Cigar manufactures have used all sorts of different inspirations when choosing the names, vitolas and packaging of their creations: from classical literature to popular fictional seasonal characters and even astrological signs. However, a new sampler from Black Works Studio in June takes its cigars named after bees and other stinging insects a step further.
Dubbed The Hive, the 27-count sampler is made up of six different cigars, all of which are new releases that are exclusive to the product, at least for now. The sampler is built in the shape of a hexagon to go along with the bee/wasp theme, and each box includes three different vitolas—lancero, perfecto and robusto—as well as three different blends.
The Hive is limited to 900 total samplers that were sold to retailers who attended the 2021 PCA Convention & Trade Show earlier this year. Each sampler has an MSRP of $337.50—which works out to $12.50 per cigar—and they began shipping to stores on November 8.
“HIVE is an idea I’ve had for a few years now,” said James Brown, creator of Black Label Trading Co. and partner at Fabrica Oveja Negra, in a press release. “The Killer Bee & Green Hornet lines are some of our most popular and over the years I’ve played with a lot of different ideas for both. The HIVE is a mix of some of my favorite Bee & Hornet samples that have yet to be released. For anyone that is a fan of the Killer Bee & Green Hornet, this is a must have!”
Each sampler contains:
- 6 Black Works Studio Green Hornet Lancero (7 1/4 x 42)
- 4 Black Works Studio Green Hornet Perfecto (5 x 60)
- 4 Black Works Studio Kato Candela Robusto (5 x 50)
- 6 Black Works Studio Killer Bee Connecticut Lancero (7 1/4 x 42)
- 3 Black Works Studio Killer Bee Lancero (7 1/4 x 42)
- 4 Black Works Studio Killer Bee Perfecto (5 x 60)
- Cigar Reviewed: Black Works Studio Green Hornet Lancero
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Fábrica Oveja Negra
- Wrapper: Ecuador (Maduro & Candela)
- Binder: Nicaragua (Habano)
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 7 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 42
- Vitola: Lancero
- Est. Price: $12.50 (Sampler of 27, $337.50)
- Release Date: Nov. 8, 2021
- Number of Cigars Released: 950 Boxes of 6 Cigars (5,700 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
As is the case with the rest of the cigars included in the Hive sampler box, the Green Hornet Lancero is extremely unique from a visual perspective, including a well-made nipple cap and candela tobacco strips wrapped around the foot and cap. The main wrapper is a gorgeous dark espresso brown color that also features a small amount of both tooth and oil. In addition, the cigar is nicely spongy when squeezed and has some smaller veins running up and down its length. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of sweet barnyard, earth, nuts, creamy hay and cedar with a touch of grass while the foot features a strong grass note due the candela leaf covering it, along with some coffee beans, leather, earth and manure. Finally, after a v-cut the cold draw includes flavors of orange slice candy sweetness, tobacco, dark chocolate, peanut shells, espresso beans and creamy hay.
Unsurprisingly, a strong grass flavor—along with some creamy leather—are the first things I taste after toasting the foot of the Green Hornet Lancero that is wrapped in a candela stripe, but a few puffs later those are quickly replaced by main notes of dried tea leaves and dark chocolate. Secondary flavors of freshly brewed espresso, sweet earth, hay, peanut shells and slight citrus flit in and out, while a significant amount of spice is noticeable on my tongue. In addition, the retrohale includes both cotton candy sweetness and black pepper, albeit much more of the former than the latter, at least at this point. Construction-wise, the draw is excellent after v-cut and the burn is razor sharp for two samples, while the first cigar I smoked needs a minor correction. Flavor is already at a solid medium and rising, body is just under medium and the strength hits a point close to medium as the first third comes to an end.
There is a major change to the profile in the second third of the cigar, specifically the top flavors, which are now rich semi-sweet dark chocolate and espresso beans. Additional notes of creamy cedar, earth, hay, peanuts, popcorn and slight mint leaves show up at varies points and although there is still plenty of spice on my tongue, the level is quite a bit lower than in the previous third. Cotton candy sweetness continues to lead the way on the retrohale, where it combines with some black pepper that is still present. Another sample needs a small correction burn-wise, but the draw continues to impress, while the smoke production is both copious and thick off of the foot. Flavor is just over medium, body is at a solid medium, but the strength has stalled smack dab in the medium range by the end of the second third.
Although semi-sweet dark chocolate and espresso beans remain the main flavors during the final third of the Green Hornet Lancero, a new floral note has shown up on the finish. Flavors of peanut shells, earth, potato chips, cedar, leather tack and hay all vie for position, but none come close to taking over the top spots at any point and there is noticeably less spice on my tongue. The cotton candy sweetness on the retrohale calms down just a bit from its high point in the second third, while the black pepper note remains at about the same level. In terms of construction, two out of the three cigars need attention from my lighter—again, just minor corrections—while both the draw and smoke production are giving me no issues whatsoever. Flavor ends at medium-full while both the body and strength end at a point just over medium by the time I put the nub down with about an inch remaining.
- I spent pretty much the entirety of my childhood living in countries outside of the U.S., but my family would return to visit our relatives in rural North Carolina every summer. When I stayed at a specific grandmother’s house, I would often sit and watch cartoons on her old television with one station—Voltron was a particular favorite show, as I recall—and snack on a couple of candy orange slices like these. The sweet cold draw remind of this cigar instantly reminded me of that flavor, even though I have not tasted one in years.
- The design and presentation of The Hive Box is extremely well done in my opinion, and I have always loved the combination of the marketing and the visual presentation in this series of cigars.
- With that said, I am deathly afraid of bees and wasps after an episode of being stung more than a dozen times by killer bees as a child living in Panama.
- Other than the first few puffs and some fleeting fresh hay notes, I did not taste much of what I would consider to be a candela profile in this cigar.
- The above is interesting to me, particularly because there was such an overwhelming flavor of grass when I reviewed the Killer Bee Green Hornet Robusto which very obviously had Candela tobacco visible in the filler. That was not the case with this cigar, as you can see by this photograph looking inside the foot.
- While each of the three samples needed correction with my lighter at some point, they were all very minor in nature and the burn never really threatened to get completely out of hand.
- Black Works Studio is a sister brand of Black Label Trading Co.
- The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time averaged one hour and 24 minutes for all three samples.
Although the Killer Bee Green Hornet Robusto fell a bit short in the flavor and balance departments, the Green Hornet Lancero is an entirely different animal, no pun intended. The profile is nuanced, with layers of flavors that include semi-sweet dark chocolate, dried tea leaves and espresso beans as well as a wonderful cotton candy sweetness on the retrohale that is both distinct and fairly consistent throughout the smoke. Add in the decent construction and some well-integrated strength, you are left with a cigar that I enjoyed immensely.