Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Leccia Tobacco - Black & White

Today, we are looking at the two new cigar lines from Sam Leccia: The Black and The White. In his long awaited return to the cigar industry, Sam wasted no time giving us two spectacular blends. I caught up with Sam last week and was able to ask a few questions. In asking him about The Black and The White he was pretty clear, he wanted to create two very different cigars. I would have to say that he succeeded most admirably. Here are a few of my thoughts on the blends.

The Black-
A superb Habano wrapper adorns this quality cigar. The Black has a semi-oily finish to it with slight veining. Manufactured in the Dominican, it has a Nicaraguan Rosado binder and a filler made of Dominican and Nicaraguan ligeros, Brazilian viso, and a unique tobacco called Dark Fire. While the technique is not all that well known to me, I do know that the tobacco used for the Dark Fire is fire cured, which gives it a smoked whiskey aroma.

When you light up The Black, it has a smooth draw giving off glimpses of fruit, nuts, and slight hay tones. I found a hint of mint and the whiskey aroma was quite evident; I even tasted it on the palette. Halfway through, the flavors have been pretty consistent intermingling back and forth. The cigar, so far, is a medium body and has an easy smooth draw requiring minimal amounts of effort.

The final half of the cigar has spices, green pepper, coffee, hints of cinnamon, and an ever so light mint aftertaste. This is a cigar that is sure to please cigar smokers of all types. With well balanced smooth consistent flavors and pleasant spice and whiskey aromas that even the most discrimination cigar connoisseur would enjoy.

The White-
A simple band encases the African Sun Grown wrapper. It has a dark and rich looking wrapper with a semi-matte finish to it. The rest of the cigar is made up of a binder from Ecuador and a filler of Nicaraguan Ligero with Seco leaves from Pennsylvania. A nice touch for Sam as he is from Pittsburgh.

A bold peppery start that lasts for a few seconds gives way to a pleasant walnut and cashew tone. About an inch of the way in, the peppery tones start to return. I caught a glimpse of fruit that reminded me of apricots, but quickly disappeared. A full third of the way in, bold spicy tones with notes of light coffee emerge leaving a pleasant aftertaste on the palette.

Entering the halfway mark, earthy notes, spices, and a richer coffee tone come front and center. The tone remains consistent throughout the remainder of the smoke. The draw is very good and the burn was consistent, never having to retouch. This cigar is classified as a full bodied cigar, but I would classify it more of a medium body that borders full body. Well balanced and a great smoke, to say the least. I was able to keep an ash on it all the way to the band, with no problem. If you're looking for a quality cigar that won't break the bank, then this is a must have cigar. You'll enjoy the loads of flavor that offers a peppery kick on the back half of the cigar.

If you have had any doubts about trying these cigars, rest assured, they won't disappoint. Wrapping things up, I thought you would like to hear a little more about the blends from Sam himself. Here are some excerpts my from interview.

How does it finally feel to be back in the cigar industry? I can't even explain the excitement I feel. It is a dream come true. I couldn't be happier right now. I have been blown away by the tremendous amount of support. I LOVE being back!

Can you tell us more about the two lines you just released? I wanted to introduce two cigars that would be very different from each other. I thought the best way to achieve that was to use two different factories in two different countries. Both blends are very unique, not only did I blend these cigars, but I sourced the tobacco for them as well. The white is made in Nicaragua and uses an African Sungrown wrapper with a Habano binder. The filler consists of full flavor Ligeros from both Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Also, I have added some Pennsylvania Seco to add a bit of sweetness to the blend. PA is my home state and has a very rich tobacco history. The cigar has a roasted cashew flavor that is quite complex and flavorful. The cigar definitely keeps you interested from the moment you light up.

The Black is made in the Dominican Republic. Ironically, it has more Nicaraguan tobacco than the White. The wrapper is a very high grade Habano from Ecuador. The binder is a Nicaraguan Rosado, which adds some black pepper flavor. The filler consists of Ligeros from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. I have some Brazilian Mata Fina in the filler to round out the blend, as well as a tobacco called "Dark Fire" which is made in Kentucky and Tennessee, and is fire cured instead of air cured. The fire curing process is one of the original ways to dry and cure tobacco by the Native Americans. It's certainly nothing new, but hasn't yet been introduced to premium cigars. It's a gorgeous leaf that is wrapper grade. It adds a smoky aroma and ties the blend together.

What drives your passion for cigars? That's simple. It's the people that enjoy them. They drive me everyday and keep me going.

Favorite smoking memory? Probably getting caught smoking cigars with my buddies when we were in high school. We were blowing smoke on the glass door for some strange reason, and my Dad was behind us the whole time. He couldn't even yell at me, because he was laughing at how he caught us. It's a funny memory that me and my buddies often bring up.

Favorite cigar and why? I certainly enjoy the blends I created in The Black and The White. They hit my palate perfectly. I can't say that I have a favorite cigar, but cigars always taste better around good friends.

Who do you most admire in the cigar industry: That's a tough one. I really admire many of the manufacturers and brand owners. I have huge respect for the men and women who keep this industry exciting and moving forward. I could give you a list, and it would be long and I would feel bad if I left anyone out. There are good people in the cigar industry and I am certainly excited and inspired by a lot of them.

Favorite person? That would have to be my wife Sasha. I have been married for over 18 years and no one person has impacted my life more than her. She has given me three awesome kids, and has been at my side through thick and thin. I admire her strength and beauty.

Favorite way to relax when you have down time? I do lots to relax. That's the best part of life. I relax lots of ways. I enjoy being with my kids, I hang out with my buddies, and I like to bass fish and ride my motorcycle. I never have difficulty relaxing.

Any thoughts on where the cigar industry is headed? I'm concerned on one hand with the laws, regulations, and taxes that affect this industry. On the other hand, I am excited to see where retailers are taking their businesses and where manufacturers and brand owners are raising the bar. There has never been a better time to be a cigar smoker.

Anything new on the manufacturing side outside of the two lines you are debuting? Always. I am working on a fun project that I am very excited about. It's too new to give out any details, but it's seriously the most fun project that I have worked on. You'll have to wait and see.

In addition to Sam’s interview, I was informed that Sam will be at Corona Cigar Company later this summer, on August 16th and 17th. Sam really enjoys interacting with cigar enthusiasts, so do don’t miss out on this opportunity to speak to the man himself!


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