Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaragua, Dominican
Size: 5.5 x 46 Corona Gorda
Today we take a look at the Black Works Studio S&R.
My buddy, Tyler Jeffery of Havana Lounge and Cigar, bribed me with this cigar in an effort to keep me out of there…didn’t work.
HL&C does not sell online. But they have one of the most complete set of boutique brands of any cigar shop in Milwaukee. Tyler is a really sharp cookie and our tastes are very similar. If you are looking for something different or hard to get, call Tyler at 414-258-8219. They are open 9am-Midnight 6 days a week…closed on Sundays so their folks can go to church and end war and bring peace to the world. Just tell anyone there the Katman sent you…this will guarantee a response of “Who?”
I had the pleasure of meeting a La Palina rep by the name of John Curtis….He is a well-dressed man of around 78 who didn’t look a day over 75. But he was very funny as he had a cleft lip and I kept making him say Hierarchy for laughs. He was very informative with a long history in the cigar biz. He told me he had heard of me and said what he heard wasn’t good so I slapped him across the face and dislodged his dentures. They fell into a pile of hay strewn with horse dung. He merely picked them up, brushed them off, and put them back into his mouth. We were out back of the cigar shop. Hey, this is Wisconsin. One huge dairy or bratwurst farm. Still and over all, a really good guy; but he did threaten me with offering to send me samples of La Palina cigars. I slapped him in the face one last time.
Factory: Fabrica Oveja Negra ~ Estelí, Nicaragua
Released February, 2018
From the BWS press release:
“S&R is an elegant smoke with complex flavors and a rich, refined finish. This cigar represents a lot of firsts for us. It is the first BLK WKS cigar to use Dominican tobacco, the first to be a softer medium profile and the first production cigar we have made with a Sumatra wrapper. I find the result to be a perfect combination,” said James Brown, creator of BLK WKS and partner at Fabrica Oveja Negra.”
SIZES AND PRICING:
Lancero: 6.75 x 42 $9.50
Corona Gorda: 5.5 x 46 $9.50
The cigar wrapper is the color of faded bile. You know the look…after a night of slinging back around 23 shots of good tequila and the rest of the night lying on your bathroom floor with the dry heaves…and actually a very rustic looking stick with loads of veins, exposed seams, soft and hard spots dot the landscape, and not a lick of toothiness.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW POINTS:
From the shaft, I can smell beautiful floral notes, red hot pepper, various malts, mocha java, cedar, clotted cream, and several aromas just under the surface that is impossible for me to quantify or qualify.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell exotic Indian spices, red pepper, malt, mocha java, cedar, creamy, barnyard, chocolate covered raspberry jells, and a shit load of enticing malt aromas.
The cold draw presents flavors of red pepper, lots of malt, cedar, espresso, milk chocolate, cream cheese croissant, and earth, wind, and leather.
There is a plug just above the cigar band so out comes the miracle cigar tool; my PerfecDraw cigar poker and ream the shit out of the cigar. Now it’s open and ready to go. This tool has saved me 20 times the cost ($24.95) of the tool by salvaging non-redemptive cigar plugs and hard spots. The glue is great too. I use it all the time.
The blend starts off slow with a very mellow strength. Black pepper suppresses the red variety as it slurps around my throat causing a raspy sound when I express love.
First flavors are pretty much generic: Creamy, malts, cedar, buttered toast, peanut butter, and a very berry element.
The cigar cranks out plumes like Smokestack Lightning.
With each puff, the Black Works Studio S&R increases the volume of intensity. Bits of complexity and varied transitions worm their way into an early stage of entropy.
The peanut butter is pretty cool. Especially mixed with that berry essence. I like this cigar already with its nice balance between sweet and savory. Something that the Rocky Patel Hamlet 25 Years sorely lacked from yesterday’s review. I find my tastes lean towards that simple dispersal of sweet treats and manly doses of bacon.
The Black Works Studio S&R is becoming a slurpy event. The intense array of flavors is a good time for all.
Then I get a PB&J sandwich. All while the strength is a very weak medium. I can count on one hand the mild/medium cigars chocked full of flavor so this blend just may be something special.
An early few moments of indecision by the blend but then takes of like a plasma blob in space.
Each puff brings a different set of flavors to the table keeping my interest at a high level. What comes next? I don’t fucking know.
Strength jumps to a potent medium. Now I see this cigar may be in the same class as my favorite mild/medium designed blends.
