Blackbird's Glitch cigar is an interesting release to say the least, finding its origins in an error when one of the new employees at the Blackbird Dominicana factory incorrectly labeled two varietals of tobacco. The mistake went unnoticed for some time, until it led to a mixup in the assembling of a new blend. The resulting cigars were set to age, and when Blackbird's head blender, Papo El Caballo, returned after a trip in 2022, he found and smoked one of these new cigars only to find that it was not the blend he had intended to create. Immediately realizing the discrepancy, though not consciously sampling the flavors of the smoke, he took the result to the owners of the company to figure out what had happened.
As he was being apprised of the situation, a few of the owners began to taste the cigar, and they realized that the result was surprisingly good — so good, in fact, that the company made the decision to put it into full production in 2023, making only a few subsequent modifications.
The final line comprises a trio of different wrappers: Claro, with an Ecuadorian Connecticut leaf; Habano, with an Ecuadorian Habano leaf; and Oscuro, which is wrapped with a Mexican San Andrés leaf. Each of these features a Mexican binder and fillers from the United States and the Dominican Republic, save for the Oscuro, which uses a Dominican binder. I'll be smoking all three varieties of the Glitch for this review, and in an effort to keep my respiratory system functional, each one is being smoked only twice rather than thrice.
The exterior of the Claro is quite light, which is to be expected from a Connecticut-wrapped cigar, and is tightly rolled, its circumference appearing smooth save for a few prominent veins. Texturally, the leaf features a subtle bit of tooth, here lending it a texture that's soft but hardy, with little oil detectable. A broad, tightly-applied double cap tops this cigar and speaks to the quality of the roll itself, which is nearly seamless at times and which is just tight enough to keep the cigar feeling firm and the airflow open after a quick cut at the shoulder.
The scent at the barrel is understated — hay and tobacco with just a bit of muskiness, while the foot offers baking spice, light coffee, and leather. Cold draw puffs are extremely light, with just a bit of a bready, nutty aroma, leaving me intrigued. First impressions are quite good here, especially with regard to construction, and after a bit more inspection I start to toast the foot.
The initial light is laden with a subtle bit of textural pepper and creaminess, coupled with an intense cedar flavor that highlights the brighter aspects of the pepper. As I continue to puff gently into the first third, a leathery note overtakes the cedar, leveling out the palette and making room for an understated vegetal flavor. Retrohales bring back the cedar a bit and intensify the presence of the leather, this combination laden with a touch of understated spice. Halfway through the first third, this cigar surprises me with a very bright bouquet of cream, cocoa, and rich earth, a combination that stands out but which compliments the subsequent ebb and flow of creamy cedar and tobacco. Continued retrohales bring similar flavors to the first, and puffs maintain a character of light butteriness that complements the rather consistent flavors well. At the end of the first third, flavors stay stable and smoking quite pleasant, with strength at a mild-medium and flavor the same.
The second third begins with a toasty, cinnamony aroma which serves to further brighten the bouquet of this cigar, and retrohales diversify the palette of spices well by adding nutmeg and clove to the mix. Cedar has evolved into a more smoky, mesquite-like wood aroma whose bolder presence is tempered by an understated honey-like sweetness. At this point I start to notice how long the finish of this cigar is, as the flavors linger on the tongue with a slight oiliness that is not unpleasant, these flavors evolving into a darker, earthier character which holds one's attention well. The closer I get to the final third, the more intensity this cigar develops — not exponentially, but by degrees — as retrohales become more peppery and more densely laden with baking spices. Strength here is slightly closer to medium, with flavor sitting there more solidly and the burn requiring minimal corrections.
Halfway through the first third, this cigar surprises me with a very bright bouquet of cream, cocoa, and rich earth
Coming into the final third, the pepper content of this cigar is magnified in both standard puffs and retrohales, the background maintaining its bouquet of leather, cedar, and baking spices. Certain flavors become sharper here, more pointed as the cigar develops, and the retrohales begin to burn my nose just a bit as the pepper flavor intensifies, the sharpening of the bouquet lending the profile of this cigar a piquant zest. Midway through the final third, the pepper content has dropped, instead offering small bursts of spice which maintain some intensity but don't linger on the finish. Major flavors center on cedar and leather, with nuttiness creeping in the closer the cigar gets to finishing, with retrohales highlighting smokier notes and rich tobacco. Strength and flavor are at a solid medium by this point, and the final third closes as the cigar becomes too hot to smoke.
The Habano iteration of the Glitch boasts a mottled, chestnut-hued wrapper that's speckled with darker flecks throughout, its texture slightly rougher than the Claro's, though with less prominent veins. Aside from that, the Habano, too, features a broad double cap and consistent rolling, with tight seams and just a tiny bit of tooth. Scent across the barrel is very light with only a hint of leather and pepperiness, though the foot offers a bit more spice and an earthy base. After a quick cut, the cigar is open, and initial draws offer ample airflow and a subdued cold draw that offers a musty leather and cedar aroma which is nearly as light as the smell from the barrel.
