Mason-Dixon Project LE 2015 Southern Edition | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6 x 52 “Toro-Box Pressed”
Body: Medium
Price: $9.85 MSRP

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The-Mason-Dixon-Project-2015-1WEB
Photo courtesy of Halfwheel.com

Today we take a look at the new Mason-Dixon Project LE 2015 Southern Edition.
Thanks to Miguel Castro for the cigars.
Note 11-24-2015: I mixed up the two blends. I will do my best to correct the issues. Thanks to Charlie Hascall for the heads up.

BACKGROUND:
Factory: My Father Cigars S.A. Esteli, Nicaragua.
Limited production: 30,000 cigars in 20 count boxes for each Edition.
Released last week of October, 2015.
Comes in one size only.
The Southern Edition is the same size and price as the Northern Edition. The Southern Edition leaf stats are Connecticut broadleaf wrapper with Nicaraguan binder and fillers.
Last year’s blends came in a round vitola.

Found pricing much less at Atlantic Cigar ($7.95) and strangely; at Small Batch Cigar, there must be a misprint as it shows the Southern Edition for $7.00 twice for both 5 packs and boxes; but doesn’t show the Northern Edition at all. And Cigar Federation is charging full MSRP pricing. Of course, with both SBC and CF, you get a 10% discount. So SBC is your best bet. Other online stores seem to be selling the cigars for MSRP.

I only reviewed the 2014 Southern Edition last year. And I while it was very flavorful, I had terrible construction issues. So I didn’t bother to review the Northern Edition.
Fingers crossed that the newer box press loses those construction issues.

DESCRIPTION:
Fairly nice looking cigar. A nice soft box press. Seams are just barely tight. Lots of veins. Kind of a sloppy triple cap. The wrapper is an oily, dark coffee bean color. Very smooth to the touch. The sticks are very solid without any soft spots.

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell a fruity sweetness, floral notes, chocolate, spice, cedar, black licorice, and espresso. Nothing unusual there.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell barnyard, chocolate, spice, cedar, and coffee.
The cold draw presents flavors of sweet fruit preserves, chocolate, jalapeno spice, cedar, a rich black, earthy, tobacco flavor, and coffee.

FIRST THIRD:
The draw is a little tight but no cigar awl penetration today. Not after what happened to the Rocky Patel Hamlet Tabaquero yesterday.

The first puffs rip my sinuses out, surgically, with a blast of red pepper. Trying to put out the fire, some creaminess appears as an apology. I can barely type because my eyes are watering. Who da’ thunk this lithe blossom of dark wrapper would hold in its bosom the fires of Satan.
Devil’s smoke fills the room. I gotta put the cigar down to regain my senses. Whew. What the hell was that? LOL!
I feel like I got blindsided by a 10lb cannon ball. I quickly drink some turpentine to put out the fire.

Flavors begin to emerge: Creaminess, dark chocolate, cedar, espresso, graham cracker, cinnamon, roasted nuts, a ridiculously great cup of mocha java, and something fruity.
And that’s with only1/2” burned. The char line begins to go wavy on me so I nip it in the bud. This is the most crucial period for the char line to stay intact. Spend a few minutes not paying attention, and you can end up with a 1” run. So I now keep my eye on the ball and not let the damn thing run away.
Strength is classic medium body.
Caramel appears next.

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The Mason-Dixon Project LE 2015 Southern Edition is pumping out flavors faster than I can categorize them. I think there is a light yellow/orange melon element at play.

Lovely reader, Brock, brought it to my attention that just sheer cold could have caused the crack. And then I remembered. Every winter, I deal with the cold affecting the crucial structural nature of the stick. He is right. But I wouldn’t have remembered that so thank you Brock. I’ve cranked up the humidity from 67% to 70% and hope it helps.
We got our first snow yesterday. Here in Milwaukee, it was only a few inches. Just south of us in Kenosha, they got 9”-12”. Ouch. And with wind chill, it went down to 19° during the day.

The construction is so much better than last year’s outing. The Mason-Dixon Project LE 2015 Southern Edition is so solidly packed, I expect close to a two hour experience and no construction issues.
The char line, since its first touch up, is behaving beautifully.
In bright sunlight, all the flaws are clearly visible.

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So far, no transitions occurring. And the blend, while flavorful, is no different than a million other good Nic based cigar blends. I’m amazed at the inconsistency of Crowned Heads. They can make some absolutely amazing cigars like Jericho Hill, La Imperiosa, and the Las Calaveras (I’m dying to try the 2015 version). The 2014 version was my favorite Crowned Heads blend.
But then there are the so so blends like the Headley Grange, J.D. Howard, and Four Kicks, as well as the 2014 version of the Mason-Dixon Project LE 2014.

I’m 1-1/2” into the cigar and I’m greatly disappointed. I’ve smoked some great cigars lately whose flavors kicked in from the first puffs. The Mason-Dixon Project LE 2015 Southern Edition is sort of lying there like my first wife on our honeymoon. It should be blowing my socks off. It started out great and then flattened out after half an inch.

Miguel snagged a couple of each blend for me as soon as they came out so I’ve had them in my humidor for over 3 weeks. Close to four. That’s another thing about Crowned Heads…some blends are New Breed style with the blend knocking down all ten pins after just 2-3 weeks of humidor time. While others are Old School and take a month or two. I’m not sure what to think about the Mason-Dixon Project LE 2015 Southern Edition. It could be I’m getting all it has to give or it needs another month or two of humidor time. The other reviewers aren’t going to wait a couple months to review this cigar so I look forward to their take.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is 35 minutes.
No changes in the flat flavor profile.
Moments after writing the last sentence, the Mason-Dixon Project LE 2015 Southern Edition blossoms.
But the spice has nearly vanished.
Complexity begins to settle into place. The balance is still so so. And the finish is a medium.
Strength is still medium body.

6third

It is like the Mason-Dixon Project LE 2015 Southern Edition is polar opposites of last year’s Southern Edition. The construction was terrible but the flavor profile was outstanding. And it is not even close to the strength of the 2014 Southern.

Here they are: Chocolate, creaminess, caramel, malts (Funny. I’m now beginning to see other reviewers use that term to describe the flavors. Anything I can do to help my brothers.), black licorice, toasty, roasted nuts, the fruitiness is gone leaving a generic sweetness, cedar, mocha java, graham cracker, and cinnamon.
Impressive.

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The leaves on our trees in the back yard have disappeared. So now the brilliant, but rare, sunlight is blinding me as I type. Basically, I am staring at my handsome reflection on the laptop screen. Just kidding..it’s pretty scary.

The char line remains on point.
Here is the thing…while the flavors have emerged victoriously, they aren’t special. There is no WOW factor. Just like the list of cigars from Crowned Heads I listed earlier. Good cigars but nothing special and not worthy of double digit pricing. The Mason-Dixon Project LE 2015 Southern Edition should have already blown my nose off my face. Instead, it will be the predictable “Last Third Sweet Spot Syndrome.”

I reach the halfway point. Smoke time is 50 minutes.

I’m over excited about the flavor profile not because it is outstanding; but rather, it finally showed up.
Very creamy and smooth. Malty. Chocolaty. The pepper returns to the middle of the list. And then there are the ancillary flavors that help give this lackluster blend a much needed boost.

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I was dead nuts sure that this blend would have been very impressive. It is as if the folks at Crowned Heads learned nothing from their first outing.
Like last time, a year ago, I expect a nasty comment or email from the owners of Crowned Heads telling me what a shit head I am. Like I described to Steve Saka, if I get a dog from a manufacturer, I give him the choice of publishing a less than rave review. After all, he was kind enough to send me samples. So yes, I’m a hypocrite. But if the cigar was bought on my dime…or in this case, gifted to me by Miguel; all bets are off and I say what I think regardless of the consequences from an angry manufacturer.

My allegiance and loyalty is to you my lovely readers. My mission is to inform you with my opinion. You can take it to the bank or ignore it completely. Your choice. But when we are talking about cigars that are far from being wallet friendly, I consider my review a public service announcement.

Strength remains at medium body. No complexity. So so balance. And a short finish.

Both blends have gotten close to a month of humidor time.
I take a few minutes to look at daily specials. I can’t remember the last time I found any of those deals appealing. It’s like they are dumping their drek on the public. And the folks with moth eaten wallets or newbies are the ones that must buy this stuff.

Have you checked out the new format for AmazingCigarBargains.com? Nice. And the place to go so you don’t have to check each and every online store for their specials. Right now, it shows a special from CI called the Ultimate Humidor Combo. A 40 count humidor and 10 not bad sticks for $19.99. That’s a pretty good deal.

I get emails from Fieldsupply.com and snagged a special deal on a cool Tee. Only $5.99. (Now they are $9.99) But worth it. Take a look. Charlotte wants one too.

tee

I really wanted to make amends with Crowned Heads. But this review ain’t going to do it.
Flavors go flat again. $10.00 my ass. I have one other stick Miguel sent me. I will let it rest a couple months and come back to this review and report. But by then you will have moved on. And won’t care.

Very sunny. Ball cap goes on. Now I can see my laptop screen. It is 19° right now. With the wind chill, it is 11°. Brrrrr. Can’t seem to get the house warm.

Thank goodness we have a garage. We only have the truck and that’s where it sits in this kind of weather. The Chevy 2003 Silverado Z71 is a mammoth thing. My first big truck. But the cab is so sophisticated that I can only remember 10% of all the doodads and what they do. I can turn the radio on and the windshield wipers and that’s it. I can only imagine what the 2015 models are like.

I could easily stop the review right now. I fully expect the last third to be the best part of the cigar but you’ve read that saga a thousand times.

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is one hour 20 minutes.
Sure enough. As predicted. Flavors emerge from the dark cave in the wilderness.

Once again for the last time: Chocolate, creaminess, red pepper, caramel, malts. cappuccino, black licorice, toasty, roasted nuts, fruity sweetness, cedar, graham cracker, pumpkin seeds, and cinnamon.

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If the Mason-Dixon Project LE 2015 Southern Edition had not only started this way but actually built upon this bedrock with lots of transitions and complexity, it would be a very fine cigar. But it ain’t.

The last third is the true sweet spot. “Look! It’s moving. It’s alive. It’s alive… It’s alive, it’s moving, it’s alive, it’s alive, it’s alive, it’s alive, IT’S ALIVE!” My favorite Frankenstein’s Monster quote.

The Mason-Dixon Project LE 2015 Southern Edition is absolutely outstanding now. I have to hope that in a few months, this will be the blender’s intent. But I’m not reviewing what I think it might be. I’m reviewing what it is right now. With nearly a month of humidor time.
Construction has been excellent. The right move to box press this year’s outing.
Strength moves to medium/full body. And nicotine hits hard.

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I plan to just sit back and enjoy, what seems like a completely different, cigar. One last photo and I’m done.
Final smoke time is one hour 50 minutes.

RATING: 82

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1 reply

  1. Maybe I’m over thinking it but wouldn’t have made more sense for them to use the Conn Broadleaf on the Northern edition then the Southern? regardless great review