Behind The Stick:
Following the huge success of Crowned Heads first addition to the cigar world - Four Kicks which like many of their cigars, has a clear reference to music - this one in specific a song by the band Kings of Leon, the company has continued with branding, design and focus all their own. Being a group with close ties to the music industry and living in Nashville, incorporating the music industry into their cigars fit right in line with who they are.
The story goes - When Jon Huber reached out to E.P. Carillo to produce a new blend he was asked something along the lines of how do you want it to taste or what do you want it to be like. The task that E.P. Carillo was given was to craft a cigar that would resemble the heavy, methodical drum-beat of the song 'When The Levee Breaks'. While that may have been an odd request, E.P. Carillo was unfazed and went straight to work.
What was produced was a cigar that had an initial limited release run of 1000 boxes and to say that it was well received would be an understatement. This limited release quickly turned into a regular release cigar coming out in 5 separate vitolas, listed below, that have pretty much become a staple for most retailers and consumers alike.
Estupendos: 5.5 x 52 (2012)
Hermoso No. 4: 5 x 48 (2013)
Eminentes: 5.25 x 44 (2013)
Corona Gorda 5 5/8 x 46 (2013)
Dobles: 6 1/8 x 50 (2013)
Size: Estupendos 5.5 x 52
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Sumatra
Binder and Filler: Nicaragua
Strength: Medium to Full
Factory / Country of Origin: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
Release Type: Regular
Release Date: August 2012
The wrapper is a paper bag brown, complete with the mottled lights and darks that come with it. Not exactly a 'beautiful' cigar but far from ugly in the same respect. Evenly packed from head to foot, the Hedley Grange not only held solid throughout but also give a clear indication that this cigar is jam packed with tobacco. The burn was solid and did not require any touch ups throughout.
But of course, the most important part of the review right - the flavor! With a wood and earthy backbone, the Headley Grange Cigar is one of those smokes that just seems to 'nail it' on my personal preferred flavor profile. Pepper and floral notes seem to come and go in an ebbing pattern that I cannot quite describe but I can certainly 'feel'. A slightly tangy sweetness creeps up after a few minutes, similar to caramel but with a spicy kick on the finish.
The second third doesn't carry a whole lot of transition but rather fluctuations of flavor from within the core profile. Pepper notes have diminished, floral notes have kicked up a touch and the caramel sweetness has all but disappeared. The wood and earthy core remain while becoming a little subdued during the transition.
The last third comes back with a reprieve from before. Hard core black pepper, spicy notes in full effect, wood and earth building back to where they started all while adding a bitter-sweet leatherish undertone on the finish.
While the initial handful of puffs don't really give much to what you will be experiencing, the cigar has a slow build up and strong delivery just like the song it was inspired by. There is no denying that I am a fan of pretty much everything that Crowned Heads puts out there so of course I had to run out and grab a few of these as soon as my local B&M had them in stock and have kept at least a few on hand ever since.
Enough of the buildup - the Headley Grange was and is a cigar that I really like and have enjoyed on a number of occasions. It is not my favorite cigar they have ever produced ( that would be the Jericho Hill ) but it is also up there with some of the best cigars I have ever encountered. It is much like comparing a Mercedes to 'cars' in general - while the CLS may not be my favorite Merc it absolutely is in the running for one of my favorite cars I've driven.
This does not mean that I did not like the Headley Grange - far from it. The price is right, the delivery is spot on, the flavors are complex yet consistent across the different times I have enjoyed them all while coming from a company that I trust and respect. There is a reason that the Headley Grange has not only become a staple in many retailer locations but also become a staple in my own humidor. I highly recommend you pick up some sooner than later.
Every Cigar Has A Story, Every Smoke A Memory