Cigar Review: Panacea Black


Size: 6×50, Toro

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut

Binder: Dominican Republic

Filler: Cuban-seed Seco, Ligero, Olor Dominicano, and Nicaraguan

Strength: Mild-Medium

Price: Box of 20, $115.99

Grade: 8.1

Flatbed Cigar Company recently sent us their two blends, the Panacea Black (Natural) and the Red. After sitting for about 6 weeks, I decided to fire up the Black.

Flatbed is headquartered in Pennsylvania and they describe their business plan as being very simple: get the best rollers, make a bunch of blends, have a lot of people sample them, and pick a couple blends out of the lot to go forward with. This approach created the Panacea Black, in the Natural and Maduro, and the Pancea Red, which was recently released. Flatbed was formed nearly three years ago, with the Black being released in October of 2007. Primarily distributed in the North East, the Panacea has made its way into over 40 stores and are working to reach other regions. Though based in Pennsylvania, their factory is located in the Dominican Republic. Give them a visit here.

Now, on to the review of the Panacea Black.

Pre-light, 1.8:
The Black has a nice exterior and is packed tightly without any soft spots—it seemed that it may have even been over packed but the nice draw proved me wrong. It had a clean tobacco scent dominated by a barnyard smell with the slightest bit of mint. The band is a very clean black and gold—it neither detracts from nor highlights the overall appearance of the stick. The band did however conceal a very slight tear in the wrapper where it appears the roll didn’t properly match, leaving a slight gap in the roll. Overall, the Black has a clean appearance despite some oddly matching vein patterns.

Burn, 1.9:
The biggest highlight of this stick was the burn. The draw opened up as the stick progressed and by the 2/3 mark it had an excellent pull with a nice thick cloud of smoke exuding from each exhale. The ash also held very well and was a nice white that stacked well atop a clean burn line. The Black did not require any touch-ups or re-lights.

Flavor, 2.1:
By far the greatest deduction, the flavor profile on this stick was bad. The problem was the aftertaste. The overall flavor on this stick was what you would expect from a mild-medium Connecticut—nice barnyard notes with a moderate amount of creaminess. There was also a bit of pepper on the finish which was nice. However, by the 2/3 mark on this cigar, the bitterness and harshness was overwhelming—it even tasted a bit sour. Having allowed the stick to rest for 6 weeks prior to smoking, I was very surprised by the aftertaste. My review partner experienced the same aftertaste when he smoked the other Black we received.

Overall, 2.3:
I was disappointed with the Black for several reasons; it carries a decent price point, at around $5.79, and the appearance and burn is very solid, which made me hope for a great experience. The flavor of this cigar fell completely flat and bore one of the worst aftertastes I’ve ever had in a handmade. My only suggestion is to let these rest 6 months or more and see if the flavor improves. I don’t have any of these left, nor do I plan to buy more, so I will not be able to participate in the wait and see experiment. I can’t recommend this cigar for purchase unless you find a deal on it and have no problem letting it sit for a while.

(Total: 8.1)