When I started researching companies to involve in my “Off the Beaten Path” series, I really wanted to find some companies that grow their tobacco right here on US soil. Honestly, that’s a really hard task. The growing of tobacco for boutique cigars is simply dominated by Nicaragua, Cuba, DR, Honduras, Brazil, etc… To find tobacco grown in Kentucky is not rare, as quite a bit of it is used for cigarette production. But, to find Kentucky tobacco that is grown to the meticulous standards demanded by boutique cigar smokers today, that’s a different story. Black Patch Cigar Company accomplishes just that.
Upon mentioning Kentucky grown tobacco to some of my local tobacconists, they all seemed to look at me like I was a damn fool. “Those can’t be good”, they would say with a sarcastic sneer, giggling to themselves like the typical cigar snobs they are. Well, I have news for them. They were wrong. And, I certainly appreciate Todd Whan from Black Patch for giving me the opportunity to prove them wrong.
Now, don’t get confused into thinking that any one of his Black Patch blends is a Kentucky puro. They most certainly are not. However, Kentucky tobacco is used in every blend made with a combination of tobaccos from the Dominican Republic as well. They offer three blends in several different sizes consisting of the Reserve Maduro, Select Blend, and the Classic. To see more information on their blends, visit their site here.
When you visit the site, you will find that all of their cigars are available for purchase right on the site. Most of them are moderately priced, and they are only sold in bundles. There are, however, samplers available for each blend, as well as a BPCC sampler containing 4 smokes that encompasses the entire line. Let’s rewind for a second. Notice that I said bundles. From what I can tell, none of these smokes are available for purchase by the box. Personally, when I visit any one of my local tobacconists, I don’t pick up a stick unless it’s in a box. I don’t care what the box looks like, but when I think of bundled smokes, I can’t help but think of private blends or factory seconds. In my opinion, for Black Patch to see a continued success and expand their business into tobacco shops across the nation, they need to be available by the box. However, I will say that Todd made sure the samples that were sent to me were properly packaged, and properly humidified. This tells me that orders from Black Patch are sure to arrive in great condition.
So, what do I have to say about my smoking experience? The following reviews will guide you through the completely un-ordinary smoking pleasure of Black Patch Cigars. The reviews are placed in no particular order, as I will simply allow the reviews to speak for themselves.
Black Patch Select Perfecto
5 x 54 MSRP $8.25 Rating: 9.1 / 10
Unique is certainly a term that can be used for the Black Patch Select Blend. A Java shade grown wrapper, and a Dominican Olor binder, hold a volatile mix of Kentucky grown ligero. Mildly earthy, and slightly sweet aromas, radiate from this well rolled figurado, leaving a ligero induced zing on the lips during the pre-light draw. When I lit this magnificent little piece of art, I was immediately greeted with a blast of stone ground mustard. Unfortunately, it didn’t last for more than an inch, but I found it to be quite pleasant and out of the norm. The ligero bites hard into the nose, and grips the gut with full force. Eventually, the smoke evolves into pleasant hints of toffee, rye bread, and some indescribable spice. I certainly enjoyed this completely foreign smoking experience.
Black Patch Classic Corona
5 ½ x 44 MSRP $5.60 Rating: 8.7 / 10
The Classic blend is the more value oriented blend in the Black Patch line. This blend is predominantly Dominican, with some Kentucky Broadleaf blended in with the filler. The Dominican Sumatra wrapper was moderately veiny, and had a strange spotty appearance. Bold, woody aromas, accompany an extremely pungent mossy smell. The pre-light draw added some hints of almond into the mix, in an attempt to calm the dry and pungent draw. Immediately, I noticed that there was entirely too much Olor in the blend, as the moisture was sucked straight out of my mouth. The thick smoke brought flavors of campfire, black pepper, and un-sweet oatmeal and remained consistent throughout the smoke. Overall, it was interesting. However, I really think the Classic blend could stand at least 6 months in my humidor. I saved one, so I will get back to you fellow readers with my findings.
Black Patch Reserve Caldwell
5 ½ x 52 MSRP $5.75 Rating: 9.4 / 10
On to my personal favorite out of the bunch. The Reserve blend is the only blend in the line that features a Kentucky wrapper. Tooth and copious amounts of oil adorn the beautiful Maduro Kentucky Broadleaf leaf. This stick is simply stunning. A pleasantly familiar sweet and spicy bourbon aroma graces the nostrils, and produces a euphoric anticipation to fire it up. Elegantly smooth gobs of smoke bring hints of coffee, bourbon, and an interesting oak cask spice. This finger burner never gets bitter, and never gets boring.
Black Patch Select DBL Corona
6 ½ x 50 MSRP $7.75 Rating: 9.2 / 10
Unlike the Select Perfecto, this stick was very toothy and oily, and almost appeared to be a Maduro or Sumatra. Balanced aromas radiate notes of sweet wood, and invite you to enjoy something special. The pre-light draw is airy with hints of bourbon, tea, and a slight citrus. It pairs extremely well with sweet tea, as this pairing has become a favorite of mine. As with the other Select blend, the smoke starts with a brief mustard flavor. The ash was weak, but never flaky. The smoke exudes nuances of bitter toffee, peat moss, nutmeg, toast, and earth. Towards the end, the smoke became quite bitter, but in a good way, as it wandered towards a slightly citrus flavor. This smoke is complex, almost to the point of confusing. Definitely a must try.
Black Patch Reserve Logan
6 ½ x 50 MSRP $5.75 Rating: 8.9 / 10
I was so distinctly impressed with the other Reserve blend that I smoked, that I was simply chomping at the bit to smoke the Logan. Eager, and excited, I pulled this stick out of my humidor and started my normal inspection. This stick was slightly more vieny than its sibling, and had a sloppily placed cap. No big deal. Then I saw it. The dreaded hole that no cigar lover likes to see, the infamous tobacco beetle hole. Frantically, I emptied my humidor and inspected every stick, and luckily avoided any casualties. It appears that it was an isolated case, and may have been contained before the samples were ever sent to me. Not letting that stop me from enjoying my smoke, I fired up anyway. Just as before, simply fantastic. The score was simply affected by quality.
Overall, Black Patch Cigar Company blew me away. If you like complex smokes, certainly look into investing in at least a sampler. They are so easy to order, and they arrive so quickly, that you really have no reason not to. I would really like to see a couple minor improvements in the lines that they carry. Mainly, as you may have noticed, all the bands look almost identical. Personally, I had a difficult time distinguishing one blend from another at first glance. Also, as I previously stated, I would like to see them become available by the box. Nonetheless, I certainly enjoyed this experience, and I hope that some of you fellow readers grasp the opportunity to do so as well. Thanks for reading, and come back next week for my next part in the “Off the Beaten Path” series.