Crowned Heads has added a new vitola to its Mil Días line, available exclusively through JR Cigar. It’s known as the Mil Días MDP55, aptly named for its dimensions: 5 1/2 x 55. This particular vitola features a box-pressed design, distinguishing it from the rest of the line.
Regarding its blend, the Mil Días MDP55 showcases an Ecuadorian habano wrapper, enveloping a Nicaraguan binder. The fillers are thoughtfully sourced from Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Peru, resulting in a complex and flavorful combination.
JR Cigar is currently offering the Mil Días MDP55 in boxes of 12 at a price of $135.99, equating to approximately $11.33 per cigar. Importantly, Crowned Heads has clarified that despite its exclusivity, this is considered a regular production item that JR Cigar can continue to reorder.
The Mil Días line is crafted at the TacaNicsa factory, under the leadership of Eradio Pichardo. Notably, this factory is situated in the same building as Tabacalera Pichardo, where the Mil Días line initially debuted.
Dias de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a holiday that traditionally celebrates the remembrance of deceased friends and families. This holiday is widely celebrated in Mexico and among people of Mexican heritage. Unlike his usual music theme cigars, Jon Huber, the co-founder of Crowned Heads Cigars, started a series based on this holiday: Las Calaveras.
In 2014, Las Calaveras got released to the world. The name translates to “the Skull,”: which is one of the main components of Dias de los Muertos (the other two components are ofrendas (alter) and marigold flowers). And this cigar is meant to commemorate the memories of the people who had passed away the year before.
Like its predecessor, the 2022 release has four different vitolas, three of which come in a box of 24. And you can only obtain the 4th vitola, a petite lancero, in their exclusive sampler pack that includes one of each size.
Cigar Reviewed: Crowned Heads las Calaveras Edicion Limitada 2022
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo 99
Size: LC52 (5″x52)
Appearance & Construction
This cigar has a color tone of light roast coffee beans. The wrapper feels like the back side of leather: soft and lumpy. I see two veins spreading themselves throughout the cigar. I slightly squeeze the cigar between my fingers, and it’s proportionally filled from cap to foot. So far, I am very impressed with the construction.
Flavor and Smoke Characteristics
The wrapper gives off a familiar scent of vanilla and sunflower seeds. On the foot of the cigar, I get sweet hay and a hint of spice. I used my Xikar XO cutter to slice off the cap and continued with a cold draw. I get mint, herbs, and slight bitterness. The cold draw reminds me of a Chinese herbal shop in Chinatown.
I take out my trusty Visol Dual-jet light to light the cigar. I take my first puff as soon as the foot becomes bright red. Unlike the scent I got from the wrapper and the cold draw, the flavors are bland with creamy oats, oak, and red pepper spice. Thank god I did not give up on this; half an inch in, I get simple syrup sweetness which carries onto the finish alongside pepper spice. I retrohale the next puff, and it is simple yet delightful with hints of sweet hay, cedarwood, and ample white pepper spice.
Overlooking the first few puffs, I am enjoying this cigar. The construction is on point as well. The burn line is straight, and the airflow is 7 out of 10, which is perfect restrictiveness for me. It produces a plethora of smoke. And the ash held on past the one-inch mark.
There isn’t much change in the second-third portion of the cigar. I still get creamy oats, oakwood, simple syrup, and pepper spice. With the next retrohale the intensity of white pepper spice increased and made me sneeze several times. Those who know me know that I usually look for the complexity and nuances in flavor notes; yet for this cigar, I find comfort and enjoyment in the consistency. However, one thing I want to point out is that this cigar is drying my mouth out.
As if the cigar heard what I was thinking, there was a shift in the profile, and it gave me a jolt of excitement. The smoke is silky, and I taste roasted peanuts, syrup, and cedarwood. The spice is completely gone on the palate. On the retrohale, I get maple syrup, hay, and red pepper spice. My final note is that this cigar produces an abundance of smoke to my final puff.
The lesson for today is to never judge a book by its cover. Or, in my case, never judge a cigar by its initial puffs. The Crowned Heads las Calaveras 2022 was a breath of fresh air compared to the profiles I usually seek out. I was enveloped in sweet syrup, creamy oats, oakwood, and pepper spice. The constant warm and earthy profile was my anchor to this reality while slowly drifting off into a meditative state. Yes, I was THAT relaxed.
I was pleasantly surprised by Las Calaveras 2022. Because I tried this cigar when it first came out around the end of Summer, and it was a different experience. And this is the perfect example of giving a cigar another chance, and if it wasn’t for the blind review, who knows if I would ever pick up another one of the 2022 releases.
The Tobacconists’ Association of America, better known as TAA, is a group of high-end cigar shops in the US, with about 80 retail stores and 34 manufacturers. The club was established for shop owners and manufacturers to get acquainted and get to know one another. They would host meet-ups and herfs around the country. Since then, the purpose has evolved into more business-oriented ventures. There is a yearly meeting similar to PCA to share ideas, give feedback, and have the opportunity to carry the TAA exclusive series. And to be considered a candidate to be a part of this exclusive club, the retail shop has to be at least three years old and be recommended by other members.
Since 2014, Crowned Heads released their exclusive limited edition TAA cigar named The Angel’s Anvil. The concept is based on a story of a fallen angel finding his way back to heaven. Fast forward to 2020, Crowned Heads revised their exclusive release for it to come out with The Lost Angels, aspiring to be the prequel to its predecessor. Due to COVID, the release was delayed, and it didn’t hit the shelves until 2021. As a result of the success of that release, Jon Huber, the co-founder of Crowned Heads, decided to bring back The Lost Angels to Tobacalera Pichardo.
Cigar Reviewed: Crowned Heads: The Lost Angel TAA 2022
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Mexican San Andres
Filler: Dominican & Nicaraguan
Size: Robusto Extra (5 3/4″ x 52)
Appearance & Construction
The dark espresso bean color cigar has a silky-smooth surface. There are few visible veins, but it hardly takes away from the smoothness of it. The cigar is filled to the brim, and there are no soft spots, but at the same time, it feels light in my hand.
Flavor and Smoke Characteristics
The wrapper gives off a faint sweetness, and I get barnyard hay and pepper spice on the foot of the cigar. After slicing off the cap with my Xikar XO cutter, I get a unique minty taste on the cold draw. On top of that, I get the flavor of oats. I don’t get any spice from the cold draw, but my lips tingle from the wrapper.
I use my Visol duel-jet torch to set the foot ablaze and start my smoking experience. The first few puffs are a little bitter, the smoke is creamy, and I get the taste of oatmeal, sunflower seeds, and raw sugar. Initially, I’m disappointed because I don’t get any spice from the puffs, but it creeps up on me 5 to 10 seconds later. The retrohale gives me an abundance of black pepper spice. After my senses came from the shock, I get toffee, cedarwood, and sunflower seeds.
The bitterness in the smoke disappears as the ash falls after about an inch. The smoke profile becomes even creamier. At this point, I wish I’d eaten before smoking this cigar; I can feel the nicotine slowly make its way down to the pit of my stomach. The construction of this cigar is as good as it can be. The burn line is straight, and the draw is 8 out of 10, which is a bit tight for my liking, but it produces ample smoke.
Arriving at the second third, I predominately taste sunflower seeds with a hint of cedarwood in the background. I wish the pepper spice would stick around longer but it leaves as quickly as it came. Black pepper spice still dominates the retrohale, along with roasted nuts and honey.
The accumulation of nicotine in my stomach makes me a bit queasy, but I soldier through and make it to the final third. The profile mellows, and I can taste more than sunflower seeds: roasted peanuts, charcoal, oakwood, and honey. Similar on the palate, the spice is manageable with roasted nuts and honey. Each puff becomes sweeter as it gets closer to the nub, which gives me the perfect sweet ending as I take my last puff.
The Lost Angel 2022 had a unique start, from the minty cold draw to the mouth numbing spice. The overall flavor was good. I really liked the combination of sweet honey and sunflower seeds throughout the smoke. The construction on this cigar was solid, and the airflow opened towards the end. The one negative is the amount of nicotine it produces. This is not a cigar for newcomers or anyone with a weak heart. Unfortunately, I was even overwhelmed with the nicotine level.
Las Calaveras is a Crowned Heads limited edition line extension to their core line of cigars. The blend is an homage to the Mexican Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) which honors those who have passed the year previously. I’ve had the opportunity to sample much of the Las Calavaras line and enjoyed their spiciness and complexities. This year with their 2020 version they’ve once again created a cigar that separates itself well beyond the rest of the Crowned Heads portfolio.
Cigar Reviewed: Las Calaveras EL 2020
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Size: 5” x 52 (Robusto)
Appearance & Construction
The Las Calaveras EL 2020 wears a dark, almost maduro wrapper with a long vein running almost all the way to the bottom of the cigar. Despite the leaf vein the cigar is silky to the touch and well packed with tobacco. The smell off of the foot has some barnyard and a bit of freshly tanned leather.
Flavor & Smoke Characteristics
As I straight cut the robusto the draw dry delivers mushroom, dry wood and a bit of roasted coffee. Using a long match I take flame to the Las Calaveras EL 2020 and immediately receive spice on the tongue with espresso, leather and nougat. There is ample smoke production from the fine draw and as the cigar progresses, some sweetness of vanilla bean and café au lait encapsulate the mouth with a long finish. Taking a retrohale, pepper and leather fill the sinuses with drying sensations. The Las Calaveras EL 2020 is in the medium bodied range.
The halfway point of the Las Calaveras EL 2020 begins with an intense coffee note interplaying with cedar and leather. The ash is white and flaky with a substantial burn line. With another retrohale the peppery spice comes on strong, with more espresso as the smoke is released. The strength picks up a bit and the lush tobacco resonates on my palate, though it quickly transitions right back into the more medium bodied style. After a bit more puffing, the leather returns up front with marzipan and cream on the finish which is a pleasant surprise.
