This cigar is up for interpretation, ergo, its brand name – Rorschach (pronounced “ror-shock), named after the test’s creator Swiss psychologist, Hermann Rorschach. “The images themselves are only one component of the test, whose focus is the analysis of the perception of the images.” (Wiki) But the fact remains that few people really know much about the test. Bias of the test’s usefulness is debatable depending on too many factors to be limned here. But needless to say, the more people who take the test, the higher the risk of the results. So you can see this cigar for this reviewer is up in the air. The cigar will be the same in this case, whereas the inkblots change adding to the test’s validity in any concrete terms.
The Rorschach cigar was created at the “Black Works Studio,” a factory in Estelí, Nicaragua that was fashioned as a playground for the blends by the originator of the Black Label Trading Company – James Brown. “I have always looked at cigar making as an art form and “Black Works Studio” is another expression of what I can do as a cigar maker and brand owner.” (Press release)
Smoking the Rorschach was a bit of a challenge for me because of its size – a 5×38 Petite Panatela. I’m not a fan of the size in its original length, let alone one that is shorter. So there is one bias. The Ecuadorian wrapper has a gorgeous, deep brown color balanced with a Nica filler and binder. Sounds simple enough, but somehow the simplicity developed into a cacophony of micro-nuances that were almost impossible to pinpoint.
The draw is smooth – just the right amount of resistance to pull together the flavors that are hinted at but certainly not defined. The only concrete feature to this cigar is its spiciness. That hits you when it’s first lighted up and lingers throughout the smoke. But it’s the collateral flavor mixes that gives this cigar’s name validity.
It’s a quick smoke due to its size, so you have to pay attention and concentrate if any distinctions are to be made. The ash is unusually dark with Saturn-like rings of gray surrounding its conical tip when burning. That fact in and of itself shows excellent construction. I wish the cigar were a bit larger, and then maybe the fleeting nuances of flavor would hang around longer. But that could be its intent – keep the name of the cigar in mind.
The smoke is thick and welcome. But it’s the blinding speed of the essences that scatter in and out that make this cigar such a challenge to review. I detected charred dried seaweed coupled with (and this took me a long time to figure out) the aftertaste of unsweetened bubblegum and ground cherry pits. As the spice stayed constant, a brush of raw steel on warm flesh made its way into the folding tastes.
As these remnants of unusual flavors swayed in and out, and over and under, the spice remained the dominant force that held this cigar together. It became a bit hot toward the end and the ground cherry pits grew in intensity, as did the bubblegum sensitivity. Then suddenly a mouthful of charcoal dust pinged the senses as the tongue continued to absorb the spice.
This cigar was named just right. In fact, I may be crazy to come up with what I did, but the above were the tastes I experienced in the brief time of this petite panatela’s life. Maybe the second one will reveal something different I don’t know. This is my first Rorschach, but it certainly won’t be my last.