Posted by Jack | in Black Label Trading Company | on 03 Jun 2014 | at 5:40 PM | 3229 views
About a month ago, I was chatting with James Brown on Facebook about his upcoming release, the Morphine.  My original reaction was to think of the band from the 90's comprised of Mark Sandman on bass, Dana Colley on the bari-sax, and Billy Conway on drums.  A fantastic blues/jazz fusion group that were as addictive as their name sake, and one of my all-time favorite groups.  Never listened to them?  I will add some links to a few tracks at the bottom of the review for fun.
But James actually named the cigar after its potency.  He said, " actually the first time I smoked the blend it had me a little loopy - I had to sit down. I smoke about 5-6 cigars a day and still it hit like freight train. So the name came from the blend strength."   Now that is saying something folks.  One item of extreme interest is that this cigar uses two wrapper leaves...a Mexican San Andres and an Ecuadorian maduro.  Now there's something we don't see very often!  Let's see how this lancero smokes and if I get the same blast to the noggin' that James did.
Construction: A dry an exceptionally toothy wrapper leaf covers this slender fellow.  It is fairly lumpy and veins are relatively minor.  The San Andres wrapper leaf is actually a very pretty thing if you really look at it.  There is a terrific vein structure and amazing burnt umber coloring that is very uniform across the cigar.  Very nice presentation.
Pre-light Aroma and Draw: Out of the cellophane, the Morphine gives off aromas of leather, sweet tobacco, and mild cocoa.  The draw seems a little tight but it does open up well once lit.
Light and Burn: Both samples I smoked were flawless in the burn area.  Razor sharp burn line and a white and charcoal mottled ash that was very firm and clingy.
Tasting: The start of the Morphine is very earthy with a nice touch of spice.  The first third develops with a really hefty dose of earth, black coffee, touches of pepper, and some oak.  I get a very faint note of lemon zest in there too - thanks to the habano binder, I bet.  Notes of salt, espresso, and spices mingle well as the first third closes out.  So far a terrific set of flavors...and very unique, which is a good thing.  The strength is medium-full at the beginning and it does notch up as you go.
The middle of the Morphine really shows off the deep earthy core.  A nice hint of a floral notes shows up and is then engulfed by a smooth nutty flavor.  I get a very mild coconut flavor at this stage too.   A sweetness starts to appear on the palate at this point.  Trying to pin a flavor on it brings custard to mind.  The smooth nut character mixed with the sweet note on top of that dense earth make for a really nice experience.  The strength in the middle actually appeared to drop a couple of points for me.  I would say a solid medium-full when the opening third was leaning more towards full.
The final third continues the earthy core.  Lately, I have smoked a lot of very earthy cigars and that flavor is slowly moving up the ladder as one of my favorites.  There is a nice salty sugary flavor that reminds me of tequila on the palate with a slight twinge of cocoa in there for good measure.  As things approach the nub, I get black cherry and some cream that remind me of a cherry cordial.  Truly outstanding.  The power does increase as the cigar gets close to the last couple of inches...and herein I can see the power James was referring to.
Value: At right around $10 the lancero is actually priced to move.  Typically in cigar shops you will find that the lancero is often a couple of bucks more expensive than other vitolas, but not so here.
Final Thoughts: Black Label Trading Company has some terrific cigars in their portfolio.  Actually I was shocked to see just how many they do have.  The Morphine makes lucky number seven for them.  Is the Morphine their finest creation?  I would honestly say it is in the top three, depending on the kind of cigar you like.  It is a powerful flavor profile, that is for sure.  Did it knock me for a loop in terms of strength?  No.  I seem to have the constitution of a vending machine when it comes to that.  I can honestly say I would smoke this cigar often if it were on hand.  That being said, I am working on getting the BLTC lines on the shelves at The Wharf.  James Brown has some truly unique and quality cigars in his cache that I think consumers would really enjoy.  As for the Morphine, I can easily and highly recommend this delicious cigar.  Seek them out, folks.  I can also say that some age on this cigar will create something really nice too.
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres and Ecuadorian maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Honduran and Nicaraguan
Strength: High side of medium-full on average
Size: 7 x 38
I love the presentation of all of the BLTC cigars.  They all feel like they belong together.
See that logo?  It rubs the lotion on its skin...?
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