Earlier this year; Black Works Studio, one of the brands owned by James Brown of Oveja Negra Brands, announced the release of a cigar known as Hyena. Hyena would be the second Oveja Negra release to feature a Cameroon wrapper following up 2020’s Black Works Studio Killer Bee Swarm. The Hyena gets its name from the four-legged carnivore. James Brown selected the name for this cigar based on his time of living in Africa with his wife Angela. Today we take a closer look at the Black Works Studio Hyena in the Corona Gorda release.
The brands of Oveja Negra Brands have followed a small batch philosophy in terms of regular production and limited releases. Black Works Studio and Black Label Trading Company are two of the Oveja Negra Brands that are joined at the hip. While the Black Label Trading Company brand followed more of a “skull and bones theme” in terms of its packaging, the Black Works Studio brand has a much more contemporary and modern art look to it. In addition to a contemporary look, the cigars have shown some of the artesian qualities coming out of Brown’s Fabrica Oveja Negra factory. The sizes of Black Works Studio have tended to focus on the smaller connoisseur sizes. Hyena fits the model with its contemporary packaging, small batch production, and two Connoisseur sizes (a Corona Gorda and Lonsdale)
Without further ado, let’s break down the Black Works Studio Hyena Corona Gorda and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
In addition to the Cameroon wrapper, the Black Works Studio Hyena features all-Nicaraguan tobaccos for the binder and filler. As with all Oveja Negra Brands releases, production is handled out of Fabrica Oveja Negra in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Fabrica Oveja Negra
Both sizes of the Hyena fall into the Connoisseur size category (Corona Gorda and Lonsdale). Each size is presented in 20-count boxes.
Corona Gorda: 5 x 46
Lonsdale: 6 1/2 x 42
The Cameroon wrapper of the Black Works Studio Hyena Corona Gorda was on the darker side, but still had a light coffee bean color to it. This was a Cameroon wrapper that had some oil on the surface. There were some thin visible veins and some visible wrapper seams. The artesian touches of this cigar are on the simple side – a covered footer and a thick pigtail on the cap.
The band of the Black Works Studio Hyena is black with white font. On the left side is an image of a hyena covered with spray paint (and a “HELLO” name badge on it!). The right side of the band has the text “HYENA” in a large white weathered font. Just below it is the next “black works studio” in a smaller white weathered font. There was a white pinstripe near the top and bottom of this band.
As opposed to pulling the pigtail off the cap of the Black Works Studio Hyena Corona Gorda, a straight cut was used to remove both the cap and the tail simultaneously. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw stage. The pre-light draw delivered a mix of cedar, wood, citrus, and must. Overall this wasn’t a bad pre-light draw, but at the same time it did not have me doing handstands either. At this point it was time to toast up the Black Works Studio Hyena Corona Gorda, and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The Black Works Studio Hyena Corona Gorda opened up with notes of baker’s spice, red pepper, wood, earth and citrus. Early on there was no dominant note, but eventually the earth notes took the edge midway through the first third. The baker’s spice, pepper, wood, and citrus settled in the background. Meanwhile, there was an additional layer of red pepper on the retro-hale.
During a second third of the Black Works Studio Hyena Corona Gorda, there was an increase in the wood, pepper, and baker’s spice. The wood notes increased at a more rapid pace and near the midway point the wood joined the earth notes in the forefront. Meanwhile the baker’s spice, pepper, and citrus notes were in a secondary role.
The final third opened up with the earth and wood notes still prominent in the forefront. The pepper and baker’s spice continued to slowly increase in intensity and toward the later part of the smoking experience the pepper also moved into the forefront. There still were touches of baker’s spice and citrus rounding the flavor profile. As the cigar experience of the Black Works Studio Hyena Corona Gorda came to a close, the cigar finished with a slightly soft, cool nub.
The past couple of years we have seen Fabrica Oveja Negra capture the “Small/Medium Factory” Prime Time Award – and much of this has been attributed to the quality of the products coming out. With the Black Works Studio Hyena, the quality continues and this is reflected on the burn and draw.
The Black Works Studio Hyena Corona Gorda maintained a straight burn path and had a relatively straight burn line. The resulting ash was tight with a near-white color to it. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both were ideal.
The Black Works Studio Hyena Corona Gorda scored nicely on the draw as well. This is a cigar that had a touch of resistance on the draw – which is something I have said I greatly appreciate. At the same time, this was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavors from.
Strength and Body
While the Black Works Studio Hyena Corona Gorda isn’t going to be the boldest Oveja Negra blend, it still has enough pop to satisfy those looking for boldness. This is a cigar that was medium in strength and medium to full in body from start to finish. There wasn’t much variance in the strength and body levels throughout the smoking experience. When it came to strength versus body, the body had an edge.
One thing that I think James Brown did very well with the Black Works Hyena Corona Gorda he developed a Cameroon blend that would satisfy his core base. The cigar has just enough “bite” in terms of spice and boldness from the flavors that will set this cigar apart from other Cameroon cigars. At the same time, this “bite” isn’t too much of a punch and this is a cigar that can appeal to a wide variety of cigar enthusiasts. In the end, there was enough going on with this cigar where I would recommend it to a more experienced cigar enthusiast. At the same time, I wouldn’t discourage a novice from trying. As for myself, the Black Works Studio Hyena Corona Gorda is a cigar I would buy and smoke again. I also look forward to smoking the Lonsdale size.
Key Flavors Earth, Wood, Baker’s Spice, Citrus, Red Pepper
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
News: Black Works Studio NBK Lizard King Rolls Out This Month
Source: Oveja Negra Brands
Brand Reference: Black Works Studio
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop