Friday, October 31, 2008

Retro-Smoke: Partagas Black Label Piramide


Just a few days ago I had a real "oldie but goodie:" a Partagas Black Label Piramide. Remember when these first came out in 2001? They were among the new crop of "full-bodied" cigars the manufacturers were starting to market, and I remember them being pretty strong and spicy at the time. Now, almost seven years later, this 6" x 60 black beauty seemed rather tame to my palate, but still had plenty of juicy flavor.

The Partagas Black Label Piramide is one of the most popular and highly rated in the line, and its ebony-cast, sun-grown Connecticut Habano leaf is beautiful to behold. At the core of the cigar are Dominican Piloto Cubano and Nicaraguan Ligero filler tobaccos with a Dominican La Vega Especial binder.

For the most part the cigar smoked smoothly, dominated by a well-rounded mix of deep earthy, woody flavors with just a trickle of espresso, and a stunning aroma. The only problem I had was with the draw. I had to chop a considerable amount of the head, which resulted in about a 32 ring opening. Even then the draw was a little stiff, but the cigar burned well, exposing a nice round cherry, when ashed. At about two inches in, the cigar finally loosened up and hit on all cylinders from that point on.

In 2001 I would have recommended this cigar to only the most experienced cigar smoker. However, by today's standards, although they still pack a nice punch, I would say this cigar will appeal to newer cigar smokers who want to move to a full-flavored, yet non-overpowering dark cigar.

Which reminds me: despite their jet-black color, Partagas Black Label cigars are not Maduros. The wrapper is darkened naturally by leaving it on the plant 50% longer than usual, a process called "medio tiempo" which results in a richer-tasting and sweeter leaf, like a Maduro, but is actually a "dark natural" leaf.

Enjoy, and send me your comments on this cigar if you like.

~ Gary Korb