As the cigar reaches the final third, the strength picks up into the medium to full range with pepper and some breadiness to it. Along with the change in profile there is more wood and hay coming through with cedar being the dominate flavor. With the smoke production increasing, the Las Calaveras EL 2020 brings forth earth and a sharp minerality with a medium finish.
At its end, the cigar provides shorter stints of flavors, with a slight bitterness coming through. As I take a final puff, the spice and hay lines my mouth and with a grassy note on the finish. A pleasing robusto to sample.
I’ve smoked the Las Calaveras line and enjoyed their richness in flavors as well as the concept behind the brand. The 2020 incarnation delivered spices, espresso, leather and cream throughout most of the cigar. The final third transitioned to a fuller bodied smoke which muted some of the flavors although was never offensive. The burn and construction on this cigar was excellent and made for a pleasant smoking experience when trying to identify flavors. The Las Calaveras EL 2020 is a solid robusto worth checking out especially if you’ve had others as you will appreciate the style this line delivers.
Up for review today is Yellow Rose from Crowned Heads. Following on the heels of Hawaii-exclusive and Tennessee-exclusive releases,the Yellow Rose was blended and released specifically for the Texas market. The name “Yellow Rose” fittingly refers to an old Texan folk song called “The Yellow Rose of Texas” that dates back to the early 1800’s. It’s actually quite a romantic song and worth listening to. Here are the lyrics to the first two verses:
There’s a yellow rose of Texas That I am going to see No other fellow knows her No other, only me She cried so when I left her It like to broke my heart And if I ever find her We never more will part
She’s the sweetest rose of color This soldier ever knew Her eyes are bright as diamonds They sparkle like the dew You may talk about your dearest May And sing of Rosa Lee But the Yellow Rose of Texas Is the only girl for me
Cigar Reviewed: Crowned Heads Yellow Rose
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Size: 6 1/4 x 54 (torpedo)
Appearance & Construction
Obviously, there’s not much to say about the branding, but the extremely dark Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is one of the most perfect wrappers I’ve seen in a long time. Zero major veins, and a light crystallization dusting the cigar from top to bottom. The cigar also has a great weight in the hand, which is a nice touch, though I’m sure not an aesthetically-driven decision.
Approaching the cigar, there are heavy aromas wafting up off of the foot. Barnyard, burnt toast, sweet wood, and some mild spices. The draw is a bit tight, about an 8/10 in terms of restrictiveness, with a cold draw consisting of granola, oats, some light white pepper, and wood.
Flavor and Smoke Characteristics
The Crowned Heads Yellow Rose doesn’t open up as strong as I was expecting, instead delivering measured, medium bodied smoke on the first few puffs. The profile is decently complex, with flavors striking a balance between sweet, bitter, and slightly salty categories. On the palate, there’s a heavy charred oak note layered on top of bitter earthiness, light pepper, coffee and some metallic notes. The aroma is a different story, with black coffee, cocoa powder, and a slightly bitter, almost yeasty note. Smoke production is well below average, and I’m worried the flavor experience will suffer as a result.
First impression: the Yellow Rose kicks off like a real after-dinner cigar, with sweet, creamy, and bitter flavors that suit desert well. The low smoke production, is a problem.
About 15 minutes in to the smoke, the ash comprises roughly an inch of the cigar. Although the smoke production is still insufficient, the profile morphs considerably. Body and strength are now in medium plus territory, moving quickly toward full. Flavors too are more concentrated and aggressive than before. Bitterness is the most prevalent flavor category, with plenty of coffee, leather, and bittersweet dark chocolate. There’s also a marked increase in spiciness, a kind of vegetal pepper that activates the middle of the tongue and is strong on the retrohale. Construction throughout the first third is good, with a bit of curving on the burn that’s easily fixed with a couple of purges.
In the second third, the pesky smoke production issue finally starts to level off, and smoke production increases. The palate is now dominated by assertive black pepper, hot peppers and charred wood, though there is a bit of sweetness to the peppers that balances the bitterness (though not completely). Body and strength are now firmly in full territory, and I’m surprised to already be feeling the nicotine. The retrohale simplifies a bit, taking on more of a charcoal flavor which doesn’t do much for the overall experience. I’m hoping the final third will offer more by way of complexity, because as enjoyable as the smoke is, it’s become a bit one sided.
Unfortunately, another 25 minutes reveals an almost identical experience to the second third, though with more smoke production issues. A shame really because otherwise the Yellow Rose would clearly have a compelling story to tell.
Yellow Rose from Crowned Heads is a good cigar but I’ve got to say I think it was more enjoyable to look at than it was to smoke, largely due to the overly tight draw which compromised some of the flavors. Otherwise, it deals up some seriously flavorful smoke that’s mostly balanced between bitter, sweet, and salty.
It’s not my cup of tea, but if you see it in your local humidor, I’d say why not, give it a try.