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Cigar Geeks Geek Critique

Black Label Trading Company Leaf by James
Written by Cigar Geeks Member: Brlesq
88
Cigar Geeks Rating

Welcome to another Member sponsored Geek Critique.  This one has been generously sponsored by our member Cfickter (Chuck).  The cigar provided for this round is the Black Label Trading Company Leaf by James.

A top-notch collaboration between Black Label Trading Co.’s James Brown and Jim “Island Jim” Robinson, Leaf by James cigars are sure to please new and veteran cigar connoisseurs alike. These cigars, available in Toro, are packed to the brim with an abundance of mouthwatering flavors such as oak, espresso, dark chocolate, and black pepper. These delectable vitolas are made with only the best tobacco, as they are wrapped in a beautiful Pennsylvanian broadleaf, bound with Ecuadorian Habano, and filled with premium Nicaraguan tobacco. In addition to their complex flavor profile and wonderful construction, these cigars have an incredibly smooth draw and even burn. Be sure to add some top-of-the-line Leaf by James cigars to your humidor for a smoking experience you will be sure to return to.


Length:
6
Ring Gauge:
50
Country Manufactured:
Nicaragua
Filler:
Nicaragua
Binder:
Ecuador
Habano
Wrapper:
Pennsylvania
United States
Color:
Naturale
Strength:
Medium-Full
Shape:
Toro

This cigar was enjoyed with Water

Pre-Light: 18 Points of 20 Possible

This cigar has a dark brown wrapper with a rustic, gritty feel (like fine sandpaper) and some beautiful crystalline flecks (plume) that sparkled when the light hit them just right.  Sports a nice triple cap. The wrapper had a scent that reminded me of sourdough bread. Cold draw tasted yeasty and woody. The band was made of heavy card stock or maybe a woven material and was quite difficult to remove. Weight was heavy in hand and solidly rolled.



Light & Burn: 13 Points of 15 Possible

The cigar lit easily and held an ash to about one and one-half inches before the first fall, producing a medium gray ash and lots of smoke.  Thought the burn became uneven at times, it corrected itself with only one touch up required by me throughout the smoke. At one point the ash split into two sections and started ballooning, but it was easy enough to just tap off.

Construction: 28 Points of 30 Possible

The sample that I smoked was solidly constructed and had no soft spots.  The wrapper had one large vein running the cigar’s length, but not of any consequence.  What caught me eye was the beautiful crystalline flecks (plume) that sparkled when the light hit them just right. It’s unusual to find plume on a cigar of such recent production. The triple cap that was easy to clip and did not become unraveled.  The draw was a tight a few times, but overall it was fine.

Flavor: 29 Points of 35 Possible

This was an enjoyable smoke, and at no time did it become harsh, even though the cigar burned hot a few times. The ash held on mostly in one inch increments all the way to the end.  

First Third – This cigar opens with a small blast of black pepper, especially on the retrohale, and notes of leather, wood and something that reminded me of the way Playdough smells (and no, I don’t know what Playdough tastes like, but olfactory and taste senses are tightly intertwined, so that is what I experienced!) It is medium-full in body and strength.

Second Third -  Notes of strong black coffee emerge, as well as more leather, some earthiness, and more black pepper retrohales. The 'Playdough' note is gone and has been replaced with an ever-so-slight sweetness.  Still medium-full and now producing a ton of smoke.

Final Third –  Some slight metallic taste begins to develop, along with more leather, earth and black coffee.  The cigar becomes creamier, but the metallic taste is distracting. Started and ended medium-full.


Summary

Overall, this is a fine cigar that I would gladly smoke again.  If the metallic taste had not emerged in the final third, it would have received a higher score from me. But some people like that, so take it for what its worth.  Many thanks to Chuck (Cfickter) for generously sponsoring this review and sending this cigar out for our enjoyment.



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