As Johnnie Walker or AC/DC would attest—black sells. It’s a theme often used throughout marketing to convey elegance, minimalism, edginess, or power. And while you’ll often find the strategy associated with exclusivity and higher price points (does the black Apple Magic Mouse really need to be $20 more than the standard white?), Micallef Cigars has taken the opposite approach with their latest release: Micallef Black.

Debuting earlier this June, the Micallef Black was crafted not only to be one of the most affordable offerings from the company, but to bring a fuller-bodied experience to their lineup as well. Like the Micallef A cigar before it, the Micallef Black was spurred on through feedback from the company’s loyal following—a group known as the Micallef Ambassadors. With the majority of Micallef’s cigars operating in the medium-bodied spectrum, the company set out on a three-year process to bring a more powerful cigar to market.

Dan Thompson, the President of Micallef Cigars, enthusiastically remarked, “With Micallef Black, our intention is to present a cigar that exudes power, confidence, and a touch of allure. Moreover, we are thrilled to offer this exceptional blend at an unbeatable value.”

Micallef Black Toro Breakdown

  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
  • Binder: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Micallef Cigars S.A. (Nicaragua)
  • Production: Regular Production
  • Vitola: 6″ × 52 (Toro)
  • Price: $8.00 (MSRP)

The cigar made its official debut this summer at the annual PCA trade show in Las Vegas, being rolled out of the company’s Nicaraguan factory in both robusto and toro formats. The cigars feature a three-country tobacco blend, including a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, a Habano binder from Ecuador, and all-Nicaraguan filler.

  • Robusto: 5″ x 52 | $7.00 | 25-count box
  • Toro: 6″ x 52 | $8.00 | 25-count box
  • Atlantic Cigar Sale


In terms of packaging and presentation, Micallef keeps it simple and clean. The cigars are packaged in cube-shaped black wooden boxes, being stacked in five rows of five cigars. The band is similarly understated, having the same overall look as all modern-day Micallef cigars and forgoing the sub-band found throughout their other lines. It’s a black/gold scheme, offering a nice contrast on a satin-like paper. Considering the price, it’s a great look overall.

The cigars themselves are lighter than you’d expect for a San Andrés, looking more like Habano oscuro territory. The outward construction certainly doesn’t wow. There are lumps and bumps, and some samples even had a curved shape from head to toe. The wrapper begins with a triple cap, leading down the toro with medium veins and somewhat tattered seams. However, the bunch is more impressive, giving a firm springiness when squeezed.

There are fermented-like notes coming off the wrapper, being primarily barnyard and musk, though black licorice is there as well. The foot is a bit sweeter, with aromas of earth, cocoa, and hardwoods. With a straight cut, the toro offers a draw that’s two ticks to the firm side, providing vegetal flavors of basil, white pepper, and something that reminds me of green pistachios.

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Smoking Experience

The Black Toro kicks off with wet rock minerality, being quick to back itself up with sharp black pepper through the retrohale on followup draws. This steep ramp up is what you’d expect from the theme at hand, but it’s not all fireworks; the cigar then moves on a gradual decline (in terms of stinging spice), adding clay and plenty of earth into the mix. Every few puffs seems to ignite a black pepper fire, giving a pinch through the nostrils. This is a welcomed sensation, livening up the senses without overwhelming them. With a bit more development, the toro paints a woodsy picture—a forest after a fresh rain. This early portion is comprised primarily of earth, wet hardwoods, and dark cabinet spices. The cigar is medium-plus (medium-plus-plus?) in flavor, medium-light in strength, and medium in body.

Micallef Black Toro cigar ash

While the smoking draw proves easier than the pre-light, I’d still classify it on the firm side. This is made bearable by the smoke output itself, which is close to medium and certainly more than the draw would have you believe. The toro burns without waver, stacking a white ash with dark streaks. While not flaky, the ash has that hollow look to it—as if it could come crumbling to pieces with the slightest disturbance. Thankfully, this is not the case, and the ash builds (despite my unjustified suspicions) easily to two inches or more. In terms of palate, the smoke doesn’t register much with the sweet flavor receptors; instead, I find it on the front and back of the center taste buds, sometimes creeping onto the front sides of the tongue. There’s also a nice tart sensation from the cut tobacco against the tongue, having that 9-volt jolt that keeps me engaged.

