Wrapper:  Pennsylvania Broadleaf
Binder:  Nicaraguan Habano
Filler:  Nicaraguan, Connecticut Broadleaf, Pennsylvania Broadleaf
Vitola:  Corona Larga (6 1/4 x 46)
Brand:  Black Works Studio / Black Label Trading Company
Factory:  Oveja Negra
CigarNoise Price Range:  $8-$10
Production:  Limited (500 boxes of each vitola)
Source:  Gifted

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Boondock Saint Review – First Thoughts

This cigar was graciously gifted to me by a gentleman named Jarred a long time ago.  It’s the pre-release Boondock Saint from before the August 8th, 2016 deadline.  Many thanks to Jarred for the opportunity to smoke this cigar, and my apologies for being so late in the delivery.  You can read more about this cigar in the official press release.

My Boondock Saint has very large, prominent veins that starkly contrast the nearly midnight-black wrapper.  This broadleaf wrapper is toothy and manages to pull off the appearance of an oily sheen as well as a matte finish, playing tricks on the eye depending on the lighting.  We’ve also got a closed foot that that imparts sensations of cedar, hickory, earth, and dark chocolate.

Please keep in mind that the cigar I’ll be reviewing today has been resting for over 12 months and may not be the same as what’s on the shelf currently at your favorite cigar shop.

Boondock Saint Review – First Third

Leather, Chocolate, Earth, Cream, Umami, Antique Books, Pepper, Dried Fruit, Cocoa Powder

Carefully lighting just the wrapper of the closed foot, I’m rewarded with notes of soft leather and milk chocolate before it’s time to light the rest of the cigar.  Once all the formalities are dispensed with, I’m getting a creamy texture as well as notes of earth, leather, subtle umami, and what reminds me of smelling antique books.  The finish is the most interesting so far, as I’m left with the distinct impression of hickory from the pre-light.  Through the nose, mild pepper and dried fruit are added to the mix.  Pepper continues to build as I’m typing this sentence, and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

Black Works Studio Boondock Saint Review First Third

As expected, there’s a refined air about the Boondock Saint after resting for over a year.  James Brown has been on fire lately, blending more hits than a Smoothie King operator, and this cigar has all of his signature hallmarks.  I’d peg the body as barely crossing the full threshold, flexing just enough to develop deep, rich flavors.

Speaking of flavors, a retro hale just opened up a whole new world of cocoa powder, leather, and red pepper.  It’s what I have to imagine snorting pepper-laced cocoa powder off a leather belt would smell like.  Layered is how I would characterize the Boondock Saint so far, with every inch adding to the plot and layering in different nuances on top of the old.

My only gripe so far is the draw.  While the Boondock Saint smokes like a chimney in the ash tray, trying to get more of it in the draw has been a chore.  I’m having more and more success massaging it out, though, and it looks like the second third will require less attention.  A hard spot right beneath the band (although the band is loose) seems to be the culprit.

Boondock Saint Review – Second Third

Earth, Chocolate, Leather, Antique Books, Almond, Brown Sugar, Pepper, Coffee

Ahhhhhhh, there it is…  Is there a certification for cigar massages?  Because I think I just tested out of the course!  And what a blessing it is, because this Saint has a lot to offer.

After dropping the ash and working out the kinks, I’m getting much more distinct hints of earth, chocolate, leather, almond, brown sugar, and that same antique book impression.  Pepper has receded to the finish now, and is joined by mild coffee notes.

Black Works Studio Boondock Saint Review Second Third

The burn line is razor sharp and has only required very minor attention since lighting the closed foot.  High five to Oveja Negra for pulling off that feat, as a closed foot almost always requires a little extra love early on.

Approaching the midway point, the Boondock Saint doubles down on finesse and brings everything together like Momma’s soup.  No one flavor takes the lead, allowing wonderfully subtle combinations to form.   There’s nothing new on paper, and yet everything’s changed.

Boondock Saint Review – Last Third

Earth, Cherry Pastry, Dark Chocolate, Pepper, Chocolate Covered Cherries, Almond Milk Latte

I’m calling the last third prematurely because, after an ash fall, the flavors are shifting once again.  Earth still reigns supreme but what was previously generic dried fruit has transformed into more of a cherry pastry followed by dark chocolate with a peppery finish.  Pepper lingers more in this segment than the last, keeping constant pressure on the flavor profile.

Black Works Studio Boondock Saint Review Last Third

The draw has opened up substantially as well, making me wonder if I would’ve had a different experience throughout the first two thirds with less resistance.  Normally I’d recommend dry boxing Broadleaf a bit before smoking, although I’d assume it would be less effective if a massage was needed.

Towards the end of the last third, chocolate covered cherries emerge as well as what I would deem an almond milk latte.  I rarely find that the last third is my favorite in a cigar, but the Boondock Saint is about to convert me.  I was literally just on the SOS podcast making fun of nubbing tools, and now I wish I had one.  This cigar can go the distance!

I’ve noticed two interesting things with the Boondock Saint as the end approaches.  For starters, I’ve barely reached for my obligatory water glass.  Seems like I’ve been striking out with reviewing winners lately, as that’s always indicative of a good experience.  Secondly, this cigar burns cooler than a Fall breeze.  I’ve found that every time I pick up the Boondock Saint, my subsequent puffs taste better than the first.

There’s no bitterness, no mushy stump of a cigar, no stagnant flavors – just hopes and dreams of finding some more before these they’re sold out for good.

Black Works Studio Boondock Saint Review (Pre-Release)
9.1 Reviewer
9.2 Cigar Noise Network (1 vote)

Complex Flavors

Distinct Transitions



Tedious Draw

James Brown and Oveja Negra have been on a roll lately, putting more balls over the fence than anyone else I can think of in the last 18 months. The Boondock Saint continues that tradition, once again emphasizing the Master in Master Blender. While I did have to work at getting a desirable draw, I wouldn't hesitate to smoke more of these (a lot more) in the future!
What Other Folks Are Saying: 1 Make some Noise
Dave did ok with this review...who am I kidding, he killed it! Every one of these I light up leaves me feeling satisfied and knowing I just smoked a well blended smoke. I’m burning one now and man oh man....any of the Noise boys that know me know pepper is my jam and Boondock Saint rocks all night!
February 12, 2018, 7:24 pm
Make some Noise


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Dave West

Editor and Contributor at CigarNoise
Identifying as a Cigar Enthusiast more than an Aficionado, I enjoy trying new cigars and attempting to annotate my experience. Disclosure: As of June 2017, I began writing for SmallBatchCigar.com and will no longer be reviewing SBC exclusives
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