The year after relaunching the Warped brand, Kyle Gellis released one of the most sought after cigars in the portfolio: the La Colmena Black Honey. Using the Ecuadorian habano oscuro wrapper from the EL OSO line on top of the La Colmena binder/filler, the finished product was a very limited run – only 600 cigars total.
Two years later it was announced that the coveted Black Honey would be returning. In June half of the 2017 batch was shipped to 67 retailers – a significant increase from the first run of only 13 retailers. The other half of the batch will ship later this year as they needed more time to rest.
While production numbers weren’t released, one can easily assume that with about five times as many retailers and two batches being released, the production numbers for this version is much higher than 600 cigars.
Let’s look back at what I originally had to say about the 2015 release:
As I stated above, as soon as these were announced I was intrigued and wanted to try them. I’m a fan of the regular La Colmena line and wanted to see what the tweaked blend offered. It turns out the Black Honey offered a different enough experience to stand on it’s own, while still producing a quality enough experience that one wouldn’t be disappointed to compare to the Unico Especial. The construction was fantastic and the profile started out good and developed into great, giving me a slightly different and enjoyable flavor experience in each section. I could easily suggest picking up a bundle of these, but the only issue is that you’ll almost certainly be looking for them on the secondary market.
- Cigar Reviewed: La Colmena Black Honey (2017)
- Country of Origin: USA
- Factory: El Titan de Bronze
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
- Binder: Ecuador
- Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
- Length: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 48
- Vitola: Belicoso
- MSRP: $16.50 (Bundles of 10, $165)
- Release Date: June 2017
- Number of Cigars Released: n/a
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 1
Editor’s Note: This is a review of the 2017 version comparing it to the original.
The new Black Honey looks much as I remember the original: the darker wrapper setting off the yellow band more prominently, with a veiny appearance but a smooth and oily feel to it. There’s one small little soft spot, but more than likely nothing that will cause problems. The wrapper’s aroma is very faint, with sweet hay, caramel and a hint of leather. On the cold draw I get some of the same hay and sweet vegetal notes as I did before, but this version has a very strong taste that reminds me of an undisturbed cabin – something like old wood and a mustiness that isn’t necessarily off-putting, but is certainly different than what I remember.
Starting into the first third I’m greeted with sweet peppers, fresh black pepper, charred oak and a hint of a vegetal note. Close to the inch mark, a spice note has appeared, while the black pepper has faded a bit. By the beginning of the second third the black pepper is relegated to the background along with the vegetal note, while sweet peppers, charred oak and spice continue up front. An odd bitter note has shown up, though it’s quite minor at this point. Unfortunately by the final third, the bitterness has grown, overpowering the otherwise enjoyable profile that now is mostly generic spice, charred oak and peppers.
Starting into the first third the burn isn’t perfect, but for the most part it’s even. Comparing the ash to old pictures, it doesn’t appear nearly as dense, and in fact a number of wispy pieces are coming off. Despite that, it holds on well enough to around the inch mark, with even a little bit of protest as I roll it off into the ashtray. Smoke production isn’t quite what I would call weak, but it’s certainly not abundant, as is evident in the photo above. The second third continues much the same, with a mostly even burn line. Moving into the final third though the burn finally needs a bit of help with a single touch up, finishing up without any more intervention from me.
So how does the 2017 release stack up against the original 2015 release? Honestly - I’m a little disappointed. The original release started out strong, with lots of pepper and sweetness to balance it out, developing and mellowing out until the final third, which was the highlight of the cigar. Though the 2017 version started out very similar, things seemed to go awry around the halfway mark, with a bitter harshness ruining what could have been a delicate and flavorful final third. I have one more sample that I’m going to put away and let rest, and hopefully sometime down the line I’ll find the profile that the original release had.