tobacco

Four Kicks Maduro From Crowned Heads

Four Kicks Maduro

Ten years ago, four former CAO employees started a little boutique brand known as Crowned Heads. With their roots in Nashville and lead by front man Jon Huber, the company pulls a lot of inspiration from the large music seen around them. Four Kicks and Four Kicks Maduro both derive their name from Nashville band Kings of Leon. (If you like them check out Quiet Oaks, also from Nashville.) While Crowned Heads had kept to a single blend for their core products we now have a variation with the Four Kicks Maduro.

The cigar is a dark chocolaty brown with a fair amount of oil and veins, but nothing that makes the cigar unappealing. The smell is earthy and leathery but light. From the cold draw I notice the taste of pepper, citrus and a sweetness that balances the other flavors.

In the first half the cigar is spicy and creamy. It smokes very smooth and easy giving off plenty of light weighted smoke. The burn is sharp and the ash holds for easily 1/4″ before breaking it free.

The second half brought a bit of earthiness to the table along with a slight increase in the pepper spice flavor but still remained a smooth smoking cigar. Smoke production was still large and there were no burn issues for the entirety of the cigar.

For a “younger” company Crowned Heads have been able to release several stand out cigars and the Four Kicks Maduro is another one. With a flavor profile that should suit anyones palate, solid construction and a more than reasonable price point, this cigar should be a go to when you’re having trouble deciding what to smoke. When you see them at the shop be sure to grab a handful or two.

Wrapper – Connecticut Habano Maduro

Binder – Nicaraguan

Filler – Nicaraguan

Price: $8.00 – $10.00 a stick depending on vitola.

Website: Crownedheads.com

Rating: 4.7 out of 5 pints

 

HERRERA ESTELI TORO ESPECIAL

IMG_7955Knowing that Willy Herrera was making this cigar and it was being made in a more traditional Cuban style I was excited to try it. I did a little bit of investigating before the package arrived to know what I would be getting into. All of the Herrera Estelis are rolled in the entubado style with a triple cap. This is the bunching technique, which rolls each filler leaf into itself, almost like a small scroll. Each individually “scrolled” leaf is then placed together to form the bunch. This skillful rolling technique creates a more firmly packed cigar, which allows air to travel between all of the leaves, carrying more aromatics/flavors to the palate. Entubado rolling is the most difficult and complex bunching method and is therefore rarely employed in large-scale manufacturing. (Thank you T.U. for providing a well-explained definition). After having several of these this is what I found.

The cigar is covered in an Ecuadorian wrapper that is light milk chocolate in color. The veining is minimal and the seams are tight and is toped off with a classic Cuban style simple band. The over all feel of the body is giving to the touch but obviously well constructed with no noticeable dead spots. The smell from the body is mild and is bread like with notes of coffee. From the foot it is a bit stringer and has the smells of licorice, aged leather and sugared ginger.

The cap cut easily and with no distress to the construction. Lighting was easily done with two matches and the initial draws provided good amounts of medium weighted smoke. The first third of the cigar burned evenly with the ash holding tight for up to almost an inch before asking to be knocked off. The flavor is a little sweet with a bit of pepper as well as the ginger on the back end.

The second third becomes a bit heavier with the flavor getting stronger. The sweetness begins to dissipate while the pepper and spice remains. The burn continues to be even and construction appears flawless at this point.

The last third stays close to the second third in flavor with just a bit more of the spice notes. The sweetness makes a small reappearance but is quickly gone again and covered by the spice along with a small amount of coffee flavor. The burn stayed consistent throughout the whole smoke as well as no faults in construction could be found.

Along with most items from Drew Estate I would recommend this cigar to anyone looking for a fuller bodied smoke. The build of this cigar is solid and hard to find in any other cigar available to the American market right now and the effort is clearly recognizable when smoking. Go grab a couple a let me know what you think.

On a side note Famous Smoke Shop has started a new cigar and spirits online pairing guide. Go check it out at https://www.famous-smoke.com/cigar-pairing/

 

Strength: Full

Shape: Toro

Size: 6 x 52

Country: Nicaragua

Wrapper Color: Natural

Wrapper Origin: Ecuadorian

Wrapper Leaf: Habano

Website: Famous-smoke.com

Price: $37.99 for a 5 pack or $185.99 for a box of 25

Rating: 4.8 out of 5 pints

ARTURO FUENTE DON CARLOS ROBUSTO

IMG_7635I have to start by saying that I am quite a fan of the Arturo Fuente line, it was their Short Story that got me into cigar smoking so, when the opportunity to try the Arturo Fuente Don Carlos came around I jumped at it. This cigar is named in honor of its creator and patriarch Carlos Fuente Sr. Carlos blended together rare, vintage tobaccos that were hand selected and aged as much as 10 years. Because of the select tobacco required, these cigars are released in limited quantities and are rolled at Tabacalera A. Fuente in the Dominican Republic.

When I first received them I quickly tIMG_7621ook them out of the package and started inspecting them. The wrapper is a rich milk chocolate color with the expected veins and toothieness to be expected in a Cameroon wrapper. The seams are tight and secure, the body is firm yet slightly giving when pressed between the fingers and none of that “uh oh” cracking noise nobody wants to hear.

The smell from wrapper was a mild sweet smell with a bit of nuttiness and dried fruits. The foot gave off smells of barnyard, honey and licorice. The cap was easy to cut and did not affect the integrity of the cigar. It lit very easily and evenly. The draw is medium to light and provided plenty of smoke that was a good weight on the tongue.

The first third of the cigar begins with a mellow, sweet and spicy flavor with a bit of the nuttiness showing up on the finish. The burn was even and the light grey ash holds tightly together until I decide to tap it off at around an inch or so.

The second third begins to get a little more spice to it but overall the flavor is relatively constant and mild. It continues to burn evenly with no construction issues and the ash continued to hold tight.

IMG_7622In the final third a better sense of pepper can be noticed but the slight sweetness remains. The burn remained consistent throughout the entire smoke and the stick remains intact for the duration.

Over all this was a very enjoyable cigar although it did burn a little fast. Since the flavor was mellow I would recommend this as a good morning smoke with a cup of coffee or a hot summer day smoke with a light beer. I also wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this for people just getting into the cigar world being that the flavors won’t be overpowering and turn anyone off. Take a quick trip over to Famous Cigar Shop and order yours today, you wont be disappointed.

Strength: Medium

Shape: Robusto

Size: 5 x 50

Country: Dominican Republic

Wrapper Color: Natural

Wrapper Origin: African

Wrapper Leaf: Cameroon

Website: Famous-smoke.com

Price: $40.99 for a 5 pack, $203.99 for a box of 25

Rating: 4.7 pints out of 5