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Stogie Reviews: Black Pearl Rojo Toro

2 Feb 2009

I like a cigar with a story. The tale of Black Pearl, launched in 2000, began when founder Doug Wood stumbled across a long forgotten La Perla Habana box label in his travels. Evidently struck by the “romanticism and tradition of the turn-of-the-century Cuban art,” Wood based his cigar company on the stone lithographs he won at auction.

Black Pearl Rojo ToroThe story of this review isn’t as interesting. Black Pearl is one of those brands I had heard about time and again but, for one reason or another, never got around to trying. I fixed that this weekend by firing up two six inch by 50 ring gauge Rojo Toros.

The Rojo blend, made by La Perla Habana, is a Nicaraguan puro with a carefully applied wrapper, a Colorado-like reddish hue, and a firm feel. The Torpedo was rated 90 by Cigar Aficionado in December 2007 for its rich, cedary flavors and sweet finish.

La Perla sells the Rojo blend as a “smooth and inviting medium- bodied cigar, and an experience you’ll no doubt savor for years to come.” While my encounter with the Toros wasn’t unsatisfactory, I can’t say I completely subscribe to their enthusiasm.

The cigar lights easily to reveal a hearty taste of rustic leather. The draw is smooth and the ash is white, well-layered, and sturdy. The meandering burn, which includes an abnormally large and protruding mascara, straightens into the second third to reveal notes of spice with herbal undertones.

Flavors of clove and tea dominate to the halfway mark until they are overcome by a black coffee bitterness. This adequate yet somewhat lackluster profile dominates the remainder of the 80-minute smoke.

I wouldn’t call the Black Pearl Rojo terribly balanced or complex. It strikes me as the kind of cigar that makes a good companion for the golf course or a barbeque—not an after-dinner joyride that commands your full attention.

But I wouldn’t overlook it either. At $116 per box of 20, the Toros aren’t unreasonably priced. And who knows? Maybe you’ll get caught up in their flavor like Doug Wood was taken with the artwork that inspired them. As for me, I give the Black Pearl Rojo Toro three stogies out of five.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

6 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Black Pearl Rojo Toro”

  1. Franky C Monday, February 2, 2009 at 6:27 pm #

    I heard this was athompson house brand… I guess not

  2. Patrick A Tuesday, February 3, 2009 at 7:36 am #

    While I'm not sure why, I also throught Black Pearl was a Thompson house brand. But La Perla Habana is a small-scale operation that launched in the mid-90s and was able to survive the cigar boom. As Dough Wood says of his company, "We make cigars one at a time, and we sell cigars one box at a time."

  3. Oscar P. Sunday, June 28, 2009 at 5:40 am #

    I have smoked a few La Perlas over the years and was never really super excited about the Cigar until recently. I just won a bundle of 25 Morado's at the Southern California Cigar Alliance First annual event and I tell you, this is a great cigar.

  4. Shane Friday, July 30, 2010 at 11:04 am #

    I find the rojo a very nice smoke, but the Morado(purple label) is a kick ass smoke, one of my favorites!

  5. Ira Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 6:40 am #

    I still chuckle at my continuing awareness that everything about taste is subjective and despite all reviews, you still have to try the cigar yourself. I got a box of the Black Pearl Rojo robustos at at Cigar.com for under $40. Given the so-so reviews, I wasn't expecting much. What I got was a cigar full of flavor right off the truck. Intuitively I feel this smoke has some great aging potential, so I'm putting most of them away till the spring. It's about time this happened to me, I have lost count of the times I followed the crowd about a hot new stogie and ended up disappointed.

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