The Crowned Heads – Four Kicks Seleccion No. 5
For those of you who don’t know, Daniel, my partner in crime got hitched this passed weekend. That’s right, while him and his wonderful wife are enjoying a much deserved honeymoon I am left to guard the Casas Fumando fort.
There is a picture he sent me over the weekend. He’ll probably kill me for posting that picture but, who cares. Congrats big guy! This also reminds me, we are always opened to guest review spots. If any of you guys ever want to contribute, don’t hesitate to contact me at casasfumand(at)gmail[dot]com. Anyhow, I took some time out of my crazy weekend to bring you yet another review that I am probably the last blogger to review. Hopefully the wait was worth it as I bring you The Crowned Heads Four Kicks Seleccion No. 5.
The Good Stuff: First and foremost, thanks go out to a great friend and BOTL Jeremy Hensley who hooked it up with this smoke. These aren’t easy to come by in my area. Much like every other cigar.
Four Kicks is the brain child of the Crowned Heads President Jon Huber along with ex-CAO employee Mike Conder under the close eye of the infamous master-blender Ernesto Perez-Carrillo. You may recognize Huber as he was the once marketing genius behind CAO. Here is the story of the Four Kicks, the first of what I hope to be many blends from the Crowned Heads:
“You with your switchblade posse / Iʼll get my guns from the South / Weʼll take to the yard like a cockfight / Four kicks whoʼs strutting now?” – Four Kicks (Kings of Leon)
These are the words that were the inspiration behind Crowned Headsʼ first cigar brand release, “Four Kicks.” It was towards the end of 2010, and my colleagues and I were in the midst of a tumultuous period of uncertainty, transition and change. The company that we held dear to our hearts, CAO International, Inc., was caught in the middle of a corporate merger between Swedish Match and ST Group (CAOʼs parent company at the time). The very foundation that CAO had been built upon–people, relationships, integrity, and loyalty–were being stripped away. The end result would be that many people whom we considered as ʻfamilyʼ would soon be unemployed and CAO would find itself being taken away from its hometown of Nashville, TN, and relocated to Richmond, VA.
When you see some 15 years of your lifeʼs work–your heart, passion, and joy–coming to an end, youʼre filled with many emotions. The song, “Four Kicks,” really spoke to me. It was filled with anger, rebellion, confidence, and determination. These were the feelings that inspired us to forge together and create what would later become “Crowned Heads, LLC.”
Four Kicks is a brand that was born as a rebellious child, evolved into an angry adolescent, and finally matured into an adult whoʼs personality centered around excellence, confidence, and determination. In a way, the final blend we selected smokes in this same manner. It opens big, bold, and in your face. It then takes you on a ride of complexity, richness, and finesse. It finishes bright and clean and leaves its fingerprints on your palate to remind you that it was there.
Four Kicks is about sticking to your guns, and remaining loyal to those whom you love, and the hometown that brought you to the dance.
Four Kicks is about turning your back on the corporate machine, and making your own rules.
The Seleccion No. 5 is the latest vitola to hit the Four Kicks blend months after it’s official release. The Seleccion No. 5 comes in boxes of 24 and run $7.70 a stick.
Size: 6.5 x 44
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Pairing: New Belgium Lips of Faith “Clutch” Dark Sour Ale
Prelight: The Four Kicks is just a beautiful cigar. And when I say beautiful, I don’t mean it’s the most consistent, single colored, smooth, perfectly shaped cigar out there. What I mean is that it look like every cigar should. Rugged, natural, and hand made. While the wrapper does show some gleaming hints of oil, the dullness in other areas really showcases how pretty the wrapper is. With it’s calico light, dark, medium browns and oranges the Four Kicks is just the epitome of a good looking cigar. The band is very modest carrying a white, red, and gold embossed “Four Kicks” seal over an embossed gold band. The No. 5 starts out with a very long, slender body before coming to a beautifully round triple cap. Again, I love triple caps. Anyhow there are only a few smaller veins in the wrapper leaf that I don’t see being any type of nescience to the smoking experience. The cigar is really tight and gives very little as I squeeze it between my fingers. There are no soft spots what so ever.
The wrapper of the Crowned Heads Four Kicks SCREAMS of cedar. Seriously I can smell it even with the cigar laying on the table. The foot of the cigar is much more modest only releasing a few spiced and lots of natural tobacco aromas. The cap cut off very easily and clean using my double bladed Palio cutter. Right away I am greeting with some very sweet tobacco, spice, honey, and earthy flavors from the cold draw. It’s incredible the amount of flavor this cold draw is pumping out and I can’t wait to fire the cigar up.
First Smoke: Shortly after firing up the Crowned Heads Four Kicks I am greeted with just a subtle greeting of black pepper before it quickly fades away and I am left with some very smooth, natural, sweet tobacco, cedar, honey and spice flavors with just a little bit of an aftertaste that I could only best describe as tobacco and graham cracker. Interesting, I know, but take it for what it is. The draw is slightly tight, but not anything I can’t work though. After a few puffs I get a mouthful of very thick, lingering white smoke. The Four Kicks only gives off a small amount of stationary smoke but it seriously smells like I am just burning a block of cedar in my ashtray. The burnline is razor sharp and even leaving behind a beautiful trail of white and light grey, compacted ash. The ash held on for about an inch before falling into my ashtray.
Halfway There: Halfway thought this Four Kicks and the flavors are just rocking. Again, I am still getting lots of sweet tobacco, cedar, honey, spice, and that graham cracker but now some nice bitter cocoa has started to enter the mix. This cigar pumps out lots of flavors but remains very balanced and smooth. The retrohale is just awesome coating my nasal passage with a very sharp cedar and spice. I am feeling very little, if any nicotine at all at this point while the burnline remains sharp and clean.
Finish: The sweetness has really began to fade into the final third of this Four Kicks. While the flavors remained really smooth the cocoa, cedar, and natural tobacco flavors have began to ramp up as well as the strength of the cigar. I finished the cigar in about an hour and a half and it burned perfectly requiring no touch ups, relights, or anything of the nature. While the body and strength ramped up in the final third, I didn’t get much of any nicotine from the cigar. If anything, the beer hit me harder than the cigar did.
Overview: I swear, everything that either Jon Huber or Ernesto touch is golden. That being said was this a match made in heaven? Oh was it ever. The Four Kicks defines what a great, flavorful, mild cigar should be. You don’t need to make a powerhouse cigar to appeal to full bodied smokes (like myself) and the Four Kicks proved that. From great minds and great marketing to a wonderful blend and perfect construction the Four Kicks aims to please. The flavor bomb kept me on my toes the entire experience while the creamy smoothness made for a balanced and enjoyable cigar experience. This cigar is box worthy for sure and should be picked up by any cigar smoker from the novice looking for an introduction into an affordable, flavorful, mild/medium cigar. To the seasoned smoker looking for something different with enough complexities to keep the smoker involved. Huber knocked it out of the park with this blend and I can’t wait to see what the future of The Crowned Heads holds.
Pairing: Here I am with another installment of New Belgium’s Lips of Faith series. I just can’t get enough of this brew series. For those of you who don’t know, the lips of faith series is a group of brews made in smaller batch quantities by New Belgium. The quantities are limited due to cost of production, amount of available ingredients, product demand, or just all around how daring the brews are. Needless to say some of these aren’t for the weak of heart. Clutch Sour Dark ale is though. This is a very smooth, balanced Sour Ale. Usually when you think of a sour ale you think of tart, salty, mouth puckering sourness. Clutch is none of these, in fact it’s probably the smoothest and sweetest sour ale I have ever had. This 9.5% ale is brewed at the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado and here is what they have to say about it:
This pleasing, two-part, potion was brewed with chocolate and black malts for a rich and roasty overtone, then fused with a dry, substratum of sour for a bold and audacious flavor. Black as night, this beer is blended at 80% stout, 20% dark sour wood beer for a collaboration that begins with a sour edge and finishes with a big, dark malt character, lingering, sweet on your palate.
That about sums it up. I do want to add that you can’t even taste the alcohol content in this brew. The sweet and slight sour notes really mixed in well with the sweet flavors of the Four kicks while the Chocolate and malt paired in perfectly with the cocoa, honey and cedar from the cigar.