The Angel’s Anvil 2016 is the third cigar by Crowned Heads Cigars to be made for the Tobacconist Association of America (TAA). Over the past few years, one can make a strong case for Tatuaje and Crowned Heads as being the two most successful releases in the TAA series. Like the previous two installments of The Angel’s Anvil, is a new blend – and this case it’s the first cigar in The Angel’s Anvil line to utilize a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke The Angel’s Anvil 2016 edition. There is a reason why Crowned Heads The Angel’s Anvil line has been successful, and the 2016 release is an excellent example of why.
The name “The Angel’s Anvil” is derived from a story of a fallen angel who seeks to find his way back to heaven. During this time, the outcast angel finds a blacksmith who provides him with a hammer and anvil – the tools that can be used to rebuild his wings. As many know, Crowned Heads was formed by a group of four CAO employees who had left the brand after the acquisition by General Cigar Company. The cigar name is an analogy to that story as it is based on the personal experience (the fall and rebirth) of one of the company owners at the time of that acquisition – a company having to rebuild things from the ground up. The name “The Angel’s Anvil” also has the acronym “TAA”.
In terms of the TAA as an organization, it is a small group of retailers. At press time the number of retailers is approximately 80. As per their website, the TAA is defined as:
The Tobacconists’ Association of America, Ltd. is a trade organization established in 1968 by visionary retail tobacconists. By providing education, communication, research, advocacy, and member discount programs, The TAA works with our members and the industry they support to offer the tools and relationship building opportunities needed to maximize professionalism and success.
Exclusive cigars for the TAA are nothing new, but over the past few years the number of offerings offered per year has grown quite large. 2016 included ten new limited offerings, six on-going exclusive offerings, and the event-only La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 Celebration Limited Edition Maduro. This brings the total cigars for 2016 available to TAA members to seventeen.
This year, the following new cigars have been released for the 2016 TAA Exclusive Series (displayed from left to right in the photo that follows):
- Quesada Reserva Privada Oscuro Robusto
- CLE Azabache
- Crowned Heads – The Angel’s Anvil 2016
- Padrón 1926 Serie No. 48 Natural
- Padrón 1926 Serie No. 48 Maduro
- La Palina Bill’s Blend TAA Exclusive 2016
- Tatuaje TAA 2016
- My Father El Centurion H.2K.CT Box Pressed Torpedo
- Herrera Esteli TAA Exclusive by Drew Estate
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 48
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 48 Celebration Limited Edition Maduro (Event Only)
In addition to the offerings introduced in 2016, the six blends used as on-going releases exclusive for TAA retailers are:
- Ashton VSG Robusto Especial
- Drew Estate Acid Big Bang
- Padron 1964 Toro TAA Exclusive Natural
- Padron 1964 Toro TAA Exclusive Maduro
- Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary Robusto Grande
- Nat Sherman Panamericana
As mentioned, the release of the The Angel’s Anvil 2016 is the third exclusive cigar for the TAA by Crowned Heads. At press time, The Angel’s Anvil 2017 has been announced as a part of the 2017 TAA Exclusive Series and will be Crowned Heads fourth TAA cigar.
- 2014: The Angel’s Anvil 2014
- 2015: The Angel’s Anvil 2015
- 2016: The Angel’s Anvil 2016
- 2017: The Angel’s Anvil 2017
Without further ado, let’s break down the The Angel’s Anvil 2016 and see what his cigar brings to the table:
Like the previous two installments of The Angel’s Anvil, the 2016 edition is made at Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s Tabacalera La Alianza factory
Wrapper: Connecticut Beoadleaf
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (Tabacalera La Alianza)
The Angel’s Anvil 2016 was produced in one size – a 5 1/2 x 54 box-pressed Robusto. The cigar was packaged in 20 count boxes.
The Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper of The Angel’s Anvil 2016 had a dark expresso color to it. Upon closer examination, some darker marbling can be seen on the surface. The wrapper had a somewhat oily complexion. While there were some visible wrapper seams and visible veins, the surface of the wrapper was on the smooth side. The box-press itself has a slight soft Cuban-press style.
