Aging cigars is a popular concept with cigar enthusiasts. Often this is an intentional decision to improve the overall quality of the cigar (looking at you CCs). Sometimes it is done as an experiment to see how a cigar changes over time. Other times cigars just make their way to the bottom of a consumer or retailer’s humidor and are overlooked (this is usually the case for any aged cigars I have). I personally do not mess much with aging cigars. I go by the “It’s meant to be smoked” mentality. Sometimes this is due to lack of patience, oftentimes it is because if I am going to pay for a cigar, the manufacturer should have already put the time and effort into making the cigar ready to smoke upon release. In my opinion, this is a mark of quality. Yes, in many instances, a cigar does get better with age, but that is not always the case. Furthermore. I think it is insulting to a manufacturer to say a cigar “should” or “must” be aged.
Anyways, I will save more discussion of that for a future article. As for today’s review I am introducing a new review series called “From the Vault”. First up is the Crowned Heads Mason Dixon Project Northern Edition. This is from the first, 2014, run of the Mason Dixon Project from Crowned Heads. This project saw a “Northern Edition” that was made available to retailers above the Mason-Dixon Line, and a “Southern Edition” that was made available to retailers below the Mason-Dixon Line. Both editions have a different blend, but share the vitola, factory, price, and utilize Nicaraguan binder and fillers.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Vitola: 6 x 52 Toro
Release Date: October 2014
Company Website: www.crownedheads.com
This isn’t a super dark broadleaf but a classic looking leaf for sure. The cello is daaaark on this. I don’t care much for the band design or color scheme against this wrapper. The cigar has a super faint scent of cedar and earth. The cold draw is all cinnamon flavor without the heat. The cigar opens up with medium-full bodied smoke and flavors of oily pepper, earth, and musty leather and wood. The pepper has some spiciness to it. A 1/2 inch in and the flavors are hanging in there still. There’s some grittiness to the smoke. The retrohale has some baking spice, oil, and a cacao nibs like note. Nearing the end of the first third the spicy pepper has come down substantially and there’s milk chocolate on the draw now. The performance has been great so far. Into the second third the spicy pepper is coming back in. The grit in the smoke is pretty crazy, it's like you got some sand in your mouth from a windy day on the beach. Passing halfway the flavors are remaining consistent. The retrohale is a bit more earth and wood forward now and the draw has a bit more of the mustiness that was present at first light. Going into the final third it spontaneously went out on me. I relit it and the flavors seem unaffected. I got a bit distracted shortly into the final third as a Bald Eagle flew in and scared 2 hawks out from the trees. Then the chickens were oblivious and wouldn’t take cover so my wife and I had to try to get the chickens to safety while the Eagle made some circles around the pasture. Nearing the end of the final third it’s become primarily dark, sweet earth with some of the musty wood. The performance has been fine since the relight. Coming to an end at an hour and 29 minutes the only difference was an uptick in pepper on the draw.
Overall I found this cigar to be quite good. I was surprised by the amount of spicy pepper this cigar showcased throughout given the age on it. I enjoyed the full body and flavor it presented. I like thick, textured smoke and this had that in spades. The profile was pretty consistent throughout with some earth, pepper, and wood. I liked the way the first third showed some cacao nib-like dark chocolate notes that transitioned into more of a milk chocolate like flavor on the draw. Then the profile turned more savory and spicy throughout the second third before some sweetness rejoined near the end. The cigar performed great besides the time it spontaneously went out. Fortunately that seemed to have no negative impact on the smoking experience. I can’t attest to the impact that age had on this cigar as the original release was so long ago, but I can say that I would smoke more of these in their current state.
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