I tried my first Bishop’s Blend last year to see what it was all about and immediately I knew I had gotten my hands on a very special cigar. It is easy to see why it is so sought after. I was very happy to have the opportunity to pick up the 2017 release recently at a BLTC event at Famous Smoke Shop. I smoked one at the event and it brought me right back to my very first Bishop, but something was different about it. Let’s take a look at some info and jump into the review.

“It’s great to get Bishops Blend back in the market. This is a very special cigar. It is a representation of how I have grown as a cigar maker. I’m happy that the time and dedication that went into creating this blend has translated to our customers and made it one of our most sought after cigars. The 2017 Bishops Blend has an extremely rich and sophisticated profile. It is a bold cigar with exceptional balance and complexity. Subtle spice is combined with earth, bitter sweet chocolate and anise. The smoke is creamy and dense with a long rich finish,” said James Brown, creator of BLTC and partner at Fabrica Oveja Negra in a press release. (Courtesy of http://blacklabeltrading.com/blog/?cat=12?age-verified=2ea435a3fe)

I decided to review the 5 x 48 Robusto size first. I will review the 6 1/4 x 46 Corona Larga also to compare. So let’s get into it.

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Blend Profile:

Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Maduro

Binder: Ecuador Habano

Filler: Nicaragua, Connecticut & PA Broadleaf

Size: 5 x 48 Robusto (MSRP $9.50) Also available 6 1/4 x 46 Corona Larga (MSRP $10) One noticeable change this year is that the available number of boxes has doubled from 150 to 300.

Appearance / Construction: The wrapper presents a rich, very dark brown color. It is a rugged looking cigar, true to the others in the BLTC portfolio. There are some prominent veins that line one side, small and medium throughout. Construction looks solid, it is light but firm with no soft spots. The same recognizable dual bands and artwork are back with the exception of this years release being a glossy red over black. The foot is closed and there is a pointed cap to finish things off. This cigar has a very rugged feel to it.

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Pre-light: From the barrel I get notes of earth, hay, wood and a faint note of cocoa. The closed foot offers the same with a hint of pepper. I used a V-cutter to open the cap and the cold draw is open with some resistance but a nice draw. I get notes of hay, earth,  and leather. I use a cedar spill to start things off. This is something new I have tried and I like it a lot. I need to get more because this is becoming my preferred method of lighting cigars.

1st Third: Once things are nice and toasted I give it a go. Right off the bat it brings me back to the first Bishop I had. This is a super complex cigar. So many things going on here. I get notes of sweet cedar wood, pepper, hay, earth, nuts, bitter cocoa all wrapped up into a flavor bomb that is smooth and creamy. This is one of those cigars that you can smoke and almost without fail you will find something new that you didn’t notice before. As I work my way through the first inch or so I am trying to really nail down certain flavors that stand out. Cedar for sure, pepper is there but it’s not heavy, bitter sweet dark chocolate, earth and leather are all there but there is more that I just cannot pinpoint. Performance so far is good. Draw is open, nice smoke production, burn is a slightly off but not enough to warrant a touch up. Strength is medium plus, probably bordering on full. Super complex and flavorful.

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2nd Third: As I move into the 2nd third, there are shifts in the profile as far as what you notice more at the forefront and then that takes a backseat to something else but no real huge changes in the blend profile. I do notice a bit more of a grassy note here and there that really works itself nicely into the mix. This is just an all around great profile. So many things keep me going back to it that I have to remind myself to put it down and take a break from it. Fortunately for me I am forced to as a young deer just decided to walk up to me and ask for food. Guess I will be right back…

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Ok so that was unusual. Normally they come into the yard but keep some space between us. Not this time. So, this required a touch up as I was gone for 5 minutes or so. Persistent little thing. And I am right back into this. Strength has turned up a notch to full. Nothing medium about it at this point. Everything else is about the same. Cruise control is set and I am enjoying this cigar. I apologize that I didn’t get any pics of this third.

Final 3rd: Moving into the end of my time with this cigar and again, no real changes. Very consistent in the fact that the overall profile remains the same but the subtle shifts in flavors really keep you guessing. I won’t list the same notes again but they are all here and working very well together to bring a rich, smooth, complex smoking experience to an end.

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Final Thoughts: I don’t want to say this cigar is too complex but I highly suggest that if you smoke this cigar, do yourself a favor and smoke it on a day when you have absolutely nothing else going on. Put your phone and distractions away and really spend time concentrating on this cigar and enjoy everything it has to offer.

The complexity of the blend really shows the work and effort James and the team put into blending this cigar. I said earlier that this brought me back to my first Bishop except that something was different. That difference is that this years offering is better. In the press release James mentioned bold, balanced and complex and he absolutely nailed it.

I will say that this is a full bodied, full flavored cigar that beginners really should steer clear of. The strength is one thing, but the complexity of the blend will likely be lost on a palate that can’t fully appreciate what is going on here. I probably border on that myself as there are things going on in the blend that I can’t pinpoint either. If you want a great, smooth, rich, complex cigar that will keep you guessing, I recommend trying the 2017 Bishop’s Blend. For me this cigar is in a totally different class than most others out there. Just another terrific cigar from James Brown and the team at Fabrica de Oveja Negra.

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Scoring:

Appearance / Construction: The Bishop’s Blend is rugged and has a dark vibe to it. The bands and artwork bring a grunge feel to it and work very well with the dark wrapper. Construction is solid with no major flaws. I score this a 19/20.

Performance: Once I got it lit (minus the down time I had from a visitor) this cigar went on cruise control. Draw was open, nice slow, steady burn that never got hot, even as I nubbed it, the burn was slightly off but never required any touch ups. I score this a 24/25.

Flavor: I think I have said enough about the flavors of this cigar. Perfect score 25/25.

Overall Experience: This was a terrific cigar experience. I highly recommend trying this cigar and enjoying your time with it. This is a cigar I will smoke when I want some serious alone time away from the distractions of the world. I am looking forward to trying the Corona Larga size of this cigar. I will say this is a close to perfect score of 29/30.

Final Rating: 97 

100 – 97: A class of it’s own. Top of the summit.

So there you have it. The 2017 BLTC Bishop’s Blend Robusto review. I hope you enjoyed it and I look forward to hearing feedback from everyone about it. Feel free to share the link on social media and follow me on FB, Twitter and Instagram.

Until next time, long ashes and full glasses. Peace!

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