Bite Size Review: Crowned Heads La Coalación Gordito
After smoking a couple of cigars recently, I was soberly reminded of why some cigar makers blend their cigars the way they do. Many have inferred that some cigar manufacturers’ primary focus is on the first third of the cigar, which in and of itself is not a bad thing. From unique nuances and high levels of complexity to the smoothest textures, this initial “wow factor” is what cigar makers hope will captivate you. And from a business perspective, they also hope it will earn them a very favorable rating among cigar critics and reviewers. Afterall, it’s no secret that higher ratings, critical praise and inclusion in “Top 10” lists sells cigars.
Unfortunately, for some cigars the first third is all that’s worth talking about, which brings me back to my opening statement. A couple of recent smokes, reputable cigars here folks, with those dazzling first profiles quickly devolved into a train wreck. We’re talking 10-20 minutes of “wow” followed by a cliff-diving mélange of diesel exhaust, wet dog and swamp gas. That smoldering wreckage represents roughly two thirds of a relatively expensive cigar and the obvious reality is that many cigar smokers don’t shell out the money they do to smoke a cigar for 15-20 minutes. Yet they exist and it’s any wonder how this business model is a thing.
Fortunately, that’s not the case with the subject of our next review, Crowned Heads’ La Coalación. Sorry, but I can see the Crowned Heads team reading my opening monologue and thinking, “where’s he going with this? Swamp gas?” Relax, fellas. As the brand name suggests, this cigar is the result of a collaboration of two of the most respected names in cigars, the other being Drew Estate. Launched in the summer of 2019, La Coalación is the vision of CH’s Jon Huber paired with the blending badassery of DE’s Willy Herrera. Jon Huber sums up his vision in the statement below.
“We believe that there is an undeniable synergy of philosophy and ethos between Drew Estate and Crowned Heads. More specifically, Willy [Herrera] and I share a similar vision towards the tradition and artistry of cigars, blends, presentation, and so forth. What you’re going to see with La Coalición is truly a collaborative effort on every level between Crowned Heads and Drew Estate, and between Willy Herrera and Jon Huber.”– Jon Huber, Crowned Heads Co-Founder
Our gordito has been languishing in our humidor for just under 5 months. The aesthetics of our “robusto extra,” outside of the bright red and gold band are unremarkable. The toffee-hued broadleaf skin is lumpy, oily and veiny and while it is firm overall, there are some spongy spots here and there. The wrapper offers a pleasant fragrance of cocoa and leather with a compliment of fudge brownie aromas from the foot. The cold draw is open and allows for a tangy piquancy of raisins and sweet milk chocolate.
In true CH style, the opening profile kicks things off with a smoky, woody character backed by notes of black pepper, caramel and light cream. The draw also features more black pepper and our gordito finishes with a robust mix of black coffee and cedar notes. A chocolatey essence on the retro develops later as it becomes more spicy. The medium body continues, offering a late round of cocoa notes with a more chocolate persona on the draw and finish. Smooth, woody themes continue throughout spicy transitions adding a duskier texture, sweet espresso notes and graham cracker to the finish.
Construction and performance of our gordito is top shelf as combustion is excellent, smoke production is solid and our La Coalación produces a strong, white 1”+ ash. One item of note is that the thick ash becomes unusually mushy. She’s a slow burner so watch the hard puffing and while the last transition was almost featureless, the rest of the cigar is tasty and enjoyable. I think there are much better stogeys in both portfolios (CH and DE) so knocking on the $12 door is a stretch. If you like your cigars robust, woody and spicy this may be your horse, but I expected more depth from a blend that has Herrera’s hands all over it. – In Fumo Pax!
Did you Know: Crowned Heads founders, Jon Huber and Mike Condon previously led CAO’s lifestyle and marketing efforts.
- Profile: Med-Full
- Vitola: Gordito
- Length / Ring: 5.5″ X 50
- Purchased: Online
- Origin: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: US Connecticut Broadleaf
- Binder: Sumatra
- Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican
- Production: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate
- Blade: Xikar Xi1
- Fire: Colibri Firebird
- Price:$11.65 [Box $233]
- Humidor Age: 4.5 mo.
- Box: 20
- Other Vitolas: Corona Gorda [5″x46], Siglo [6″x52], Sublime [6.5″x54]
N O T E S
Smoke Time: 1:23
Construction: Lumpy; veiny; oily; almost seamless; mottled toffee color; firm overall; spongy in places; solid smoke producer; holds strong, white 1″+ ash; ash becomes mushy.
- Wrapper – Cocoa, leather
- Foot – Fudge brownie
- Cold Draw – Chocolate, hint of raisin
- Initial: Smoky, woody character with a black pepper draw; central intonations of cream, caramel and chocolatey essence; black pepper on palate; smooth finish of black coffee and cedar; spicy; late finishes and draws feature more of a chocolate dominance; develops cocoa notes on retro late.
- Transition: Woodsy core with cedar foundation; draw is also woody nicely balanced with caramel notes; spice persists but still smooth; dominance of cocoa and oak notes on retro; duskier texture; spicy finish of semi-sweet cedar and espresso; hints of graham cracker appear in finish late.
- Transition: Chocolate, earthy nucleus; robust and spicy finish of earth and cedar tang; all wood interior; more rougher edged; heavy cedar on palate.
Balance: Very Good
Touch ups: N/A
Weaknesses: Mediocre profiles
- 5 packer
- Yard ‘gar
- NR [No Recommendation]