La Imperiosa by Crowned Heads | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6.375 x 50 “Double Robusto”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $9.26 MSRP (I paid $8.32 at Cigar Federation with my member’s 10% off)

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Today we take a look at the new La Imperiosa by Crowned Heads.

BACKGROUND:
From the Crowned Heads web site:
“La Imperiosa is the second Crowned Heads regular production brand (following-up ‘Jericho Hill’) released from the My Father Cigars, S.A. factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, for worldwide distribution.

“Originally a Cuban brand from the early 1900’s, La Imperiosa translates to ‘the imperative,’ or, “..that which is absolutely necessary or required.” The La Imperiosa artwork and band were inspired by the original Cuban vista and band of years gone by.

“The blend of 100% Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos, finished with a dark and imposing Ecuador Habano Oscuro wrapper, is identical to the Las Calaveras EL 2014 blend. Released in May 2014, the Las Calaveras EL 2014 brand went on to become one of the year’s most sought-after new releases, and was praised by cigar enthusiasts around the world. Despite selling-out in a matter of weeks, the demand for Las Calaveras EL 2014 remained high and constant. As a result, it became ‘imperative‘ and ‘absolutely necessary‘ to respond to that demand.

“Packaged in traditional 24-count boxes, La Imperiosa is available in (4) classic Cuban vitolas:
Corona Gorda – 5 3/4” x 46
Magicos – 4 1/2” x 52
Double Robusto – 6 3/8” x 50
Dukes – 5 1/2” x 54
“Manufactured at My Father Cigars, S.A., Esteli, Nicaragua.
“MSRP: $8.25 – $9.75

“TASTING NOTES: Opens big with a burst of red pepper, before easing off the throttle and settling onto the palate with dense and multi-layered notes of dark fruit, earth, and charred meat. The flavor is at once dense and approachable, with a massively-brooding muscular structure. This is a tour de force of Nicaragua’s finest tobaccos at their hedonistic best.”
Crowned Heads deferred to Halfwheel.com for information on this blend:

“….La Imperiosa and it’s the same blend as last year’s Las Calaveras, arguably the company’s most sought after line to date. Unfortunately for Crowned Heads fans, Las Calaveras is the company’s annual regular production and the cigars went quickly, particularly in the robusto vitola.

“While the blend might be returning, none of the original sizes are. The Las Calaveras was produced in LC550 (5 x 50), LC652 (6 x 52) and LC754 (7 x 54) last year.

“ “It will launch at next month’s IPCPR Convention & Trade Show in New Orleans. It’s the second regular production Crowned Heads brand to be produced at My Father Cigars S.A. following the release of Jericho Hill last year.”

DESCRIPTION:
As we all know, size matters. And since the sizes are different than the Las Calaveras sizes, there might be a whole different flavor profile.
I reviewed the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2014 LCC550 back in June of 2014. That is the 5 x 50 Robusto. Prices have not changed from last year for comparable sizes.

Big solid stick. Like me. Nearly invisible seams. Lots of spider veins. The triple cap is not close to being what I expect..but there you go. The wrapper is a semi-oily dark chocolate brown.
The cigar band is one of those that is a bitch to photograph. Enough light to show off the wrapper and the gold lettering and trim atop a pale blue background washes out. Not enough light so that the band’s details can be shown and the stick washes out. Go figure.

SIZES AND PRICING:
See “Background” for pricing and size information.

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, some nice floral sweetness, cocoa, coffee, cedar, and rich tobacco.
From the clipped cap and foot, I can smell dark, dark chocolate, strong spiciness, cedar, earthiness, coffee, and a wonderful fruity sweetness.
The cold draw presents flavors of a chocolate bar, spice, fruit, cream, and earthy tobacco.

FIRST THIRD:
The draw is terrific as this log dangles from my lips…teetering.

First flavors are bold spiciness, chocolate, fruity sweetness, creaminess, rich tobacco, and a touch of graham cracker. There is also a savory component. Flavors still undefined.

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Even though I could cheat and read my Las Calaveras review if the leaf stats are the same. Should taste the same? Maybe? I didn’t read it and will take my chances and put my balls on the chopping block.

The fruity sweetness splits and forms nuclear fusion: Raisins, black cherry, and black grapes…which is probably the same thing as raisins.

This baby is a smoker. The photos would be great if only it cooperated. Nope. By the time I suck the hell out of it, put it carefully in the ashtray, bring the camera up and take a shot, it’s gone. Drat.
Strength is a strong medium body.

The lovely fruitiness gets stronger and stronger with each passing minute. The chocolate gives it a chocolate covered cherry confection flavor.

