Cigar Reviews

Black label Trading Company – Last Rites Cigar Review

Size: Robusto 5”x54 (smoked for the review)
Available sizes:
660: Double Toro 6”x60 (also available in box pressed)
Petite Lancero: Lonsdale 6 ½” x 42
Robusto: Robusto 5”x54

Blend Profile: The Last Rites feature a multinational blend of three countries.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Maduro
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan

The BLTC Last Rites lives in the darker side of maduro cigars. There are two bands. Both bands feature jet black backgrounds with thin white borders. The main band shows a skull with a crown on top, as well as artsy designs of leaves and vines engulfing the skull. The big letters B and L are on top and bottom of the main band, along with the Black Label Trading Company name with the usual “hand-made” text. The foot band displays “Last Rites” in cursive, tattoo-esque style.
The cigar adorns a very dark, leather-esque wrapper with a silky-smooth texture with almost no toothy-ness at all. The surface of the cigar is very oily, and has a nice sheen. The seams are slightly visible, but are tight and well-rolled.

Overall, the cigar has great construction with no major cosmetic flaws. There appears to be a quadruple-layer cap on the cigar, a feature that is uncommon, but useful for preventing wrapper unrolling. When pressed, the construction is firm, but has a nice give. The tobacco at the foot of the cigar is nicely packed in with no loose bits coming off.
Aroma & Cold Draw:

The Last Rites’ aroma is of a faint, and sweet tobacco. The foot smells of sweet raisin, musty earth, and leather. I then presumed to test the draw, which is loose and open. The cold draw gives me flavors of raisin, musty cigar tobacco, and leather.

At First Light:
There is quite a bit of tobacco rolled into the Last Rites. Given the hefty amount of filler, and I assume a lot of ligero leaves in it, it took me longer than average to light the cigar with a single torch lighter. Once lit, it burned well and even. The cigar has a nice, and open draw. The foot produces an average amount of smoke, it definitely doesn’t burn like a chimney. The smoke gives me an oily texture inside the mouth. The starting flavors are black pepper, allspice, and cocoa. There is a slight zest, and bitterness in the flavor of the smoke.

First third:
Right away, I could tell I was smoking a stogie with a lot of complexity. What I mean by that is that there are familiar flavors along with flavors that are tasty, but I can’t seem to specifically pin-point them. The strength at this point is of medium-full body with an incredibly silky-smooth smoke texture. I get notes of slightly bitter dark chocolate, accompanied by an oily leather, and notes of hay. About half way in the first third, I picked up a new flavor of wheat or bread, similar to the taste of beer. Towards the end of the first third, the presence of leather has increased, and seems to be the dominant flavor profile.

Second third:
I’m about 30 minutes in at this point and the cigar is burning nicely with great combustion. The only touch up needed was to get the burn to more of a straighter line, but that’s more of a personal preference. Unfortunately, the first chunk of ash fell on my laptop, hah. The strength has increased to full. The flavors stay around the ball park of a Maduro cigar, earth, pepper, cocoa, coffee. I did get a meatiness profile which reminds me of beef jerky. The finish of the smoke is long and leaves an oily coating on the tongue. When I retrohale the cigar, I can taste a deep, musty, damp earth.

Final third:
The body of this cigar has really picked up, and I find myself having to pace with the puffs. I’m getting a dominant flavor of black pepper, with more subtle nuances of a smoky black coffee, sweet earth, and leather. Towards the end of the cigar, I’m getting a flavor of what I can only describe as boiled eggs, unusual yet not unpleasant. Around the 1 hour and 50 minute mark, the cigar was burning a bit too hot for my taste, so I decided to put it down.

Final Notes:
The Black Label Trading Company Last Rites sets the standard for what a great Maduro cigar should be. Crafted with expertise, the solid construction, great burn, along with delicious flavors, deliver a fantastic smoking experience. This cigar burned for a long time for a robusto. One should be careful with the strength of this cigar, as it is on the stronger side of medium-full bodied. I would recommend the Last Rites to any bold cigar lovers looking for something new, tasty, and powerful.
Total smoking time: 1hr50m



Black Label Last Rites$12.00$14.00

Powstanie broadleaf Maduro Toro

Okay, so Don Wiggins hands me this stick and says “review it” and of course my response is “sure thang boss”.

