Cuco Criollo by Blackbird Cigar Co.

Okay... didn't get to my next review as quickly as I'd hoped, but I'm doing it now (I did,however get my hands on a box of Blackbird Finch like I wanted to!). I have a few more Blackbird sticks to sample and review, so tonight I'm moving on to the Cuco, obviously named for the cuco, or “cuckoo” bird.

Cigar: Cuco Criollo, by Blackbird Cigar Co.

Cuco Criollo.jpg

Vitola: Robusto, 5” x 50

Price: ~$7.50

Origin: Dominican Republic

Wrapper: Brazilian Criollo
Binder: Indonesian
Filler: Dominican blend
Body: Medium-Full

Rating (out of 10): 9.2

First thing you'll notice on any Blackbird stick is the band. The black-on-gray horizontal label sports Blackbird's distinctive wrap-around blackbird “tab,” which raises above the company name on the band. 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.

Moving on from the band, the Cuco sports a rich, milk-chocolate brown wrapper, with nearly-invisible seams, light veins, and a neat cap with just the smallest little wrinkle, but it's above where this thing's getting cut, anyway.

This thing is expertly made; evenly rolled, neatly capped, cuts perfectly. No sign of any cracks or water damage. Let's do this.

The barrel smells nice and leathery, with hints of wood. Earthier aroma at the foot, with soft suggestions of cocoa (we're all thinking it, “Cuco for cocoa puffs!”). I'm excited, let's light it up.

First Third:
Cold draw has a definite chocolate character to it, with a very subtle cedary underpinning. On lighting, I'm immediately aware of a bit of black pepper sharpness on the finish. The cedar comes through much more clearly after lighting, but not so much that it overtakes the chocolatey nature of the flavor profile.

Certainly some boldness to this one, a nice solid, chewy kind of smoke. Just the right amount of peppery spiciness to really drive it home, too.

Pretty intense smoke output, too. Nice, solid, near-white ash. It's very pretty.

Burn is just the slightest bit uneven. Nothing too serious, though.

Second Third:
I... was wrong. Needed to touch up the burn just at the second third. Pretty consistent flavor, just a bit of a buildup of the peppery finish about halfway down.

Bit of something coming in just past the half... the faintest hint of... coffee, maybe?

Final Third:
A little bit of struggle with the burn again. Nothing severe, but I have to touch it up again.

The chocolate picks back up in the last third. It's lovely.

More of a mocha flavor toward the end, with that black pepper finish lasting throughout the entire smoke.

Closing Thoughts:
I loved this one. Burn issues kept it from racking up a perfect score like the Finch did, but it's a fantastic smoke, and I can't wait to see Blackbird Cigar Co. continue to grow in terms of both portfolio and availability, because I really can't get enough of these cigars!