The band to the Crowned Heads Angel’s Anvil 2016 is similar to previous additions, but with a different color scheme. The band itself has a white background. At the center of the band is the red Angel’s Anvil logo consisting of a red “T”along with two interlocking letter “A”s sitting on a gold circle. There is an outer ring surrounding that circle in gold with some arc-shaped segments. The first segment is on the upper part of the ring and says “THE ANGEL’S ANVIL” in white font – arranged in a curved fashion on a red background. Going clockwise is a white colored segment with a gold adornment; toward the bottom is the text “TAA-2016 ” arranged in a curved fashion in white font on a red background; and finally there is another white colored segment with a gold adornment. To the left and right of the circular pattern are gold medallions and a red design.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up The Angel’s Anvil 2016, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was successfully clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw delivered a mix of coffee, earth, and a slight amount of lemon and wood. Overall I considered this to be a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point I was ready to light up The Angel’s Anvil and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The Angel’s Anvil 2016 began in the same wheelhouse of the pre-light draw. The cigar kicked off with a combination of mocha and earth notes. In the background I detected notes of lemon and black pepper. Meanwhile the retro-hale delivered an extra layer of spice consisting of red and black pepper.
Mocha is a flavor analogy I use describe as a cross between coffee and chocolate. Throughout the first third, the chocolate component was a little more prominent. As The Angel’s Anvil 2016 moved into the second third, the coffee notes were a little more prominent. The earth notes also remained in the forefront. During the second third, I found the lemon sweetness diminished while the pepper component increased. Along with the pepper, I picked up some cedar notes in the background.
The last third of The Angel’s Anvil 2016 saw the pepper and cedar spices move into the forefront. I still picked up touches of coffee and a slight amount of the lemon sweetness. This is the way the cigar experience of The Angel’s Anvil 2016 came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
In terms of its burn, The Angel’s Anvil 2016 maintained a straight burn path from start to finish. There was a slight amount of jaggedness on the actual burn line. In most cases, this didn’t warrant an additional touch-up. I also found this was a cigar that was never in danger of tunneling or canoeing. The resulting ash had a light gray color. This was an ash that was on the firmer side. Meanwhile, the burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw of The Angel’s Anvil 2016 seemed to have the right amount of resistance. It was not too loose, nor was it too tight. Overall, this was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
Strength-wise, The Angel’s Anvil 2016 started out in the medium range. As the smoking experience progresses, there is an increase in strength and by the second third, it crosses into medium to full territory. The strength still increases along the way, but at a more gradual rate – thus remaining in the medium to full range.
In terms of body, the flavors come out medium to full out of the gate. The body undergoes a gradual increase in intensity and by the second half, The Angel’s Anvil 2016 transitioned to a full-bodied smoke – where it remained for the duration of the smoking experience.
I found with The Angel’s Anvil 2016, the body definitely had the edge over the strength.
When it comes to blends produced by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, one of the wrappers he excels with is Connecticut Broadleaf. The thing I also like about Perez-Carrillo’s Broadleaf blends is how no two are the same. With The Angel’s Anvil 2016, Perez-Carrillo delivers Crowned Heads a very nice entry into the 2016 TAA Exclusive Series. This is going to be one a bolder TAA offering than what Crowned Heads has delivered in the past, but it certainly will satisfy. It’s a cigar I would probably steer more toward an experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, it’s a cigar I would smoke again – and it’s worthy of a box split.
Key Flavors: Mocha, Earth, Lemon, Pepper, Cedar
Burn: Very Good
Strength: Medium (1st third), Medium to Full (Remainder)
Body: Medium to Full (1st Half), Full (Second Half)
Finish: Very Good
Assessment: 3.5-Box Split
News: Crowned Heads Angel’s Anvil 2016 Soon to Arrive at TAA Retailers
Brand Reference: Crowned Heads
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop