Back in early 2015, the TNCC crew attended a seminar at TJ’s Cigar Lounge where “The Professor” Jose Blanco demonstrated to us the characteristics of different types of cigar wrappers and the wide array of factors that go in to developing these traits and variations. We learned a great deal about cigar wrapper leaves that day for sure but what’s the story on the filler leaves that compose the bulk of flavor you experience in a particular cigar? Great question! That’s where James Brown of Black Label Trading Company comes in. James held a private event this past Sunday, once again at the fantastic TJ’s Cigar Lounge, where he walked everyone in attendance through the three primary filler leaves that are used to construct his newly released NBK cigar.
If you’re a loyal listener to the show you’ll remember that we were all impressed with the NBK so this made the experience of sampling its components one-by-one individually extra rewarding. It also made me realize exactly what we all liked in the cigar at its stripped down core –
Seco (bottom leaves of the tobacco plant) – delivered a nutty creamy smoke that had Cody drooling
Viso (middle leaves) – a very BOLD and heavy flavor from a UNIQUE source that left my head spinning
Ligero (top leaves) – this sample stick really spoke to me as well but it drove Tut fucking crazy, so much so that he begged for seconds and requested James blend a cigar strictly comprised of this particular ligero leaf
The three of us all gravitated to a different ingredient but as you placed one sample down and puffed on another you could start to understand how they all balanced each other and, much more so, complimented each other. If the strength of the viso started kicking your ass, all you had to do was take a drink and then switch over to the seco sample for a while. Then when everyone in the room lit up the final product, the NBK itself, it was awesome to smoke a cigar we had all smoked many times over but now be able to identify where the different notes and characteristics were coming from. It made us feel all smart and stuff and that’s not easy to do.
Notice that I didn’t reveal the specifics about the NBK’s filler that we sampled. That’s because (1) the filler’s origins plays a big part in understanding the blending process and I don’t want to give it away and (2) because you need to keep your eyes and ears open for more blending seminars put on by James and get your ass to them. It’s an education that every serious cigar smoker should seek out.