Each year at the Premium Cigar Association Trade Show, our team tries to identify a theme going on with each company or their booth. This year at Crowned Heads, this author felt there were three things: 1) There was quite a lot of new product for Crowned Heads in 2023; 2) The company is solidifying its position with Ernesto Perez-Carrillo and Eradio Pichardo; and 3) Crowned Heads is making a major move pushing into the ultra-premium space.
For the new products, Crowned Heads came into the Trade Show with a new brand, a line extension of one of its most popular lines (Mil Días), a new annual limited edition (Four Kicks Mule Kick LE 2023), a PCA Exclusive (Le Pâtissier No. 2) and its first fresh-pack sampler (based on another very popular line Juarez). Crowned Heads is planning for all of its new products to ship before the summer is over. Perhaps the most interesting theme was solidifying its relationships with Ernesto Perez-Carrillo and Eradio Pichardo. Crowned Heads was adjacent to Perez-Carrillo’s E.P. Carrillo booth. Meanwhile, Eradio Pichardo was in the Crowned Heads booth. While there were questions about what would happen to some Crowned Heads brands because Pichardo was caught up in the dispute with ACE Prime, these questions were answered. Not only was Pichardo in the booth, but he remains a key production partner for Crowned Heads. Plus two of the key Crowned Heads lines produced by Pichardo, Mil Días and Juarez, saw line extensions.
Crowned Heads’ entry into the ultra-premium space is a new brand called La Vereda. La Vereda is a line built around aged tobaccos and utilizes some of the most skilled pairs to produce it. The cigar is produced out of Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s Tabacalera La Alianza. Priced between $18.40 to $21.80, it will be Crowned Heads’ most premium and most expensive offering to date. The blend features a Nicaraguan wrapper from Jalapa, aged a minimum of four years, a Nicaraguan binder also from Jalapa that has been aged a minimum of three years, and a combination of Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers also aged a minimum of three years. There will be four sizes of La Vereda – each packaged in 20-count boxes: No. 50 (5 3/8 x 50, SRP $18.40), No. 52 (6 1/2 × 52, SRP $19.60), No. 54 (5 5/8 x 54, SRP $20.60), and No. 56 (6 1/4 × 56, SRP $21.80).
Production-wise, Crowned Heads has said seven of the best buncheros and rollers at Tabacalera La Alianza were chosen to construct the La Vereda production. A total of 150 to 175 cigars are rolled a day per pair, which Crowned Heads says is less than the average of 250 per day per pair. Once La Vereda is rolled, it is aged an additional 90 days at a controlled environment of 65-66 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity level of 68-69%. This release is slated for August.
Mil Días can arguably be considered one of Crowned Heads’ most successful releases from a critical and commercial standpoint. The line made its debut in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic. While there have been some limited edition line extensions, there has not been a new regular production line extension – until now. The Mil Días Topes is that line extension – adding a short, thick 4 7/8 x 56 with a pigtail into the line. Produced at Eradio Pichardo’s TacaNisa factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, the blend consists of an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and filler. Pricing is set at $12.25 per cigar. Shipping is scheduled for August.
For the sixth year in a row (and seventh time overall), Crowned Heads is releasing Four Kicks Mule Kick cigar. In this case, it’s the Four Kicks Mule Kick LE 2023. However, this is the first time Crowned Heads has showcased a Mule Kick release at a PCA/IPCPR Trade Show. The Mule Kick was originally released in 2012. It was in that year that there was a batch of Ecuadorian Habano wrapper tobacco that was deemed too dark to use for the Four Kicks line. A decision was made to combine the wrapper with a tweaked version of the Four Kicks blend and release it as a limited edition. As a result, Four Kicks Mule Kick LE 2012 was born. The cigar became a huge hit for Crowned Heads and one of its most sought-after limited editions. In 2017, the Mule Kick was released again – using a similar blend to 2012. Following the 2017 release, the Mule Kick has been an (almost) annual release and the blends have been changed up from release to release. All of the Mule Kick cigars have been produced by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s Tabacalera La Alianza.
For the Mule Kick LE 2023, it uses an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper (the first time this has been on a Mule Kick since the 2019 release). While all of the previous installments of Mule Kick have used Nicaraguan tobaccos for binder and filler, this time the blend uses a Dominican binder and a combination of Dominican Piloto Cubano and Nicaraguan fillers. It comes in the same 5 7/8 x 52 that all of the previous Mule Kicks came in. Pricing is set at $12.95 with shipping scheduled for August.
For the third year in a row Crowned Heads has a PCA Exclusive, Le Pâtissier No. 2. It’s the second time in three years Le Pâtissier has been a PCA Exclusive. Last year, Crowned Heads made Le Pâtissier a regular production line and switched the production to the NACSA (Nicaraguan American Cigars S.A.). The Le Pâtissier No. 2 introduces a 6 1/8 x 52 torpedo. Crowned Heads is not known to release many torpedo-sized cigars. The blend consists of a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder from Jalapa, and fillers from Costa Rica and the Ometepe and Pueblo Nuevo regions of Nicaragua. The No. 2 will be presented in a 20-count box that is black in color (different from the regular production Line). Pricing for the Le Pâtissier No. 2 is set at $13.00 SRP per cigar.
Finally, Crowned Heads has its first fresh-pack sampler. It’s called Juárez Bulls on Parade. It’s a sampler of the four sizes of Juárez plus an exclusive 4 x 58 size of Juárez only available in the sampler called Ferdinand. Juárez is a line produced by Eradio Pichardo at TacaNisa. Pricing for the sampler is set at $29.95 and is scheduled to ship in August.
Interview with Jon Huber, Co-Founder, Crowned Heads
In this interview, we talk with Crowned Heads co-founder Jon Huber. This is one of our extended interviews from PCA. We thank Jon for giving our team 20 minutes during a very busy trade show.
Note: Due to age restrictions, you will have to click on Watch on YouTube below:
- Crowned Heads to Launch La Vereda at PCA 2023
- Crowned Heads to Introduce Mil Días Topes at PCA 2023
- Crowned Heads to Introduce Four Kicks Mule Kick LE2023 at PCA 2023
- Crowned Heads Adds Le Pâtissier No. 2 as 2023 PCA Exclusive
- Crowned Heads Juárez Bulls on Parade Fresh Pack to Debut at 2023 PCA
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted