Since announcing he was opening his own factory in 2015 and assuming control of his production, James Brown of Black Label Trading Company and Black Works Studio has become an emerging force in the Boutique Cigar World. Brown’s Fabrica Oveja Negra handles not only production for his own brands, but has now become a destination for client brands. If there was one type of blend that was a gap in the portfolio of Black Label Trading Company and Black Works Studio, it has been Connecticut Shade offerings. That changed over the past year as Brown has released two limited Connecticut Shade offerings, the Black Label Trading Company Deliverance Porcelain and the Black Works Studio Killer Bee Connecticut. Today, we take a look at one of those offerings, the Black Works Studio Killer Bee Connecticut.
Black Works Studio’s Killer Bee has become one of the more popular lines. It is a line that features multiple leaves used on the wrapper. The line is highlighted by a closed footer and the use of a secondary tobacco leaf to provide accents around the cigar.
The release of the Killer Bee Connecticut is the fourth release under the Killer Bee line:
- Killer Bee: An Ecuadorian Maduro wrapper with a natural wrapper used to create a swirl effect by the cap.
- Killer Bee Green Hornet: An Ecuadorian Maduro wrapper that uses a candela leaf to cover the footer and for a swirl effect by the cap.
- Killer Bee Green Hornet Kato: Similar to the Killer Bee Green Hornet, but it contains additional candela accents. This is a more limited release and has been primarily used as an event cigar.
- Killer Bee Connecticut: This cigar features an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper with a maduro wrapper used for a swirl effect on the cap, and ring-like accents near the footer as well as to cover the footer itself.
The Black Works Studio Killer Bee Connecticut was announced prior to the 2018 IPCPR Trade Show. It was originally announced as the Killer Bee Yellow Jacket. Shortly after IPCPR, the cigar was renamed to be Killer Bee Connecticut.
Now, let’s break down the Black Works Studio Killer Bee Connecticut and see what this cigar has to offer.
Blend and Origin
As mentioned above, the base wrapper of the Black Works Studio Killer Bee Connecticut is an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade with an Ecuadorian Maduro leaf used for the accents. The remainder of the blend consists of Nicaraguan tobaccos.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade and Ecuadorian Maduro (swirl cap & closed foot)
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Fabrica Oveja Negra
The Black Works Studio Killer Bee Connecticut has only been produced in one size – a 4 1/2 x 46 petite corona. The cigars are presented in 20-count boxes.
The base Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper had a golden brown color to it. There wasn’t much in the way of oil on the surface. This was a relatively smooth wrapper with any visible veins and visible wrapper seams on the thin side. There was a swirl-like ring design near the cap and footer using the Ecuadorian Maduro wrapper. The Ecuadorian Maduro wrapper covered the footer as well. Finally, the cap is finished with a thick-fuse like design that also features a maduro accent.
The band to the Black Works Studio Killer Connecticut is the same as the original Killer Bee offering. The band is black with colored accents with gold trim. The name “KILLER BEE” appears in large gold font. Just below the text is the text “BLACK WORKS STUDIO” in smaller gold font. To the left of the text is a large gold-colored bee sitting on what appears to be a metallic green “hornet’s nest-like” design.
A straight cut was used to remove both the cap and the fuse of the Black Works Studio Killer Bee Connecticut at the same time. Once the cap was removed, it was time to commence with the pre-light draw. The dry draw delivered notes of classic wood as well as subtle notes of cream and acidic notes. While it wasn’t the most exciting of pre-light draws, it does not count against this cigar since the pre-light draw is not scored. At this point, it was time to light up the Killer Bee Connecticut and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The Killer Bee Connecticut started out with notes of cream, black pepper, and coffee. After burning through the initial stages, some subtle citrus notes emerged. During the early stages, the coffee and black pepper moved to the forefront with the cream and citrus becoming secondary notes. There also was an additional layer of black pepper present on the retro-hale.
Later in the first third, the coffee notes emerged as the primary note. The cream and pepper were close secondary notes that were alternating in intensity. As the Killer Bee Connecticut moved through the early stages of the second third, some cedar notes mixed in with the pepper. Meanwhile, the citrus notes remained in the more distant back.
Just past the midway point of the Killer Bee Connecticut, there was an increase in the cedar and the pepper notes. Meanwhile, the creaminess that was present in the background earlier had subsided. The final third saw the coffee notes still in the forefront. The cedar and pepper notes remained in the background along with some subtle touches of citrus. This is the way the Killer Bee Connecticut came to a close. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The Black Works Studio Killer Bee Connecticut delivered stellar performance when it came to the burn. For the most part, this cigar had a relatively straight burn line and maintained a straight burn path. The resulting ash wasn’t overly firm, but it wasn’t loose or flaky either. This was an ash that had a silver-gray color with some darker speckling mixed in. Meanwhile, the Killer Bee Connecticut maintained an ideal burn temperature and ideal burn rate.
The Killer Bee Connecticut had a touch of resistance, which is what I consider to be a sweet spot for a draw. Despite a little resistance, this was a draw that also produced a nice volume of smoke. In the end, this was also a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
When it comes to Connecticut Shades hitting the market, they tend to fall into two categories: 1) traditional ones that are milder; and 2) more contemporary ones that attempt to push past the milder boundaries of strength and body. The Killer Bee Connecticut is one of the contemporary ones. This is a cigar that delivered a medium strength, medium to full-bodied smoke. The intensity levels of both the strength and the body increased as the smoking experience progressed.
In terms of strength and body, I found the body had the edge from start to finish.
If you had a question on whether James Brown could deliver an excellent Connecticut Shade to market, the Black Works Studio Killer Bee will answer that question with a strong “yes”. With the Killer Bee Connecticut, Brown delivers a unusually bold but smooth Connecticut Shade cigar. In a lot of ways I felt this was the Connecticut Shade cigar that smoked like a maduro. Since this is a bolder Connecticut Shade cigar, it’s one that I would probably recommend to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar that I would smoke again and buy multiples of.
Key Flavors Coffee, Cream, Cedar, Black Pepper, Citrus
Complexity: Medium Plus
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy Multiples
News: Black Works Studio Killer Bee Connecticut Released
Brand Reference: Black Works Studio
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop