wheelhouse, and the wrapper on this cigar brought a kind of sweetness that really complimented the blend. I feel I could recommend this cigar to almost any smoker, as it had some body but certainly wasn't a powerhouse, and had lots of complex flavor without being overly spicy. 33 out of 35.
Total Score: 92 - Excellent Cigar
Black Label Trading Company knocked this one out of the park. I was a little skeptical of the $12 price tag because that is such a competitive price point in the industry right now. After experiencing the cigar I am convinced that it is worth the cost and would happily recommend this cigar for a box-split. I will definitely be picking up more of these for myself soon, and can't wait to work my way through the rest of the line to see what else Black Label Trading Company has to offer.