Crowned Heads Special Editions Le Patissier | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: U.S.A. Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan ~Jalapa
Filler: Costa Rican, Nicaraguan ~ Ometepe & Pueblo Nuevo
Size: 6.5 x 44 Lonsdale
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $10.50

I’ve had my sticks hibernating, unclothed, for 3 months. I tried one a month in and told myself this needs to get better. I checked out written reviews that have occurred in just the last 2-3 weeks…wildly different. A lot of complaints. And some high praise. I can’t remember this kind of disparity in reviewers’ palates in a long time.

From Atlantic Cigar Co.:
“Crowned Head has released an exclusive cigar for the 2021 PCA Convention & Trade Show. The exclusive limited-edition release is called Le Pâtissier, the French term for pastry chef, a 6 1/4 x 44 lonsdale that uses a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper over a binder from Jalapa, Nicaragua and fillers from Costa Rica, as well as the Ometepe and Pueblo Nuevo regions of Nicaragua. This special release was inspired by the Le Carême brand from Crowned Heads, although made at Tabacalera Pichardo in Estelí, Nicaragua. The focus of this blends profile is on its Connecticut broadleaf wrapper that exudes a unique combination of complexity, finesse and balance.”

I sure as hell hope the complexity is as described because the cigar looks like that commercial trying to make you see a doc to have your bent weenie fixed. The cigar is not quite the curved shape of a banana, but close. It looks like a twig. Dark brown with lots of tooth, lots of veins, seams are tight, and feels fully packed without hard nor soft spots. Even the weight feels right.
The shiny brown ribbon footer is nearly the same color as the cigar. I betcha’ some smokers don’t notice it and light it. I bet that’s tasty.

First up is a lot of compost. Joining the conga line are hints of dark cocoa, a hint of mint, fresh coffee beans, some vanilla creaminess, orange rind, malt, cedar, and red-hot cinnamon.

The cold draw is dead in the water. Not a lick of air passes through this cigar. Wait…I clipped the cap and try again. Nope. No better. I grab my magical PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool and carefully shove my tool to the hilt into the small opening. Man, this thing is plugged from stem to stern.

My tool comes up short in length (If I had a dime for every time a woman said that to me…), so after deep plunging from the direction of the cap, I switch up and come in through the back door and ream the foot. Now the cigar has a draw I can work with.

OK. Second attempt…the cold draw presents flavors of black licorice, jalapeno, cinnamon, espresso, black pepper, malt, cedar, a touch of vanilla creaminess, and dark chocolate.

The draw is denser than I anticipated but I’m not going to grab my PerfecDraw unless I am in absolute distress.

This little punkin’ dishes out huge clouds of smoke…pretty much the same way smoke spews off the back of my sneakers when I sprint 3 miles every day. I’ve been shot at, Cokes thrown at me, knocked down at least 4 elderly folks, ran the lights, and then the mushrooms wear off…and I’ve been sitting on my bidet the whole time.

The cigar doesn’t have much to offer at the start. No hint of complexity. And barely any hint of flavor. Just fucking great.

This cigar is beginning to give me the feeling it would make a great blunt. That’s all folks.

There is a musty element that puts me off. Some very delicate flavors are begging to push through but this dust mop being pushed into their faces deters the cigar from flourishing.

I must use my PerfecDraw again…

I read Halfwheel’s review, and they eviscerated this blend. One thing that I find similar in their report is that there is a consistent essence of a charred component that does not do the cigar any favors.

The cigar keeps going out. I’m beginning to mimic Halfwheel’s account.
At 1” burned, the mustiness disappears, and the peanut gallery goes wild. Clarabell the Clown does the Macarena.

I’ve noticed something in other reviewers’ styles. As much as I am hated by other reviewers, they have begun to copy me. Yeah, the tangential thing…trying to be clever and witty. A lot of writers are trying to be comedians and falling flat…like me. They figure I will be dead soon and they can pick up the torch. I hope so. Not everyone is funny. Ask my wife.

