Occasionally in the cigar world there are false starts on a new release. It can be delayed for various reasons whether it be the blend not being perfect, the packaging having a slightly wrong color, or a myriad of other possibilities that exist when your end product relies on so many variables.
The Diamond Crown Black Diamond is certainly a cigar that falls into one of those categories, with the name first showing up on a cigar in the 2013 Cigar Family Charitable Foundation Toast Across America coffin. It wasn’t until the 2015 IPCPR Convention and Trade Show that we saw the name again, but it appeared to be only the name that was the same. J.C. Newman had unbanded samples of the current iteration of the Black Diamond on hand that they weren’t ready to commit to being the final blend, and they were very clear the packaging in the display was a rough prototype. The release date was another thing that wasn’t finalized, though they did say it should be released sometime towards the end of that year.
A year passed without seeing any of this special release, but at the 2016 IPCPR Convention and Trade Show, the final version proving to be quite a polished release, in both the figurative and literal sense. Coming in boxes of 20, the box itself has a black mirror finish to it, emblazoned with silver lettering and a logo that is quite different from the rest of the Diamond Crown line. Three sizes were released at launch:
- Diamond Crown Black Diamond Emerald (6 x 52) — $20 (Boxes of 20, $400)
- Diamond Crown Black Diamond Radiant (4 1/2 x 54) — $17 (Boxes of 20, $340)
- Diamond Crown Black Diamond Marquis (5 1/4 x 56) — $19 (Boxes of 20, $380)
- Cigar Reviewed: Diamond Crown Black Diamond Marquis
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia
- Wrapper: Connecticut Sungrown
- Binder: Dominican Republic
- Filler: Dominican Republic
- Length: 5 1/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 56
- Vitola: Robusto Gordo
- MSRP: $19 (Boxes of 20, $380)
- Release Date: Nov. 25, 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The Black Diamond Marquis features a pretty, if not perfect, dark wrapper that has a bumpy, smooth, and light oily feel to it. There is a little bit of give to the entire cigar without any specific soft spots. A heavy barnyard aroma comes off the wrapper, with lots of earth, some leather, and a touch of sweet, damp hay. The cold draw is surprising and unique, with an interesting root beer note up front, followed by some sweet chocolate, a touch of spice, then finishing off with more sweet, fresh hay.
Starting into the first third I get a lot of musty wood, some pepper, and some spice of both the herbaceous and savory kind. The draw is only slightly favors the more open side of ideal and produces plenty of pleasantly aromatic smoke. The burn is almost razor sharp and even, with dense ash that holds on well to around the inch mark. After that inch however, the burn starts to have some serious problems, with about half of the cigar not wanting to ignite. Touching it up and moving on, I continue to get old wood, light pepper, a new note of cocoa and more spice that has turned decidedly more towards the sweet side of things.
Moving on to the second third, the cocoa continues to grow and develop into more of a dry, dark chocolate note, with the pepper, sweet spice and wood staying on as well. A huge hazelnut note appears all of a sudden, adding to the enjoyable profile of the Black Diamond. Unfortunately the burn continues to confound me, with about a third of the cigar not wanting to burn at the same rate as the rest. It doesn’t seem to be affecting the profile too much however, so I touch it up continue. The ash still holds on to around the inch mark, but has become decidedly flaky, making a mess on anything I hold the cigar over.
The final third sees the hazelnut note fade a little and join the dark chocolate in the background, allowing the sweet spice, pepper and aged wood notes to continue up front. The burn continues to need helped along, with a part of the cigar that absolutely refuses on every level to burn consistently on its own. Likewise, the ash continues to make a mess everywhere, with enough of it dropping in my lap that I’m almost surprised there’s any left to make it into the ashtray. As I move into the last inch the profile continues smoothly, somewhat to my surprise with the number of touch ups throughout, and finishes without getting harsh or bitter. This allows me to enjoy the subtle nuances of the hazelnut and chocolate, complementing the sweet spice, pepper and wood notes all the way to the end.
- The boxes are quite exquisite looking, and in order to protect the finish, each will come in a black bag with purple lining – just adding to the overall presentation.
- While it seemed almost nothing was finalized at IPCPR 2015, it was stated that the blend did stay the same between shows.
- Eric Newman spoke about the Black Diamond at IPCPR, which you can view here.
- As seems to be the case with this cigar, the original shipping date was supposed to be in September. It was pushed to Nov. 25 however, a fitting day to release the Black Diamond as that date was also Black Friday.
- Initially these will only be available at select Diamond Crown lounges, though at some point they will be available to all retailers that carry J.C. Newman.
- Burn problems don’t always show up in the same areas, usually more of a sporadic thing with varying results. Every single sample I smoked however seemed to have the exact same section that didn’t want to burn, requiring almost the exact same number of touch ups across all three.
- I didn’t get to try all three sizes, but I did get to try the Radiant in addition to the Marquis. While this isn’t always the case for me, I actually preferred the fatter 56 ring gauge Marquis to the smaller 52 ring gauge Radiant.
- Cigars for this review were provided to halfwheel at IPCPR 2016.
- Final smoking time averaged a little over an hour and a half.
While I can’t remember my specific thoughts on the samples I smoked in 2015, the ones I smoked for this review certainly left a good impression. The Diamond Crown Black Diamond Marquis started out with a good profile, moving into something that was even more enjoyable for the final two thirds of the cigar. Of course the constant burn problems were an annoyance, but ones that didn’t seem to affect the flavors, which really is my biggest concern with touching up a cigar more than once. I’ll be curious to see if the cigars released to stores fared differently than the ones that weathered the trade show in Las Vegas, but even if they’re the same it’s a good cigar that I can certainly suggest going and trying for yourself.