Bite Size Review: Sinistro Mr. Black
Always on the look out for the next great cigar, I’m excited to add several relatively unheralded, and in some cases, just plain obscure sticks to our “to smoke” list. Unfortunately, based on our record so far, the odds are about 3:1 against finding a new stick that really lights our fire. One new addition to our inventory came recommended by a tobacconist friend of ours and it hails from some relatively new kids on the block, Sinistro Cigars. Reminiscent of characters from the Quentin Tarantino movie, Reservoir Dogs, the Glendale, California outfit kicked things off in 2014 launching three lines – Mr. White, Mr. Red and Mr. Black.
Sinistro co-founder, James Agopian, collaborated with La Aurora master blender, Manuel Inoa, in creating its inaugural offerings: the medium-bodied Mr. White features a Dominican HVA wrapper, the Mr. Red a tasty-looking Mexican San Andrés skin and the medium-to-full bodied Mr. Black, a 3-country blend with a Nicaraguan wrapper. All three lines come in 5 vitolas including the very limited production, Scala, a unique perfecto featuring a shaggy foot and contrasting thin-roped tobacco wrapped in a barber pole configuration. Sinistro recently released two new lines, The Last Cowboy and Habana Vieja, but for our review, we chose the Nicaraguan Mr. Black belicoso… we’re hopeful to improve our record.
The La Aurora torcedors did a masterful job. This lovely belicoso features an almost seamless roll, an attractive tapered cap and a marbled, milk chocolate-colored Nicaraguan wrapper. Veiny, slightly lumpy and a touch oily the belicoso is solid throughout. There is a light floral essence accompanied by aromas of caramel and chocolate from the wrapper and foot. The V-cut draw is superb and the cold draw provides some dark berry foreshadowing to the flavor palette.
The initial profile is marvelous, featuring a complex mélange of leather, black pepper, cream and the aforementioned dark berries. There is a light spice and the nutty, caramel finish is awesome. The billows of smoke are very fragrant and after settling in, there are nice hints of allspice on the retro. Transitions are more woody and earthy and although complexity wanes in the middle, there’s enough going on to keep your attention, especially bold combinations of cacao and red pepper. We did notice a heavy mineral aftertaste about halfway, but fortunately it didn’t stick around. As the strength and body meter rises throughout the smoke, the last transition features a spice bomb that got our attention. While our Mr. Black was well-balanced and complex for the most part, there are some rough edges at times and it teeters on becoming one-dimensional. Interestingly, the rich cream notes returned near the end along with a welcome leather profile to offset the heavy, spicy earth intonations.
Our belicoso held a 2” ash without issue, and while combustion was very good initially, the burn began to ‘canoe’ around the end of the first third. It became problematic enough throughout the smoke to require several touch-ups. We monitored the foot after each ash drop and noticed the bulk of binder/filler was rolled to one side instead of in the center, which could explain the canoeing. There was definitely something weird occurring in the middle transition(s) underscored by a one-dimensional profile, mineral aftertaste and an unbalanced increase in strength and spice. Overall, the Mr. Black is a solid smoke highlighted by an excellent initial flavor palette and exceptional aesthetics. The few touch-ups and discovery of the off-center roll was a bit annoying, but it did not fully overshadow what Mr. Black brings to the table: a good blend, tasty flavor palette and at $8+, a pretty good value. Worth keeping a fiver around. – In Fumo Pax!
Did you Know: All of Sinistro’s cigars are rolled at the León family’s La Aurora factory in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
- Profile: Med – Full
- Vitola: Belicoso
- Length/ Ring Gauge: 6.25″ x 52
- Purchased: B&M
- Origin: Dominican Republic
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Dominican, US, Nicaraguan
- Cutter: Colibri V
- Lighter: Firebird
- Price: $8.30
- Age: 1 mo.
- Box: 20
- Other Vitolas: Robusto [5″x50], Toro [6″x54], Presidente [7″x58], Scala [4.5″x38/60/38]
Build: Excellent; nice belicoso treatment; uniform girth, veiny; lumpy; seamless; holds 2″ ash well
- Shaft – Floral; caramel; green tea
- Foot – Chocolate
- Cold Draw – Dark berries
- Initial: Leathery profile, pepper, cream, dark berries; light spice; caramel and toasted nuts on finish; finish transitions to more coffee; notes of allspice on retro; settles into woody profile with notes of earth, cocoa and caramel.
- Transition: Uptick in spice; Heavy earthy profile; charred wood on retro; creamy inhale; heavy mineral aftertaste;
- Transition: Regains complexity – earthy profile, cocoa, red pepper, leather; cedar finish.
- Transition: Zesty, spicy earth profile, dark chocolate; floral essence on inhale; toasty finish.
Complexity: Excellent initially; does bounce around a bit
Touch ups: 3-4
Combustion: Very good initially; Canoes after 20 min and continues.
Weaknesses: Irregular combustion and burn (roll?)
Recommend: 2. 5-packer
- Go-to (boxworthy)
- 3rd stringer (keep 1 on hand)
- Smoke a banana instead