The cigar is getting better but after 3 months humidor time, I am now afraid that the cigar is either a dud or needs 11 months of hibernation to reach its goals.

The burn is excellent. I reward the cigar by stroking its tiny clitoris.

While this price point is where most cigars find themselves these days, this cigar behaves like a cigar at half the price. I look at all the new arrivals and I am just stunned how the average release hovers around $15-$17. I refuse to spend $75-$80 for a fiver when I have no idea if I will enjoy it. The Catch 22 is that most cigars appear as limited editions causing panic in the smoker’s heart as he doesn’t want to miss out on something that might be very good. I have a single humidor full of foursomes whose fifth cigar was such a disappointment that my desperate hope is that they meld together over time and taste as good as a $5 Torano.

Some complexity begins to shape shift…it has taken down 2” of cigar to get here. The cigar is a real slow mover.

The smoke output commits suicide. The cherry is bright red, but nothing is coming through…out comes my PerfecDraw once again…Dr. Rod should invent a supplementary tool that is hollow that can stay inside the cigar while you smoke it. The head will have an opening and you can smoke an overstuffed cigar with a stainless-steel drinking straw.

Strength is medium.

The cigar is a major dud. Where is the touted “…complexity, finesse, and balance?” I’m going to take a wild guess and say that the tobacco used is not even close to being seriously aged. So, it’s on you…

I don’t like harping, but I do think the cigar will improve with a year of clothed hibernation. Or not…

The blend improves in such small incremental steps that it feels like a 100-year-old tortoise trying to take a dump.

And the mustiness returns. I am so happy that I picked this cigar to review after a short layoff. Nothing makes me feel so good as when I review a cigar that is all doom and gloom.

And yet I saw a couple reviews in which the reviewer gave the cigar ratings in the low 90’s. I must be missing something…like my testosterone.
All my life, I’ve been a hairy ape. I had chest hair that would make an ISIS recruit stand out. Now? I’m lucky that I still have hair on my head and the four strands of pubic hair.

I am waiting for the blend to kick in and do some struttin’. Linear. One trick pony. Unbroken. Taking the path of least resistance to get to the end.

The halfway point arrives, and I detect a bit of hope. An immature amount of complexity is trying its best to impress but falls short.

I’m grasping at adjectives to describe this camel toe.

The mustiness must be on some sort of cosmic timetable as it once again disappears. Looking forward to its return.
Flavors are just a jumble of non-descript intentions.
This is torture.

Fuck this. I’m going to Ukraine to fight. As long as I don’t have to lift anything or shelling doesn’t happen while I take my afternoon nap, I’m all in. I have the desire to stand in front of a Russian tank not allowing it to move forward. Next thing I know is I’m flat as rice paper. But then it would save dough on the funeral…I can be slipped into a manilla envelope and dropped one foot into the ground.

Strength is upped.
That mysterious complexity sticks its entrails out to lure me into submission. With all the clammer about this cigar, you’d think it might be a great stick.

The second half is better than the first half but then Nixon wasn’t too bad a president until his second term.

The complexity is actually turning this blend into an almost pleasant smoke. Almost.
Mustiness returns to maintain the opacity of the cigar.

I could be laying on the floor writhing in pain…but no, I am erect and being punished for past deeds.

I have no desire to finish the cigar. 2” left to go. There will be no exultations of joy within the body of this review.
Sorry I wasted your time.


And now for something completely different:

I had just joined the precursor to Curved Air. CA had been dead for two years. Darryl Way, the leader and violinist/keys player was plucked by Miles Copeland III and talked into becoming one of the many acts on his roster. Copeland made his bones with Wishbone Ash, Caravan, Renaissance, Climax Blues Band, and many other Brit bands.

Miles promised to build a band around Darryl. When I auditioned, the guitarist Mick and the drummer, Miles’ brother Stewart had already been picked.

The intent was to be an original band with a bluesier feel than the classical progressive sound of CA. So, we had auditions for singers. It was a fucking circus.

