Doc’s Cigar Corner: The Dark Hour by John Bull

Doc of Doc’s Cigar Corner

The featured cigar is the The Dark Hour Churchill Maduro (7″ x 50) by John Bull.

The John Bull Churchill Connecticut (Sir Winston Churchill 7.0″ x 47) was the first cigar I reviewed for Robert Pratt’s website back in the Jurassic Period. At that time it represented the only blend produced by the fine folks at John Bull, and was one of my favorites because of its dependably excellent construction and flavor, and its rock-bottom price of $72.50 per box of 30 ($2.42 per stick). This was the true “value cigar.”

Apparently I was not the only devotee. After many decades producing the Connecticut blend in five violas, John Bull Cigars introduced its companion, The Dark Hour in two vitolas (Robusto and Churchill) in 2019. After finishing a box of 25 over the past year, I am ready to write a preliminary review, but my final call on The Dark Hour is still pending. This review applies only to the Churchill, as I have not savored the Robusto.

The Dark Hour is an elegant-appearing cigar measuring 7.0″ x 50, and sporting an attractive dark, oily wrapper (source not identified) overtop a flavorful blend of Dominican long fillers.

A central punch or deep V-cut is recommended. As to construction, some difficulty was experienced with 8 of the 25 cigars. One capleaf separated, and on seven cigars, the capleaf partially disadhered without separating. Minor uneven burn was seen, usually responsive to positioning or touchup. Ash integrity was good, with no separation and minimal shedding.

The basic flavor is sweet natural tobacco of moderate intensity. Spice starts at 1/2″ with light white pepper. Strength builds up to 2+ black pepper, then increases to 3+ red pepper immediately before the finish. A light, pleasant bitterness begins shortly after lighting and persists at the same intensity until the finish, when it increases sharply to overwhelm all other flavors. Random notes of cedar, earth, leather, and oak are variable. At about 4 1/4 to 4 1/2″ most examples abruptly become hot as well as bitter, signaling the finish. Smoking beyond this change does not improve the flavor.

This cigar is designed, in my opinion, for the evening. Smoke it after dinner or in the later evening over conversation, paired with any good whiskey (Irish, Scotch, Canadian or American bourbon.)

Rating (tentative): 70-80 for the 8 out of 25 examples with construction defects. 85-95 for the 17 out of 25 examples without construction defects. Further refinement will follow as The Dark Hour ages in the market.

Availability: John Bull cigars are usually not available in cigar stores. Both the five Connecticut vitolas and the two The Dark Hour vitolas are available through and at $72.50 for a box of 30 Churchill Connecticut ($2.42/stick) and $72.50 for a box of 25 Churchill The Dark Hour ($2.90/stick).



Enjoy another John Bull review from Doc here.

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  1. I have a box of John Bull Dark Hour cigars and I love them!!

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