Ciudad de Musica…Crowned Heads

Altadis U.S.A. recently added another great company to their collaboration list and this time it was Jon Huber and the folks over at Crowned Heads. The Montecristo Ciudad de Musica, Spanish for City of Music, makes perfect sense for the Nashville based company. This cigar is being produced by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr at the Tabacalera La Alianza S.A, which is one of the factories that already produces Crowned Heads cigars regularly.

“The challenge for us was in taking such an iconic brand as Montecristo and putting our fingerprints on it all the while respecting the tradition and legacy that’s existed in the Montecristo brand since 1935,” said Jon Huber, in a press release.

Available in 4 sizes:

Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46)

Robusto (5 x 50)

Sublime (6 x 54)

Piramide (6 1/8 x 52)

The Piramide size will be exclusive to Casa de Montecristo lounges. Prices are $11.95 – $16 per cigar.

When I first heard about this project, I was anxious to give them a try. Fortunately for me, I have a Casa de Montecristo about an hour away from me and I was able to pick up the Piramide size. Without further ado, let’s fire this one up and see what we get shall we?

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic

Appearance: The wrapper has a medium brown color with medium veins and very tight seams. The wrapper has an almost reddish copper tint in the sunlight. The large black and copper band contains 3 logos. The Montecristo Fleur de Lis, the Crowned Heads “CH” logo, and the Ciudad de Musica logo all encased in circles. The cigar has a really nice oily sheen and the band really gives it an elegant vibe.

Pre-light: I pick up notes of hay, earth, barnyard, and cedar from the barrel. The foot offers more of the same with notes of cedar wood, earth, hay, and slight pepper. The cigar feels light in the hand but no soft spots anywhere. The piramide shape has been one of my favorite sizes for a long time. I used a straight cutter to open things up and the cold draw presents an open draw with slight resistance. I pick up notes of straw, cedar and earth. I get the foot good and toasted and away we go.

1st Third: I pick up spice and a very woodsy profile right from the jump. I get some pepper on the retrohale. I start to get notes of sweet cedar and pepper in the background. About 1/4 inch in I get a touch of mocha/espresso notes. This is a very complex blend and I start to pick up notes of roasted coffee beans. This is a really unique blend with a lot of subtle flavors going on. The draw is open, I am getting tons of smoke, the burn is slightly wavy, the strength is medium. This blend really works well together to form a nice flavor profile that is smooth and complex.

2nd Third: The transition brings some earth, mocha, nuttiness, sweet cedar and spice. About the halfway mark a sweet, subtle caramel note makes an appearance and adds to the complexity. The performance is the same. Good draw, wavy burn line, lots of smoke and medium strength. Not a ton of changes in flavors just a good, complex blend that is creamy and easy to smoke.

Final Third: As I move into the final third, the blend changes slightly and I pick up notes of earth, sweet cedar, wood, leather, and a slight grassy note. I still get faint notes of mocha and espresso. Everything else remains the same. I smoke this one down to about a half inch without it burning hot or being bitter. Total smoke time was around 1 hour 45 minutes.

Final Thoughts: The Ciudad de Musica was an enjoyable symphony of flavors that blend together like music from your favorite band. The blend really comes together nicely and provides a nice, smooth, medium strength, complex smoke that is enjoyable from start to finish. I really enjoyed the piramide size and I would like to try it in another size to compare. I think this cigar would appeal to seasoned cigar smokers more than newcomers. The complexity of the blend, in my opinion, would be best appreciated by an advanced palate. I am also curious to see what happens to this cigar as it ages a bit more. There were a couple of cigars I tried last year that just got better and better each time I smoked them. I can see this being one of those. The first cigar I ever tried was the Montecristo White Label. I really had no idea of what I was tasting at the time. Having revisited it after I had been smoking for awhile, I learned to appreciate what I enjoyed about my first Montecristo. Being a fan of Crowned Heads and hearing about this project I knew it would be interesting, and I was not disappointed. This is a great collaboration and overall a very good cigar. If you get the opportunity to try this one, pick it up and let me know what you think about it.

