La Perla Habana Black Pearl July 6th, 2010 Steve R 90 Share: In case you haven’t seen our latest catalog, get on it, son. We have some mighty fine deals in there, let alone some fantastic new blends....in addition to the return of classic gems such as this: La Perla Habana. Currently, the Black Pearl and Classic are here, in house, and the Morado, Rojo, and Cobre are on the way. Since the Black Pearl was one of my favorite cigars many moons ago, I’ve decided to revisit this dark and oily lovely to see if we can’t spark the flame once more. Years ago, this cigar was pitch black. But that’s comparing it to the rest of the blends on the market. Today, it’s as dark as many maduros....but I’ll be damned if it ain’t pretty to look at. The Brazilian Arapiraca is black as night with minimal veins and maximum oils - you may know, this is one of my favorite wrapper varieties. The pre-light aroma has hints of barnyard with a sweet tobacco note. Upon lighting, a rush of rich and toasty nuances smack my palate. Dark tobacco and charcoal backed by a subtle spice that lingers on the tip of my tongue. The smoke wafting overhead is warm and rich with a unique oily note. After a half inch, I already begin feeling this cigar in the pit of my stomach. I wouldn’t call it full-bodied, but this Black Pearl no doubt has some meet on its bones. An inch in and the spice has become much more mellow, and the bouquet is now displaying a deep, oaky note with toasty influence. After a solid 30 minutes I’m just past the midway point. This slow-burning cigar - the 6.25” x 52 Belicoso - is pumping out a ton of thick, gray smoke right now and the flavor has yet to back down. In fact, the spice that I noticed in the first inch is now creeping its way back up the sides of my palate, while oak and toast remain in the center. Through the nose the smoke is surprisingly smooth with a touch of red pepper. In the final third the bouquet develops a dense earthy tone, which is likely the result of the zesty Mexican tobaccos within. I love it, it’s mingling with the increased spice quite nicely and remains a focal point down to the final inch and a half. The finale is assertive yet balanced - a culmination of spice, oak, toast, and earth all wrapped inside a tidy package with a purdy bow on top. It’s been a while since I’ve nubbed a cigar. Maybe there’s a nostalgia factor at play here, or maybe the cigar really is that good, but I nubbed this Belicoso until it became too hot to handle. Tasty. Since writing this review, I’ve burned a handful of Black Pearls in the Belicoso size to ensure consistency is still spot on - back in the day these babies burned exactly the same, cigar after tasty cigar. Much to my delight, nothing has changed - outside of a slight uptick in strength with a couple sticks - which will likely change with a little humi-time - the flavor is spot-on and delicious with every puff. On the prowl for a dark, toasty maduro with ample complexity and impressive balance? You can’t go wrong here. Just beware, because every now and then one of these Black Pearls may mellow you a bit....but if you’re anything like me, that won’t faze you one iota. note: we received a rush shipment of pre-packed mazos of 5, but don’t worry, full boxes will be here any day now!