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Blue Label 'B2'

Steve R
90

With CIGARfest this weekend, time is of the essence. We’re all pumped as hell to welcome 3,000 cigar lunatics representing all 50 states, but let’s face it: it’s a lot of work and takes a lot of prep time. Work that’s fully worth it, but work that leaves little time for a staff review. Fortunately, I have some added incentive to write this review. Some inspiration if you will.

You see, every time I drive to work I listen to ESPN radio. I’m a huge Mike and Mike fan. And not a day goes by that I don’t hear the same silly commercial. A winery comparing buying wines to buying cars. “You wouldn’t buy a new car without test driving it, so why buy a wine without tasting it?”

Really? Comparing a bottle of (soon to be gone) vino to a car purchase? Seriously? Let’s face it. A decent bottle of wine can cost you as little as $10, even less by the box....eh, eh? Then there’s the rule of permanency....since the first bottle usually doesn’t last past appetizers, is it really vital to taste the wine before breaking it open with a spaghetti dinner? If you’re buying wine that’s so expensive it must be tasted, no questions asked, this review probably isn’t for you. Surely you light your expensive pre-embargo Cuban cigars once owned by Mark Twain with $20 bills, and have no room in your household - let alone mind frame - for a solid, buck-and-change cigar with [gasp!] no band. If you’re in my camp, celebrating the success of finding a delightful bargain knowing you might hit a homerun, but strike out now and then....read on.

Onto my review: Blue Label ‘B2.’ Like the original Blue Label, this sales stud hails from the Gran Habano factory of Honduras. If you’re familiar with Gran Habano, you know they have a knack for bringing quality, Cuban-esque handmades to the table for minimal coin....they’re always consistent and always delicious. Despite the modest price tag, ‘B2’ is no different. Available in 4 generous sizes, Blue Label ‘B2’ is packaged up in aging room fashion: hefty Cuban wheels of 30 with no bells or whistles, just a simple blue ribbon for a band.

I have the 6”x60 Double Toro in my hand. The wrapper is silky to the touch, thick, and durable. Like a piece of leather hugging a truckload of Nicaraguan and Panamanian long-fillers. If you’ve ever held a Gran Habano cigar, you know they come packed to the brim, heavy in the hand, and solid from head to toe. I find this size to be very enjoyable. A tame, medium-bodied bouquet full of flavor and charisma.

The cigar opens with a rich, slightly peppery blast of tobacco flavors. Thick clouds of smoke fill my palate and the air above, releasing a lovely aroma that’s earthy and zesty. Awesome. After a few minutes of burn time, a dense core of earth presents itself. The spices move to the finish, complementing a lovely sweetness from the dark Nicaraguan Habano wrapper. Midway through, things really get interesting. The cigar becomes very complex, thanks to a thick 60-ring comprised of bold, contrasting tobaccos. Sweet cedar, coffee bean, and leather join the fray and hit different parts of my palate as a sweetness is left on the tip of my tongue. The velvety smoke clings to all sides of my mouth, leaving behind a tingly spice that lingers long after each exhale. Full-flavored and medium in body, a great combo you’ll find in the Double Toro size. While the other three sizes tend to gain strength as they burn, this 6”x60 beast remains mellow and tame, something you could puff on constantly without sacrificing balance for harshness. I love it. The quality, the flavor, the smoothness, the consistency....it’s hard to find a bad thing to say about this cigar, especially when you factor in price.

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