I've been away from this for a good long while again... Went home to Boston for almost a month, and then went through another oral surgery and bone graft when I got back to Hawaii, so I had another lengthy recovery where I could neither smoke nor drink. While I was in recovery, the International Premium Cigar and Piper Retailers (IPCPR) convention was going on in Las Vegas. Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of doing a couple of pre-release reviews for Blackbird Cigar Company's Crow and Raven blends, which quickly became some of my favorite smokes. Well, Blackbird put forth even more blends at IPCPR this year, and I managed to get my hands on a sampler; I'm really excited to break into that to kick off my return to writing cigar reviews! The Crow and the Raven (now called the “Unkind,” the term for a group of Ravens) are part of the sampler, so I'll be working my way through the other four (not all at once-- as Mark Twain put it, “I make it a point only to smoke one cigar at a time”).
Cigar: Finch Sumatra, by Blackbird Cigar Co.
Vitola: Robusto, 5” x 50
Origin: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican & Nicaraguan
Rating (out of 10): 10
First of all the bands on these things are fantastic and distinctive. The horizontal label sports a wrap-around blackbird “tab,” which raises above the Blackbird company name when the band is removed. The Finch features a dark-on-light-blue motif with the blend name in a bright orange. The wrapper is a nice, ruddy, reddish-brown, lightly-veined and neatly-capped. This one features an open foot, setting it apart from the Crow and the Raven.
I've never had construction issues with Blackbird Cigars, and they're certainly not starting now. This stick is expertly rolled, with just the right amounts of both give and resistance, and it cuts perfectly.
The barrel smells distinctly of cedar, and there's a lovely cocoa scent at the foot.
The cold draw imparts notes of coffee and white pepper, with a little cedar. Iget a nice, even light to start off, and the first post-light draws is soft and creamy, a nice, warm, coffee latte flavor to it. I could already see myself stashing a box of these to break open in the mornings for that start-the-day kind of smoke. It might even get me to start drinking coffee again just to pair the two.
There's some very faint sweetness in there, too, like the slightest hint of powdered cocoa. Soft, silky smoke, with that tiny little zing of white pepper on the finish.
It's soft, and mild... perhaps the mildest Sumatra-wrapped smoke I've experienced. I like it, a lot. And I'm not normally one who prefers mild smokes,but in this moment, the Finch is winning me over.
The burn is remaining pretty even, a little waviness, but looking damned nice. Very light grey, some slightly darker streaks, and it holds together pretty neatly.
Some faint cedar creeping in as the second third starts. The smoke is a little softer here; the pepper on the finish is a bit spicier, more cocoa notes on the body, but still kind of a cedary, coffee profile overall.
Still keeping a nearly-perfect burn.
Cedar coming through more and more in the last third, slowly overtaking the coffee.
Hold that thought, the coffee is just moving to the finish and the aftertaste now, with just a hint of that pepper from before.
Still maintaining a perfect burn, a little heat as it burns toward the end.
Getting a few notes of sweet tobacco closer to the end; it's a really nice way to wrap things up.
Well, I think I may have found my new favorite morning smoke. While I've said many times before that I'm not a huge fan of milder smokes, preferring the more medium- to full-bodied cigars, this one certainly impressed the hell out of me, and picked up a perfect score. For sure need to find myself a box or two of these!