7-20-4 1874 Series by K.A. Kendall | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano (Jalapa)
Binder: Indonesian
Filler: Nicaraguan (Jalapa and Esteli)
Size: 6.5 x 54 “Torpedo”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $9.50
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The 1874 Series was released at the 2010 IPCPR trade show. But not released until 2011. As usual, I am late getting to the party.

The 1874 series is the second outing for the K.A. Kendall Company. The first, in 2009, being just the brand without a specific blend name.

The 1874 wrapper has 5 years of aging and the filler has 4 years.
The cigar is constructed using the Cuban Entubado method in which each filler leaf is rolled into a tube.

The cigar is very hard. Especially right behind the cigar band.

There is a ton of background info on the birth of this cigar. You can read all that on the good reviewer’s blogs. I shall just forge ahead and tell you about the cigar’s flavor and character.

I want to thank Jason Harding at BestCigarPrices.com for the 7-20-4 1874 Series Collection Sampler Cigars. It is $40 for 5 different sized sticks. Contains one of each: 7-20-4 Classic Gran Toro, Robusto, Churchill, 7-20-4 1874 Torpedo Especial, and Robusto Especial.
7204_1874_samp

This is one rustic cigar. Seams are visible. It is lumpy. A shit load of veins. It has a very slap dashed together look. Meanwhile, the cap is very nice looking. There is some oiliness and sandy feel to the stick. The wrapper has a Colorado coloring in the sunlight.

I clip the cap and find aromas of vanilla, cedar, spice, and sweetness.
Time to light up.

Sweetness permeates the first puffs. And then a wallop of pepper. The spiciness goes from 0-60 in about 3.2 seconds. I retrohale and the pepper burns my insides causing me to sneeze three times in a row. The poor dog is covered.
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Draw is excellent. The vanilla aroma translates to a very nice flavor that complements the sweetness nicely.

The char line starts off wavy. I am conflicted on whether to correct it. It begins to have that slight V burn…which will turn into a canoe if I don’t touch it up.

The body is medium right out of the gate.

The sweetness is joined by a pure sugar element. Like sticking your finger in a bowl of sugar and licking it.

I am forced to touch up the burn line or it’s going to get out of hand.
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I like this cigar and I do believe it will hit flavor bomb status by the halfway point.

Then toastiness shows up.

The char line becomes a mess. Some of that visible seam begins to unravel and I use my Kingpin glue to fix it. Luckily, it is near the foot and will burn away soon.
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The second third begins. More flavors show up. There is a dried fruit element that tastes like raisins. A bit of creaminess appears. The flavor profile smooths out nicely. The spiciness has moved to the background. But so far, no flavor bomb.

I’m tired of tuning up the char line so what it is, is what it is.
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Here are the flavors: Sweetness, toastiness, creaminess, sugar, raisins, and spice.

At the halfway point, a graham cracker crust flavor joins up. I can taste the butter.

Strangely, there are no typical Nic flavors of cocoa or coffee. I’m guessing the Indonesian binder has something to do with that.
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I am concerned I am getting the flavors right. For the only reason that I don’t taste the regular Nicaraguan flavors. So I read a couple of reviews. Oddly, there aren’t as many reviews as I expected; especially for a cigar that has been on the market for almost 3 years.

And even odder, is that every single reviewer has a different experience from the other. How strange. A cigar that is a chameleon. One guy tastes cocoa and peanut butter. Another tastes grapes and no cocoa.

The last third begins. Not much change. The flavor profile is mild and subtle. The strength is still medium bodied. Dead center.

As you can see in the photos, the burn line goes untouched by me and is uneven throughout the burn.
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Instead of flavors becoming bolder, they get weaker. Once more, a month of humidor time was not enough. Or maybe this is all the cigar has to offer. I remember smoking the original 7-20-4 and thought it to be an excellent, flavor bursting cigar. It also only needed a few weeks of humidor time to get there.

This could be the reason there are not a lot of reviews of this cigar; especially from the big hitters. No one wants to hurt Kendall’s feelings with a tepid review. Making the second release of the line a letdown. I have a total of 5 sizes that came in the sampler box. I will smoke the rest and use an addendum to report on what I thought. It could be that this size is the problem.

