Posted by Jack | in Black Label Trading Company | on 06 Apr 2014 | at 4:29 PM | 2563 views
Put the coins on my eyes, I have been given the Last Rites.  The rock star.  That is how James Brown, the owner of BLTC described the Last Rites to me.  That simple phrase certainly got my interest up....and finding a trio of them in a box on my doorstep was as exciting as opening birthday presents as a kid.  Honestly, I was expecting a giant cigar....but the Last Rites I was given is a box pressed robusto of ordinary proportions.  Considering they were in a bag with the rather massive Redemption 6x60, they looked small indeed.  Of course, good things come in small packages, so I was pretty stoked to have my Last Rites.  So, let's get smoking....
Construction: Ever unwrap a chocolate bar and have your mouth start watering? Yeah, me too.  And the Last Rites looks like a candy bar.  Deep uniform black brown.  No seams.  No veins.  Loads of oil.  Gorgeous all around.
Pre-light Aroma and Draw: Out of the cellophane, the Last Rites gives off sweet cocoa and black cherry notes.  The draw is pretty stiff at first but it opens up easily as the cigar starts off.
Light and Burn: The burn line, even sitting in a breeze, is even with no touch ups needed.  Like some kind of idiot, I dropped the second sample before lighting it - which, if you have ever dropped a cigar you will know the kind of trouble that causes with the wrapper leaf.  Like an A-10 Warthog....85% damage to airframe and still stay aloft, the Last Rites still performed perfectly even with some tears in the wrapper.  Fortunately, I still have one left after this review. (evil laugh here)
Tasting: As I put flame to the foot, the Last Rites gives off a very notable flavor of a toasted marshmallow.  The aromas coming from the wrapper are extremely sweet, so this flavor makes sense.  Can't wait to see what else develops.
As things start up in the first third the flavors shift to rich earth, cocoa, and coffee.  It is an exceptionally sweet cigar with notes of vanilla, cream, and milk chocolate on the palate as well.  The ash is mottled gray and clings fairly well. At the close of third number one, I get a mild black cherry note as well.  I would venture medium bodied so far.  Truly outstanding.
The second third starts with more of the rich earth and black cherry while adding some cedar and pepper notes to the mix.  I noticed that the smoke gives off a pungent aromatic note that reminds me of black topsoil.  I know that may not sound very tasty, but it is.  More cocoa and coffee play around in there too.  You can really tell this cigar contains Honduran tobacco. Comprising the binder and filler of the Last Rites, it tends to have a creamy smooth and exceptionally woody characteristic.  In the past few months, I have really learned to watch for Honduran tobacco....much in the way I look for Peruvian tobacco too.  The strength may jump up a little here but nothing too far beyond the top end of medium.
As I hit the beginning of the final third, I found something that made my eyes open wide, remove the cigar from my mouth, and stare at it.  A note of something I qualify as musky spice that I have only experienced in one other cigar.  One other extremely amazing cigar too.  The Emilio Draig Cayuquero...the cigar that earned the second spot on my top 25 last year.  James Brown, if you are reading this, please take that as a very high complement and consider this review a massive fist bump in your direction.  Outstanding job, mate.  As the nub approaches, cocoa and some peppery spices play on the palate while still maintaining  a nice creamy and earthy core.  That toasty marshmallow sweetness pops back in to say hello one last time as well.  It does get a bit soft and hot towards the end, but for such a good cigar, I can't complain.
Value: I have seen prices as high as $14 and as low as $8 for the Last Rites.  Personally, I would say $10 would be the perfect price - you could add it to your usual rotation and feel warm and fuzzy inside while smoking this terrific cigar.
Final Thoughts:  James Brown has some terrific cigars in his catalog.  I have enjoyed every puff of every one I have tried thus far - and I am actually giddy to get my claws on the new Morphine when it arrives.  So good are his cigars that halfway through the Lawless, I walked to the Wharf's manager and said " no brainer.  order these" .  After smoking the Last Rites, I will start hounding him regularly to get them in the store ASAP.  Boutique cigars offer so much more than the regular big name brands, and Black Label Trading Company is a testament to that thought.  The Last Rites is very limited as well.  Only 500 boxes are released each year.  Find them, smoke them, hoard them.   Highly recommended!
Wrapper: Aged Ecuadorian Maduro
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran
Size: 5 x 54 box press
I still enjoy smoking cigars with skulls on them....call me crazy
Gorgeous cigar and presentation!
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