I'm delighted tonight to do my second pre-release cigar review, at the request of Jonás Santana, of the startup Blackbird Cigar Company. After smoking the Crow San Ándres last night, I'm even more excited to smoke and review the Raven Cubra tonight.
Cigar: Raven Cubra, by Blackbird Cigar Co.
Vitola: Robusto, 5” x 50
Origin: Dominican Republic
Filler: Unknown, but I assume it contains Brazilian Cubra leaf, given the name.
Rating (out of 10): 9.9
As was the case with the Crow, the printing of final bands for the Raven is not yet finished. Again, the pre-release band is a simple white paper taped around the barrel, bearing the name of the cigar (Raven Cubra) and its maker (Blackbird Cigar Co.), and marking it as “pre-release.”
The cigar itself is a chocolatey brown, somewhat lighter in shade than the Crow. with a perfect cap and a closed foot. There are some slight veins to the wrapper, and a slight oiliness against the fingertips, and invisible seams. No damage to the wrapper on this one.
Once again, I'm removing the band before I cut or light.
Once again, absolutely flawless construction. Perfect cut, ready to smoke.
The stick smells softly of cedar, with a somewhat bolder whiff of cocoa from the foot.
The cold draw is somewhat sweet and tastes of chocolate and the faintest hint of caramel.
After lighting, the flavor is one of smoky cedar and a light coffee, with just a dash of salt on the finish. Subtle notes of caramel on the retrohale.
There's a beautiful, near-white ash column forming as the Raven burns down evenly. Fantastic smoke output.
Still cedary going into the second third, a fine, medium-bodied smoke, as opposed to the bolder Crow. Much smoother, more consistent flavor. It would make a wonderful early-day smoke, but here I am, enjoying it just as readily.
A bit more salt just past the half. I quite enjoy the elegance of this smoke. It's a fine, relaxing smoke, a fantastic companion to the complex variety of the Crow.
The cedar character of the smoke remains, with a slight increase in spice in the last third. More coffee on the retrohale, as well, blending smoothly with the caramel notes there. I'm really enjoying it all.
A bit more smokiness to the cedar as the cigar burns toward its finish.
Maximum points on the burn on this one, too; it's been razor-sharp from start to finished.
Smoked this beauty right down until it burned my fingers and I dropped what was left of the nub.
Perhaps the repeated comparisons between the Crow and the Raven are not entirely warranted;the two have quite different characters, each fantastic in their own way. The Raven earns its name, inspiring a calm contemplation. I find myself considering Odin's Ravens, Huginn and Muninn, who are Thought and Memory, respectively. This is a wonderful smoke to enjoy while simply unwinding, regardless of the time of day. I'll have to get my hands on a box of these, too; they're perfect for periods of meditation and reflection. I look forward to the release of both of these cigars by Blackbird. Better get someone back home to send me some when they're finally available.