Cigar Ratings & Reviews

CA Review Panel: Ozgener Family Bosphorus


Ozgener Family Bosphorus Backstory

After the merger between Swedish Match and Scandinavian Tobacco in 2016 poised to move CAO Cigar’s headquarters to Richmond, VA., former CAO President, Tim Ozgener, opted to step down from the company and keep his family rooted in Nashville, TN.

Ozgener later invested in another Nashville-based company—Crowned Heads—during his absence from the industry. In fact, CH’s founders, Jon Huber and Mike Condor, were previously part of CAO’s marketing team.

Partnering with Crowned Heads again, Tim Ozgener has returned to the industry with a new brand: Ozgener Family Cigars. The company’s first release is called Bosphorus and is named after a Turkish strait dividing Europe and Asia, a nod to his parents’ Turkish and Armenian lineage.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Crowned Heads, seeing old friends, making new ones, and launching my brand of cigars under Ozgener Family Cigars,” said Tim in a press release.

Tim’s legacy is undeniable, but we’re gonna let the cigar do the rest of the talking. Check out our detailed reviews below and let us know what you think in the comments!

Ozgener Family Bosphorus – Cigar Details

Factory: Tabacalera Pichardo in Estelí, Nicaragua
Size Reviewed: 5” x 52B52 (Robusto)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra
Binder: Ecuador Connecticut & Nicaragua Jalapa
Filler: Nicaragua Estelí, Jalapa, and Ometepe

Construction: Box press is well-defined; everyone lauded the cigar’s construction.
Draw: Draw ranged from a little airy to excellent among samples.
Pre-Light & Toasting Flavors: Salt, wood, earth, pepper, leather, cocoa, and a cake-like flavor.
Key Cigar Flavors: Everyone noted cedar, pepper, and earth.
Smoke Aroma: Rich and sweet across the board.
Burn & Ash Color/Quality: Minor burn issues on two of the six samples, but mostly no issues. Ash held firm for all with a light-grey color.

Presented in boxes of 20

John Pullo’s Tasting Notes…

Summary: Light up the Bosphorus B52 Robusto and steady yourself for a big burst of pepper, salt, and that earthy Sumatra taste. It gets sweeter in short order, something of the cocoa variety, along with coffee beans and cedar. Ozgener has still left plenty of pepper in the blend, however. Second third gets rich and hits you in the chest; the Bosphorus B52 is a fuller-bodied cigar. Pepper is still a staple of the profile, along with earth, wood and coffee beans.

Something pretty cool happens to the profile as it heads to the last third, but it happens without you noticing until after it’s already changed: the smoke gets noticeably creamy. That’s in addition to more earth, salty-sweetness, even citrus (think lime) – but not much pepper. The retrohale is very similar. Over the hour-plus smoking time the burn line goes through episodes of some wave and some wonk, but nothing that wouldn’t fix itself after a few minutes between shallow drags.

Ozgener’s new cigar is complex, in my book: the transitions are smooth, the flavors move subtly. Some people hate that because they want a fireworks show when they smoke; I, on the other hand, am quite ok with it. I enjoyed the Bosphorus B52 because it’s just…enjoyable. Flowing from peppery to rich to creamy, this is a “whole package” smoke that hits a lot of the right buttons at the right time – so yes, I would smoke it again.

Gary’s Tasting Notes…

Summary: When it comes to this Robusto from Ozgener Family Cigars, it’s obvious that the apple has fallen close to the tree. The opening chords were bold, but far from the peppery lift-off you get with a lot of Nicaraguans. Settling down fairly quickly, my Bosphorus B52 offered a mix of baking spices including nutmeg, cinnamon, star anise, and cedar. Moving further along, the smoke was creamy-smooth, well-balanced, and medium-bodied. Each draw finished with a light, white pepper spice.

The smoke continued down its creamy, medium-bodied path as the baking spices prevailed unchanged. At times I found cinnamon to be the most noticeable spice. I also picked-up a spark of dark chocolate and some drive-by caramel, which drove-by on several occasions. I marked the sweet spot at 2½-inches as the smoke kicked-up a notch to medium-plus. Retrohales on my pre-video sample were very smooth and sort of dry with a finish that reminded me of pencil shavings. The white pepper finish on the palate was still there. At this point the B52 was performing excellently and offered most of the flavors I enjoy most in a cigar.

The core flavors of nutmeg, cinnamon, dark chocolate and cedar transitioned smoothly into the last couple of inches. I had pretty much the same experience as in the previous section, but the cigar was also slightly bolder in strength. During the last inch or so my sample continued to smoke smoothly offering a mostly woody flavor and an espresso-like bitterness.

As for my overall impression of the Bosphorus B52, I would classify it as a utility player. You can smoke this cigar just about anywhere, any time of day, pair it with just about everything, and that made the Bosphorus B52 one of the best Robustos I’ve had so far this year.

Finally, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo has begun making the Bosphorus line. That’s welcome news, but I found this original Pichardo blend to be truly outstanding, so, if this sounds like your kind of smoke, get ‘em while you can.

Paul’s Tasting Notes…

Summary: The first pull delivers a gritty earthiness reminiscent of kicking up the soil of a freshly dug grave. Creaminess provides a reprieve before the flavors explode with black pepper, cinnamon, berry, and cedar. There’s a sweetness present in the Bosphorus’s background that slaps at your tastebuds intermittently like waves gently crashing on the shore.

As the intensity throttles to medium-full, the number of flavors shrinks, like George Costanza emerging from a cold pool. The second section of the Bosporus revealed more earthiness, cedar, and a chef’s kiss of sweetness and pepper. There is a whisper of bread—almost like the perfect coal-fired NYC pizza crust—and some grassiness that gives the Bosphorus added dimension.

As the Ozgener Family Bosphorus cigar enters the final stretch, it hits its stride like David striking a secret chord. Earthiness, creaminess, cedar, and pepper are still hanging out and enjoying the ride, but now there’s also a bit of bread and barnyard popping up here and there like whack-a-moles. Complexity is still a promise as the final third commences.

The flavor profile is still alive and well with earth, cedar, pepper, baking spice, and cream daring me to lay the Bosphorus to rest. But I keep coming back for more, kind of like a moth surrendering to the allure of a flame. As the cigar comes to an end, the pizza dough flavor becomes more intense, like a last call before the lights turn off.

Sometimes a good cigar is just simply a good cigar. Bosphorus, however, to me represents a good cigar that will only improve with a nap in your humidor. That’s not to say Bosphorus needs to rest—but if you’re impressed with the blend right from store shelves, then grabbing some to enjoy down the line should be your first order of business.