Partagas Black Label
When I reviewed the Partagas Naturales, I listed some historical information about the company. For the sake of repetition, I won’t include all of that this time, but encourage you to check it out.
The Naturales is the type of cigar that speaks to the days of old, where cigars were mostly in the medium range with predictable flavors. While there is certainly still a market for this type of cigar, consumer’s tastes have largely changed over the last decade or so. People want bolder flavors and more strength. Call it the cultural fascination with “extreme” sports and/or lifestyle. Better yet, now that people have been exposed to all the flavor a cigar can provide, they just want more!
For the Partagas brand, the answer to that calling is the Partagas Black Label. It was made to give smokers more flavor and strength and to change the way people though about “traditional” cigar companies. One look at the Black Label and anyone can see that Partagas made a bold statement with its release.
There are several vitolas of the Black Label available, with all but four having a ring gauge of at least 54: Gigante, Piramide, Magnifico, Crystal Tubo, Clasico, Colossal, Bravo, Purito, Pronto, and Maximo. Partagas/General Cigars sent the Magnifico to us. We are grateful for the samples, but that will not affect the rating.
The Partagas Black Label Magnifico looks nothing like the Naturales I reviewed last. This thing looks both delicious and menacing at the same time. It has a dark brown, almost black wrapper that is veiny and has visible seams. It has a nice oily sheen to it as well. There is one small tear near the band, but it is insignificant. The stick looks well packed. The triple cap is flush, but the lines are a little jagged.
The band is much like the traditional Partagas label, but with a black background instead. The design is still gold with white print, which helps the black background stand out from the dark wrapper.
The Partagas Black Label Magnifico feels much like it looks; bumpy and oily. The veins provide some texture and the surface is slick from the oils. I squeeze it to see if there are any soft spots. I cannot detect any, just a solid cigar!
Honestly, this cigar looks like it will either smell really funky or really sweet. It ends up being both! The foot has aromas of manure and earth. The barrel has earth, hay, and a hint of sweet molasses.
I clip the cap with my CRA cutter and test the draw. The airflow is great! I pick up on some notes of earth and hay as well.
With an oily wrapper and a large ring gauge, I was expecting a bit of difficulty in getting the Partagas Black Label Magnifico lit. It does take a minute to light with my single flame torch, but it does so evenly. Like before lighting, the draw is excellent. I am able to get plenty of smoke on each puff.
The ash is mostly white, which is a nice contrast to the dark wrapper. It is a little bit flaky though. It barely hangs on for 1 inch, but it does.
For two-thirds of the cigar, I have no issues with the burn at all. It is even, requiring no touch-ups. However, in the final third, I start having issues keeping it lit. It goes out once after ashing. I then purge and relight it. A short while later, it goes out again. I find myself having to puff on it pretty regularly to keep it lit. The cigar also starts to feel a little squishy at this point. Due to this, I did let it go out earlier than planned.
So far, the Partagas Black Label Magnifico has been both Beauty and the Beast. Part of me is prepared for a lot of sweetness while the other is expecting to get a blast of strength and spice. Hopefully, there are a lot of both! Let’s find out.
The first third starts off with some hearty black pepper and earth. I also detect a touch of black licorice as well, but it does not last long. Further on, some wood and sweet savory flavors appear. As it moves into the next section, the pepper and wood are the most notable flavors present.
The second third picks up where we left off, with wood and black pepper. The savory sweetness comes back as well as a touch of hay. The finish is a very savory and peppery flavor. The retrohale is mostly wood and pepper.
The final third continues with the pepper, wood, and savory sweetness, but the profile becomes creamier. As it progresses, the wood and savory notes take the forefront. About this time, I start having the burn issues mentioned earlier. After the first purge, things are okay. After the 2nd relight, it starts to become a little harsh, mostly from me trying to puff to keep it lit. I eventually give up and let it go out.
The Partagas Black Label Magnifico is a full flavored/medium-full strength cigar that has a decent level of complexity to it. It was very enjoyable until the end where the burn issues began to affect the flavor. Smoke time was a little over 1.5 hours.
Would I Buy It Again?
Yes, but I think I would opt for a smaller ring gauge to see if I could get more of the wrapper flavor. It looks so delicious!
Is It An Everyday Smoke?
I would say yes for a smaller vitola.
Would I Buy a Box?
Probably not, but a 5 pack would be well worth it.
I must admit, I have mostly abandoned the more traditional cigar brands in favor of smaller, more innovative, or boutique brands in the last few years. This is mostly because I only smoked brands like Partagas for so many years. It was refreshing to go back to an old standby and see how it held up against the cigars I’ve been smoking lately. Especially since the last Black Label I had was a bad stick that I couldn’t even get halfway through.
In this case, the Partagas Black Label Magnifico was a really good cigar, all the way until right at the end. It would’ve been a solid 9 had it not been for the harshness and burn issues. That aside, this is a flavor powerhouse that fans of stronger, flavorful cigars will definitely enjoy. Don’t let the menacing appearance scare you off. It provides a ton of flavor but won’t completely knock you on your ass. Well worth a try!