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Routine is part of life, whether it’s when you get up, how you get to work—at least in the days when people commuted to work—or what you tend to pick up at the grocery store. There are also the routines of others that become part of your life: the mail is delivered around 2 p.m., a customer shows up five minutes before closing time, and so on.

I bring this up because when I wake up in the morning, I have a fairly routine of looking at my phone to see what emails or other to-dos may be waiting for me, and in particular if there are any urgent issues I need to attend to before diving into my plans for the day. While it’s not a daily occurrence, I have become used to seeing an early morning email from Black Label Trading Co. announcing either the shipping of one of its lines, and on occasion, that there’s a new line being released.

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That’s what happened on Sept. 10, 2020, when the company announced it had a new line called Super Deluxe that was heading to stores.

It uses a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, an Ecuadorian habano binder and fillers from Nicaragua, a combination that on paper suggests a blend that should approach or reach the full category in flavor, body and strength.

“Super Deluxe highlights everything I love about bold tobacco,” said James Brown, founder of Black Label Trading Co., in a press release. “The combination of Nicaraguan fillers and Mexican wrapper work together to create a rich, dark, earthy profile, with subtle spice and layers of complex flavors.”

It is offered in three sizes, all of which are box-pressed.

  • Black Label Trading Co. Super Deluxe Petite Corona (4 1/2 x 48) — $9 (Box of 20, $180)
  • Black Label Trading Co. Super Deluxe Robusto (5 1/4 x 52) — $11 (Box of 20, $220)
  • Black Label Trading Co. Super Deluxe Lancero (7 x 42) — $11.50 (Box of 20, $230)

While the company did not break out how many boxes are being produced, the entire project is limited to 880 total boxes, with production handled by Fabrica Oveja Negra in Estelí, Nicaragua.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Black Label Trading Co. Super Deluxe Lancero
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Fabrica Oveja Negra
  • Wrapper: Mexico (San Andrés)
  • Binder: Ecuador (Habano)
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 7 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 42
  • Vitola: Lancero
  • MSRP: $11.50 (Box of 20, $230)
  • Release Date: Sept. 10, 2020
  • Number of Cigars Released: 880 Boxes of 20 Cigars (17,600 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

As I get set up to smoke the first of the three Black Label Trading Co. Super Deluxe Lancero samples for this review, it’s the box-pressed lancero vitola that strikes me first. The feels particularly well-pressed, and its width is almost hard to resolve given how much surface area I assume that a round lancero would have. Of course, this is thicker than the typical lancero, with a 42 ring gauge instead of a 38 ring gauge, which explains that a bit. The wrapper is dark and incredibly toothy, not just in number but size of each individual spot. That results in a gritty texture on the fingers, and while the wrapper is slightly oily, I’m not sure it could have enough to smooth over the texture. From front to back it’s consistently firm, but I find some inconsistency side-to-side, with one sample easily compressed by even a gentle squeeze. The foot offers an aroma that is tough to place at first, reminding me a bit of the aroma of a men’s cologne counter. Working through that, there’s some oak, leather and root beer, but very surprisingly no appreciable pepper. The cold draw can be a bit tight, something that’s resolved through some detailed trimming of the head. As for the flavor, it’s a bit sweet with the sweetness of a cherry pie filling, along with a slightly generic tobacco flavor, very subtle woodiness and just a suggestion of pepper.

The Black Label Trading Co. Super Deluxe Lancero opens with a flavor that I can’t quite place, other than to say it’s a bit chalky, a bit waxy, and trying to become peppery but stuck in those other flavors. Fortunately, it’s a short-lived experience, as within five or six puffs things are rectifying themselves by way of white pepper. By the half-inch mark, I’m getting some familiar black pepper through the nose, which the palate gets the first flavors of an earthy base note. There is the faintest hint of aloe sweetness emerging from the earthiness, a smell I associate with potent ligero leaves and which doesn’t surprise me to find in a BLTC blend. It’s both a fairly quick and fairly impressive turnaround for the flavor, and I’m hoping it holds on for a while. There’s a good amount of black pepper through the nose, just enough to get me thinking about pacing out my retrohales but not enough to actually do it. The flavor seems like it’s trying to develop some creaminess, yet it ends up a bit powdery. After its inauspicious start, the Super Deluxe has rallied into an enjoyable medium-plus flavor and body, while the strength is closer to medium, though I don’t think it will stay there. Construction is very good, with the typically unstable ash of a lancero the only thing to mention.

