HBTC Review: Black Works Studio Killer Bee The Swarm

The cigars from Black Works Studio (BLK WKS) are meant to be the creative and more experimental side of Oveja Negra. The fun and irreverent style of the packaging is echoed in the design of the cigars themselves. Many cigars from the line use different wrapper colors as accents, and each blend has a unique identity. The original Killer Bee is an Ecuadorian Maduro wrapper and a regular production product. That was followed by a limited release of a Killer Bee CT in 2018. The Swarm switches it up to a Cameroon wrapper leaf. Here is Matt’s review of The Swarm.

The BLK WKS Studio Killer Bee The Swarm is currently only made in this single vitola.

Black Works Studio Killer Bee The Swarm
MSRP: $10.50
Size: 5 x 46
Origin: Fabrica Oveja Negra (Esteli, Nicaragua)
Wrapper: Cameroon
Binder: Habano (Nicaragua)
Filler: Nicaragua

One thing about the special cigars coming from Fabrica Oveja Negra is, they are beautiful. This cigar is no exception. From the curly spiral at the foot and the head, to the clean lines of a beautiful reddish-brown wrapper. The cigar is well rolled and cleanly designed. The wrapper has a nice leathery aroma, while the foot smells like more of that subtle leather with other notes of pepper, grass, and vanilla bean. The cold draw is grassy, bright, and a little peppery.

Act I
At the beginning, there is a little bit of light pepper that dissipates to the background within the first few puffs. The core flavors I get in this first section are a nice mix of dried fruit, black tea, and a sweetness that reminds me of praline pecans. There is a dryness on the palate from the abundant smoke output, but not so dry that I keep reaching for water after every puff. The retrohale has noted of leather, pepper, and a little vanilla.

Act II
At about the halfway mark the notes of black pepper rise up again, but not soo strong that they overpower everything else. I start to get some Coca-Cola type sweetness that mixes with roasted nuts. There are still hints of dried fruit and an interesting tangy note. It may sound crazy, but it reminds me of spice cake with cream cheese frosting. The retrohale ramps up with more spice and a fleeting aroma of charred wood.

This last section of the cigar brings all of the flavors together. Even with a slight dry sense on my palate there is still plenty of sweetness, spice, and a balancing bitterness. It ranges from a raisin and spice cake, to toasted wood, roasted nuts, and even a phantom touch of bright citrus. There are more of the brewed tea notes from earlier, and that seems to coincide with the dryness on the back of the palate. The aromas in the retrohale are now full-tilt spicy and earthy.

With the resurgence in Cameroon wrappers over the last couple of years, it’s fun for a cigar smoker to see what each brand will do with this wrapper varietal. With The Swarm, BLK WKS definitely made it their own. This cigar has the sweetness and cabinet spice that I typically get from Cameroon, but still has the depth and darkness that is almost a trademark of cigars from Oveja Negra. It burns really well, draws almost perfectly, and has a lot of complexity. If I were forced to choose, I would pick this over the original Killer Bee. Good thing they make both.

Black Works Studio Killer Bee The Swarm – How Bout That Cigar?
Rating: How Bout A Box?
Overall Score: 92
PAD: +0.5 (What is PAD?)
Flavor Summary: Cola, Roasted Nuts, Tea, Baking Spice
Strength Assessment: Medium
Source: Cigars for this review were purchased by HBT Media LLC

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