J.D. Howard Reserve Single Action LE 2015 | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca
Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6 x 38 “Petite Lancero”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $9.25 MSRP
Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
Accompanying Libation: Water

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Today we take a look at the new J.D. Howard Reserve Single Action LE 2015.

HISTORY:
The cigars are manufactured at Tabacalera La Alianza S.A in the Dominican Republic. This factory is owned by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr.
Crowned Heads has produced some mighty fine blends.

But they have only produced two other limited edition blends: Four Kicks Mule Kick LE 2012 and Headley Grange Drumstick LE2013.
The original J.D. Howard Reserve came out in 2013.

The J.D. Howard Reserve Single Action LE 2015 is limited to only 2000 boxes of 10. The retail box price is $92.00.

I pre-ordered mine about two months ago and snagged it for $74.00. Or $7.40 per cigar.

As you already know, the cigar is named for Jesse James. James changed his name to J.D. Howard after he retired from robbing banks.
The Single Action refers to the Colt revolver that debuted in 1873 and used by James.

For those that aren’t firearms friendly, single action means that in order to shoot the gun, the hammer must be manually cocked each time before firing. Double action means that the gun can either be shot by cocking the hammer or pulling the trigger over and over.

DESCRIPTION:
All of the sticks are consistent. Both in color and construction. They are rock solid and don’t allow any squeezing in most places. Seams are very tight. The cigars have an almost cheroot look to them as if they weren’t placed in molds. The wrapper is a semi-oily, mottled, russet brown color with a small amount of tooth. The triple caps are flawless and atop each one is a small pig tail.

SIZES AND PRICING:
The J.D. Howard Reserve Single Action LE 2015 comes in one size only and retails for $9.25 per stick.

AROMA AND COLD DRAW NOTES:

There is a nice dark chocolate at the foot. Sweet orange citrus along the shaft along with some nuts. The cap provides an even more intense dose of chocolate and coffee. The cold draw is dark cocoa and fruit.

FIRST THIRD:
There is a pepper blast to start things off. A nice generic sweetness follows. The draw is a bit tight. This is not a cigar that fills the room with smoke. The tobacco has a very dense earthiness. There is also an outdoor, campfire smokiness.

This is the fourth I’ve smoked. And now all four have had burn issues.

The early blast of pepper gets stronger. It is a combo of both black and red pepper. Cedar and a taste of vanilla arrive.
The strength is a strong medium body.

At the 1” point, the char line begins to behave itself. Never needed a touch up.
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Creaminess and caramel jump on board rounding out the flavor profile.

So far, the J.D. Howard Reserve Single Action LE 2015 is a nice cigar, but not outstanding blend.

I’ve always been hot or cold on Crowned Heads’ blends. I think the El OSO was a total disaster. I still have some that I bought many, many months ago and they have not improved. I liked the Four Kicks and its variations as well as my two faves: Las Calaveras and Jericho Hill.

SECOND THIRD:
Doesn’t take too long to get here. Maybe 10 minutes or so. I think I need a stop watch. I have to figure the time smoked vs. time writing and taking photos. The down side of real time reviewing.

Right here, right now, the flavor profile blossoms. The spiciness had begun to wane a few minutes ago and is now more potent than ever. The sweetness is berry and along with the chocolate, coffee, creaminess, orange citrus, and cedar; just explodes like an M80.

The draw improves dramatically.

The earthiness is wonderful. It is one of those soil taste kinds of earthiness.
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It is here that the J.D. Howard Reserve Single Action LE 2015 finds its complexity. Flavors meld into one. With little teasers appearing at every puff.
I like this cigar. But I wasted 3 of them testing them for review.
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The berry is blackberry.

HALFWAY POINT:
It has taken only 20 minutes to get here. The sails are set and we are sailing on a sea of swarming simbas.
The flavor profile is now so delicious that I am sad that I may have only 15 minutes left.

The J.D. Howard Reserve Single Action LE 2015 is now a true flavor bomb. My taste buds and palate (Are they the same thing?) are overwhelmed by the wonderful flavors.
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They are intense, bold, fiery, and acute. There is nothing subtle about this flavor profile.
The balance is on point. The finish is super long and chewy. Each sip of water is an explosion of flavor.
Man, I dig this cigar.

LAST THIRD:
It seems too soon. The trifecta of chocolate, creaminess, and caramel are quite the masterpiece.
The cigar band comes off easily.

The construction has been top notch with a minor exception of the start of the cigar and its minor burn issue.
The J.D. Howard Reserve Single Action LE 2015 goes out on me requiring a torch to the foot.

Smoke is now filling the room.
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This is the place where I fawn over the blend. Even at $9.20, this is a no brainer.
The strength has been medium/full since the halfway point. But no nicotine.
I expect the J.D. Howard Reserve Single Action LE 2015 to hit full body any moment now.

The J.D. Howard Reserve Single Action LE 2015 is now neck and neck with the Las Calaveras as my favorite Crowned Heads blend.

The flavor profile has been on an upward trajectory from the very start. No lulls in the progression of flavors.
With an inch to go, we hit full body and some nicotine creeps in. I grab my crash helmet.

The final experience turns out to be 40 minutes.

I would love to light up another but I need to cherish what I have left in my humidor.

Charlotte is going to kill me. I just took a momentary break from writing and snagged a 5 pack. The 5 pack price, with discount, finds a middle ground price of $$8.30 per stick. That will bring my total count to 11 cigars in my humidor. I’m happy.

The J.D. Howard Reserve Single Action LE 2015 finishes like a 21 gun salute. No harshness or heat. And raging flavors.
Clearly, I highly recommend this cigar.

PRICE POINT:
I like the price I paid ($7.40) better than the retail of $9.20. And now most are gone so those stores that do still carry the boxes are charging full retail, or more. 2000 boxes is not a lot of cigars. The math says that each state of the Union only got 40 boxes each. And of course, Crowned Heads’ favorite online stores got their share.

It is impossible to quantify the pricing on such a limited run. If the folks at Crowned Heads, they could have been greedy and charged more; but they didn’t and I applaud them for that.

Good ol’ Small Batch Cigar has 14 five packs and 6 boxes of 10. And at an incredible discount over the retail price. The box is only $83. Use the discount coupon and the box is only $74.70. You won’t find another online store selling them for less even if they have them still in stock. Andrew must have signed a pact with the devil.

If I had the dough, I would snag another box. But I must be happy with the 6 sticks I have left.
If you purchase these cigars from Small Batch Cigar, make sure you tell Andrew the Katman sent you.

SUMMATION:
A helluva’ cigar blend.
As I said earlier, I find the products coming out of Crowned Heads to be hit or miss, the J.D. Howard Reserve Single Action LE 2015 blew it out of the park.
I foresee this cigar making my top 25 for 2015.

With so many boutique brands trying to rape your wallet, it is nice to see some common sense. If Crowned Heads chose to sell the cigars at a $12 price point, they would have gotten it. But, clearly, these folks such as Jon Huber made a wise choice in keeping the price to a non-husband beating price point.

Although, I expect a beating from Charlotte when she finds out I bought more cigars. But non-cigar smoking women just don’ get it. We fanatical smokers must have our cigars. While the long wait, as a result of my pre-ordering a box, was sheer torture, it was worth it.

The myriad of flavors, and their complexity, was a true cigar experience. And one I recommend to be done in in the privacy of your own man cave. Schmoozing with your smoker friends will cause you to miss out on some of the great flavor points.
So get in on this before they are gone.
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