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While in lovely downtown Milwaukee to see a doc, Charlotte and I went over to the big roofed open market. I found a chocolate stand that carried sugar free stuff. Only $26 per pound. So I bought half a pound in a box of 12 candies. In it, were two chocolate covered cherries. I could barely hide my excitement. No one makes these without sugar. Believe me. I’ve looked.
So once at home, I took one out and let it melt in mouth, savoring every nano second. Damn that was as good as sex. Maybe not as good as a terrific blow job, but really, really good.

The La Imperiosa by Crowned Heads is a very good cigar but after yesterday’s Black Powder by Outlaw Cigar Company, it pales in comparison. Yet both are in the same price range.

I absolutely loved the Las Calaveras but this is different. I will have to check the Calaveras review from a year ago to see how close I came. But I really do think that each size in any blend will give the cigar a tweak on its flavor profile. I’m smoking a Toro not a robusto. This is basically a 6 x 50 Toro. But Crowned Heads chose to call it a Double Robusto. I don’t get it. Someone should canonize the sizes and names, have it signed off on and let’s get on with our lives.

The meandering point I’m trying to make is that the Toro is not as intense as a robusto. Certain subtleties may be missed or not there at all.
The char line has been a bit wonky up til now. But the worm has turned and it’s dead nuts.

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Blam. Sweet spot 1.0. Flavors just exploded in my mouth. I have a funny porn story. Anyway, the La Imperiosa by Crowned Heads is kicking ass and taking names now.
The chrysalis has turned into a butterfly. The chocolate goes for the moon, Alice. The fruitiness blooms into a bevy of summer fruit. The creaminess is like eating homemade whipped cream.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time has been 30 minutes.
Flavors are all over the place: Chocolate, creaminess, coffee, savory elements, summer fruit, caramel, malt, rich earthiness, leather, cherries, dried fruit, and a very meaty component.

It is the malt that seems to complete a flavor profile for me. And it wasn’t until yesterday, when I did my research that I came to understand about the types of influence varied malts have on the flavor of a cigar.

6third

I will repeat it:
“There are dozens of types of malt. Here are a few: Base Malt, Dark Malt, Light Malt, Caramel Malt, Roasted Malt, and Dry Roasted Malt.

“This variation on a theme is what I’ve tasted but couldn’t identify. The closest thing we come to taste malt is in a chocolate malt milk shake, malted milk balls or your favorite beer.

“Think about it the next time you light up a great cigar and tell me I’m wrong.”

The La Imperiosa by Crowned Heads is influenced by dry roasted malt and caramel malt.
Damn. The cigar goes out.
The web site describes “charred meat.” I’m having trouble with that one. Yes, I can taste a steak-like quality. But charred? Not yet for me.

My partner at the recording studio in Long Beach earned his stripes as a master engineer working in a Hollywood studio engineering nothing but porn movies. He was in charge of looping. That’s where the movie is played on a big screen in the room and the actors sit in a circle around an all directional mic. They would then make all the disgusting squishy sounds and other such sounds in sync to the movie.

The catch was that they did primarily men on men movies. My partner proved himself and got to move on to heterosexual movies. But the newbies? They had to start out on the male porn. They rarely lasted more than a couple days.
We would get stoned on weed and Dave would tell us stories and have us on the floor laughing. Ahhh…the 80’s.
I can’t remember what day it is but I remember those stories.

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Back to the La Imperiosa by Crowned Heads.
Absolutely wonderful. Now I’ve built up the Las Calaveras in my head to maybe being better than it actually was. The mind fuck.
I don’t think that the La Imperiosa by Crowned Heads is as good. Don’t get me wrong. I think it is an excellent cigar. But you sir, are no Las Calaveras..or is that Jack Kennedy?

Ahh…bliss. The radio is playing Jimi’s “All Along the Watchtower.” My favorite Hendrix tune.

Just as I write those words, Sweet spot 2.0 hits.
Now I could have gone back and deleted my comment but I like it when you get to see what a schmuck I am.

HALFWAY POINT:
Smoke time is 48 minutes.
I get a new flavor: orange zest. Bond…James Bond. The “Vesper” (Not Vespa) is made of gin, vodka, and Kina Lillet. That is what I taste.

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Here is what Kina Lillet is:
“Lillet is a French aperitif wine from Podensac, a small village south of Bordeaux. It is a blend of 85% Bordeaux region wines (Semillon for the Blanc and for the Rosé, Merlot for the Rouge) and 15% macerated liqueurs handcrafted on site, mostly citrus liqueurs (peels of sweet oranges from Spain and Morocco and peels of bitter green oranges from Haiti) and Quinine liqueur made of Cinchona bark from Peru.”