And then Butch Hatcher walked in.
Here was another American that was a dead double for Greg Allman. And who played in the Southern rock band, Flatrock. This guy was a character.
We only did one gig with Butch…who was an old carny performer that could spew fire from his mouth. Which is how we ended the gig.

Word got to Darryl that Decca Records wanted their commitment finalized with Curved Air.

The original members of CA went into a meeting and the resolution was a live album. No new songs would need to be written. It could be recorded in just two nights in concert. Some time spent in the studio to mix and produce it. And voila, it was done.

We rehearsed at Miles’ home in St. John’s Wood. Down the street from Abbey Road Studio. Stewart lived just a few doors down from the place and we’d sit on his stoop, smoking herb, while watching tourists trying to get the Beatles crosswalk pic get run over by overanxious Brits.

At the end of one rehearsal, Darryl sprang it on us. This band would have to take a two-month hiatus because Curved Air needed to do a 6–8-week tour and finish a live album.
Then he looked at me and said, “Kohn. You will be the bassist.”
I did a double take.

The original four members and me. And I did not know a single Curved Air song. Two weeks before the first gig, we rehearsed. What a disaster. These guys knew the songs backwards and forwards. Me? I had to take copious notes on my sheet music. We’d play a song, and someone would say, “OK. Let’s move on.” We weren’t playing blues changes.

These were classical musicians who wrote very complex changes and so I spent days in front of my record player learning the songs on my own.

We did the tour and got tremendous feedback and everywhere we played they went nuts over us. It surprised everyone in the band and those associated with the band.

So, another meeting was called. Instead of going out and getting paid 50 pounds per night with Stark Naked, why not reform the band and go back out as CA?
After playing arenas for the first time, I was in.

The guitarist/keys/co-leader Francis Monkman was not asked to join. He and Darryl always butted heads due to huge egos.
And neither was drummer Florian Pilkington-Miksa asked to join up.

Flo’s mother was the second richest woman in Britain. She came from the long line of Pilkington glass family. So, Flo attended Eton and spoke very slowly like Alfred Hitchcock. To accentuate his speaking style, he preferred Valium as his drug of choice. Every time he spoke, we took a nap. Out of all the CA members, Flo became my best friend. For such a wealthy guy, he was very down to earth. I guess the Valium contributed.
Florian died in 2021 from some illness related to his lungs.

So now, Darryl’s new band became Curved Air with Sonja Kristina.
Butch had to be fired. He and I had become friends. A solid guy and loads of fun.

This was sprung on me at a rehearsal before Butch got there. Darryl was all ego and a big coward. Before a plan could be devised on how to let Butch go, Butch walked in.
I looked at Darryl and he said nothing. The leader of our band didn’t have the balls to fire Butch.

Someone complained we needed an extension cord. Stew said he had a good one at home. Butch volunteered to go get it.

He started to walk out, and I urgently looked at Darryl who was ignoring me. He was going to let Butch go on an errand and bring back an extension cord and then fire him. How can you do that to someone?

Just as Butch was about to leave, I stopped him. I said, “Butch, don’t go. Because when you get back, we’re going to can your ass.”
Butch froze in a daze.

It was explained to him why this had to be done. I felt the humiliation. This whole thing was so ham handed. But then we were all in our mid 20’s and dumb.

Finally, Darryl got involved. I was the only one to hug Butch and I kept in touch with him while he shacked up with some chick in the record business who got him a new band and a record deal.

To this day, Darryl’s behavior exemplifies the type of man he was. He treated me no better when they fired me over 2 years into me being a member of the band. All political. It had nothing to do with my playing. He had become jealous of me and the attention my playing was getting. He was the STAR! Not the Jew.

I was ashamed of how he treated Butch. And he dumped me without any severance and laid me low in a foreign country. And he could care less.

During the current revival tour, Darryl departed the band after around a year. Sonja told me that his nerves couldn’t take it. And if you go to YouTube and watch some of the reunion tour videos with him in it, he looks miserable.
Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.