Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatran
Filler: Costa Rican, Nicaraguan, Peruvian
Size: 6.125 x 48
My cigars have laid nude with their genitals exposed in my humidor for 7 weeks. I’ve ridiculed the cigars for their Hollywood behavior but it has fallen on deaf ears; most notably because they have no ears. Dr. Rod is working on a cure.
It may be too early to review…but these schmongolas may be gone by the time anyone has the chance to let them rest properly. In my experience, any Crowned Heads blend needs a ton of humi time before they taste as intended. I don’t have time to wait. I could drop dead tomorrow.
Only 2500 boxes of 12 sticks were released in early April.
The wrapper was changed to Ecuadorian Sumatra in place of earlier editions that used an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper.
Factory: TacaNicsa Estelí Nicaragua, with Eradio Pichardo doing quality control.
THE WHOLE MEGILLAH:
Wrapper aromas are extremely faint. Doesn’t really mean anything in the grand scheme of things. But I find notes of herbal tea, cinnamon, black pepper, cedar, and a touch of creamy milk chocolate.
The draw is a little tight for my snobbish needs. I grab my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool and find the plug near the position of the cigar band. One woosh and the detritus is removed by this magical tool. Instead of pushing the tobacco in, it pulls it out.
The cigar has a nice hefty feel to it. Packed solid. My lips look like Mick Jagger while holding this barbell in my mouth while I type.
First puffs and there are flavors of vanilla pound cake, creaminess, black pepper, soy sauce, and milk chocolate.
Strength is an immediate medium.
An obscure character appears that I can’t identify this early but I like it. The Sumatra leaf does its stuff.
A sweetness that reminds me of peanut M&M’s plops in 4/4 time. 4/4 time is used in just about every rock song you’ve ever heard. I like the adventurous 5/4 time (Think “Take 5” by Dave Brubeck) and I love 7/4 time.
Half an inch in, the cigar shows some cajones and a definitive depth arrives in its early stages. I sense complexity is on the verge of disrobing.
A couple sips of water and I get one of my fave flavor notes: malt. My brain is just wired to catch this flavor…no idea why. Also on the menu are notes of toasted whole grain bread, coffee with cream, and white pepper. The black pepper lays deep in my throat but the white pepper is on my tongue.
Construction of the cigar is excellent. Serious rollers were used. A nice slow roll. I take my time and let the cigar rest between puffs as I feel it has something to say…and rushing through it will diminish its voice.
The Ronnie Earl Station on Amazon Music is perfect programming for writing a cigar review. Whomever picks the artists is just brilliant. From contemporary blues to old school blues.
It’s taken 15 minutes to blow an inch of the cigar. I reviewed the original 2020 Mils Dias release in April of 2021 and loved it.
For $12.50, this cigar rivals most $20+ blends. I love it when a manufacturer isn’t greedy. I didn’t find any info on the aging of tobacco, but the cigar tastes like it received a lot of attention to detail.
The dreaded nicotine arrives. The strength hits medium/full. I’m only 1-5/8” into the cigar. Oh lord. If this progression continues, it will be a bona fide newbie killer.
The char line needs no help from me. It’s a good boy.
The first sweet spot arrives and floods my mouth with complex notes bundled up in a wad of C Notes. I taste orange citrus for the first time. Nice and tangy.
The creaminess is grabbing the spotlight telling other flavors to back off.
I know I write Holy Crap too much…but Holy Crap. This is turning into a killer blend.
There is a general warmth to the cigar that does not happen often. It makes me want to cuddle with a family of baby ferrets. Although, a naked woman would be my first preference but I don’t know if this old heart could take it.
Jimmy Vaughan is playing. I got to play with him once at a club in Hollywood in the early 80’s. Talk about living in the moment and being star struck at the same time.
Smoothness enters taming the strength. The dizziness from the nicotine disappears. The cigar is entering the Xander Zone. (No idea why I used that metaphor. The cigar can’t drive for shit).
The complexity scale rises and finds its place in the sun. This is a great cigar. Love it.
The cigar tastes like it was aged for years before being boxed.
The burn moves slow so I better shut up or this review will look like the Unabomber’s Manifesto. Taking 5.
I took 15.
The cigar is getting mild sweet notes from the Sumatra wrapper. Cinnamon plays a big part as well. Caramel and chocolate make their move. Very rich and satisfying. The creaminess pulls everything together and the complex nature of this blend is just outstanding.
I wonder if the Ecuadorian Sumatra leaves were bought from Oliva. The company is the biggest grower of this exotic plant.
Floral and nutty notes enter to enhance the depth.
