Blackbird Cigar Co. "Crow" San Andrés Review: The Medium Man's Maduro

Dark, oily maduro cigars carry with them this stigma. Strong, spicy, heavy, flavorful... people see one of these heavily fermented smokes, and immediately assume that they will be full in every account.

This isn't just the uninitiated or light cigar smokers I'm talking about here either. Fans of dark cigars often make the same assumptions, basing their thought process upon prior experience.

But not all maduro cigars have to be strong, or full-flavored. Sometimes, a dark blend receives a certain level of fermentation, that when paired with the right tobacco strains and blending methodologies, produces a product that is not all that full.

Boutique blends like "Crow" by Blackbird Cigar Co. lean in this direction, and make an ideal option for those in search of a more digestible, any-given-day maduro smoke session. Which as you shall soon see, can be a bit of a double-sided sword for veteran dark cigar smokers...

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Unlit Impressions   

Blackbird Cigar Co. "Crow" San Andrés Maduro

Oily and veiny, with seams and cigar teeth alike sticking out, the Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper on Blackbird's "Crow" is kind of a caricature of itself. Rough-n-tumble, with a partially closed foot, it looks to be all macho man cigar, with a bright red band the size of Pennsylvania stealing just as much attention. 

Try and get some notes from that closed foot, and you'll be gifted with a vague touch of coffee, cocoa, chalky soil, and coal dust. The wrapper and barrel is more milk cocoa, but also a farmhouse funk fest at times. It's all subdued, but still stereotypically "stinky" cigar smells.

Cold pulls are a white and black pepper blend, with darker soil notes, and a bitter cocoa taste that finishes with a malty dark beer taste.

Initial Smoke     

Blackbird Cigar Co. "Crow" San Andrés Maduro

Peppery at first, with stray flakes of ash from the closed foot flitting about everywhere, things begin in a rough manner. Wait five minutes or so, and both the ash and flavor profile settle down, and a woody, chewy smoking session soon ensues. 

1st Half     

Blackbird Cigar Co. "Crow" San Andrés Maduro

Full-bodied, but with medium strength and flavor, this blend leans heavily on oaky tannins and dark malts for the first thirty minutes of its performance. Cocoa and coffee can be detected, along with some fermented funkiness, but they are just riding shotgun at this point.

While the cigar tasted a bit whiskey barrel-ish at times to me, I feel that in retrospect this was more of a dry cask-finished dark ale taste than a higher proof booze firkin. 

It's also dry. Not at first puff, but post exhale. Landing square on the center of the tongue, and slightly toward the back, you will likely find yourself reaching for your beverage after every draw. Which in my case was a good thing, for I wisely chose to pair a malty, sweet, and spicy imperial stout from Sri Lanka with this cigar.

2nd Half      

Blackbird Cigar Co. "Crow" San Andrés Maduro

To explain the second half of "Crow," one must examine its ingredients. For while the Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper will capture the most attention, it's the binder and long-filler leaves within that make up the majority of the cigar.

Although the Dominican-grown Habano binder does add some flavor and strength I am sure, it's the filler side that has my attention. There, Corojo leaf adds spice and brightens things up a bit, Criollo '98 creates earthen sweetness, unnamed Nicaraguan tobacco builds body, and that Pennsylvania-grown, presumably Broadleaf varietal, brings funk to the forefront. 

Parting Puffs       

Blackbird Cigar Co. "Crow" San Andrés Maduro

Stronger, yet still very smooth, the last portion of this blend takes sweet cedar and shoves it out on stage. It's not the most eloquent or well-timed introduction, but I'll take it nevertheless. There's also some bittersweet chocolate and generic nuttiness, but nothing overly memorable.

The cigar is still very much medium in strength by this point, but it is quite full in body, with flavor hovering somewhere between the two.  

Ash / Burn / Smoke / Draw     

Blackbird Cigar Co. "Crow" San Andrés Maduro

While it may have been flakier than a verbal commitment from a stoner at Burning Man, the ash of this cigar stayed true for the majority of its existence. There was only one point during the final third that a touch-up was needed, but save for that the stick combusted well, offering a good burn with lots of rich smoke coming from the fluid draw.

Final Thoughts   

Blackbird Cigar Co. "Crow" San Andrés Maduro

I must admit, this cigar had me fooled as well. With its impressive list of blend ingredients, and toothy, dark fermented appearances, "Blackbird's "Crow" seems like it would be all mocha mania.

Instead, you get a surprisingly dry, tannin-rich sensation, that enjoys socking you in the kisser with clods of chalky soil and fleeting hints of spicy sweetness. 

Nowhere within my nearly 1.5-hour-long smoking session did I find strength levels or the cigar flavor profile move beyond medium territory, leaving the body to soldier on alone into full territory. 

So while I found myself a bit underwhelmed by the flavors (or lack thereof) within this blend, I did enjoy the physicality of the smoke it produced. I also found myself liking the tannin maltiness and the fact that the blend isn't this massive mocha bomb or a complete licorice stick. 

Throw in the fact that a 5-pack of these cigars runs you less than $40 on Klaro's website, and you've got a maduro cigar that can double as an EDC when it isn't introducing first-timers to the dark side.

Blackbird Cigar Co. "Crow" San Andrés Maduro

Cigar Stats


Blackbird Cigar Co. "Crow San Andrés"


San Andrés Maduro (Mexico)


Habano (Dominican Republic?)





Criollo '98


Dominican Republic


5" x 50 "Robusto"



Pairing Drink

Lion Stout



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