A quick toast leads the way into the first third, where I'm met by a light dusting of cedar and sporadic bursts of black pepper that underscore a building leatheriness which develops as I puff. Pepper evolves from its role as a background flavor and takes its place in a more prominent position within this cigar's bouquet, and on the retrohale, this prominent position is elevated to the forefront. Coming into the middle of the first third, the leather present earlier is amplified and pepper starts to add a textural element to the smoke, especially across the palate. As this cigar's first third begins creeping toward its end, the leather flavor continues to build, and a final retrohale delivers an invigorating combination of baking spices that combine in an expressive, florally inclined aroma. Strength at this point is near medium and flavor is closer to a mild-medium.
As the second third starts, the baking spices which appeared at the end of the first third develop further, with pepper stepping back from puffs and retrohales. Allspice and cinnamon start to define themselves a bit before ebbing into a slightly musky barnyard aroma punctuated with peppery spice and toasty graham cracker. Standard puffs near the middle of the second third start to stand out thanks to their slightly floral notes that, at one point, twist into a smoky melange that reminds me of Latakia in the best way. Retrohales here reveal a complex bouquet of savory vegetal notes and smoky mesquite or hickory, the Habano, too, developing a zesty, piquant sharpness which evolves into a slightly sweet return to the floral aroma from earlier. As the second third comes to a close, the aforementioned flavors stay fairly consistent, and the strength and flavor both at a medium.
The start of the final third maintains the major flavors of the second, though with a slightly more musty-leather flavor and enhanced pepperiness highlighted by the previous third's piquancy. Retrohales at this point change dramatically, shifting from a pepper-heavy leather and cedar flavor to a sweeter, molasses-like aroma which continuously refines itself into a slightly sweeter cocoa note. The sweetness that develops here continues building as this third burns and shifts the finish to an almost syrupy consistency, allowing it to linger on the palate and slowly evolve over time. As the final third comes to a close, the cigar offers a few short bursts of intense pepper and cedar, the spice coming back in force once more before the cigar gets too hot to smoke, and I put it down.
Like the previous cigars in this series, the wrapper here is applied excellently, with tight seams and minimal lifting, resulting in a firm barrel with just a bit of give. The leaf here is a deep, dark-chocolate brown that's slightly mottled near some of its more prominent veins, though these are relatively few. A hint of toothiness covers the wrapper, though this is mostly tactile rather than visible, and, much like the other cigars, this one is topped with a broad double cap. The scent from the barrel is an intense, earthy barnyard aroma which is underscored by a piquant essence I can't quite identify. From the foot, the scent offers hints of hay and a slightly sweet cocoa or nuttiness, alongside the barnyard at the barrel, though subdued quite a bit. A quick straight cut opens the cap, and the cold draw surprises me; The barnyard and earth present at the barrel and foot fade away almost completely, replaced by a woody, Brazil nut-like flavor and slight bit of spice.
The Oscuro's first third begins with a deep, rich earthiness which is lightly peppered with a slightly textural spiciness, with subsequent puffs taking on a vibrant anise note that layers complexity atop the core flavor of earth. Retrohales deliver a bit more lightness to the aroma of earth and extend the finish significantly, shifting the focus toward the anise note tasted previously, something that very subtly sweetens as the finish continues. Flavors are remaining consistent halfway through, ebbing and flowing with intensity as the smoke continues, the burn line staying crisp and the ash maintaining its shape with clearly defined lines and a light gray hue. Near the end of the first third, the earthiness recedes a bit, with cedar emerging alongside a hint of creaminess which does well to balance the richer elements of this smoke.
At the start of the second third, the pepper which laces the cedar-and-earth foundation of this cigar takes on a delightfully floral character which evolves into a complex array of baking spices and herbs, these staying on the finish for quite some time before dissipating. Outside of this, there's a slowly growing clove flavor which suffuses the smoke, while earthiness returns in the retrohale. The consistency of flavors through this third are shaken up near the end as a dry, semi-sweet cocoa flavor takes over some of the earth aromas, transitioning into a wonderfully lively root beer flavor that continues throughout the end of the second third.
Coming into the final third, the creaminess which appeared at the end of the first third returns, smoothing out the earthy core a bit more as the root beer flavor from the second third stays consistent and tasty. Pepper begins to become a touch more prominent, and a sweet tobacco note arrives on the palette, complementing the earth and root beer notes well. The highly aromatic clove flavor from the second third returns as well, also complementing the earth and root beer, though it's joined by anise as well, creating an almost floral combination of flavors. Nearing the end of the final third, leather begins to move into the spotlight, and it's bolstered by a hint of peppery spice and a sweet tobacco, the bouquet bringing to mind molasses. The flavors intensify with subsequent puffs and retrohales, with a bolder display of pepper through both, the final puffs of the cigar marked by floral earth, leather, cream, and a slight tang.
... the cedar-and-earth foundation of this cigar takes on a delightfully floral character which evolves into a complex array of baking spices and herbs
Across all three of these blends, I was consistently impressed with the quality of the roll and the evenness of the burn, something impressive given the price point for which these cigars are offered. In every example I noticed a considerable degree of complexity, though with an overall bouquet which is quite accessible for newer smokers, and a striking subtlety that keeps the cigar interesting when smoked. The average strength and body for this series stays consistently medium, though the Oscuro features a touch more body than the others, and the average smoke time was between an hour and 15 minutes and an hour and a half.