I have been a fan of Felix Assouline Cigars for some time now and I have reviewed one of every brand he has put out. During this time I have developed a friendship with Felix and we communicated back and forth months back about a new secret project he was working on. Of course I was completely intrigued because I know how good all of his cigars are. This one was going to different. Just from the vague info I was given you could just tell this was going to be a special project and cigar. As things got closer I was able to get little bits and pieces, a few pics of the packaging and more details. I was super excited as the release got closer…and then life happened. A job move, having to maintain 2 households, being apart from my wife, etc. I got super busy and did not get an opportunity to purchase a box ahead of time. Fortunately I was able to get my hands on one that I have been waiting to review. Today was finally that day. I was able to get a room at my local lounge before anyone else got there and set up to do this review. Without further ado, let’s take this one out of it’s coffin and see what the Dark Lord brings shall we?
“Ego Black is a labor of love since it is one of the first blends we created from our Tobacco farm in Jamastran Obraje, Honduras. Felix wanted to create a blend totally from one farm, with no other leaves from other regions. Ego Black comes in five box pressed sizes, from The Dark Lord, a Perfecto of 56×6.5 which comes in a box of 12 individual coffins. Ego Black is also available as The Twisted Mind, a 56×6.5 Gordo, The White Nights is a Belicoso size at 56×6, the next size is Amigo Fuerte Robusto at 50×5 and finally The Perfect Black is a Perfecto of 52×5. Ego Black is an extremely limited production and will only be available once per year.” Courtesy of Felix Assouline
Felix Assouline EGO Black – The Dark Lord Box Pressed 6.5 x 56
Wrapper: Ligero Jamastran Obraje, Honduras (Top 1%)
Binder: Jamastran Obraje, Honduras
Filler: Jamastran Obraje, Honduras
Appearance: The Dark Lord has a medium – dark brown leather colored wrapper that has very tight seams, a few bumps and veins. The box press is symmetrical and feels firm with no soft spots. The cap is pointed and widens to a nice box press coming to a squared point at the foot. This is a unique looking cigar. The EGO band is black and gold metallic that really pops against the leather brown wrapper. Each cigar is presented in a black cedar coffin the The Dark Lord by Felix Assouline painted nicely on top.
Pre-light: I pick up mostly hay, pepper, and natural tobacco from the barrel. It is difficult to get much else from the foot due to its pointed shape. I use a straight cut to remove the pointed cap and the cold draw offers some resistance but not tight. I pick up notes of hay, natural tobacco and some faint hints of pepper. The moment I have waited for is now upon me. Time to put flame to this one.
First Third: After I get things toasted, I take my first draw. Immediately I get a lot of cedar, grassy notes, cocoa and a subtle touch of pepper. There is a sweetness here that is totally unexpected and provides an amazing flavor profile. This is a very unique blend. There is an explosion of flavors that cover the palate and a little bit of pepper that lingers on the tongue and lips. My mind scrabbles to unravel what I am tasting. The sweetness from this cigar is incredible. I am trying my best to pinpoint it but I cannot find the right description. I am getting good smoke production as it moves from the narrow pointed tip to the body of the cigar. The draw offers resistance without being tight. The burn is taking shape as it moves from the pointed foot. As I get further in the burn is a little uneven. I attribute this to the ventilation above me, the ac and fans in the lounge creating a lot of circulating air. This is a smooth medium-full strength, full flavored cigar.
Second Third: The transition from the first third doesn’t bring much change. Very consistent flavor. There is a very familiar, distinct flavor that I have found in all of the FAC brands. I believe it has to do with the Jamastran tobacco that is used. The valley in Jamastran, Honduras is known for its flavorful tobaccos which feature strength and sweetness. This is something I enjoy greatly about FA cigars but it is amplified in the Dark Lord. Felix told me people have told him “it’s a chocolate bar wrapped in Ligero” and I 100% agree. I pick up notes of natural tobacco, grass, cocoa, and pepper. The burn is a bit uneven and I did have to touch it up once (I had to take a phone call and let it sit for a bit). I am finding it very hard to put this cigar down. The strength has increased to full but remains smooth and creamy. A lot of smoke production and the ash holds nicely until I set it down and the ventilation plays havoc on it. (I didn’t get pics throughout the review. My apologies)
Last Third: Some subtle changes as I enter the final portion of this cigar. A bit more of the grassy notes appear in the front, cedar is still present with notes of natural tobacco. The sweetness had toned down a bit. The strength is certainly full at this point. As good as this cigar is, take your time with it. I did require another touch up and the burn is still a little uneven but nothing concerning. I still feel as if I smoked this cigar in a less ventilated environment this would be a non-issue. I take in the last few puffs and regret that I do not have more of these available to me.
Final Thoughts: This is a next level cigar in terms of flavor. I was simply blown away by the sweetness found in the blend and while it is full strength, it is very smooth. The previous comment of “a chocolate bar wrapped in a ligero” could not be any more accurate. This, in my opinion, is the crown jewel in an already terrific portfolio. The Jamastran tobacco is distinct and unique and this cigar showcases this wonderful tobacco in a blend that puts this cigar in the Top 5 cigars I have tried. Because it is high medium to full bodied, I would not recommend it for new smokers unless you really take your time with it. I think more experienced smokers will find this cigar to be on a different level. The Dark Lord is an impressive, delicious, unique cigar that is sure to impress anyone that smokes it.
Appearance / Construction: The overall look and construction of this cigar is really nice. The box press, the wrapper and band really look nice together and the coffin packaging really work well together. There were no soft spots and the seams were nice and tight. I score this a 19/20.
Performance: This one will be tough to score accurately as I have to consider the heavy ventilation in the room I was in. There were a couple of touch ups needed and the burn was a bit off. I think in a different situation this would probably change the performance for the better. I score this a 23/25. (*This factor will be retested when I have the opportunity to smoke another one because this will alter the final rating)
Flavor: Off the charts in regards to flavor. This was unlike anything I have ever had in a premium cigar. I am not sure my palate did this review much justice as I struggled to identify the complex flavors I experienced. Complex, rich and smooth. I don’t see how this cigar gets better. Perfect score of 25/25.
Overall Experience: The anticipation I had for trying this cigar was really high and it did not disappoint me. Take away the touch up issues and this cigar scores higher. I really enjoyed my time with this one and I didn’t want to put it down. This is a cigar I could smoke time and time again and I feel it would only get better each time. If you have the opportunity to try this one, you need to do so. All of the Felix Assouline Cigars are good, but this one takes the crown. The Dark Lord is KING. I score this 28/30.
Final Rating: 95
96 – 94: Excellent cigar. I would add this to my collection of must haves.