Double Robusto, 5 x 56
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut, Nicaraguan Maduro
|Cigar age||0 yr. 1.7 mo.|
BACKGROUND: As the popularity of wine and cigar events like Crush & Roll West will attest, the world is ready, willing and able to enjoy a fine cigar along with a favorite wine. But pairing the two isn’t as easy as it may seem. Both wines and cigars are complex, living products that sport a range of styles, as well as body, flavor and strength profiles.
Mike Murphy of Bellaterra Ranch in Frankline TN, has taken the guesswork out of it by offering a stable of cigars specifically blended to go with red wines.
For over 3 years, Mike and a blending focus group worked to find the perfect cigar blend. They compared Bellaterra’s unique blends against several leading blends from other companies. Finally, they were able to understand and produce cigars that compliment red wine and they have introduced these blends to the public under the Bellaterra label.
The Black & Tan is the most recent cigar blend from Murphy and Bellaterra. It features a double wrapper that includes an Ecuadorian Connecticut and a Nicaraguan Maduro. The cigar I'm reviewing today is the 5-inch by 56 ring gauge Bellaterra Black & Tan Double Robusto.
TASTING NOTES: Though this cigar has a double wrapper, with wrapper below the band and toward the foot being an Ecuadorian Connecticut and the wrapper above the band being maduro, I never expect to smoke into the maduro wrapper. But that doesn't really matter because you can taste the maduro wrapper because of its contact with your lips. This Nicaraguan maduro has spicy black pepper that leaves a lasting impact on the palate.
While most Connecticut-wrapped cigars are light in body, the Black & Tan is a solid medium in body and strength and medium-full in flavor. The flavors really explode on the palate. It displays notes of smoky mesquite and a good dose of natural sweetness to go along with the typical grassiness found in Connecticut wrappers.
The construction on the Black & Tan is exceptional. These cigars are made by the Toraño family and I have not smoked a single one that has had any issues with the burn or draw. The draw is smooth and even, the burn line is spot on and the ash is as thick and dense as any you will behold. It is quite easy to keep the ash on the cigar for 2-4 inches and many people can smoke this cigar to the band without ashing.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The Bellaterra Black & Tan is really a nice smoke. Because it's flavor, body and strength profile lean toward the center, it should appeal to a wide range of cigar smokers. Also, because it was built from the ground up to pair well with red wines, this should be a no-brainer choice for those cigar smokers that also love red wines.
For a boutique brand, the cigars are priced competitively, although they may be difficult to find. Nevertheless, I can recommend the Black & Tan to any cigar enthusiast and especially those who drink red wine with their smokes.
These cigars are being stored in their original box in my Aristocrat M+ cabinet humidor. The humidity is set at 68%RH and the summer temperatures range between 68-82°F.
This is the first of two podcast reviews. These cigars have been resting in my humidor for 1.7 months prior to this first review.
Cigar Info Page » for Bellaterra, Black & Tan
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