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Cigar Review: Black Label Trading Company Morphine 2019 Corona Gorda

15 Jul 2019

Black Label Trading Company (BLTC) creator James Brown calls the 2019 iteration of Morphine “one of the best yet.” Each year, this blend—which was introduced in 2014 as a fuller-bodied addition to the BLTC portfolio—has a different vintage. What sets this one apart, according to Brown, are “rich and earthy” flavors “with bold spice on the retro.”

Morphine sports a Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper around a Nicaraguan Habano binder and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos. It is handmade at BLTC’s factory in Estelí, which goes by the name Fabrica Oveja Negra.

There are three Morphine vitolas available in 2019: Lancero (7 x 38, $11.50, 12-count boxes), Short Robusto (4.5 x 50, $10.50, 20-count boxes), and box-pressed Corona Gorda (5.5 x 46, $10.50, 18-count boxes). Only 450 boxes of each were produced. I’ll save you some math: That amounts to a total run of 5,400 Lanceros, 9,000 Short Robustos, and 8,100 Corona Gordas.

The Lanceros are likely to be the most sought-after, and not just because they comprise the stingiest production; I imagine BLTC’s core audience is comprised of seasoned cigar veterans who appreciate small-batch, boutique cigar operations. If I know these folks—and I’d like to think I do—I can safely say they like their lanceros.

After taking a handful of Corona Gordas for a test drive, I am happy to report this is not a Morphine vitola to overlook. Beneath its macabre, Silence of the Lambs-esque dual bands of black and white is a firm, dark, moderately oily cigar with thin veins. At the foot, I find heavy, rich pre-light notes of molasses and dry wood. The pigtail cap clips easily to reveal a slightly stiff cold draw that imparts some spice on the lips.

Once lit, the introductory flavor is intense and concentrated. Expect to find a hearty dose of black pepper spice, espresso, and warm tobacco. In the background linger subtler, sweeter notes, including raisin and cocoa. The texture is thick and chalky. And, yes, as Brown claims, the retro-hale is bursting with palate-coating spice.

Typically, at this point in a review, I write about how the intensity of a full-bodied cigar pulls back and the taste becomes a little softer and creamier. Not here. There are few changes along the way. And, frankly, that’s OK with me. I appreciate this cigar’s textures and tastes. And the small, compact format helps ensure the flavor doesn’t overstay its welcome.

In terms of construction, the burn line tends to meander a bit, and several touch-ups are needed keep things running smoothly. Aside from that, I have no complaints. The smoke production is good, the ash holds firm, and the draw is moderate.

The 2019 Morphine Corona Gorda is unapologetically San Andrés. If you like that rich, earthy flavor—and I do—you’ll not want to miss this. It’s a great example of how to leverage many of the best qualities of Nicaraguan tobacco with a Mexican wrapper. Kudos to Brown and the folks at BLTC. This powerful treat is worthy of four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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