Reese Wynans is playing “Blackbird” on piano. Very mellow. Which is what I am becoming due to the wonderful character of this blend. Crowned Heads made an excellent choice by switching from the Habano wrapper to the Sumatra wrapper. A big improvement in the elegance of the blend.
The halfway point arrives at one hour.
Strength remains at an easy going medium/full.
Don’t you just love it when cigar bands can be removed easily? I hate fighting those things that use Gorilla Glue.
Sweetness carries the show. The rich soil that these leaves were grown in gives the cigar all it needs in the savory department. The counterpoint amplifies the excellence.
Only 2500 boxes of 12 were released. Once word gets out, they are going to disappear faster than a lightning strike. This cigar is turning into a masterpiece. And only $12.50. I’m screaming laughter. And with promo codes and discount pricing, the cigar’s price will be even more affordable. The time to act is now. I’m thinking of scoring a box.
I just did. Too scarce to wait. I’m planning on really allowing these cigars to sleep in my humidor for more than two months. And I paid a buck less per stick. A righteous blend.
The richness, complexity, depth, and intense flavors are masterful. I’m sure that I will be ridiculed for my love of this blend as reviewers have a big assortment of palates, but I truly adore this blend. This may be my new favorite Crowned Heads blend.
Newbies…cowboy up and snag some. Seasoned smokers…do what you do best.
The Crowned Heads Mil Días Marranitos E648 LE 2023 is not to be overlooked.
You can purchase these cigars from my sponsors: Luxury Cigar Club (15% off with promo code ‘katman’), Small Batch Cigar (10% off with promo code ‘katman’), or Atlantic Cigar.
And now for something completely different:
I have a great Streisand story. Then I remembered that I’ve told this story before. So, my apologies to my long-time readers as I repeat this memoir anecdote.
I did a lot of bass session work for a man named Gary Gladstone. (He has since passed away) He had his own studio in Beverly Hills. He was a favorite engineer for other producers at their studios. Gladstone was producer for the African American rock band called The Bus Boys. This was circa 1982. They played in the Eddie Murphy movie, “48 Hours.”
Gary had this weird saying that, which at first, put me off.
When we would do multiple takes, he kept telling me I was approaching “average.” I felt insulted and cursed under my breath.
And then he explained that, in his mind, average was perfect. Go figure.
Gary got lots of calls to engineer big acts. He began to recommend me and I got work through him.
It was during this time that I did a crash study of sightreading notes on charts. It’s one thing to be able to read music. It is another to see a chart for the first time and play it perfectly the first time you play it. Very scary.
Gary got the call to engineer a Streisand gig. The recording was done with a 12-piece band playing all at once instead of the tried-and-true method of recording the rhythm section first and then layering.
Outside of doing TV commercials in the studio, with the assistance of drummer Hal Blaine giving me the thumbs up to a producer, this session was not rock n roll. All the sessions I’d played were rock music.
The point being is that Streisand’s music was out of my comfort zone. Very complex tunes and I had to read every note written.
It just so happened that that night was the first night of Passover and I was supposed to be with the family for Seder.
But the Streisand gig was good money. Hal got me into the musician’s union without much trouble.
I think I got around $440 per song. But I had to sign away my rights for royalties. Standard procedure. In today’s money, that was almost $1400 per song.
As we were finishing for the night, Streisand walked in. She was supposed to put down vocals to help the rest of the band while they recorded. She was late. These were not her final vocals.
It was around 6pm. Gary introduced me to Streisand and when she heard my last name, she asked why I wasn’t at someone’s Seder?
I schmoozed her and told her I would rather be here.
I said that I was going to try and get to my dad’s house for leftovers and was packing my gear quickly. I was in Hollywood and had a good hour ride home to Long Beach.
Suddenly, she proclaimed to everyone that she was coming with me. Everyone laughed. She had a big entourage who laughed on cue.
I grabbed my gear and headed to the parking lot. It was 1982 and I was driving a beat up 1971 Datsun station wagon.
She followed me out to my car. She opened the passenger side and got in. “Let’s go, ‘hon.”
Her manager was right behind her screaming that they had time booked and she needed to get her ass back into the studio.
He went over to her side of the car and she rolled up the window. They screamed at each other for a couple minutes and I sat there like a schlump.
Finally, she leaned over and gave me a kiss and winked.
She had no intention of going with me. She just wanted to fuck with her manager.
When I got to my dad’s, I told everyone what happened. My evil stepmother went nuts. She was from Brooklyn, just like Streisand, and that’s all she talked about. For years, she would tell people this story whenever she had a get together and I was there.
It was sort of crazy and lots of fun. Imagine Streisand sitting in my 1971 Datsun and you can’t help but laugh.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS
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