Bite Size Review: Crowned Heads Court Reserve XVIII
Instead of following their convention of NOT using the company name in their cigar brands, Crowned Heads’ Jon Huber and Mike Conder called an audible. They wanted to create a unique edition employing special packaging, so they decided to include the Crowned Heads name along with the year of release (XVIII or 18). Thus, the Court Reserve XVIII, or just CHC 18, project was born.
According to Huber, the project has actually been in play since 2016 and he chalks up the 2-year delay to their desire to get the blend just right. The CHC 18 project also saw a return to E.P. Carrillo’s Dominican Tabacalera La Alianza factory for production. Finally, paying homage to their humble beginnings, Crowned Heads is offering the CHC 18 in the same 3 vitolas as their inaugural Four Kicks line. The CHC 18 was launched at the IPCPR show in 2018.
With a near effortless draw, our rustic corona gorda came to life with a delicious torrent of anise, candied nuts, leather and caramel swirling around a hearty finish of wood and toasted oats. Very smooth and rich, the CHC 18, continues to use her charms throughout transitions, adding more body as she smokes. Complexity is on point through transitions from toasty profiles to a core of cedar all while balancing intonations of milk chocolate, coffee bean, brown sugar and baked bread.
Combustion is superb interrupted only by a temporary runner that resolved itself. A short-lived, bitter aftertaste appeared in the last stage, but it did not hamper the enjoyment. This may very well be the finest Crowned Heads creation I’ve reviewed/enjoyed thus far. To be fair, I haven’t yet tried them all, but you can’t hit ‘em all out of the park. Or, maybe Jon and Mike summoned some of that special mojo they brought from CAO and will prove me wrong. Uh, win-win. – In Fumo Pax!
Did you Know: The only other factory to produce cigars for Crowned Heads is Jose “Pepin” Garcia’s (My Father Cigars) factory in Nicaragua.
- Profile: Med – Full
- Vitola: Corona Gorda
- Length / Ring Gauge: 5 5/8″ x 46
- Purchased: B&M
- Origin: Dominican Republic
- Wrapper: Mexican San Andrès
- Binder: Ecuadorian
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Cutter: Colibri V
- Lighter: Colibri Firebird
- Price: $9.50
- Humidor Age: 4 mo.
- Box: 20
- Other Vitolas: Robusto [5″x50], Sublime [6″x54]
Smoke Time: 0:55
Construction: Solid, but with good give; head spongy; uneven triple seam cap; rough texture; lumpy; veiny; toothy; rusted railroad spike appearance; holds 1″ near-white ash.
- Wrapper – Raisins, hint of vanilla
- Foot – Cocoa powder
- Cold Draw – Prunes
- Initial: Blast of anise, oak and candied nuts around a leathery, woody core; notes of caramel on retro; long finish of toasted oats and wood.
- Transition: Toasty profile; intonations of milk chocolate and cedar; very smooth; finishes with notes of coffee bean; residual caramel notes on retro; light spice on palate; draw tingles with cedar; hints of brown sugar on finish.
- Transition: Dominant cedar profile with warm espresso notes; intermittent bitter aftertaste, especially finish (dirt); spice in nose; hints of caramel and baked bread on retro; semi-sweet finish.
Touch ups: N/A
Combustion: Very good
Weaknesses: Temporary bitter aftertaste in last transition; encountered a short-term “runner”
Recommendation: 1. Boxworthy
- Go-to (boxworthy)
- Yard ‘gar
- Smoke a banana instead