I hope you enjoyed my review. Please feel free to leave comments, thoughts, or questions here. Don’t forget to follow me on social media and join the CigarHawk Face Book group.

Be sure to visithttp://www.crownedheads.com for all the latest news and updates, along with some of the coolest swag in the industry. Sign up for their email list and look for the “Set List” for everything Crowned Heads.

2017 Las Calaveras…Crowned Heads

Ah the 2017 Las Calaveras. I picked up a few of these when they were first released last year. Excited to try one, I did right away and I felt like the cigar was too fresh and needed some time to relax and acclimate to the climate in Pa. I was not alone as I read numerous reviews, post and comments mentioning this same thing. I know this was a huge point of contention from co-founder Jon Huber. Sorry Jon. The intent for me, was not to be negative or to put down the cigar, I just honestly felt that the cigar had so much more to give than what I experienced. I still stand by that decision. I also stand by the decision not to post the review based on my experience at the time. I felt it would be best to let the cigar relax, age a bit and then revisit it. My goal was to go back to it before the end of 2017. Little did I know I would be transferring to a new state, selling a house, moving into an apartment, starting the home building process, etc. Needless to say this cigar, along with a number of others did not get reviewed simply because of my personal situation and trying to get settled in a new location.

If you have followed my blog for awhile, anyone that knows me knows a couple of things. 1) I am honest and will not bs anything in my reviews. 2) I am also respectful and tactful and would never bash anyone’s work. If I don’t like a particular cigar, that’s on me. I am not going to love every single cigar I try and neither will you. Just because something doesn’t review well by me or anyone else should never stop you from trying it if it interest you. This is a very opinionated, subjective thing I do and it is strictly my opinion. With all of that said, let’s get down to what we are here to do.

I have been a fan of Crowned Heads for some time now. Nothing has changed on that front. I was able to stop in and visit with Jon in Nashville for just a few minutes in 2016. I would have loved the opportunity to hang out with him and enjoy a smoke but it wasn’t in the cards. I always look forward to anything coming from Crowned Heads as they have been a staple in my humidor for awhile.

“Since we first introduced Las Calaveras in 2014, the marca has risen dramatically in popularity and notoriety,” said Jon Huber, Crowned Heads co-founder, in a statement to halfwheel. “One of the things I’m personally most proud of, however, is that the underlying message of the brand, i.e., to celebrate (rather than mourn) the lives of those who’ve passed on in the previous year, has been heard and received literally around the world.” (Taken from Halwheel.com)

Every from October 31 – November 2 in Mexico the country celebrates Dia de Muertos. The multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of friends and family friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey. Somewhere between 1910-1913 Jose Guadalupe Posada created a zinc etching called, La Calavera Catrina that has become synonymous with the holiday. It is from this etching and holiday that Crowned Heads found inspiration for Las Calaveras.

Let’s jump into this one shall we:

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Maduro

Binder/Filler: Nicaragua

Size: 5 5/8″ x 46

MSRP: $9.75

Origin: My Father Cigar Factory in Esteli, Nicaragua

Appearance: The wrapper is a dark brown color with a reddish/orange hue in the light. It is a rustic leaf with tight seams and a lot of small veins. The black, orange and gold band works really well against the rustic leaf and dresses it nicely.

Pre-light: The cigar feels firm with no soft spots. From the barrel I pick up notes of hay, natural tobacco, pepper, cedar and earth. The foot offers a bit more pepper and earth notes. I use a straight cut and the cold draw offers a good draw with a slight resistance, notes of hay, earth, wood and pepper.

1st Third: Once I get things toasted, the initial burst is a familiar pepper note mixed with cedar, earth, and a mocha like sweetness. The pepper fades fairly quickly but is noticeable on the retrohale. The cedar, spice and sweetness blend together nicely. The draw is nice, the burn is sharp. I did develop a split down the side of the wrapper but it did not present any issues with the performance. Moving towards the end of the first third the strength is medium plus. I am getting notes of cedar, leather, earth, sweet cocoa and pepper.

