| STRENGTH: MEDIUM+ | BODY: FULL | TASTING NOTES: WOODY, SMOKY, SPICY, HINT OF SWEETNESS |
Four years ago, my wife bought me a small notebook for Christmas from some little company that I had never heard of before: Warped. It came in a little brown envelope and the pages were set up for assessing cigars. I thought it was an absolutely brilliant idea and a great gift! I ended up using up every single page within a matter of months; every time I smoked a cigar I was so excited to write about it in my little notebook. Shortly after filling up my first notebook, some guy from Missouri reached out to me about writing for his cigar website and thus began my journey into the Cigar Industry, eventually leading me to become the Managing Editor for this page and traveling the world to continue my education in this beautiful world of cigars.
Warped Cigars was founded in 2008 by Kyle Gellis, originally producing three lines of cigars in Little Havana: “Anubis,” “Osiris,” and “Private Blend.” The company shut down production shortly after its start and Warped went dark. Until 2012 when Gellis brought Warped back, starting off by selling cigar tasting notebooks for a couple years until his next cigar came out. In 2014, Warped released “El Oso,” Spanish for “the bear.” El Oso was a hit and soon followed Warped’s next release: “La Colmena,” Spanish for “the beehive.” La Colmena was to pay homage to the Custom Rolls of Cuba.
Continuing on the success of these two lines and the small cult following which Warped began to develop, Gellis announced Warped’s first Limited Edition release in 2015: Black Honey. Warped Cigars Black Honey, although officially an extension of the La Colmena line, was a blend of the La Colmena and El Oso. The Black Honey contains more Viso, (a filler tobacco which stands in between Seco and Ligero in terms of strength), than the traditional La Colmena and bears an Ecuadorian Habano Wrapper, as found in the El Oso line. Only 60 bundles of 10 cigars were released and they became highly coveted amongst collectors and fans of Warped.
Now, just over two years later, Warped has re-released their famed Black Honey. Although Kyle Gellis has not released the number of Black Honey which are produced for the second run, they are being sold to 67 retailers as opposed to the only 13 retailers who received the first release. Lucky for me, the lounge which I frequent was one of the selected retailers to receive Warped Cigars’ Black Honey, so I decided to review it and share my thoughts with you. I hope you enjoy it!
La Colmena Black Honey by Warped Cigars
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
Filler: Dominican & Nicaraguan
Vitola: Belicoso (5” x 48)
Pre-Light: The wrapper gives off a wonderfully sweet, almost honey-like, aroma (I know, I know, it’s all in my head…) along with rich vanilla. Aside from that, the cold draw provides notes of grass and green tea.
First Third: Upon lighting the Black Honey, it immediately hits you with a nice punch of black pepper, as if to awaken your palate right off the bat! After the first few puffs, you begin to get a really interesting blend of toasted wood with an undertone of brown nougat for some sweetness to balance out the spice and woodiness. The retrohale is filled with a mild white pepper spice along with a nice smokiness. The draw is a perfect balance of open and restricting, allowing just enough smoke to come through while providing a clean, even burn. As for strength, the Black Honey stands at a full-flavored, medium-bodied cigar during the first third.
Second Third: As the Black Honey goes into the second third, the flavors begin to progress from bold, spicy, and smoky to smooth, rich, and earthy. The spice has continued to decrease in intensity allowing for notes of hay, leather, and rich tobacco to take over the flavor profile. The spice certainly continues to present itself in the retrohale along with a bit of the smokiness from the first third. The Black Honey remains a full-flavored, medium-bodied cigar during the second third with the burn line remaining very clean and the draw continuing to provide plenty of smoke without being too open.
Final Third: Moving into the final third of the Black Honey, the flavor profile changes yet again. A strong, yet delightful “wheaty”, almost cereal like, note really takes over as the spice begins to make a comeback for the grand finale. As the Black Honey progresses on, the profile changes a couple times before the end. In the early bit of the final third, you get that cereal and black pepper, but once you get down to the final inch and a half, the Black Honey almost becomes a different cigar. The Black Honey transforms into a blend of sweet cedar, rich earth, cinnamon, and a touch of caramel with a dirty and leathery finish. The cigar does gain a bit of strength during the final third, finishing at a medium-full strength cigar while maintaining a very full flavor profile. The construction was excellent throughout, as is expected for a cigar in this price point.
Final Thoughts: Complex. Absolutely complex. I was truly surprised at just how many times the flavor profile changed in such a short smoke. From a pre-light aroma of honey and vanilla, to a vegetal cold draw, to a spicy first third, a rich earthy second third, and a sweet and spicy final third, the Black Honey was just something else in terms of complexity. There were moments where the cigar did give off a slightly bitter, vegetal note, signifying that it could use a bit more age, but all in all, it was a very pleasant smoke. Obviously I have a slight bias towards this brand because of my early experience with them, and there is a ton of hype behind the cigar leading to prices of over $20, but I honestly did enjoy this cigar simply due to the incredible complexity and perfect construction. Whenever I review a cigar that has a ton of hype behind it, I always want to say that it wasn’t “all that,” but I got to tell you, I was really impressed by the Black Honey. I would say, however, that if you were to smoke one to take your time with it.