At the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show, Crowned Heads introduced a new regular production line known as Le Carême. It would become the company’s first regular Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper offering. Crowned Heads had released some Connecticut Broadleaf cigars in a limited capacity with the Mason Dixon line as well as the regional release Tennessee Waltz (for Tennessee), Paniolo Especial (for Hawaii), and Yellow Rose (for Texas) lines, but Le Carême will be a regular production offering. While the limited cigars would come out of the My Father Cigars factory, the company turned to its Dominican manufacturing partner, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. for Le Carême. Similar to what the company has done for several of its core lines, earlier this year Crowned Heads would unveil a special limited edition size of Le Carême in the form of a rounded 5 1/2 x 52 Belicosos Finos. Today we are a closer look at that cigar, the Le Carême Belicosos Finos LE 2018.
The Belicosos Finos is an iconic size that has been popular in Cuba, most notably with the Bolivar line. In 2017, Crowned Heads National Sales Manager Miguel Schoedel presented an idea to bring the Belicosos Finos size to the Le Carême line. The company soon went forward to work with Perez-Carrillo Jr to make the idea into reality and thus the Le Carême Belicosos Finos LE 2018 was born.
Le Carême pays homage to French Cuisine and gets its name from the 19th century French Chef, Marie-Antoine Carême. The inspiration to go in that direction occurred when Perez-Carrillo Jr. remarked the blend reminded him of a chocolate soufflé.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Le Carême Belicosos Finos LE 2018 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
Connecticut Broadleaf is a staple wrapper that Perez-Carrillo Jr. is known to work with. The binder utilizes another wrapper that is synonymous with Perez-Carrillo, Ecuadorian Sumatra. The fillers consist of 100% Nicaraguan tobaccos. The blend is produced at Perez-Carrillo Jr’s Tabacalera La Alianza factory in the Dominican Republic.
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza SA
The Le Carême Belicosos Finos is available in 12-count boxes. The other four regular production box-pressed sizes are presented in 24-count boxes. Total production of the Le Carême Belicosos Finos LE 2018 has been limited to 1,500 boxes (18,000 cigars).
Belicosos Finos (LE 2018): 5 1/2 x 52
Cosacos: 5 3/8 x 42
Hermoso No. 1: 6 1/2 x 48
Robusto: 5 x 50
Canonazo: 5 7/8 x 52
While it doesn’t factor into the score or rating; presentation-wise, this might be the best looking cigar I’ve seen in 2018.
The Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper of the Le Carême Belicosos Finos had a classic roasted coffee bean color to it. The wrapper had a light sheen of oil on it. This was a smooth wrapper while only some minimally visible veins. There also were some visible wrapper seams.
The band to the Le Carême has a white background. The center of the band has a design reminiscent of a chef’s hat with gold and dark trim. On the center of the band is a large blue “C” with gold accents. Below the “C” is the text “LE CARÊME” – also in blue font. To the left and right of the center of the band, there is a gold medallion along with various other gold adornments.
The Belicosos Finos is different from the other vitolas in the Le Carême line in that it has a secondary band denoting its a limited edition. The secondary band has a mostly black background. The upper and lower portions of the band have a gold and black trim pattern. On the center of the band is the text “LIMITED EDITION” in gold font. Just below that text and sitting partially on the trim on the lower portion of the band is the text “2018”.
A straight cut was used to commence the cigar experience of the Le Carême Belicosos Finos. For this cigar experience, the Credo Special T cutter with the 36 ring gauge hole was used to get an ideal cut for this figurado and take advantage of the taper. Once the tip was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw delivered a mix of earth and cedar with subtle hints of sweetness and spice. I considered this to be a satisfactory pre-light draw.
The Le Carême Belicosos Finos kicked off with notes of black coffee, black pepper, cedar, and classic wood. The black coffee notes wasted no time in moving to the forefront. Once the coffee settled into the forefront, it slowly began to develop a chocolate sweetness moving in the direction of becoming a classic mocha (fusion of coffee and chocolate). Meanwhile, the retro-hale produced an additional layer of black pepper.
As the Le Carême Belicosos Finos moved through the second third, the mocha fusion continued to evolve. The chocolate component got much richer. Meanwhile, the wood notes slightly increased in intensity. Around the midway point, there was a subtle mixed fruit note that was also present in the background with the cedar and pepper.
By the last third of the Le Carême Belicosos Finos, the coffee component of the mocha increased. While the increase in the wood notes leveled off, there was a slight increase in the pepper notes. The cedar notes also were present in the background. Meanwhile, the fruit sweetness that emerged by the midway point had dissipated. This is the way the cigar experience of the Le Carême Belicosos Finos came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
The Le Carême Belicosos Finos had no problem maintaining a straight burn path. The cigar also had a relatively straight burn line. The resulting ash was on the firm side. This was an ash that was light gray in color. Meanwhile, the Le Carême Belicosos Finos had an ideal burn temperature. As for the burn rate, the Le Carême Belicosos Finos was a slow burner (this was about a 110 minute smoke on average). The only effect of the slow burn was that it resulted in a longer burn time.
The Le Carême Belicosos Finos also maintained an excellent draw. There was a pleasant touch of resistance on the draw. The tip of the belicoso remained quite firm with the smaller ring toward the head never getting plugged.
Strength and Body
In terms of both strength and body, I didn’t find this vitola to be a powerhouse. This was a cigar that was medium in strength and medium in body. Overall, I didn’t find much variance in the intensity levels of the strength and body. I also found the medium strength and body meshed perfectly with the flavor profile.
When it came to strength versus body, I found the both attributes balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
In general, I have found the Le Carême line to be excellent offering by Crowned Heads. With the Le Carême Belicosos Finos, the rounded format and tapering seem to provide the perfect touches to take this blend up to the next level. While the sweeter chocolate-like notes are the star of the show, there are plenty of other flavors to round the flavor profile creating a nice level of balance. This is a cigar I could recommend to any cigar enthusiast to smoke – and fans of the Le Carême line should be pleased. As for myself, this is not only a cigar I’d reach for and smoke again, it’s easily worth making a box purchase in my book.
Key Flavors: Mocha (Coffee, Chocolate), Classic Wood, Pepper, Cedar
Value: Box Purchase
News Crowned Heads to Release Le Carême Belicosos Finos LE 2018
Brand Reference: Crowned Heads
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop