Black Label Trading Company launched in 2013, and quickly made a name for themselves with their solid core line of blends. In 2015, they opened their own factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, and created a side-project brand called Black Works Studio(commonly stylized as BLK_WKS).
The goal of Black Works is to showcase Nicaraguan tobaccos with small batch releases, and has become known for using some unique finishing touches, most commonly barber pole wrappers. The Boondock Saint is the latest limited release from Black Works Studio.
Brand: Black Works Studio
Size: 6 ¼” x 46
Vitola: Corona Larga
Wrapper: Pennsylvania Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Connecticut, Nicaraguan, Pennsylvania
Factory: Fabrica Oveja Negra
Cigars smoked for review: 1
Cigars for review provided by: Black Works Studio
Quick Note: For this review I used Cigar Federation's rating system
Wrapper is thick, toothy, and is remarkably smooth for the amount of large veins. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a wrapper with this much texture that didn’t have any lumps or bumpy veins. The wrapper sheens with oils, and is adorned with Fabrica Oveja Negra’s signature quadruple cap, and a unique blunted foot.
The nose is classic Pennsylvania Broadleaf. Black pepper, brown sugar, molasses, damp earth and dark chocolate. The cold draw is actually a bit less spicy than i was expecting after the spicy nose, with a heavy bready sweetness that reminds me of a glazed donut.
First third: First draw has TONS of spice, but isn’t overpowering. Black pepper, white pepper, and sweet note dark cherry flavor that almost tingles on the palate because of the spice, which reminds me of Black Cherry flavor New York Seltzer. There’s an earthy undertone on the palate, which doesn’t linger on the finish at all. The retrohale is almost punishingly spicy, with the same black cherry notes.
Half an inch in, and the spice hasn’t showed any sign of slowing down. The finish is hard to describe. It’s long, but very clean. There’s a very delicate spice that lingers on the tongue and in the back of the throat, very similar to eating a hot pepper, along with a delicate sweetness.
The spice suddenly starts to fade at 3/4 of inch in. It’s still the primary flavor, but not even close to the intensity with which it started. The sweet black cherry note is coming closer to the forefront now, with a steady backbone of mineral-heavy earth. Retrohale at this point is still very spicy, but has smoothed out a bit, and gotten a touch sweeter.
The thing that surprises me at this point is that while it started with an explosive amount of spice and sweetness, and has a huge amount of flavor, this isn’t a particularly strong cigar. I’d call it just above the medium mark, but not quite even medium-plus.
Second Third: The black and white pepper has smoothed out a bit, and the fruity and earthy notes from the first third have ramped up a bit. The flavors are still extremely rich, but they’re starting to get extremely balanced. There’s a hint of a bitter espresso note working it’s way in, but the spice, sweet dark cherry, and gritty mineral earth are still the primary components, even strengthening a bit in the second third
Final Third: The spice is actually ramping back up going into the final third. The bitter notes pick up a bit, with a little bit of licorice/anise, and the sweetness is rolling steady.
Halfway through the final third, the spice drops off almost entirely. It’s still present on the finish, but the sweet dark cherry has come to the forefront, with notes of dry earth, bitter coffee, anise, and a touch of lemony citrus at the beginning of the finish.
The final third ends with the sweet dark cherry flavor, with notes of dry earth, bitter coffee, and a touch of the black pepper that was prevalent during most of the experience. The finish starts with a lemony citrus note, and ends with a touch of spice, and the mineral-heavy earth flavor.
The Boondock Saint comes right out of the gate with an explosion of peppery spice, and a rich medley of sweet, earthy fruits. All the way through, the flavors are rich yet refined, and continue evolving from an intense spice bomb into a rich, sweet, earthy core at the end. While it’s certainly full flavored, the strength never peaks above medium-full.
This is a cigar that has tons of flavor, and other than those who are strongly opposed to spice, it lands in a sweet spot that I expect to overlap with almost anyone’s preferred flavor profile. As with most of Black Works Studio releases, this is a limited release, and based on BLK_WKS and BLTC's previous limited releases, I'm hoping it will be an annual limited release going forward. Personally, I’d put this on par with the Bishop’s Blend from Black Label Trading Company, which is saying a lot.
I think this is a cigar that’s going to land on a lot of Top 25 lists at the end of the year, and I know it’s going to be near the top of mine.
Tripp's Rating: 97 AKA “Box Buy”