The black pepper found in the retrohales slowly and steadily intensifies as the second third of the Super Deluxe gets underway, while there’s a bit more robustness developing on the palate and into the throat. Even though there isn’t any American-grown broadleaf in the profile, the flavor is reminiscent of it. While the flavor was building, it levels off and even backs off a touch just shy of the midpoint, though there is still just enough gruffness to elicit a reaction at the top of my throat. The midpoint can see the flavor skew into a bit of chalky funkiness before moving back to a more earthy, peppery profile. Along that journey, I get sporadic hits of warm, flat cola that adds a bit of sweetness and body. In terms of impact per puff, retrohales seem to outperform what the palate gets, and much of that is attributable to the pepper, which now not only tingles at first pass, but leaves a lingering sensation that has a bit of firewood and a more pronounced ligero pepper. There are a few moments where the cola, woodiness, earth, pepper and a campfire note come together to form something quite special and without any of the harshness or irritation that has followed the profile. The second third can wander into territory that sees more of the funkiness return to the profile, and while I think I’m getting some potent ligero, it also tastes a bit under fermented by way of some rawness to the flavor. Construction is still very good, with smoke production pretty typical for a lancero. Flavor is medium-full if not right on the line of full, body is medium-plus and strength is around medium-plus. 

There are still some traces of the chalky sourness and as the Super Deluxe Lancero gets into its final third, and with the ratios of the tobaccos being what they are, there simply isn’t anywhere for the flavor to hide or enough of the other flavors to balance it out. Similarly, the physical reaction in the mouth and throat is still there, yet even with those things, the flavor is still surprisingly palatable. That said, outside of a dominant, rich earth note with just a bit of black pepper mixed in, there’s not a laundry list of flavors to rattle off. The thick, syrupy sweetness makes quick and fleeting appearances, but never long enough to fully become part of the flavor. The final two inches do an admirable job giving the profile a strong finish: it’s earthy, peppery, but most of all it is appreciably a richer profile than the cigar has exhibited thus far. Construction has generally been very good, with only the occasionally firm draw being of note.

Final Notes

  • It seems that the cross on the band is the front of the cigar, at least by how the cigars are put in their cellophane. However, once out of the cellophane, it’s easy to make a case that either side could be the front of the cigar.
  • The first of the three samples I smoked had a patch job on the wrapper.

  • Reading James Brown’s quote about Super Deluxe showcasing what he loves about bold tobacco made me think of another cigar I reviewed recently, the Onyx Bold Nicaragua.
  • Searching for that review turned up a few other cigars that have invoked the world bold, including the Bold by Nish Patel and Micallef Grande Bold Ligero, both of which I reviewed.
  • The Black Label Trading Co. Super Deluxe Lancero offers some strength, but it’s on the tamer side of the spectrum relative to other fuller-bodied cigars.
  • A while back, I picked up one of the shorter vitolas—though I can’t recall if it was the robusto or petite corona—and it was appreciably stronger than the lancero. Strength-wise, it was not a great choice for a hot day in Phoenix.
  • I also don’t recall getting the harsher aspects of the profile in that thicker vitola. I do recall it being a bit slower smoke, however.
  • I’ve recommended doing this before, but I think it would be incredibly interesting and beneficial to smoke the lancero vitola side-by-side with one of the other two to experience how the difference in vitola can affect the flavor and overall profile.
  • The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 30 minutes on average.
  • Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co. and JR Cigar carry the Black Label Trading Co. Super Deluxe Lancero.
87 Overall Score

If you’re familiar with Black Label Trading Co.’s portfolio, what the Super Deluxe has to offer should be fairly familiar: big, bold flavors, good amounts of earth and pepper, and an overall experience that will put your palate through a workout. As can happen with the lancero vitola, the amount of tobacco that can be included simply isn’t enough to show what the blend is all about, which is what I’m left feeling is the case with the Super Deluxe. More specifically, this size doesn’t leave much margin for error. As I mentioned above, I think this blend does better in the thicker ring gauges, so unless you really have a jones for a lancero, or you really want a gruffer expression of the blend, I’d recommend leaning to those thicker sizes to get the more well-rounded and ultimately better Super Deluxe experience.

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Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.