Raw peppercorns drive the profile through the halfway mark, signaling its push toward darker flavor characteristics. There is bitter dark chocolate and a touch of black licorice, though the flavor output as a whole seems to be sliding. However, it’s in this region that some of the more interesting elements, brief as they may be, seem to begin popping up. Roasted qualities like dark bread crust are aplenty, and the bitter dark chocolate is now an even more bitter French-pressed coffee. The tingling sensation of the smoke sinking into the tongue continues, and the profile darkens with grace, showing root-like notes, burnt popcorn, and an overall vibe of earthy stew (I don’t even know what that entails, but that’s the vibe!). The cigar closes out in the realm of medium-plus flavor, medium-full strength, medium-full body, not becoming harsh or distastefully bitter in its final moments.

Micallef Black Toro cigar smoking

Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?

Can we all just take a moment and appreciate the fact that a premium cigar manufacturer created not one, but two sizes—neither exceeding the eight-dollar threshold? Mind you, these are not petit coronas, and they’re not Cuban sandwich blends… these are regular old long-filler robustos and toros, offering a good amount of flavor and body. It’s just refreshing. Now, personally, I found it to be a background-type smoke. There’s nothing wrong with this cigar, and I’d certainly smoke it again. I may not load up by the box, but I’d reach for one in situations like a night of poker, a garage sesh, or mowing the lawn. It’s an everyday cigar for the Joe six-pack enthusiast looking for a little more oomph.

Additional Info
  • Despite being billed as maxed-out in body, I don’t think it reached that mark. There’s times where it’s in the medium-full ballpark, but it’s mostly around medium-plus.
  • I had this cigar at the trade show and wasn’t impressed, but I think a little time has done it well.
  • It’s sure interesting to see how far Micallef has come since debuting with ultra-premium ($40 range) lines in 2016. The company is clearly now more in touch with their core audience, and this bang-for-your-buck blend shows the company is not content resting on their laurels.
  • The Micallef Black currently ranks in the top seven percent of cigars on the Dojoverse leaderboard, and is scored as “99% Smokable.”

  • Flavor: Medium-Full
  • Strength: Medium-Plus
  • Body: Medium-Plus
Core Flavors
  • Earthy mineral
  • Peppercorn
  • Rain-soaked hardwoods
  • French press
  • Bitter roots
  • Smoke Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Pairing Recommendation: Zinfandel | Root beer | Pour-over coffee | Porter
  • Purchase Recommendation: 5-pack

Micallef Black Toro cigar nub finished

Micallef Black Toro
I'm sure I'll get flack for saying this, but I've never found Micallef's portfolio to be particularly easy to navigate. Sure, there's continuity, with nearly all of their current collection featuring the same primary band, but there's no clear starting point for the newcomer to the brand. Perhaps the Micallef Black changes this, with the cigar featuring a more distinct look, an attractive price, and good enough flavor to have you feeling satisfied with your purchase. In the toro size, the cigar offered maintenance-free construction from start to finish, which is a feat on its own in this price range. Of course, it's not without criticism, having a draw on the firm side, a lack of an "it factor" flavor (to keep you hooked), and a bit less body than advertised. I'd also like a little more sweetness in order to balance out the bitterness of the profile, which can become a bit monotonous at times. All in all, if you're a fan of earthy, roasted, spicy characteristics (and want a bit more body than others in this price range), you certainly won't be disappointed with the Micallef Black.
  • Dependable construction
  • Bang for your buck
  • Good, straightforward flavor
  • Draw was on firm side
  • Lacks complexity
  • Doesn't quite deliver on the advertised "full" body
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