Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Cigar review: Crowned Heads Mule Kick 2018

I have been doing a walk down memory lane lately, looking back on how long I have been involved in cigars and in writing. All together its been around 34 years. Smoking, writing, selling, buying and even had my own for a while. About fifteen years ago I started on Facebook as GCPuffs and then the website by the same name, before that some articles in magazines under a different name. GCPuffs did well I am very grateful but as you know that site was put to bed for reasons that are my own and Gatornations.com took its place. I started recently to shut it down due to lack of time to spend in it but a very dear friend convinced me not to. I am honored to have met and call friends many in our industry and consider myself lucky. 
Today I’m going through old articles and photos and decided go sit outside with a nice beverage because it is stunningly beautiful out and took with me for the time to spend a fine cigar, a Crowned Heads Mule Kick 2018. Every one is familiar with the story of Mule Kick so lets get to the cigar. 
The wrapper this year is a wonderful Connecticut Habano wrapper that is to me the darkest Mule Kick to date and the pre lit aroma is a tantalizing mix of dark earth and wood with the foot having hints of spice and sweetness. Clipped and lit, it ignites with succulent spice. The smoke is bolder than last year, the flavors of dark earth, aged cedar and spice begin in a dance across the palate. Shortly into the cigar, the music takes off as the indulgent blend shows its colors. The spice is rich and cultured, not abrupt and sharp, the dark earth is enveloped by smoky cedar that flirts with touches of sweetness much akin to that of pecan brittle. 
As I sit complete enthralled by this cigar, I begin looking through old photos from events, IPCR visits and shows. Some are absolutely hysterical if you knew the story of things taking place at the time while some make me smile due to long term friendships with the ones pictured. 
 As the cigar moves into the second third I am yet again thrilled at the balance and immense cavalcade of mouth watering flavors produced. The sweetness remains uniting in harmony with the wood as afore mentioned, the earth as rich as ever but the appearance of a hint of fruit peaked my intense interest. On the retro hale it was as if a faint notice of fresh cut apple could be detected and found it on each draw. Absolutely profound flavor mix that leaves the oral factors in delight.       
Some of the friendships made remain close, and I am thankful for each. There is nothing better than friends who you can talk about anything and laugh at everything with. One night way after a show, four of us sat outside the cigar store feeling pretty good, and all four trying to figure out how to refill a lighter with an empty can, all convinced it was possible due to fumes. I will leave the rest to your imagination.
Taking a long slow draw on this excellent cigar, it moved into the final third where the flavors continued to evolve and morph in boldness and appearance. As I expected and am pleased at, the flavor of leather began to show and this showing through the middle of the accompanying tastes being provided create a parade of well blended and balanced aromas and flavors that indeed bring complete enjoyment. The cigar finishes with a bit more spice and leather but the richness of the flavors still prove themselves. 
If you haven’t  tried Mule Kick 2018 you may want to hurry, I’m sure they won’t last long.


Peace and Smoke,

Gator

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Cigar Review: Crowned Heads Four Kicks Maduro

I haven't written in some time due to simply taking time away. But its time to do what I enjoy and the first cigar up for review is the new Four Kicks Maduro from Crowned Heads. The original Four Kicks is a favorite of mine and I cant count the boxes I have smoked so when I heard of the Maduro version I jumped at it. The cigar is beautiful, with a nice dark wrapper leaf, not overly oily but a nice sheen to it. Construction is spot on and the pre light aroma gives cocoa powder and dark rich earth. I punch cut this cigar and prepped the foot for lighting. The drink of the day is southern sweet tea, the kind that is so dark that sun light is scared to go through it.
I walked outside where I have a nice chair sitting under an oak tree and sat down with the cigar and drink. It’s a beautiful day here, warm but not to hot with a clear sky. It’s the weekend and those who live by us are out and about, some cooking out others  relaxing. Typical southern day.
I torched the cigar and drew deep receiving a mouthful of luscious thick smoke. The cigar opens with a succulent spice mix with that afore mentioned cocoa powder flavor with hints of cedar. Further in, the richness of the tobacco shines as the spice smooths out and the cocoa powder and now smoky wood intertwine to create a lavish network 
of sensations for the palette. The smoke soon takes on a nice creaminess and a hint of, albeit very slight, of a sweetness I cant put my finger on.
As I sit and enjoy this cigar I'm thinking about living in the south and the sweet culture and lifestyle that we share. "Yes Ma'am and no Ma'am, yes sir and no sir" better be in your vocabulary your entire life and if your local store doesn’t sell grits the owner needs to move back north.
As I move into the second third of the cigar, the cocoa powder becomes more of a higher content cocoa and is joined by a deep French roast coffee affair. The smoky wood continues and the entire mix is wrapped delicately in that succulent spice mix giving each draw a roller coaster ride of flavor mixes that enchant the palate and illuminate the senses. That sweetness mentioned before continues to blossom though here and there but each time a tad more pronounced and it reminds me of the flavor of old fashioned molasses cookies but here again, its very slight.
I think everyone born in the south is born knowing how to hunt, fish, make cornbread and know at least two people that know how to make moonshine. And if you ever had chocolate, lemon or custard pie in the south I bet it had two to three inches of meringue on top.
Moving into the final third all the flavors of the cigar continue in their cavalcade of combinations with the spice becoming a little more peppery and the coffee moving ahead of the dark cocoa. Through out the cigar the flavors show the greatness of the blend and give the smoker consistent flavors with an undercurrent of smoky wood. The finish is perfect and leaves one with a smooth creamy smoke.
If you enjoy Four Kicks then this is a must try. But as always, light one up and see what flavors you get because after all, we are all different.

