The 2019 Premium Cigar Association trade show had some new products to talk about. In the case of Dissident Cigars an old brand made new by Benjamin Holt. The original Dissident brand was launched in 2013 by Neil Edwards and Jason Webster, who also own The Humidor Cigars and Lounge in Wichita, Kan. The line was small and for all intensive purposes, it went dormant in 2015. Benjamin, who is a sales representative for Boutiques Unified, acquired the brand and relaunched it at the trade show this year.
As part of the re-launch, Holt turned to James Brown and his Fabrica Oveja Negra in Esteli, Nicaragua to re-blend the line which includes the “Home”, “Soap Box”, and “Bloc” names.
Today, I offer a review of the Bloc, which my Stogie Press associate Steve Ajhar and I sampled this week.
The Bloc is available as a core line in 3 vitolas and will come packaged in 20-count boxes:
- Box Press Robusto – 5 5/8 x 46 (MSRP $10.25)
- Box Press Toro – 6 1/4 x 52 (MSRP $10.50)
- Box Press Lonsdale – 7 x 42 (MSRP $10.00)
Benjamin Holt describes the blend as:
- Wrapper – Ecuador Maduro
- Binder – Ecuador
- Filler – Nicaragua & Dominican
In a press release, Holt stated:
“I am very excited about this. A lot of thought, time and work as been put into making this happen and I’m ready to show it to the world. I think these blends are very unique and offer a special smoking experience for those who love cigars. They really highlight the quality of tobacco that’s used at Oveja Negra.”
The Dissident Bloc and all Dissident cigars are being distributed by LJ Zucca Distributors.
For this review, Steve and I sampled the Dissident Bloc Robusto.
The Dissident Bloc is a fine looking box pressed cigar. It has a dark chocolate brown wrapper with a decent sheen and an expertly applied triple cap. There are minimal veins running along the velvety smooth barrel and the barrel has just a slight give under the gentle press of the fingers.
The Bloc is adorned with a single band that uses a black and white motif declaring the bold name “bLoC” in white with a red bar through the “o”. The brands, signature lighting bolt, is presented to the left of the name and “Dissident” is printed on the bottom. I like this bold design, it certainly will pop on a shelf.
The pre-light aromas are as enticing as the appearance, with a sweet and pungent fermented leaf along barrel and a light sweetness off the foot.
We both used a straight cut to open the cap. The cold draw was spot on and I picked up a slightly musty and peppery note. There was another note I could not place. Steve notes the pepper on the draw. As I try to place the elusive note, I cold puffed some more and my lips and palate continue to heat up with the pepper. With no further ado, I proceeded to fire it up, as did Steve, and begin the journey of turning the Dissident Bloc to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
Boston Jimmie’s Notes
- Nice pepper start on nasal
- Full volume of smoke right off the first puff
- White ash rests on a medium char line
- Nice early burn
- Pepper ratchets down early
- Tasteful cinnamon spice enters along with some dark cocoa notes
- Ash fell after an inch plus with flat but centered cone
- Dry leather enters rounding out the early profile
- Pleasant sweet aroma
- “IPA like” bittersweet note enters in the second third
- Nuance of berry appears
- Slightly flaky ash has been present throughout the burn and the ash falls often
- Syrupy aroma midway
- Sweet oak notes enter end of second third
- Citrus notes appear in the final
- Medium Plus in Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 10 minutes
No issues with lighting this cigar. Tons of smoke with rich black pepper on the tongue and in the back of my throat.
Profile is completed with charred oak, earth and a hint of leather.
Nice even burn with a light to medium grey ash.
After about an inch in she calmed down picking up some hazelnut and coconut husk! and less pepper and a hint of mineral but not unpleasing.
Had a flat burn cone and a slightly flaky ash.
The cigar went out on me about halfway but after a quick relight no problem. I was outside with about 1000% humidity here in Palm Beach, FL as opposed to Boston Jimmie who has a pristine smoking environment.
Overall, we found the Dissident Bloc to be a delicious cigar that offered a error free burning experience and an array of tasteful notes and enticing aromas. Steve noted, ‘a nice medium plus cigar that Stayed smooth with plenty of flavor to keep me interested. Smoked it to the Nub. I would buy this cigar!’ The cigar did have a flaky ash and flat burn cone when the ash dropped. I agree with Steve that this is certainly worthy of picking up a fiver and add it to your rotation. We rate this a 92.
Point Deductions: (-1) Flaky Ash; (-2) Ash Falls Often; (-1) Flat Burn Cone