Staff Review: Ozgener Bosphorus B55
With today’s review, we will be taking a look at Ozgener Bosphorus B55. The Ozgener family of cigars may be newcomers to the scene, but Tim Ozgener himself has deep roots in the industry that go back decades.
Feel free to skim the quick hits for an overview or jump into any section below to find the full details of Ozgener Bosphorus. Here we go!
The Quick Hits:
- Ozgener’s first blend in around 12 years
- Main tasting notes of cedar, earth, dark roast coffee
- Recommended for: fans of Crowned Heads La Imperiosa, Latitude Zero Signature, Rocky Patel Decade
- At $13.50 per cigar, isn’t the most affordable option, but it is far from the most expensive considering its high quality
Tim Ozgener has a long history in the cigar industry. Once upon a time, Ozgener owned and ran CAO with his father and sister where they were able to help build the brand into the powerhouse that it has become. In 2010, after the CAO headquarters were moved from Nashville to Richmond following the merger between Swedish Match and Scandinavian Tobacco Group, Ozgener left the company.
Fans were sure that Ozgener would make a quick return to the industry, but after more than a decade of waiting, people started to become more unsure about his future in cigars. Lo and behold, to the delight of cigar enthusiasts everywhere, Ozgener made his return this past year in 2022 in the form of Ozgener Family Cigars.
Bosphorus is the first cigar to be launched under the Ozgener brand – a brand that Tim Ozgener expects to see more launches released under. The Bosphorus name is a reference to the Bosphorus Strait which is a waterway in northwest Turkey and acts as a boundary between Asian Turkey and European Turkey – an homage to the country where both of Tim Ozgener’s parents were born.
Unsurprisingly enough, distribution of Ozgener Family Cigars is being handled by Crowned Heads where Jon Huber, and Mike Condor, who are former CAO executives, will be teaming up with Tim Ozgener once again.
A pretty unique blend as far as I’m concerned, Bosphorus starts with a dark and slightly veiny Ecuador Sumatra wrapper, that sits atop an Ecuador Connecticut, and Nicaraguan double binder, and finished with filler tobaccos from Esteli, Ometepe and Jalapa. Maybe I’m just not a true aficionado (very likely), but I can’t remember the last time I saw a blend that utilizes a double binder of Ecuador Connecticut and Nicaragua.
Not only do I think the blend of Bosphorus is interesting, but I think the same holds true for its design as well. Over the past few months, I’m sure you have heard the idea that sometimes “less is more” when it comes to design of cigars that I have reviewed, but this is not the case with Bosphorus.
Let’s start with the primary, die cut band. Upon first glance, if I had to describe the primary band of Bosphorus in one word, it would be “busy”. This is not a knock on the design whatsoever, I just mean to say that there is a lot going on with the band, and since this is the case, I am going to focus on a couple of the primary elements.
The “OZ” imagery serves as the main logo for Bosphorus and is front and center on the band in gold, with a good deal of embossing. This logo sits on a sky-blue background and is surrounded by quite a few different colored patterns. “Ozgener Family Cigars” sits just below this “OZ” logo and sits right above another gold embossed element that is relatively hard to make out.
The secondary band features “Bosphorus” on a dark blue background that is bordered by a familiar pattern that you will see on the primary band and “Ozgener Family Cigars” sits on the band’s bottom border.
At the very least, the Bosphorus design is colorful and will undoubtedly stand out on a retail shelf next to your run of the mill cigar bands. The last thing I will say is, I wish that the legibility of the Bosphorus band was as good as it is on the inside vista of the box - on the inside lid of the box, the imagery is unbelievably clear and beautiful, but it seems that the design just didn’t seem to translate as well on to the band due to printing techniques.
I’m coming in hot here, but if I made a “top x list” for cigars released in 2022, Bosphorus would’ve easily made the top ten if not the top five.
The first third of Bosphorus started with dominant notes of cedar, and earth that were quickly followed by a blast of rich, and slightly sweet dark roast coffee on the long and smooth finish. The marriage of these three primary flavors as I moved through the first third was nothing short of delectable and mouthwatering. By the time I reached the end of the first third, the strength of Bosphorus sat in the medium to full range but was flirting ever so close to the full range.
The transition to the second third was seamless which was somewhat surprising considering the flavor profile changed somewhat drastically. The earthiness I experienced in the first third almost disappeared as I made my way through the second third and gave way to distinct notes of sourdough bread while the cedar notes took a back seat to a particular nuttiness that reminded me of the taste of a handful of those Planter’s Deluxe Mixed Nuts (anyone know what I’m talking about?). The dark roast coffee stayed present and was amplified by an added amount of sweetness on the retrohale.
The final third was basically a combination of the different flavors profiles I experienced of the first and second third – nutty, woody, salty, doughy, earthy, and delectably sweet. By the final third, Bosphorus clearly made its way into the full-strength category which helped bring the nuanced flavor profile to life even more so.
I honestly don’t think Tim Ozgener’s return to the industry could’ve been any better than it was with this blend. Bosphorus isn’t just a cigar that I think fans of full-bodied blends should smoke, I think it’s a blend that anyone who has ever been a fan of cigars should smoke.
I’ve never been someone to tell a person how they should spend their money…until now! If you plan on buying cigars anytime soon (which I expect you do if you’re reading a tastefully long cigar review like this one), you should absolutely spend your entire monthly cigar budget on Ozgener Bosphorus. Now I understand that $13.50 isn’t exactly cheap for a cigar but considering the quality and nuanced flavor profile of Bosphorus, you would be hard pressed to find a cigar in this price range that is as good as this one.
I think there were a lot of people with really high hopes when they heard the news that Tim Ozgener was making his return to the cigar industry, and rightfully so. I would be shocked if any one of these people was not completely satisfied with the Ozgener’s first blend in over a decade – it was delicious, complex, and high quality, and is a blend that I’m sure will make a lot of end of the year lists.
Pick up a box of your favorite size of Bosphorus and after you show off this blend to all your friends, be sure to check in and give me a full report.