Cigar Review: Black Works Studio – Killer Bee Shaolin – Rated 93

Black Label Trading Co. introduced their latest extension to the Killer Bee series at the 2022 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show. It was named the Killer Bee Shaolin and like others before it, continues to showcase the Artesian craft of Black Works Studio and Fabrica Oveja Negra.

Black Works Studio – Killer Bee Shaolin

Originally introduced in 2015, the Killer Bee line has had a number of extensions and blends and the Shaolin continues that thread with a blend described as:

  • Wrapper – Mexico (San Andrés) & Ecuador (Connecticut and Candela)
  • Binder – Honduras (Habano)
  • Filler – Nicaragua

The Killer Bee Shaolin is expressed in a single (5.5 x 46) Belicoso and carries an MSRP of $13.50/cigar. They come packaged in 24-count boxes and only 1,000 boxes have been created.

James Brown, owner of Black Label Trading Co. notes:

“The Killer Bee line is in a constant state of evolution… the Killer Bee lends itself to a lot of different variations.”

For this review, I sampled 3 of Killer Bee Shaolins that I purchased from the Underground Cigar Shop and Lounge in Fort Worth Texas.

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Pre-Light Examination

There is no doubt that James Brown and his Fabrica Oveja Negra in Estelí, Nicaragua know how to create truly artesian cigars. In the case of the Killer Bee Shaolin, it is an awesomely designed and constructed barber pole belicoso. The primary leaf is a dark brown and oily and the cigar is firmly packed with just a little give. The Shaolin is finished with an expertly applied cap and a closed candella foot.

Black Works Studio – Killer Bee Shaolin

A single band adorns the Shaolin. It uses the company’s standard Killer Bee motif.

Black Works Studio – Killer Bee Shaolin

Running the Shaolin along the nose I did not pick up much, if any aromas along the barrel, but the foot did exude an herbal note, which was expected from the candella leaf covering it.

I opened the cap perfectly with my CigarMedics Baller cutter and gave it some cold draw puffs that offered a tarry earthy note with a light sweetness and a touch of pepper the more you cold drew it. With the closed foot I could not discern the restriction.

I used my single flame torch to warm the foot to an even orange glow and drew in the first puffs of a peppery sting on the nasals. Follow along as I burn this bee to ash.

Cigar Review Notes

Black Works Studio – Killer Bee Shaolin
Black Works Studio – Killer Bee Shaolin
Black Works Studio – Killer Bee Shaolin
Black Works Studio – Killer Bee Shaolin
Black Works Studio – Killer Bee Shaolin
Black Works Studio – Killer Bee Shaolin
  • Right off the first puff there is a peppery sting of the bee felt on the nasals
  • A light grey ash forms on top of a thin mildly jagged char line
  • Sweetness and earth grow as the pepper tones down a bit in the first third
  • Enticing caramel aromas fill the air around me
  • Ash fell revealing a decent burn cone
  • A touch of cream adds to the profile in the second third
  • Spice notes develop deep in the second third down to final
  • Medium in strength
  • Total smoking time was 1 hour and 15 minutes

Final Analysis

The Black Works Studio – Killer Bee Shaolin was a cigar that I would describe as not overly complex but did offer balance of notes for what it did offer. This medium strength addition to the Killer Bee series was a short hour plus smoke and delivered a core of earthy and naturally sweet notes through most of the journey. I like the caramel aromas early in the burn and the cream in the second. I have to say, based on the initial few puffs I was expecting a fuller strength and peppery smoke, but it surprised me and delivered a pleasant profile that could be easily enjoyed in the morning or late in the evening. This is worth grabbing a fiver. I rate this a 93.

Point Deductions: (-1) Not Overly Complex; (-1) Mild wave in burn

Bonus Points: (+1) Consistent across Multiple Samples

Black Works Studio – Killer Bee Shaolin

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