Black Label Trading Co. Last Rites Viaticum
Another gorgeous Sunday in the borderlands. This week I take a look at Black Label Trading Co.’s Last Rites Viaticum paired with a bottle of the Bruery’s 2021 Melange Noir blended ale.
The Good Stuff:
Originally released as a limited edition blend only available to retailers who attended the 2019 IPCPR show, the Last Rites Viaticum would now be available to all of Black Label Trading Co.’s retailers in 2021. Created at the Fabrica Oveja Negra factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, the blend features an Ecuadorian Maduro wrapper over a Honduran Habano binder and fillers from Honduras and Nicaragua. The Viaticum is produced in 3 sizes: Robusto (5 x 54), Toro (6 x 48), and the Lancero (6 3/4 x 40). All three sport a soft box-press format and come packaged in boxes of 20 running between $15 and $15.25 a stick. Only 800 boxes of each size will be released. We scooped ours up from our good friends at Cigars International.
- Size: 5 x 54
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Maduro
- Binder: Honduran Habano
- Filler: Honduran / Nicaraguan
- Body: Medium/Full
- Strength: Medium/Full
- Price: $15
- Pairing: The Bruery Melange Noir (Blended Ale 16.6% ABV)
The Black Label Trading Co. Last Rites Viaticum starts out with a very deep, dark brown wrapper. So dark it’s almost black and incredibly consistent. The wrapper itself feels pretty thick and tough while the cigar as a whole is very hard and tightly packed. The wrapper showcases lots of mild veining as the soft box-pressed body leads up to the cigar’s round, triple-wrapped cap. The cigar is then polished off with a black and gold band with the skull embossed on the front and a black and gold foot bad with the Viaticum crest printed across the front.
The wrapper on the Viaticum gives off a ton of raisin over some natural tobacco while the foot of the cigar is much more spice-forward with lots of herbal and dit aromas. The cigar cut like butter using my Xikar XO double bladed cutter. The cold draw produces a whole mess of raisin, cocoa and spice.
The Black Label Trading Co. Last Rites Viaticum carries a very mild black pepper punch that quickly faded as the cigar released a ton of cocoa, cinnamon, raisin, espresso, maple, and moss. It’s a really great flavor profile to lead off with. The draw is absolutely perfect as each and every tiny puff kicks out a whole mess of thick, white smoke which sticks around for a considerable amount of time before dissipating while the cigar releases a ton of stationary smoke as it rests in my ashtray. The burnline is very thin and dead even leaving behind a trail fo white and light gray ash which held on for an inch before falling into my ashtray.
Into the second third of the Viaticum and the cinnamon and raisin lead the way backed by cocoa, caramel, and espresso with light maple sweetness and earthiness. There is this very enjoyable, unique blend of earthy/herbal tones I get from a lot of the Black Label cigars and it’s pretty potent in this one. The cold draw produces a whole ton of black pepper, even more than I got off the initial smoke. The burnline is slightly wavy as I close out the second third with nothing in terms of nicotine.
Into the final third of the Black Label Trading Co. Last Rites Viaticum and the cigars continues to pump out it’s amazing flavors. The raisin and cinnamon have remained in front of the pack while the caramel, cocoa, and espresso have been consistent. In the final third I noticed a lot of the sweetness and maple were replaced with much more herbal earthiness. It took me an hour to smoke this down to the nub. That’s right, just an hour. This thing smokes crazy fast. I experienced no harshness nor any extended heat while the cigar left me with no signs of any nicotine. While the burnline was a bit wavy there for a while it completely corrected itself and I never once had to reach for my torch to touchup, or relight the cigar.
Giving credit where credit is due, this is easily one of the best cigars I’ve smoked all year. The construction and burn were fantastic while the unique blend and flavor profile really appealed to my personal palate. And when I say it “really appealed”, I meant that I loved it. There are few drawbacks, but most are expected. It’s a bit pricey, however I feel the price is justified as I don’t mind paying $15 for the experience it delivered. It’s very limited. Well, that’s a given. And it burns very quickly. None were big enough miffs to keep me from purchasing quite a few more.
The Bruery’s Melange Noir is a blend of the brewery’s Black Tuesday stout, and two different barleywines including the anniversary release. The result is a 16.6% ABV powerhouse beer that is dangerously easy to drink. The Melange Noir leads lots of raisin, dark chocolate, caramel and black cherry over a good amount of sweethesss with a surprisingly thin mouthfeel before finishing with even more raisin, chocolate and black cherry. I’m often iffy about blended ales but this one turned out fantastic. The raisin, chocolate and caramel paired perfectly with the Viaticum while the cigar itself added some great spice to the beer resulting an in incredible paring.