What with the FDA being gigantic cock juggling thunder c***s I decided that today was the day that I should smoke this cigar. It was another one of the Black Label line that I never thought I would have the opportunity to have, and like so many of those cigars it was gifted to me by a kind member of a cigar community I am a part of. In this case the very generous reddit r/cigars user, bignikistyle, thank you again Sir.
Tatuaje Black Label Toro CRA Exclusive – The Cigar
First introduced in 2009, this 6 inch by 50 ring gauge Toro is the only cigar of that size in the line. It is an exclusive to the sampler that the Cigar Rights of America (as far as I know) used to put out. The sampler contained, depending on the year, cigars from the Fuente’s, La Palina, Ashton, Rocky Patel, Alec Bradley and others. Proceeds from the sales went to help fund the organization that fights things like higher taxation and bans on smoking cigars. To find out more about the organization and to become a member go to their website, www.cigarrights.org. All of the cigars in the sampler have the CRA’s secondary band.
The cigar keeps the traditional features of the cigars in this line with the Fuma cap and closed foot.
The Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo wrapper has its usual small veins and a large amount of very, very small tooth all over it. The cap is neatly triple capped and the closed foot is among the nicest I have seen, with the tobacco neatly folded around the filler. The cigar is a little soft, especially near the foot.
The secondary band is really nice, the detail is all embossed and there is an almost lacquered finish to it. It stands out very well against the quite austere, plain Tatuaje black and white band.
The wrapper smells of old hay in a mature barnyard with a little leather, salt and old wood. From the foot the same scents are apparent but after cutting the cap I pick up smells of sweet chocolate and dried fig in addition.
The cold draw gave spice, wood and mild, sweet anise.
Tatuaje Black Label Toro CRA Exclusive – Initial Impressions
A blast of pepper and spice comes right off of the closed foot, I love lighting cigars that have that, watching them blossom as the flame starts to ignite the tobacco is spectacular. The draw is a little more open than I like on a cigar, but its not a wind tunnel by any means. The retrohale gives me the bright raspberry notes that this blend so often presents me, alongside a sweet almond and chocolate note. The finish is very nutty with a dark roasted hazelnut taking the fore, a little pepper and earth and a lingering sense of sweetness.
Tatuaje Black Label Toro CRA Exclusive – The First Third
The draw is quite a bit more mild now after the closed foot has burned off and is mostly of a background pepper with a little spice that builds to a more prominent note by the one inch mark. The retrohale continues to give bright raspberry and is quickly joined by sweet almonds, giving it an impression of a moist sweet almond and raspberry cake. It’s wonderful. The finish is a dark chocolate and spice mix that has the flavour but not the heat of a Mexican chocolate and chili Mole. Roasted nuts appear on the long finish.
Tatuaje Black Label Toro CRA Exclusive – The Middle Third
Sweet almonds replace the spice on the draw, although not completely. It’s nice to have it there just in the background. The raspberry takes a shift to a sweetened, but not too sweet, cranberry for the retrohale although the almonds stay while cinnamon spice comes in at about the halfway point. As the final third approaches and I ash the cigar, a menthol note creeps in on the retro for a couple of draws. Some of the raspberry appears on the immediate finish, with mild leather and earth being joined by a stronger wooden note. All of this is held together by an underlying sweet chocolate.
Tatuaje Black Label Toro CRA Exclusive – The Final Third
The draw becomes just sweet spice now with no trace of the pepper. The retrohale has gone back to raspberry but rather than being a bright, fresh flavor it’s much more like the taste you get from freeze dried raspberries. It’s joined by a little cinnamon, almonds and a shortbread like note.
On the finish, there is a strong anise flavor, a little sweet like the old red anise balls that sweet shops used to sell here. It’s also joined by a little leather and a minerally earth taste.
Tatuaje Black Label Toro CRA Exclusive – The Nub
I nearly never smoke a cigar this far down. I tend to be done at about an inch and a half left to go, but in this case I cant put it down. I even considered burning through the bands as some symbolic testament to your rights being taken away but I think its both a silly modern fad and I didn’t want to ruin the cigar either.
The draw is a sweet vanilla that surprised me completely. I was expecting darker, more bitter flavors at this point. The main action is still on the retrohale and finish – spiced fruit bread in the retrohale with shortbread, almonds, bright wood, mild anise and very light vanilla on the finish. On the long finish there was a very nice sweet chocolate. I put the cigar out as my fingers got too hot with a little under half an inch to go.
Was this a good cigar? Yes, unreservedly. Although having smoked a lot of this blend I can say that I have never had a bad Black Label. I think a better question is, “Is this a good representation of the Black Label Line?” To which I can answer again, yes. I’m not sure how old this one is but judging from the flavors that I got from it I am happy with the thought that it’s a lot closer to 2009 than 2016. I have found that as these cigars age the flavours soften and become unveiled from the usual prominent spice. In this vitola, there was plenty of complexity while still keeping a strong core of flavor.
Would I smoke another one? Not today as there was a surprising strength to it still despite my above statement. Any other day, though, I would snatch it out of your hand like a fat kid with a lolly pop.
Would I buy one? If this were a regular production cigar then yes, absolutely. As you can only purchase it as part of a set my feelings are mixed. There are enough good cigars in the sampler that I would smoke, but there are still some that I am either undecided about, or like the Rocky Patel, just wouldn’t smoke at all.
Thank you for reading,