– per my repertoire of cutters, I cut this bad boy with a Xikar whatchamacallit straight cut and “toast” it with my fav Xikar Trezo lighter.
– I know y’all hate this but it actually started off kinda sweet, like floral Sweet to my pallet. Which for a Toro broadleaf Maduro was kind of good surprise.
– Oh, an important side note…typical bourbons (at least in my liquor cabinet were to strong until I paired with none other than Eagle Rare.
– I am still surprised at the floral sweetness this cigar starts off with and looking forward to what this beauty has as I continue smoking.
– the construction is very good and the burn is nice and even as I smoke through the first third. The wrapper is nice and smooth and the ash really helps with keeping the smoke nice and cool.
– I have to admit, I am surprised by its sweetness and now I am getting a mixture of smooth leather notes that compliment the floral sweetness very nicely.
– So I finally ashed and was expecting a harsh draw but this stick is just mellow and smoked on without missing a beat. Long drawn out ash tends to make me anxious because none of us enjoys hot ash falling on our shirts!
– smoking towards the middle or “meat of the stick”, the sweet floral notes are still dominant and Still interlaced with a rich, smooth leathery draw. If you’re a smoker that enjoys a little pepper and spicy notes. This is not the stick for you. However, if you enjoy nice smooth sweet/leathery smokes then this a win/win!
– For those of you into the “retrohale” or the expulsion of smoke through you nostrils, this smoke is MADE for that! The retrohale is smooth and sweet and lots of fun. I am typically not a fan but this smoke makes retrohaling enjoyable and you can have lots of fun doing so without drying out your pallet.
– Please forgive me but if you’re actually reading this while smoking this stick, you will agree.
– halfway through the smoke is consistently sweet and smooth…no surprises and purely enjoyable.
– progressing to the last third of this Powstanie broadleaf Maduro and nothing of note has changed. Just a nice smooth aromatic smoke that you can thoroughly enjoy both recreationally or “professionally” if you’re a serious cigar smoker.

– The Powstanie Maduro is a broadleaf maduro wrapper with Indonesian binder and Estelí ligero. It is produced at NicaSueño by the one and lonely Skip Martin. Thank you Mike Szczepankiewicz for this incredible cigar.

Robusto $9.99
Belicoso $10.99
Toro $11.99

– in closing, Skip Martin has produced a great smoke that truly differentiates itself from anything that he has released to date. This is a GREAT smoke and I look forward to the many optimistic reviews that will come as a result of this outstanding smoke!

NFO: When you think of tobacco producing countries, what countries do you think of? Cuba? Nicaragua? The Dominican Republic? Perhaps Honduras? Most people would certainly picture those countries, but one which wouldn’t immediately come to mind is Jamaica – until now. Jamaican tobacco has seldom been utilized in Premium Cigars but Espinosa has gone ahead and chosen to use a particular type of tobacco for their Reggae blends from Jamaica called “Lengua de Vaca,” which translates into “Cow Tongue.” As interesting of a tobacco as it is, it doesn’t appear that it will be playing a big role in the cigar as it’s only being utilized as part of the filler blend pointing to the possibility of it being a very strong or potent tobacco.

The Espinosa Reggae Dread was slated to be one of the cigars in their “Backroom” series – a lounge exclusive to Espinosa Lounges, but because of the FDA loosening their restrictions on new releases, Espinosa has released the Reggae blends nationwide!
The Reggae blends consist of two lines as of now: the Reggae and the Reggae Dread; we will be looking at the Dread today, because it’s clearly way cooler.
The Reggae Dread has currently been released only as a 6×52 Toro and will retail for approx. $12/cigar.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan Seco
Filler: Tri-National blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos along with Jamaican Lengua de Vaca. 
The Reggae Dread has a few pigtails imitating dreads – a unique gimmick that remains consistent with Espinosa’s use of unusual pigtails (601 La Bomba, Nun Chucks, etc…).
The Reggae Dread starts off surprisingly mellow – it’s a little spicy, a little smoky, and has some moderate sweetness to it in the beginning. As the cigar progresses, the smoke becomes a bit more intense as woody notes begin to enter the profile along with the spice increasing. The retrohale provides notes of black pepper and honey through the first two thirds and the flavors are all very cohesive and work very well together up to this point. As the Reggae Dread nears it’s end, the spice continues to increase and the sweetness has all but faded away. There is still a smokiness left on the palate which adds a nice depth to the profile.


Surprisingly, the Reggae Dread was not a very strong cigar. It was certainly near full-bodied but the strength was closer to a Medium Plus. The body and strength did increase towards the end as the spice and wood related notes picked up but it never quite hit “full body, full strength.”
It should come as no surprise that the construction was impeccable on the Reggae Dread as is the case with almost everything that comes out of La Zona. The draw was a bit more open than I expected but not so much so that it would go out or not produce a good amount of smoke as it smoked remarkably well.


The Reggae Dread is one of my favorite cigars Espinosa has put out in some time. It’s a great balance of spicy, smoky, and sweet while maintaining great construction throughout. It is a touch pricier than most of Espinosa’s lineup, but it is well worth it if you can get your hands on one!