Bite Size Review: Black Label Trading Co. 2018 Morphine
The local buzz in 2018 from several tobacconists with whom I spoke was that some of BLTC’s blends were in decline. Concerns seemed centered more around the blend quality than anything, causing one store owner to say that it was bad enough that he refused to carry them. The blends under fire included BLTC’s limited-release icons like Morphine and Bishop’s Blend. So, when the July-released 2018 Morphine hit the shelves, I was both curious and, admittedly, a bit wary.
There was no question the review was on, but I was only wary because part of me just didn’t want to be disappointed. 2018 marks the 5th anniversary of the limited-release Morphine which has previously been a fan favorite. Morphine is also the inaugural blend launched by BLTC. Naturally, we picked the original and most popular of the vitolas, the corona.
Construction seemed OK although the seams of the San Andres skin appeared more raised than usual and the firmness of the cigar became spongier towards the foot. Neither qualify as necessarily “negative”, but certainly a little worrisome. I also think I had the naysayers in my head. Our corona’s draw is on the tight side initially and only marginally improves. The initial profile is rich and tasty offering up an initial blast of black pepper, leather and dark fruit followed by a nice mélange of oak, dark chocolate and oats.
There is a light spice with a tingle on the lips and the long finish is toasty with yummy espresso notes. Transitions feature more body and strength punctuated by woodier profiles surrounding notes of dark fruit, chocolate and a lingering nuttiness. Complexity begins to wane passed midway and by the last transition, balance is off and it becomes one-dimensional. Combustion is irregular initially but improves producing a strong, even ash. Overall, this latest incarnation of Morphine is smooth and surprises initially, but the flavor wheel stops spinning way too early. Our review does not support the negative Nancys’ blend assertions, but there is room for improvement, especially for such an iconic marca. – In Fumo Pax!
Did you Know: The 2018 limited release of Morphine marks both the 5th anniversary of the blend as well as that of BLTC.
- Profile: Med-Full
- Vitola: Corona
- Length / Ring Gauge: 5.5″ x 42
- Purchased: B&M
- Origin: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Maduro
- Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Cutter: Xikar xi1
- Lighter: Colibri Firebird
- Price: $10.50
- Humidor Age: 10 mo.
- Box: 18
- Other Vitolas: Lancero (barber pole) [7.25″x42], Short Robusto (box press) [4.5″x50]
Smoke Time: 0:55
Draw: Tight, but improves
Build: Firm at cap becoming progessively spongier toward foot; matte, dark chocolate wrapper; minimal veins; seams raised; triple cap nicely done.
- Wrapper – Leather, cocoa powder
- Foot – Cacao
- Cold Draw – prunes
- Initial: Blast of black pepper settling into profile of leather and dark fruit; light spice; oak notes; toasty finish is long w/coffee notes; addition of cacao; oats on draw; profile becomes woodier.
- Transition: Woody profile w/spice tingle on lips; mix of cedar, chocolate and dark fruit notes on retro; finish becomes more earthy with a nutty quality.
- Transition: Woody profile; return of leather notes; hints of salted caramel; spice on tongue; heavy earth finish; bolder profile with lots of spice, earth and black pepper.
Touch ups: N/A
Combustion: Very good
Weaknesses: Complexity and flavor wane midway.
Recommendation: 2. 5-packer
- Go-to (boxworthy)
- Yard ‘gar
- Smoke a banana instead