Black Label Trading Co. is back this year and with it many changes – an updated booth, new cigars and a new umbrella company enveloping four familiar brands.

Black Label’s booth is reminiscent of last year’s design, though an added seating/meeting area and the return of Dissident are new this year. Having covered Black Label Trading Co’s booth from its first year at the trade show in 2014, through joining the Boutiques Unified distribution group and booth in 2016, to now – it’s quite the transformation. Prior to Black Label Trading Co joining the distribution group Boutiques Unified, which was previously known as House of Emilio, the group was losing brands it represented and saw the departure of the head of distribution and founder Gary Griffith. What seemed to be the decline of Boutiques Unified, was actually a turning point when Black Label Trading Co joined the fold. Within three years Boutiques Unified has been rebranded as Oveja Negra Brands, but it was more than just the name change the group had previously seen. The four brands under Oveja Negra Brands – Black Label Trading Co, Black Works Studio, Emilio Cigars and the reintroduced Dissident – are now all being produced at the Fabrica Oveja Negra factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. In addition, sales reps for Oveja Negra Brands will be representing all four brands and a consolidated warehouse will handle distribution for all four as well.

The excitement over the change was certainly palpable with the people manning the booth, and there was no shortage of retailers to share it with. I did manage to grab some time with Angela Brown to go over the new items and managed to work my way through everybody to get photos of the new products.

Black Label Trading Co. Last Rites Viaticum
The company is releasing Last Rites Viaticum as a show exclusive, meaning that only retailers who attend the show and visit the Black Label Trading Co. booth will be able to purchase the cigar. It’s based on the original Last Rites, which was the first cigar that James Brown blended on his own, and while the core tobaccos are the same on paper, the ratios and primings have been adjusted to give the cigar its own unique profile.

  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Maduro)
  • Binder: Honduras (Habano)
  • Filler: Nicaragua and Honduras
  • Black Label Trading Co. Last Rites Viaticum (5 x 54) — $15 (Box of 20, $300)

Production: 500 Boxes of 20 (10,000 Total Cigars)

Release Date: September 2019

Black Label Trading Co. Santa Muerte Barrio Santo

The Santa Muerte line is getting an event only exclusive called the Barrio Santo. Instead of an Ecuadorian habano wrapper, it’s replaced with a maduro wrapper. Production numbers will be limited, but won’t be a one-and-done release. Pricing is yet to be determined.

  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Maduro)
  • Binder: Ecuador
  • Filler: Dominican Republic, Mexico & Nicaragua
  • Black Label Trading Co. Santa Muerte Barrio Santo (5 1/2 x 48) — $n/a (Box of 20, $n/a)

Production: Limited

Release Date: September 2019

Black Works Studio Killer Bee Connecticut Full Release

Previously an IPCPR exclusive, the Killer Bee Connecticut is now getting a wide release for all retailers.

  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Connecticut)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Black Works Studio Killer Bee Connecticut (4 1/2 x 46) — $10 (Box of 20, $200)

Production: Regular Production

Release Date: July 2019

Black Works Studio NBK Lizard King

Another event exclusive, the NBK Lizard King probably had the coolest packaging that I saw in the booth.

  • Wrapper: Habano Oscuro
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Black Works Studio NBK Lizard King (Box Pressed 6 x 46) — $10 (Box of 20, $200)

Production: Limited Production

Release Date: July 2019

Black Label Trading Co. Core Line Packaging Updates
The company is refreshing the packaging and artwork to its core lines, namely Royalty, Salvation, Lawless and Last Rites, while also adding Porcelain to that group in place of Benediction, which is being shelved for the time being. Additionally, each of the blends is getting a tweak, though the company won’t call it a full change. James Brown said he played with some of the proportions of tobaccos used to give each blend an updated profile, with the exception of the Late Rites blend which is remaining the same.

The new designs will begin shipping after the trade show as existing stock depletes.

Release Date: July 2019

Davidoff is the official sponsor of halfwheel's coverage of the 2019 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.

Brian Burt

I have been smoking cigars since 2005 and reviewing them as a hobby since 2010. Initially, I started out small with a 50-count humidor and only smoking one or two cigars a month. Not knowing anybody else that smoked cigars, it was only an occasional hobby that I took part in. In March of 2010, I joined Nublive and Cigar Asylum, connecting me with many people who also shared an interest in cigars. Reading what they had to say about brands I had never heard of, I quickly immersed myself in the boutique brands of the industry and it was then that cigars transformed from a hobby into a passion.