Peace and Smoke
Gator

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Cigar review: Crowned Heads La Imperiosa

Deer season will be here before long and its rare I get to go anymore but this year will be an exception. A friend recently purchased a nice tract of land which is wooded and from all accounts well populated with game. He asked if I would go there and check out the existing ground stands and blinds as well as see how the area looked for hunting. After a two hour drive I pulled off a side road at his property and parked. It is well posted on all four sides and about 40 acres in size. Since its not hunting season I brought, of coarse, a cigar to enjoy for the scouting.  Today is a La Imperiosa from Crowned Heads. Dark and rich Habano Oscuro wrapper screaming flavor, with a pre lit aroma of succulent dark chocolate, smoky wood and spice. Once lit, the cigar give abundant smoke, thick and rich, coating the oral factors in flavors of chocolate, wood and mild leather. The spice reminds me of fresh ground black pepper with a hint of cayenne flavor, making this a great start. Into the first third, the chocolate becomes deeper, darker in flavor with the wood blending in magnificent union. The spice coats these flavors in an smooth manner giving full advantage to the immense flavors being produced. Towards the end of the first third, the wood moved back allowing the addition of roasted pecans to appear. My father used to roast them in the oven and the flavor reminds me of it distinctly. 
I proceeded to walk into the woods, along a small trail that leads to all the blinds. Who ever owned it before spent much time on the trails, using a small tractor to smooth the ground and to keep it cut. I came to the first blind and upon checking it, found it well built and sturdy. Small windows were made on either side to allow for shooting and the inside lined with board insulation. Someone spent a lot of money on the blinds. Sitting on the chair, the view was clear an unobstructed, seeing clear to the open areas where game feeds and wanders. 
Leaving the first blind as my cigar moved into the second third, I passed game trails that gave evidence that they are used often. The cigars flavor are pouring from it at each draw. The chocolate is now a deep cocoa with still the succulent spice blending in. the leather is richer working in unison with the roasted pecans. Mid way, a mild sweetness started showing clearly being a light molasses flavor. An astonishing blend giving a constant roller coaster ride of enormous flavors that illuminate the complexity of the cigar. 
Checking other blinds, I found each to be similar in design and well built and thought out. the last blind must have been for the previous owner as it was larger and around ten feet off the ground, built between two trees. Stairs lead to the door which had a four foot square landing in front. The inside appeared to be ten feet by 8 feet and very spacious. On one side was a heater specifically made for deer stands as well as a storage cabinet. A bunk was in one corner which means this was more than likely a weekend spot. I placed a chair on the landing and sat to enjoy the peace and sounds as my cigar moved into the last third.
 The leather had increased as had the now high content cocoa. The wood had vanished being replaced by a dark loamish earthiness. The mild sweetness and roasted pecans remained as did the spice which now ramped up slightly. The smoke remains abundant, thick and buttery smooth. The final draw gave an increase in the leather and spice but still showed the other flavor factors. La Imperiosa is one excellent cigar and if you enjoy full flavor do not miss out smoking it, get a hand full or more and see what you taste.


Smoke and Peace,
gator