2nd Third: As I make the transition into the halfway mark, the flavor profile opens up a bit more and this is what I was waiting for when I first reviewed this stick. Time definitely made a difference with this cigar. People can and will say what they want but for me the difference is night and day. The cedar notes are pronounced and a smooth caramel, mocha sweetness takes shape. The earthy notes move into more a nutty profile. The performance is still the same. No issues with the draw, the split proved to be a non issue and the burn is sharp. I am getting a lot of smoke from this cigar. The strength is medium plus to full at this point but it remains smooth.

Final third: Moving into the final third, the transition offers no real change. The flavor profile remains pretty consistent with the 2nd third. The performance is on cruise control. I still get a nice cedar, coffee/mocha/caramel, with a touch of pepper and earth. A slight bit of bitterness starts to show up as I come to the end of this one.

Final Thoughts: I am really glad that I came back to this cigar. While I didn’t find this one to be my personal favorite of the Crowned Heads releases, it certainly was better than the first one I tried. This release was overlooked on a lot of list (mine included due to circumstances) but it really has proven to be a solid smoke. To be fair, the portfolio that Crowned Heads has produced makes for some tough competition. I was super happy to see my local lounge get a box of Luminosa in yesterday! I found this years release to be a solid medium plus to full strength cigar that had a nice flavor profile, nice draw, sharp burn and maintenance free performance. I encourage you to try it and see what you think about it. Blind Man Puff put it as their number 3 cigar this year.

Crowned Heads remains one of my favorite brands and I really enjoy what they are doing with the “Set List” series. If you have not signed up to receive it, visit http://www.crownedheads.com/set-list/

If you happen to find yourself in Nashville, reach out to Jon and the team and try to stop by and visit them. They have a very cool headquarters there and they are super down to earth people.

I hope you enjoyed this review. Feel free to leave comments, questions or review request. I am happy to try new cigars anytime I get the chance. Until next time, long ashes and full glasses friends.

Las Mareas…The Tides.

I’ve tried surfing a couple of times in my life when I lived in Eastern Alabama or as most people refer to it Pensacola Florida. I can tell you that the beaches there are not know for their huge waves but it was a nice thing to try now and again. I can certainly understand how people get passionate about it.

If you know anything about Crowned Heads cigars and Jon Huber, you know that cigars is certainly a passion for him. Many of their cigars are named from inspiration, be it music, places or in this case, surfing.

The Crowned Heads Las Mareas is made in the My Fathers Cigars factory in Nicaragua. This cigar features tobaccos from the Garcia family farms in and around Esteli, Nicaragua. The wrapper is Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 with Nicaraguan binder and filler. I have the tuberia 4 1/2 x 48 size but it is available in 4 sizes.

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The cigar has a rustic look with a black band with white writing which contrast nicely with the brown of the wrapper. It is well constructed and looks great. From the foot I was able to pick up some earth tones with light hints of straw and leather. I used a straight cut and the cold draw was good with little resistance and notes of wood and hay.

I used good old wooden matches to get things moving and the first draw brought notes of cedar, some pepper and a sort of floral flavor that I can’t quite pinpoint. I am getting a nice amount of smoke off of this cigar. First third is a solid medium in strength and flavor. Nothing too complex but very smooth.

The second third I get a little more cedar notes with leather, grain and a hint of chocolate or cocoa. The flavor profile is enjoyable, nothing really complex or over the top but smooth and creamy.

The final third really brought more of the same until the very end of the cigar where the spice really came back to the forefront and finished strong. Nothing to harsh but certainly noticeable.

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Overall, I enjoyed the Las Mareas by Crowned Heads. This was a solid cigar that took me just over 1 hour and 10 minutes to finish. I only had water while trying this stick but I think it would pair nicely with a nice bourbon or rum. The spice from either would compliment this cigar well. I have a couple of the other sizes in my humidor and look forward to seeing how they compare.

