Thank goodness for the Underground Cigar Lounge in Fort Worth, Texas as if not for them, I may not have gotten my paws on the new Black Works Studio Hyena. As part of the Underground NFG21 event, all ticket holders received a fine collection of cigars, including the Hyena, as part of the package.
James Brown, founder of Black Works Studio noted in a press release:
“Hyena is the latest addition to the BLK WKS portfolio. A truly unique cigar that is focused on showcasing a perfect balance between Nicaraguan fillers and the Cameroon wrapper. Hyena is an extremely complex and balanced cigar and is a tribute to my wife’s and my many years of living in Africa.”
Cameron has once again become popular this year, as this is not the first Nicaraguan brand to use it and I have a feeling there will be more experimenting with it.
In case you did not know:
“Hyenas, or hyaenas, are feliform carnivoran mammals of the family Hyaenidae. With only four extant species, it is the fifth-smallest biological family in the Carnivora and one of the smallest in the class Mammalia. Despite their low diversity, hyenas are unique and vital components of most African ecosystems.”
BLK WKS Studio describes the Hyena blend as:
- Wrapper – African Cameroon
- Binder – Ecuadorian
- Filler – Nicaraguan and Dominican
The BLK WKS Hyena is expressed in two vitolas and comes packaged in 20-count boxes:
- Black Works Studio Corona Gorda (5 x 46) – MSRP $12.00
- Black Works Studio Lonsdale (6 1/2 x 42) – MSRP $12.50
So let’s see what the Hyena, from James Brown and BLK WKS has to offer. For this review I sampled the Black Works Studio Hyena Corona Gorda.
The BLK WKS Hyena is a toothy and oily cigar (sticky to the touch) that has a dark brown and a mottled wrapper. There are a few bumps along the barrel and it sports a partially closed foot and a well applied twist cap. A gentle pinch between the thumb and index finger reveals that it is well packed. This is one of those cigars you look at and almost want to eat it.
A single band adorns the Hyena which sports a colorful street art design on one side and the white word “Hyena” printed on a black background on the other side with “Black Works Studio” below.
Running the Hyena along the nose, I noted the pungent fermented leaf notes coming off the barrel and rich cocoa powder notes off the foot. Enticing for sure.
With the enticing pre-light aroma intriguing my senses, I moved to slice the cap, which I did with a straight cut across the shoulder. Once opened up I gave it some cold draw puffs that I found to be perfectly restricted and offered notes of black pepper, earth, and a natural sweetness. The journey is starting beautifully.
Using my double flame torch, I warmed the foot to an even orange glow and proceeded to draw in a palate filling spicy smoke. Follow along as I burn the Hyena to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Spicy palate filling smoke starts the journey
- Light grey ash develops on a thin char line
- Natural sweetness wraps the early spice
- Ash fell early, after an inch of burn, revealing a flat but centered burn cone
- Caramel notes join the party
- Excellent volume of smoke
- Slight jag in burn develops but does not require a touch up
- Dark chocolate and spice notes become more prominent midway
- A delicious sweet cedar note joins adds to the mix – deep in the second third
- Strength ratchets up
- Moving into the final third, a delicate cinnamon note graces the palate
- Spice increases down through the final
- Medium Plus in Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 20 minutes
James Brown did an outstanding job with the Cameroon wrapper on the Hyena, which is a tricky wrapper to work with in a blend. For a corona gorda, it had an awesome smoke production and was flavorful from pre-light down to the nub. Spice was a predominant note join with notes of sweetness, caramel and dark chocolate that kept the palate interested down to the cinnamon notes at the finish. From a construction perspective, it had a mild jag in the burn and had a flat burn cone when the ash fell. This one I will try again when I get my hands on it – I should have bought at least a fiver. I rate this a 93.
Point Deductions: (-1) Slight Jag in the Burn; (-1) Flat Burn Cone
Bonus Points: (+1) Complex and balanced array of notes