Black Label Trading Co. Royalty Cigar

While scrolling through CigarPage’s catalog, I came across Black Label Trading Co.’s aggressive macabre branding and was immediately curious.

I am the target demographic for this brand; I have a black cat, my first concert was Iron Maiden, and I have a 12-foot skeleton in front of my house that stands year-round, scaring children and squirrels alike.

If the branding doesn’t pique your interest, knowing that this cigar won the 2023 Cigar Journal’s Best Boutique Nicaraguan Brand award should. Come along as I review the Royalty corona via the following categories:

You can use the links above to jump ahead or scroll down to learn more.

Cigar Overview

  • Brand: Black Label Trading Co.
  • Range: Royalty
  • Reviewed Vitolas: 5.5 x 42 Corona
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Corojo
  • Binder: Honduran
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Factory: Oveja Negra, Estelí
  • Handmade: Yes
  • Body: Full
  • Estimated Smoking Time: 60  Minutes
  • Pricing: $132 / Box [Buy Now]

The Royalty range uses an Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper, Honduran binder, and long Nicaraguan filler tobacco. The cigars are hand-rolled in Estelí, Nicaragua, at the Fábrica de Oveja Negra, which translates to “black sheep factory.”

Black Label Royalty Cigar with Box & Formula

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Look & Feel Of The Black Label Royalty Cigar

  • Wrapper Hue: Slightly Red
  • Rolling Consistency: Somewhat Bumpy
  • Spring: Firm
  • Aromas: Hickory, Cocoa, Graham

The Royalty is a beautiful cigar. There is a slight reddish hue from the corojo wrapper, and it has just the slightest amount of oil on the surface.

The wrapper does have some texture, though I would not describe it as toothy or bumpy. Moreover, there are some veins and seams present, but it is expected of a cigar in this price range.

Ecuadorian Wrapper Details On Black Label Royalty

Black Label Trading Co. Royalty Review

After ordering and receiving these cigars from CigarPage, I removed them from the box and stored them in my humidor with 69% Boveda humidity packs for about a month.

As always, it proves difficult not smoking a new cigar as soon as it lands, but in my experience, time devoted to acclimating cigars is time well spent.

Pre-Lighting Experience

  • Draw: Perfect
  • Aromas: Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Cocoa

From the body of the cigar, I detect aromas of hickory and from the foot (sans band, of course) warm cocoa and graham scents appear.

The dry draw of this cigar has an immediate fresh cracked black pepper flavor note, though not enough to sneeze or to be unpleasant.  This black pepper is rounded out by cinnamon and cocoa aromas.

1st Third Smoking Experience

  • Notes: Leather, Steak, Tarragon

On light up, the Black Label Royalty cigar packs a major punch. I like fuller-body cigars and can tell you that the strength right on lighting up is powerful.

Royalty Cigar Burn Line in First Third

After becoming accustomed to the strength, I start to pick up front notes of leather and a seared steak basted in tarragon. The retrohale is super peppery, which is characteristic of Nicaraguan tobacco.

Half an inch into the first third, the strength has remarkably mellowed out to a mild to full strength profile.

2nd Third Smoking Experience

  • Notes: Cappuccino, Charcoal Grill, Dark Chocolate

Approaching the second third of this cigar, I am reminded of a dry cappuccino dusted with cocoa powder on the top.

Furthermore, The retrohale reveals a spicy Korean red pepper flake (Gochugaru) note, which I associate with the beautiful Corojo wrapper.

Final Third Smoking Experience

  • Notes: Vanilla, Cocoa, Mineral

The final third introduces subtle vanilla bean and cacao notes with an ever-so-slight minerality on the retrohale.

At this stage, the cigar’s strength starts to rise once more. Yet, it is nowhere near as eventful as at the initial stages of the cigar. Still, it’s enough of an evolution to excite the palate, akin to a nice digestif after a meal.

Overall Burn

  • Ash Backbone: Solid
  • Burn Angle: Straight
  • Temperature: Cool
  • Draw: Ideal
  • Final Smoking Time: 60 Minutes

It’s no secret that I love small ring gauged cigars, and this corona vitola provides a fantastic smoking experience. The draw is effortless, the smoke is cool, and the burn line is perfectly straight.

