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Cigar Review: Black Works Studio NBK

Cigar Review: Black Works Studio NBK

Black Works Studio NBK is a creation of James Brown of Black Label Trading Company (BLTC).
Black Label Trading Company

Black Label Trading Company was established in 2013 by founder James Brown.  Brown announced the addition of Black Works Studio to his portfolio in December, 2015. In January, 2015 Brown moved production into his own boutique cigar factory, Fabrica de Oveja Negra in Esteli, Nicaragua. Per Brown, having your own factory is the only way to have 100% control over quality and creativity. Small batch being the norm, Oveja Negra will also produce cigars for smaller brands and private labeling. Oveja negra is Spanish for black sheep, and that seems quite appropriate.
Black Works Studio

Black Works Studio box and label art deviate from the typical human skull and bones of the Black Label Trading Company’s Black Label concept. The Black Label lines have names like Morphine, Santa Muerte, Nocturne, Bishops Blend, Lawless, Benediction, Last Rights…you get the idea. The NBK uses a skull in the art too, but it’s a saber-toothed cat. And “NBK”? Natural Born Killer, so there is a dark edge to this one too.

Black Works Studio has released three lines to date:

The Black Works Studio NBK is available in two sizes:

  • 4 x 46 Corona Larga
  • 5 x 50 Robusto. The Robusto was added in July, 2016. Smoked for Review.


Black Works Studio pre lightA dark oscuro wrapper, the NBK has a firm box press and a nice tight roll with a closed foot, a subtle sheen, some veins, and a quadruple cap. You read that right. I am counting four caps on the NBK.

The label is all in black with metallic gold sporting a big “NBK” in a worn letter look with “black works studio” below. On the left side flowing from the back is the skull of a saber-toothed cat. Cool.

Did I mention firm? This cigar is really, really firm. Lots of earthiness on the wrapper and the pre-light draw is rich in earth, leather and raisin with a bit of grittiness (yes, a good thing). The tight pack has not hindered the draw too much. Time to light it up.
Black Works Studio NKB Closed Foot


The closed foot lit up and delivered chocolate and then a sudden floral blast. The grittiness to the smoke continues as I hoped from the dry draw. Speaking of the draw, it is a little tight, but I’ll give it some time to open up. I would rather have a tight-packed cigar with a slightly dampened draw than a mushy, hot burning cigar any day. Well worth the minor trade-off in my opinion. Dark chocolate is already developing from the initial milk chocolate and is a very good sign of things to come. There is a nice pepper bite towards the finish along with more chocolate and some cream.


Just into the first third, roasted peanuts have really jumped to the forefront. Some charred wood, hay, earth, dark chocolate, leather, raisin, a bit of citrus, and a ramp up of pepper, especially at the back of the throat. The NBK is migrating into the medium-plus strength range from the initial light that was medium. A little touch up with the lighter early on, and the burn line is fairly even. Draw has also opened up with just some slight resistance. Ash is firmly hanging on at the two inch mark. Ah, the ash just fell of on its own, and not on my shirt.
Black Works Studio NKB Cruise


Malt, malt, malt. I love malt in a cigar, and it is pulling to the front of the race. Dark chocolate, espresso, a transition to cashew, molasses richness, and a peppery floral bonanza on the retro. And lingering on the palate is a flavorful, gritty chocolate sweetness. The previous pepper has waned somewhat with a bit of a bite on the finish, and brings the strength to an overall medium.
Black Works Studio Final Third


The construction of the NBK is top-notch. The initial tightness of a firm, box-pressed roll quickly opens up to a respectable resistance. Even at the end, the cigar is firm and solid.


  • Milk Chocolate to Dark Chocolate
  • Black Pepper
  • Earth
  • Malt
  • Roasted Peanuts to Roasted Cashews
  • Minor Floral Notes
  • Cream
  • Raisin
  • Molasses
  • Espresso
  • Leather

Black Work Studio Finish

This cigar is truly a natural born killer of a smoke. An overall medium in strength, the full flavored NBK is a memorable cigar with well transitioned flavor development. Perfectly constructed, I want to smoke this cigar again and try other Black Works Studio cigars. And right in my preferred price point at $9.00!

Cigars Smoked for review: 2

Cigar Smoke Rate:       92

Size:                           5 x 50 Robusto

Strength:                    Medium-plus start to Medium overall

Wrapper:                    Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
Binder:                       Nicaraguan
Filler:                         Nicaraguan
Country of Origin:       Fabrica de Oveja Negra, Nicaragua

MSRP:                         $9.00

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