The year was 2019 and the event was the Premium Cigar Association (PCA) trade show. Things were fairly calm, until ….the sound of Birds started to spread across the event floor. It was another one of those trade show buzzing sounds, where friends and colleagues come up to you, asking if you saw the newest cigar line to hit the market. This time they were asking about the Birds, Blackbird Cigars in particular. The company’s motto and more specifically that of owner Jonás Santana , is “Can’t Clip My Wings”.
That my friends is a bold statement coming from a new cigar brand in this post FDA regulation era. I give anyone credit for jumping into this market in these times and not only did Jonás jump in, he dove right in with an array of blends, six to be exact and in multiple vitolas.
- Blackbird Crow
- Blackbird Unkind
- Blackbird Rook
- Blackbird Jackdaw
- Blackbird Cuco
- Blackbird Finch
That is a lot of SKU’s for a new company, but we the cigar nerds of the planet applaud boldness, perseverance, and can do attitudes and Blackbird Cigar Co is ready to take the cigar world by swarm.
I met up with the team from Blackbird Cigars at this years Tobacco Plus Expo (TPE) trade show and during my visit they gave me a sampler box that contained each of the company’s blends. Today I offer a review of the Blackbird Unkind Cubra Robusto.
Before I get into that, you may ask. Why are the other 5 blends named after birds and the the Unkind is not? Well, as is the case in the cigar business, you have a great name and get it on the market, only to find out that the name is taken by another manufacturer or brand owner. The Unkind was originally called the Raven, but as the Owners of Cigar Federation note on their website:
“The name of the Raven cigar has been changed to “Unkind”….
The reason is because there is already a “RAVEN” cigar that our owners actually own. So they made a deal with our friends at Blackbird to be the EXCLUSIVE RETAILERS for Blackbird RAVEN Cubra!“
In order to still give the impression that it is still the “Raven” Jonás knew that a flock of Ravens are called an unkindness, so he changed the name to Unkind. Brilliant!!
The Blackbird Unkind
The Blackbird Unkind Cubra has a bold blend of tobacco described as:
- Wrapper – Brazilian Cubra
- Binder – Dominican
- Filler – Nicaraguan Corojo, Nicaraguan Criollo 98, Pennsylvanian, HBA
The Black Bird Unkind Cubra is expressed in 3 vitolas and come packaged in 21-count boxes. There is also a 6 count sampler of robustos that has one of each blend in it.
- Robusto (5 x 50) MSRP $7.52
- Gran Toro (6 x 54) MSRP $9.52
- Doble Toro (7 x 60) MSRP $11.52
For this review, I sampled the Blackbird Unkind Cubra robusto, which was part of the sampler box.
The Blackbird Unkind Cubra is a dark brown cigar that has an decent oily sheen, light tooth, and is a bit on the veiny side. The cigar is finished with a closed foot and a well applied triple cap.
One large, light purple band adorns the cigar and state boldly in black ink that this is the “Unkind” blend. Rotating the band the company name “Blackbird Cigar Co.” is printed in white on a solid black background. The band is also die cut to allow for a small tab where a black bird is imprinted, which makes it easy to remove the band. Note also the embossed birds on the band, a nice touch.
I ran the Unkind Cubra across the nose and detected a mild spice and fermented leaf note along the barrel and bright cedar notes off the foot.
I used a double blade cutter to slice the cap at the shoulder of the cigar and proceeded to take some cold draw puffs that had a decent restriction and offered notes of light pepper, a hint of earth, and touch of sweetness. This is looking to be a tasty journey.
Using my double flame torch lighter, I warmed the foot, which took the flame with the loose leaf covering it, and drew in the first puffs of peppery smoke.
Cigar Review Notes
- First light provides a decent pepper shot especially on the retro-hale
- Solid white ash forms on top of a thick char line
- Natural sweetness with a hint of nut, enters as the pepper tones down
- There is a lingering citrus note a half inch into the burn
- Interesting flavors are developing and finding their core
- The ash fell in a solid chunk, about and inch plus, revealing an off centered cone. (I was into the flavor and forgot to take that photo of the burn before the ash fell)
- Dark chocolate enters to start kicking this into high gear
- Caramel wraps the chocolate
- Sweetness and spice form a core midway
- Profile becomes slightly astringent entering the final third
- Mild touch up is required as the burn was starting to go off
- Caramel maintains with a continued citrus note lingering on the palate
- Smoke started to get a tad hot in the final
- Medium plus in strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 25 Minutes
Overall, I found the Blackbird Cigar Unkind Cubra to be an interesting smoke that offered shifting and deepening flavor notes as the burn progressed. The chocolate and caramel sweetness were most enticing. It did have a bit of an off burn that eventually required a mild touch-up along with a off centered burn cone when the ash fell. This is certainly worth a fiver or maybe pick up a sampler and try all the Blackbirds as I will be doing. I rate this a 90.
Point Deductions: (-1) Off centered Burn Cone; (-1) Off Burn; (-1) Required Touch-up; (-1) Slightly Astringent in the final