Back in February of this year, on Episode 152 of the podcast, we reviewed the Intergalactic corona larga from Black Works Studio and it impressed the collective hell out of us. That cigar earned a Earth-shattering 93 score and many months later it is still one of my favorite releases of 2022. The Hyena is one of the few Black Works Studio offerings that I’ve never had the opportunity to smoke but that all changes tonight…
THE CIGAR – HYENA by BLACK WORKS STUDIO
Size: 5 x 46 (corona gorda)
Binder: Nicaraguan habano
Price: $12.50 (this reviewed cigar was purchased from Creekside Cigar Lounge in Belton, TX – it’s a terrific new spot that you should definitely check out ASAP if you’re in that neck of the woods)
The Hyena corona gorda features a twisted cap and a closed foot, whatever is inside this cigar is meant to stay inside this cigar. There’s a strong earthy aroma present on the slightly toothy Cameroon wrapper and when sniffing the foot of the Hyena directly both “rodeo stuff”, i.e. manure and hay, as well as a distinct sweetness are detected. The Hyena has just the right amount of give to it when gently squeezed between two fingers but feel free to squeeze it using as many fingers as you want… the world is yours homies.
After snapping off the cap by hand, we’ll see how that goes for now, I experience a cold draw that’s primarily cedar with just a hint of baker’s chocolate. Nose-tingling black pepper spice introduces itself immediately upon ignition followed by bold cedar and earth via the draw. Speaking of which, the draw seems to be just fine without an official cutting of the cap which is admirable from a construction standpoint. Soon a mineral note has joined the pepper on the retrohale which tames the spice’s power ever so slightly. Around the 1.5” mark, the earthy component transitions in to an espresso flavor which compliments the cedar nicely.
Construction so far has been damn near amazing with a super smooth draw and a straight burn line that’s supporting a sexy white ash. The black pepper has continued to gradually decrease in potency but it refuses to leave the party although it’s clearly drunk and dozing in and out of consciousness on the couch. The draw’s core flavors thus far of woodsy cedar and bold espresso hold firm here in the middle portion of the smoking experience. I continue to seek out some of the Cameroon tobacco’s signature sweetness but I’m not finding any at this point.
I’m not missing that characteristic sweetness one bit because the flavors that are present are all working very well together. A creaminess enters the Hyena’s profile just past the fifty yard line and its arrival is to the benefit of both the retrohale and the draw’s existing notes. There’s a respectable balance to the Hyena up to this point.
At the beginning of the Hyena’s final act, the pepper spice gets its third wind as it jumps up off the couch, cracks open a fuckin beer, and rapidly increases in both power and overall presence. Watch out for Drunk Spice, folks, it’ll get you. The cream continues to play nicely with the draw’s cedar and espresso although that coffee note is now coming through louder than ever before. While the introduction of cream was the highlight of the second third, the elevated pepper strength and escalating espresso boldness are the closing act’s shining stars.
The Hyena corona gorda features some surprising transitions in both strength and flavor and all of those fluctuations throughout its 52 minute smoking time work in the cigar’s favor. If I were to review the Hyena blindly I don’t think that I would identify the wrapper as Cameroon based on my prior history with West Africa’s legendary tobacco, which I’ll admit is not nearly as much as most other wrapper leaves, but that’s certainly not a reason to raise an eyebrow at this particular stogie. The Hyena is what it is – a really good cigar that delivers a highly satisfying smoking experience from start to finish. It’s worth mentioning that TNCC’s resident Black Works fan Tut is a big fan of the Hyena line and he slightly prefers the lonsdale size over the corona gorda, so you might want pick up one of each vitola and see for yourself which cigar is more in your wheelhouse.