I would say this is a good medium-full bodied cigar that is worth trying. Another solid cigar from Crowned Heads.

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Road trip…Nashville and Louisville

So Monday we returned home from a 1700 + mile road trip from Pa, to Nashville, Louisville and back with a stop at the legendary Leaf and Bean in Pittsburg. It was a quick trip but it was packed with things to do. After working all day Thursday we finally hit the road around 6 pm and drove all night and arrived in Nashville around 7 am. Just in time for breakfast and then a stop off at Crowned Heads headquarters to meet Jon Huber. Because of scheduling we couldn’t hang out for long but it was nice to finally meet the man behind some of my favorite cigars. I was able to score a new hoodie and a couple of great samplers! Next was a stop off at Smokers Abby to pick up some Crowned Heads Tennessee Waltz (FINALLY!!!!), the new Oscar Habano, and a couple of Viaje Honey and Hand Grenades. This is a great local shop with mainly boutique brands, a nice humidor and lounge. I highly recommend stopping in if you are in the area. After that it was full blown tourist mode. The Johnny Cash museum, all the bars and stores on Broadway, The Ryman Auditorium (incredible amount of history in that place and we also got to attend The Grand Ole Opry in the Ryman which was awesome), local bus tour of the area, Music Row and more. We found another local lounge called Primings Cigar Bar and Lounge. Another nice humidor, the best Old Fashion I have ever had, great bar, super friendly and attentive staff and a really nice house blend cigar. If you have never been to Nashville and you like country music or history I recommend taking a trip. I am not a new country music fan, personally I think this new bro country garbage has ruined the genre. I think much of the “talent” shouldn’t be mentioned in the same breathe as the true legends of the music. Moving on…

The Tennessee Waltz is a cigar that was made by Crowned Heads and sells exclusively in the companies home state (some online retailers do have them). If it reminds you of another cigar, it’s for good reason. Made in the My Father’s Cigar factory this cigar is 5 1/2 X 52 with a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers.

Right off the bat this cigar smells of barnyard (hay) with notes of cocoa and pepper. It is a very rustic looking stick with a dark brown color with lots of veins and the orange ribbon on the foot. As I light it, first with a match and then touched up with a dual torch, I am met with black pepper and a woodsy cedar (maybe) with some leather and nuts. As I moved towards the second third, the spice leveled off because of the sweet cocoa that appeared.

Into the second third and it moves into a cocoa and nuttiness.There is still some spice but its a nice combination. It isn’t super complex but the blend is very nice. The draw, ash, and smoke production are still great.

As I move into the final third, the spice makes a comeback but the woodsy, leather, earthy notes even it out nicely to finish out this cigar. It remains a solid medium bodied smoke for me. I have read reviews that stated it became tart or bitter into the last third. I did not experience that with this one.

Overall the Tennessee Waltz was a solid medium bodied, flavorful cigar with great construction, even burn, perfect draw, not super complex but consistent throughout the entire smoke. I enjoyed this cigar a lot and would recommend it to anyone. For me, it is a box worthy cigar and I will certainly smoke it again. Total time was right at 1 hour 40 minutes.

After Nashville we took the 2 hour drive to Louisville and stopped in at Four Roses Bourbon distillery for a tour and tasting and then over to Woodford Reserve for another tasting (we got there too late to tour). The next morning I realized that our hotel was literally a couple blocks from Angel’s Envy bourbon so we had to stop in. They recently re-opened their distillery and we didn’t have reservations for the tour but still scored a nice bottle and shirt. Overall I would say it was a busy, but very nice getaway. It helps that I came home with new cigars and 3 bottles of really nice bourbon.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my review. Please drop your comments and reviews here. Take a few minutes and click on the links below.

Up next, the Oscar goes to….. Check back and find out.

Peace!

Please visit: http://www.crownedheads.com/cigars/

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http://www.primingscigar.com/

 

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