Furthermore, the ash is very fine and stacks confidently with every puff. In welder terms, this would be referred to as “stacking dimes.”

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Overall Experience

The Royalty line of Black Label Trading Co. comes in a beautiful bone white box with black branding and silver foil accents. The cigars share this aesthetic and include a handsome foot band to protect the fragile business end.

One of my favorite elements of the branding is the different finishes applied to the band: the black empty space has a matte finish, the black in the eye sockets has a shiny finish, and the silver is metallic. I have seen a lot less attention to detail present in cigars that cost a lot more.

Cigar Box Of Black Label Royalty

It is very clear that Black Label Trading Co. has a clear brand identity. The other cigars coming out of their factory have a similar design aesthetic that is unique from other competitors. In a sea of standard brown boxes, these provide an element of mystery and convey ‘these aren’t your grandfather’s cigars‘.

After smoking the first of these Black Label Royalty cigars, my inquisitive nature got the best of me, and I committed what some might consider a heinous crime…

I took one of my cigars apart.

Taking Apart The Black Label Trading Co Royalty Cigar

Through this process, I verified that it was indeed a long-filler cigar. Most importantly, a hunch of mine was confirmed.

While cigar makers bunch the cigars, and before rolling them in the binder and wrapper, they’ll often take snapped-off tips of the filler leaves and distribute them within the cigar. Where these tips are placed along the length of the cigar leads to flavor and strength changes during the smoking experience.

Long Filler Tobacco Inside Royalty Cigar

The tobacco tips on this blend are right at the ignition end of the foot; I believe this is why I found such an explosive flavor note on light up.

On value – I believe that this cigar swings way above its price range. Cigar Page has a 24-count box at $132 at the time of writing, which equates to less than $6 per cigar. I am tempted to grab a box and stash it away in some nice cedar to see if age will help mellow out the explosive flavor notes.

Pairing Recommendations Black Label Royalty Cigar

So far, I’ve only smoked three of these Royalty cigars. Yet, I’ve already found a drink pairing that meshes quite well with the cigar’s flavor profile. There are also some food pairings that I believe would combine well with its characteristics.

Black Label Royalty Cigar with Tornado Joe Stout

As you can see above, I paired the Black Label Trading Co. Royalty with one of my favorite coffee stouts, the Tornado Joe by BrewDog.

Given the design theme, I’d also love to sip an aged mezcal or a full-bodied red wine after a full meal in a gothic manor while smoking the Royalty. It’s safe to say I’m still hashing out the details on this one, though.

In all seriousness, though, I would suggest this is quite a casual cigar, perfect for after a night out with friends or a horror movie marathon. And while I really enjoy a full cigar and coffee in the morning, I think this cigar would knock me right back into bed, so it’s best to leave it for the end of the day or as a nightcap.

Additionally, given the macabre branding, I would not suggest bringing a box of these to a retirement party or your grandpa’s 80th birthday.

Food-wise, Pollo Al Carbon (chicken grilled over charcoal) comes to my mind. The smokey, fatty, well-seasoned flavor of the chicken would pair excellently with the spiced pepper bomb of the initial flavor notes of this cigar. If a dessert pairing is more your speed, I believe a decadent devil’s food cake would pair excellently with the spiced cocoa notes lingering in the second and final third of this cigar.

Closing Thoughts

After tallying up the points across the cigar formula, the Black Label Trading Co. Royalty earned a formidable 88/100. This is an excellent cigar that strongly entices me to try the other lines in Black Label’s catalog.

This being said, I don’t think this is the cigar to share with friends who are just “cigar curious,” nor is it ideal for a brisk walk or commute. This is a stogie for the cigar enthusiast ready to buckle up for a rollercoaster ride. And if you need a new cigar to break you out of a dull tobacco plateau, this is an apt starting point.

Shop The Black Label Royalty Cigar
"Spicy, Attention Grabbing, Mouthwatering."
Bespoke Unit Rating: ★★★★★

Further Reading

If you enjoyed reading this cigar review, feel free to check out more related content:

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