|Crowned Heads Four Kicks Seleccion No. 5|
The Crowned Heads Four Kicks Seleccion No. 5 was introduced as a line extension in 2012 to the company’s debut line, Four Kicks. The Four Kicks line made its debut in late 2011 to a lot of fanfare. This fanfare followed up nearly a full year of anticipation to this release by four former members of CAO Cigars. When a cigar hits one’s tongue, it is going to have a different reaction from individual to individual. In some cases what may be a hit to some is going to be a miss to others. This is my experience with the Four Kicks line. For whatever reason, while this has been a very well received line by enthusiasts, I just have not been wow’d by this line. With the case of the new 6 1/2 x 44 Seleccion No. 5, this is still the case. This is not to say this is a bad cigar, but one that just hasn’t agreed with me.
For the Four Kicks line, Crowned Heads selected Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. to blend the cigar. This marks the first time Carrillo has blended a cigar for someone else. From an 8/6/11 interview Cigar Dave had with Carrillo, and Crowned Heads’ Jon Huber and Mike Conder, it was clear the Huber and company had a vision for what the profile of this cigar should be.
Let’s break down the Crowned Heads Four Kicks Seleccion No. 5 and then get into some of the particulars of my experience with it.
The Four Kicks blend uses Nicaraguan binder and filler with the popular Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. As mentioned the cigars are made by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. at the Tabacalera LaAlianza S.A., Santiago, Dominican Republic.
Wrapper: Habano Ecuador
The Seleccion No. 5 is one of six vitolas in the series. It adds a lonsdale vitola to the series. Five of the vitolas have been released, and a new 5.5 x 56 size is planned for release later this year. The Four Kicks cigars are rolled Entubar style. This involves rolling filler leave into a tube shape – helping to improve the draw.
The cigars are packaged 24 to a box.
Selecction No. 5: 6 1/2 x 44
Corona Gorda: 5 5/8 x 46
Robusto: 5 x 50
Sublime: 6 x 54
Piramide: 6 1/8 x 52
TBD: 5 1/2 x 56
The Four Kicks Seleccion No. 5 is visually a beautiful looking cigar. The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper has almost a milk chocolate look with a silky complexion to it. There are very few veins that are visible, and the wrapper seams are well hidden. This is especially surprising for a lonsdale vitola. The cigar also features a classic Cuban-style triple cap.
The band is the same band used across the Four Kicks line. It features a gold crown on a red background. Over the crown is the text “FOUR” in white font, with “KICKS” below the crown also in white font. Going around of the back of the band is basically an all gold design.
The band is a simple looking one, and this goes back to the mission of what Crowned Heads is all about. Back at when Huber and Conder were at CAO, they were known for their innovative marketing and packaging. When they left to form Crowned Heads, they sought an escape from the corporate world of powerpoints and spreadsheets. It’s clear this return to simplicity is reflected on the packaging.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my cigar experience with the Four Kicks Seleccion No. 5, I opted for my usual straight cut into the cap. The pre-light draw featured a mix of floral notes and a sweetness I could not put my finger on. This dry-draw experience was very similar to what I got on the dry draw of the Sublime vitola. I also felt the Seleccion No. 5 had less complexity than the Sublime on the pre-light draw. The pre-light draw was still satisfactory to me, so at this point it was time to fire up the Seleccion No. 5 and see what it would bring to the table.
Floral notes played a big role when I smoked the Four Kicks Sublime. These floral notes were not infused flavored, but of a natural tobacco variety. The start to the Four Kicks Seleccion No. 5 also had these floral notes at the start. I found the Seleccion No. 5 unique in terms that the floral notes seemed to have more of a citrus flavor to them (in addition to the natural tobacco flavor). I also detected some chocolate and pepper at the start in the background. The floral and citrus notes were the ones in control in the early stages. I found these flavors very present on my tongue. Floral notes are usually hit or miss for me. In some cigars I can handle it while in others it doesn’t do it for me. I found the floral/citrus combination to be a little too overwhelming from a flavor perspective. I also felt it didn’t leave a great after-taste.
As the cigar moved to the ten percent mark, the citrus notes moved to the background. Later in the first third, the pepper and chocolate notes increased and eventually became on-par with the floral notes. The citrus notes remained in the background. I found that the chocolate and pepper notes helped to balance the flavor profile of this cigar. These flavors seemed to complement each other better.
It was in the last third, where the Seleccion No. 5 began to take on flavors more along the lines of my flavor profile. I found the chocolate notes to take center stage. I found the flavors quite pleasant at this point. The close to the cigar was on the smoother side. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and warmer in temperature.
One final note. I felt the Seleccion No. 5 had less complexity than the Sublime in terms of flavor transitions and nuances. Still, I felt the Seleccion No. 5 didn’t lack when it came to complexity.
Burn and Draw
When I smoked the Four Kicks Sublime, I found the burn and draw to be “good” and not “excellent”. This was something that disappointed me. The Seleccion No. 5 does score a lot better in these attributes. The burn of the Four Kicks Seleccion No. 5 remained very sharp throughout the smoking experience – requiring minimal touch-ups. The ash was tight and white throughout the smoke. The burn rate and burn temperature were pretty much ideal, but I did find the cigar burned a little warmer toward the nub. As for the draw, I found it to be the best one on a Four Kicks cigar. I found this to be a very good drawing lonsdale vitola.
Strength and Body
The Four Kicks line is not going to be an overwhelming strong cigar from a nicotine standpoint. I assessed the Seleccion No. 5 to be a medium strength cigar, and this is on-par with the other vitolas in the line.
The body was very different than the rest of the line. For the Seleccion No. 5, I found the flavors to be deepest in the early stages. I actually assessed this to be full-bodied on the start. By about the mid-way point, the flavors diminish to medium to full-bodied.
Cigars can sometimes have too much flavor and not enough strength. This was especially true with the Four Kicks throughout the smoking experience – especially in the early stages. When the balance between strength and body got closer in the second half, I saw an improvement in this smoke.
My assessment of this cigar is only one opinion. As I mentioned earlier, everyone’s flavor palate is different and when the tobaccos touch your tongue, everyone is going to have a different sensation on what the end result is. For whatever reason, this cigar line has not clicked with me. With the Seleccion No. 5 it took me until the end of this cigar to get some flavors that really meshed for me. While this wasn’t my flavor profile, there are many cigar reviewers who have rated this cigar very well. I will say that this is a well-made cigar – probably the best constructed cigar of the Four Kicks line. In general I do feel that Crowned Heads has a very good future. Overall, I say this is a classic case of “See What You Think” when you smoke this.
Body: Full (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Assessment: See What You Think
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Casa de Montecristo in Countryside, Illinois.