Bite Size Review: Black Label Trading Co. Salvation
Buzz. Black Label Trading buzz. Forget the reviews you can find, well…everywhere. I’ve talked to tobacconists, industry folks and some fellow stogy mavens and I was hearing all sorts of things about BLTC, great and terrible. Stories of great cigars devolved into laments like “all their stuff turned to crap, man.” First, I love their brand. Their shtick is rocking. Founder, James Brown used the phrase “…dark elegance…” to describe the vibe behind BLTC and it is not only appealing and eye-catching, but well-executed. The name and imagery emanate from every pore of their site, swag and of course their cigars. Even their new factory in Esteli, Ovejo Negro (Black Sheep), oozes the same theme with inspiration coming from the idea that a ‘black sheep” does things differently. This is James and Angela Brown’s mantra. The Browns are focused on small batch, limited release, high quality, well-blended and expertly crafted premium smokes. Their shop is intentionally small and they’re not in it for the money, so they say. The very definition of boutique.
The Salvation is one of the original 6 blends released and this and other blends have blazed a cult following going on 5 years. The Salvation only comes in 3 vitolas: Robusto (5″x54), Toro (6″x52) and Gran Toro (6″x60). The “dark elegance” theme is highlighted by the black and white Dia de los Muertos-like imagery of the bands with the primary band in the shape of a Bishop’s mitre and the cigar’s namesake in gothicesque font protecting the foot. This gordo is solid throughout with no soft spots. The whiskey-colored Ecuadorian Habano wrapper is nice and oily, slightly veiny and the 3-seam cap is well done. Lots of dark chocolate from the wrapper and cold draw. The foot is teeming with an herbal essence and coffee bean aromas. The draw is excellent with a punch, the flavor palette is delicious and the balance and complexity never let you down. Rich, initially creamy, and spicy, Salvation will keep your attention. The transitions, inhale and retro notes are awesome leaving a wonderful flavor on the lips. Salvation is THE best 60 RG cigar this reviewer has put in his maw. Absolutely delicious smoking experience. The one booger in the eye for me is an irregular combustion and ugly char line at times requiring one touch up. Even so, this cigar is boxworthy and will find a home in my humi. Loved, loved, loved this cigar! – In Fumo Pax!
- Profile: Med-Full
- Vitola: Gran Toro
- Length/ Ring Gauge: 6.0″ / 60
- Purchased: Local B&M
- Origin: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun Grown Habano
- Binder: Honduras
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Cutter: Xikar Punch
- Lighter: Xikar Exec II
- Price paid: $12
- Age: 2 Months
Build: Very solid throughout; nice attention to detail on cap.
Aromas: Shaft – Dark Chocolate!!! Foot – Herbal tea and coffee bean; Cold Draw – Cocoa powder
Flavors: Spicy, creamy initially, earth, dark fruit, black pepper; oats on inhale/ toasted almonds on retro; toasty finish; more chocolate, caramel and wood with coffee notes on finish into transitions. Savory texture at times.
Touch ups: One
Combustion: Poor at times
Weaknesses: Irregular combustion and burn early on, but gets much better
Recommend: 1:Go to