A perfect description of the flavor. I didn’t read that in Crowned Head’s description.
The La Imperiosa by Crowned Heads is a great cigar but I don’t remember the Las Calaveras tasting like this. Any number of elements in the processing of the tobacco could have changed. From age to fermentation.
Alas, the spiciness is gone.
But strength hits medium/full.

Bob Seger is playing. Never got his popularity. Can’t stand his voice. A poor imitation of Greg Allman.

The La Imperiosa by Crowned Heads is a dazzling blend. Full of wonderful flavors. So complex and balanced. Nice long, chewy finish. Love it.
I’m 50/50 on Crowned Heads. They have made some very good cigars. But then they have made some mediocre cigars. I guess they are stretching their legs. I liked the Jericho Hill, Four Kicks, and of course the Las Calaveras….I guess that’s it.
The La Imperiosa by Crowned Heads is a quantum leap for Jon Huber and company.
Or just déjà vu.

The sun has come out and you can see in the following photo the oiliness of what I thought was more of a matte finish. And the small sandy toothiness becomes apparent.

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The caramel malt is screaming laughter. It is making the whole blend.
The La Imperiosa by Crowned Heads had an unimpressive start but once it hit its stride in the second half, it is a gorgeous blend.

Now I’m glad I got the Double Robusto instead of a smaller size. Of course, you can argue that in a smaller size the flavor explosion might have started earlier. But I’ve spent my wad and this is it for your Uncle Katman.

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LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is 65 minutes.
Finally. I taste the “charred” meat. Quite nice actually. I guess the stick needs more humidor time.

I have good days and bad days. Today is the latter. I have tremors something awful. Tough to type. I want to crawl into a hole.

I take a sneak peek at my Las Calaveras review and it is very similar to this blend..which is the same. So while it is similar, the La Imperiosa by Crowned Heads stands on its own.

Here they are one last time: Chocolate, creaminess, red pepper (Yes. It has returned in spades), charred meat, summer fruit, caramel, malt, rich earthiness, orange zest, leather, cherries, dried fruit, and a soft liqueur element.
Strength remains at medium/full.

This is a good cigar.
OK. Here goes. I rate the La Imperiosa by Crowned Heads a 91.
It’s better than the rest of their blends. You may argue with me but that’s OK.

11third

In the last 1-1/4″, nicotine comes washing in. I’m not feeling well enough to finish it.

Construction has been good but it has needed a lot of minor touch ups. It also went out on me twice. I might have scored it higher if not for those issues.

Oh just dandy…the radio is playing Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.”
Great way to end the review.

PRICE POINT:
Thank goodness the boys at Crowned Heads aren’t greedy. It made it successfully through IPCPR and came out the other end wallet friendly.
While I can’t remember if this is a limited run..which I suppose it is…the price is spot on. They didn’t raise the prices from last year. Nice.

The La Imperiosa by Crowned Heads is worth every nickel of the $9.00. Yet I found this cigar available everywhere online. That usually doesn’t happen with a limited run. Go figure. Prices are not controlled so do your smart shopping.
Cigar Federation and Small Batch Cigar give you that 10% discount. I saw that Atlantic is selling them for that same discounted price but they are backordered on just about every size.

SUMMATION:
I thoroughly enjoyed the La Imperiosa by Crowned Heads.
It had wonderful complexity. Nice balance. And a mile long finish.
I believe that this is a better blend (Yes. I know it’s the same) than the Las Calaveras. In reality, it cannot be the exact blend. Unless they saved all the tobacco from the Las Calaveras. But even then it would have aged another year.
Weather changes. The same people producing it in the factory? No information on its aging.
Regardless, the blend is one you must try. Especially if it is a limited run.

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3 replies

  1. It’s a regular production.

    • Thanks Kev…but forgive me. You wouldn’t believe the comments from weirdos I get who claim to know everything about a cigar but are basically coming down from an acid trip. Not you. The others.
      But can you provide a link that confirms it. I couldn’t find it. But then I can’t find my own ass in the morning from this fucking Alzheimer’s.
      I would like to add it to the review.
      Thanks,
      Phil

  2. Absolutely great review! So the story about the sizes…for the La Imperiosa, Crowned Heads chose the sizes and names Habanos SA (Cuba) uses (I’m guessing since this was an old Cuban brand). 6.3×50 is a Double Robusto in Cuba just like Magicos (4.5×52) is a petit robusto and so on. So I got a 5 pack in the mail yesterday I was wondering how long you let yours rest after you got them? Are they ready to smoke? I smoked a Las Calaveras 2015 corona gorda last night that had 2 months in my humidor…it did nothing for me and was harsh/mild-medium at the same time…hopefully these La Imperiosas are good because they are a regular production cigar.