Smoking the Black Works Studio S&R is a slow roll. Packed perfectly so that this corona gorda (My favorite cigar size) takes its sweet ol time in allowing me to enjoy what James Brown blended.
The finish is now extraordinary. Transitions are blazing. Complexity is keeping me aware and entertained. Way better than playing with my Legos and Barbie dolls.
Thank you Tyler for bringing this cigar to my attention. Young Tyler has become my Yoda. May the Schwartz be with you.
Smoke time is 35 minutes. Go Corona Gorda!
The ash is very fragile and delicate. I keep scorching my naughty bits as it dislodges and finds the perfect target as I sit in front of my laptop at home in my boxers. Hey, it’s early…no reason to get dressed up for you guys.
Now the Black Works Studio S&R is basically the same price as yesterday’s Hamlet 25 Years. The Patel blend isn’t even in the same universe as this BLS wonder. Doesn’t it piss you off when you try a not cheap cigar and it totally lets you down? $9-$10 for a single stick ain’t whistlin’ Dixie. It better give me an erection or at least trim my eyebrows.
I’m not paying attention and I’m getting drool all over the cap…disgusting for the viewing public. My bad.
The blend finds its way through a dense jungle of expectations only to be received by a welcoming palate. There is nothing linear about the Black Works Studio S&R. It takes side trips all along the way so we may take a gander at the largest ball of twine and largest iron skillet. No hurry. “Turn off your mind relax and float downstream. Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void. It is shining, it is shining.”
I ran into McCartney while I lived in London in the mid 70’s. Total accident. At the time, there was only a single giant music store in town called the Fender Soundhouse. As I was leaving the store, I grabbed the glass door and pulled. On the other side of the door was Sir Paul who was trying to enter but I interfered with that process. I stood there in psychedelic wonderment before Mac said, “Mate. May I come in?” I was mortified as I let go of the door. As he passed, he winked and all that came from my mouth was clicks and whistles. My first bass hero and I couldn’t utter a fucking word.
I haven’t had this much fun since I had sex with my 20 year old girlfriend on a ride at Disneyland. I was 20 as well…so don’t cluck your tongue.
I’ve reviewed a bunch of BLS blends and found most to be excellent blends. They are one of the more consistent brands in the boutique world.
Big ass flavors! The perfect complexity. Transitions galore. Gorgeous finish. And a balance that boggles this puny brain. Love it. You will too. A trajectory that aims for the stars without interruption or delay.
Sumatra wrappers are so delicate and fragile. Every time I smoke a good one, I fight the good fight trying to maintain the integrity of its skin. This cigar is no different. Little cracks begin to form.
Normally, I try to avoid cigars with this wrapper. But the partial disintegration of the wrapper does not deter me in my assessment of this blend. I grab my PerfecRepair cigar glue and cover the cracks. This stuff is manna from the gods.
Halfway point comes in at 45 minutes.
The wrapper is so light in color that I cannot avoid the tracks left behind by me sucking on the cigar. Again, my bad.
Strength is still a medium+.
The flower arrangement changes directions: Malt, creaminess, black pepper, peanut butter, butterscotch, berries, cedar, and an element of exotic curry spices that comes and goes at its own discretion.
Small electrical shocks begin as I start my series of electro shock therapy. Charlotte says I need it. So we have the device at home to use on me as needed.
Where was I?
I find that the corona gorda size is the perfect carrier for implementing the most from a blender’s intent. You can keep your Gordos. Must be a gut reaction driven from fear as a remembrance of my days on D Block at Quentin.
I’ve had this cigar for only a month. Good to go. New Breed.
The combo of malts and creaminess steals the show. It’s vanilla beer milkshake.
I’m pleasantly surprised by how slow the stick is burning. You get your money’s worth.
We have hit a major sweet spot. It’s damn near magical. What a wonderful balance of passion and integrity from BLS. Kudos.
Tyler has agreed to take care of both Charlotte and I following our surgeries. I can’t pay him so he has agreed to do it for all the buttered matzoh he can eat.
The wrapper is a bloody wreck. I don’t care. It does not impugn the incredible-ness of the blend.
Anyone ever slam their wiener in a kitchen drawer? Me neither…or at least not lately.
Smoke time is one hour 20 minutes.
You ever notice that ratings for cigars are slightly confusing? It seems ratings in the 90’s are sacrosanct and rarely do we see something better than low 90’s from reviewers. Sure, 90 is an A rating. But sometimes a cigar pushes a little harder and deserves some recognition for the folks who delivered the blend to the masses.