But take heart, I have a killer rock story at the end of the review with a pre-MTV rock youtube.com video link of me and my band in 1981. And of course, we were on drugs when we filmed it.

The cigar begins to perk up. And I get a hint of that peanut butter. Actually, it is more of a nuttiness that contains peanuts and almonds.
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I also get a taste of some sweet cocoa. About time. I’m pretty sure that a smaller size will perform better.
The nuttiness moves on up the line.

There is no complexity to speak of. The balance is just OK. The finish is not very long. The only change is that the peanut butter flavor breaks through the nuttiness umbrella and really takes over as the main flavor component.

The cigar finishes up sort of lackluster. I had higher expectations. Again, maybe the size had something to do with it. It needed much more humidor time than a month. I’ve always liked what Kendall puts on the shelves so either this is a fluke or the cigar needed much more humidor time than a month. I can’t wait to try the other sizes.
With a bit to go, I put the cigar down.
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And now for something completely unwarranted:
1980

My girlfriend of 8 years had dumped me. I just bought her a nose job. So in her head, the time must have been right. I came into my grandfather’s inheritance, bought a house in north Long Beach, CA, got rid of the afro and went “New Wave.” This was very important because I began playing in a band with a recording contract. The old Hippie styles had seen their day. My fro of 9 years was gone.

The band was called “The Attitude.” Four young, good looking guys with a great sound. We went into the studio and recorded some tunes. One was a remake of “Hound Dog.”
attitude1

We were just about done…finishing up a wonderful, tough, rock version of the song when who walked through the door?
Little Richard.
little-richard

He was recording in the Studio 2 next door and had heard us.

We begged him to play on Hound Dog. He was really caught up with the good looks of our singer/guitarist, Rick.
Richard kept making advances, freaking Rick out.

The rest of us came up with an idea.

I took Little Richard outside for a smoke. I told him that I could guarantee a night’s visit with our band leader if he would play on the song. He agreed in a nano second.

Richard and I re-entered the studio and I exclaimed to everyone that he had agreed to play some kick ass piano on our single.
He then sat all by himself in front of the studio piano with head phones on.

We sat excitedly in the booth waiting for the magic. The song started. He never asked for the key. And then his hands hit the keyboard and lightning shot from the ends of his fingers.

He did everything he needed to do in one take. 3 minutes. A trifle to pay for a night with our clueless singer.
The song had been brought to life.

As we all back slapped each other’s back in the booth for being in a place that magic was performed, Little Richard was all smiles…..He then sidled up to the singer and began a conversation. Little Richard was wooing him. The other 3 of us could hardly contain our laughter. The singer thought he was bonding with a rock n roll legend, not being softened up for the kill.

Little Richard motioned for the singer to come outside with him and out they went. A few moments later, the singer came running back to the safety of the booth, screaming at us, “What did you do?”

We burst into laughter just as Little Richard walked back in. He grabbed the forearm of our singer and tried to lead him out and then there was a scuffle. Richard’s people began to raise their fists. Our singer was a Medal of Honor winner in Viet Nam where he was a Marine sergeant.

You can see our music video on youtube: “Hound Dog.” (Best heard with head phones)

Our manager found out about a house fire in Beverly Hills. People died.

So we took a drive to Beverly Hills to find the place to take some PR photos and found the house that had basically burned down the day before. We sneaked in. Our manager, Philippe Moganne, had us all wearing white clothes for the shoot. We had to tiptoe around the charred remains of the house to keep from getting soot on our clothes.

It was sort of eerie knowing that this was a fatal house fire and we were taking advantage of the carnage for rock and roll. I guess it goes with the turf.

There is smoke in the photo to make it look like the fire was still smoldering.

The smoldering smoke on the left is from a cigarette, not from the house. Our manager took a bunch of photos.

I am second from the right. And Rick is on the far right.
attitude2

Back then there was only one cable TV channel in L.A. It was called One TV. And it had only one channel. It played the same movies over and over and over.

We took our video to the cable channel’s office and handed them a ¾” video tape. They ended up playing it constantly.
So much so, we heard people were calling the station and complaining. Welcome to rock and roll.

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