Three Season Porch at Home
December 05, 2017 @ 1 PM
Starbucks Christmas Blonde 2017
Low-50s - Warm winter day, cool fall day
o Short Robusto - 4-3/4" x 52
o Corona Gorda - 5-1/2" x 48
RELEASE TYPE: Limited Production w/ Annual Release
ORIGINALLY RELEASED: November 2016
2016 production numbers were not released; Boxes of 20
CIGAR BACKGROUND INFO
- The Santa Muerte line is inspired by the Dia de los Muertos holiday. As such it was originally released on November 1st - one of the observed days for the holiday.
- Dia de los Muertos is all about honoring the dead - those that we love and remember that are no longer with us. BLTC uses the Santa Muerte to give a nod to those that inspired and came before them in the cigar business.
- The Santa Muerte line uses six different fillers from various regions.
- James Brown, owner of BLTC, says the brand's philosophy is producing small batch cigars with a less is more approach. While it is certain the craft and detail that goes into the cigar is emblematic of this philosophy, I've gotta say the branding (while awesome) doesn't really feel like a less is more approach.
BLTC comes out with some really badass looking bands and the Santa Muerte is no exception. It perfectly conveys the Dia de los Muertos image with the prominently placed skull and cross above. Outside of the skull, the whole band looks like the motif you'd find atop a pueblo-style church south of the border. The text below is simple enough and states the brand and name of the cigar line - something I can always appreciate. The black and white color scheme fits the brand aesthetic and concept perfectly.
My sole complaint is that the band is a little big for the cigar. It could be scaled down a bit and be just about perfect.
BLTC's Santa Muerte is a sexy looking cigar. The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper is a soft, oil-laden brown wrapper that's closer to a horsehide shade than chocolate. The wrapper has plenty of veins apparent however the cigar itself is perfectly smooth. Even when you look for seams, it's very hard to find them! The Santa Muerte really is a masterpiece from a construction point of view.
The cigar is very firm with little-to-no compression and feels like a dense, bulky stick. The quad cap is perfectly applied - blending seamlessly into the body of the cigar. The shoulders are symmetrical with a drop nice deep and even into the cigar as well. The foot reinforces the notion that the Santa Muerte is a densly packed stick. The foot looks so well and tightly packed that I'm slightly concerned for the draw! BLTC's reputation of solidly made cigars is enough to ease any concerns there though.
The cigar has a faint pre-light aroma - some soft cedar and must. Not much else going on - it's very nice smelling but no major notes that stand out as dominant.
The cold draw brings the first bursts of flavor with great cedar and orange zest notes. It's a little on the tight side but I cut it pretty shallow so we'll see how it opens up.
LIGHT & DRAW
Cutter: Xikar XO Lighter: SNS Single-Torch
The Santa Muerte starts out with a bit of peppery harshness but nothing overwhelming. The draw is pleasantly open - alleveating any concerns from my prelight observations. So far, the burn is a little wobbly but overall starting out well.
I will say, it took a minute to the Santa Muerte lit up evenly but once I got the whole foot lit up, it burned uniformly. Already, the white-grey ash is stacking sturdily - another nod to the cigar's stellar construction.
The Santa Muerte is kicking out plenty of smoke - definitely leaning more to the heavy side.
> Pepper, Cedar, Dough
The initial flavors from the short robusto are mild pepper, cedar and just a bit of doughiness. The retrohale is a healthy dose of black pepper that'll bring some tears to your eyes.
The draw continues to be just about perfect - just the right amount of openess. At this point, the burn line is perfect - nice and sharp with only some extremely minor deviations. The ash remains a white-grey color and is stacking perfectly.
> Bread, Walnut, Cedar
Getting into the second third, the pepper has subsided and become a much more mellow while medium-bodied smoke. The cedar is still present although taking a secondary role. Bread/dough are at the forefront - making for a very muted, subtle baseline flavor. Also present are some raw walnuts. The retrohale is quite soft and easy going - it reinforces the doughiness and omits any harshness of the pepper while still providing the flavor of pepper - if that makes any sense.
I can't help but think this would be the ideal cigar to pair with some good bourbon. The sweetness of a bourbon or other liquor (or something like ginger ale) would really compliment the mild pepper and bread/nut flavors nicely.
At the midpoint, the draw is great - open with just a bit of resistance. The burn continues to be impressive - no deviation or waviness - perfect razor-sharp burn. The ash fell at about an inch and is once again building superbly.
> Dough, Leather, Red Pepper
All good things must come to an end, right? The Santa Muerte's final act is much a continuation of the first two. There is a balance of dough/bread combined with some pepper and walnuts but new to the palate are some cedar, leather and just a hint of red pepper. There's an underlying slight creaminess that is serving to unify the flavors as well.
The flavor progression is not an overt, hit you over the head type progression. It quietly shifts and plays with a few flavors expertly. While I do love the cigars that can seamlessly move from one extreme flavor to the next, it is awesome to watch a master blender at work with just a handful of flavors. My lone wish is for a subtle sweetness to really compliment the palate - if the orange zest of the cold draw could have continued this really would be a masterpiece.
OVERALL BURN EXPERIENCE
The draw and burn have been nothing short of perfection. BLTC's quality is quickly becoming a high bar for other brands to reach for - especially at the price point. I would easily expect this stick to cost a few bucks more than it does.
RATING & FINAL THOUGHTS
COMPLIMENTS & CRITIQUES
👍 Truly perfect construction
👍 Subtle but medium-bodied
👎 Missing a little sweetness
Construction & Appearance ....... 0.80 / 0.80
Pre-Light Characteristics ............. 0.46 / 0.50
Lighting Process ............................. 0.47 / 0.50
Smoking Experience ..................... 7.01 / 7.70
Personal Enjoyment ....................... 0.50 / 0.50
SANTA MUERTE MASTERPIECE.
9.2 / 10.0
BLTC's Santa Muerte is truly a fantastic cigar for everyone. The subtle complexity and flavors can appeal to an experienced B/SOTL while the medium-body and strength are very approachable to a newcomer. I'll admit, prior to this review this has been one of my favorite sticks to reach for since it's release last year. I can recommend, without hesitation, picking up a box of either vitola from either year - you will not be disappointed!
MORE PICTURES FROM THE REVIEW:
HOW WE COMPARE:
I love reading other reviewers' thoughts on the cigars I'm smoking and reviewing. Here's a look at how my review compares to what others are writing and rating this cigar at:
|Site||Vitola Reviewed||Rating||Normalized Rating||Link|
|Cigar Smoke||Short Robusto||91||9.1||https://cigarsmoke.net/?p=637643|
There are not many reviews out there for the short robusto vitola of the Santa Muerte! The one I found had it pegged pretty close to were I rated it!