The cigar looks terrible between the volume of cracks and my drool on the cap. I think another photo is non-essential.
Strength is medium/full with a real kick to it…so far, no nicotine hallucinations.
A reminder once again…yes I know my writing is erratic and goes off into tangents of a crazy man. But the only way I can review a cigar is in real time so that you may be offered the real experience. I don’t go back and edit my fuck ups. Just spell check. I believe this method makes it a better read because it should feel like I’m talking to just you.
The last list of flavors: Black pepper, malts, creaminess, berries, peanut butter, buttered toast, vanilla, salty nuts, butterscotch, floral notes, and tiny notes of black coffee and light milk chocolate.
You can find this blend at all the usual suspects’ web sites. Or call Tyler and he will hook you up.
Final smoke time is one hour 40 minutes.
And now for something completely different:
More on Curved Air…1974
As Stew, Sonja and I stood on the train platform, I got bad news. They forgot to renew her prescription for methadone and I was told there might be some problems on that long train trip to Manchester. I was directed by Stew to make sure that the rest of the band didn’t find out about this.
Sonja had battled morphine addiction. Under a doctor’s supervision, she was getting off the stuff.
I didn’t learn about this until our first gig of the tour in London. It happened in the dressing room after the concert. The dressing room was full of people when she asked me to follow her to the bathroom. I was stunned.
Everyone heard her invitation and eyebrows raised.
She took off her stage outfit and stood their naked in front of while she motioned her forearms to me. I didn’t get it. Then I noticed the tracks. Clearly, she was giving me a preview of what was going to be our secret from the rest of the band. Stewart Copeland and I were to be the only ones to know she was kicking the habit.
I had only been in the band for two weeks. I didn’t know her. I didn’t know her history. And as I had just been raised from being totally broke in a foreign country to rock star status, I didn’t want to jeopardize this wonderful opportunity…so I agreed to keep her secret.
Management got us first class seating on the train. All that meant was that instead of chairs, ala airplane seating, you get a nice big table with two chairs on each side and special attention from the stewards.
Stew made sure we didn’t sit with the band.
Apparently, they forgot to get refills of Sonja’s methadone at the pharmacy. And she would have to go without it for the 8 hour train ride. I was told she would probably go through withdrawal. Oh God. I had never known anyone that went through withdrawal.
The rest of the band sat in the first class car ahead of us. They spent most of their time in the bar car getting smashed. So as they passed Sonja and me they didn’t notice her bizarre behavior.
And of course to top it off, we sat across from a stuffy Member of Parliament and his wife. Both in their 60’s.
In fact, most people in that car were elderly.
So when Sonja began her withdrawal symptoms, everyone pretended not to notice.
First her eyes rolled up and it looked like a horror movie. Then she began clawing at her arms with her fingernails causing long streaks of blood.
Then she started making animal sounds. Sounds of an animal in distress. Then the arms started waving uncontrollably.
I thought I was going to have a heart attack. This was happening only 2 hours into our 8 hour trip.
All I had on me was Dramamine. I was shoveling them down her gullet like Skittles. After a bit, they did their job and she fell asleep.
I took that time to go pee. When I got back she was awake and screaming…and trying to crawl on top of the table. She became incredibly strong. I struggled to keep her arms from waving and keeping her in her seat.
Our companions just turned away. Never said a fucking word. Arrogant assholes.
We finally got to our destination in Northern England. Instead of checking into our hotel, I grabbed her and dragged her to the nearest pharmacy. We got her stuff and ran back to the hotel.
Meanwhile, the band had no idea.
Management put Sonja and me in the same hotel room for the whole tour so I could look after her. And of course, I couldn’t say a word to the band about this or they might quit. This had happened before in the past and they swore that if she was getting high again, there would be no reunion of Curved Air.
I managed to get her needles and her ampules out and prep them. I smacked her around while I sat on her belly on the bed. I couldn’t get her to become coherent and I had no idea how to load a syringe; let alone inject her.
I tied her off.
Mind you. I had never done anything like this. And I was shitting my pants.
Sonja came around enough to inject the needle into her fucked up vein. Moments later, she came to. And behaved like nothing had happened.
“Are we there already?”
I just rolled off of her and on to the floor next to the bed. I was drenched in my own sweat.
She got up and said she was going to meet up with the roadies for a poker game. Did I want to come along?
I took a shower and thought about how we had 8 weeks of this bullshit ahead of us.
The rest of the tour was a nightmare trying to keep this a secret from the band. And Sonja pulled all sorts of stunts.
To be continued….
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS