Cigar Review: La Vereda by Crowned Heads

This is the most expensive Crowned Heads cigar to date. At just over $20 for the No. 54 (close to a toro), getting three of these for this review was a hard pill to swallow but I didn’t hesitate too much as I have really enjoyed many of the recent releases from them. Crowned Heads once again partnered with Ernest Perez-Carrillo to craft the premium La Vereda (The Path). The cigar boasts a shade-grown wrapper that has been aged for four years with the fillers being aged for at least three. The age alone leads one to believe that this is a cigar that is a little more special.

OVERVIEW

VITOLA:   No. 54
SIZE:   5-5/8″ x 54

ORIGIN:   Dominican Republic 
FACTORY:   Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.

WRAPPER:   Nicaragua
BINDER:   Nicaragua
FILLER:   Dominican Republic and Nicaragua

STRENGTH:   Medium

SOURCE:   
Manufacturer

ENVIRONMENT

WHERE:   
Outside, back patio

WHEN:   
24 February 2024, Early Afternoon

DRINKS:   
Water

WEATHER:   
Sunny in the 60s

HOW MANY CIGARS SMOKED:   
3

PRODUCTION

RELEASE TYPE  Regular Production

ORIGINALLY RELEASE DATE  August 2023

TOTAL PRODUCTION
Typical Box Size:     Boxes of 20
Production Totals:  UNK

VITOLA BREAKDOWN
o  No. 54  (5-5/8″ x 54)
No. 50  (5-3/8″ x 50)
o No. 52  (6-1/2″ x 52)
o No. 56  (6-1/4″ x 56)

BAND DESIGN

The band looks more upscale than anything Crowned Heads has released. The clean design and choice to use black white and gold foiling make it look like it could fit right it with Louis Vuitton and Versace logos. The design and color choice remind me of Cuban cigar bands like the Cohiba Behike. Since this is Crowned Heads first $20 cigar it makes sense that the band was designed this way. 

PRE-LIGHT OBSERVATIONS

CONSTRUCTION

A very nice light colored chocolate wrapper with very minimal veins with a double cap that was hastily placed. The seams are tight, but still visible. The cigar is slightly spongy to the touch and definitely has some soft spots throughout the body. It’s a nice looking cigar despite some sloppy cap application but I can’t fault the cigar for that it’s a handmade product.

AROMA

On the body of the cigar, the aroma is a very faint barnyard. There is a sour sweetness to it as well, and I’ve described that in other cigars. There is also a worn leather note. On the foot, you can smell a little more moisture like the leather I smelled before got wet. A stronger barnyard note with earth come out on the foot with a little bit of stinging spice on the nostrils at the end.

COLD DRAW

The cold draw reveals a semi tight draw with hints of dry earth, hay, and something that resembles a tart citrus juice I don’t know what kind of citrus juice, but it is a tart and bitter citrus note. There is no real spice on the cold draw like I experienced in the aroma.

SMOKING EXPERIENCE

LIGHT & DRAW
Cut:  Straight
Fire:  Torch

The cigar has a perfect draw, right off a light up and right away I noticed a very creamy note with some minerality mixed in. After that dissipates, a milk chocolate moves in, leading to a damp earth note. On the retro, you get a tiny bit of cayenne pepper, but that goes away and turns to hay. The hay on the retro transitions well with the finish and brings you right back to the cream experienced at light up. I’m enjoying the contrast of traditionally mild flavor notes with spice on the retro.

SMOKE

There is a medium amount of smoke coming out of this cigar. It’s not huge plumes, but it’s not a disappointing amount of smoke either. 

FIRST THIRD
>> Cream, Earth, Pepper

Even with an uneven light, the burn and ash managed to straighten out. Throughout the first third I noticed that the cigar just completely smooth out into a cream note. It’s easiest to describe it as steamed milk with a little shake of cinnamon on top but cinnamon goes unnoticed if you are sitting down and doing anything else, besides trying to pick out notes in a cigar. The retro smoothed out as well and you can still feel some of that cayenne on the backend if you keep blowing out of your nose. The finish gets a little deeper with earthy tones, pepper, cinnamon, and cocoa powder. I will say that it leaves a very dry mouth feel at this point and I keep expecting some amount of sweetness but it never comes out.

SECOND THIRD
>> Cream, Sweet Tobacco, Cocoa Powder

The burn continues to be straight and the ash is not as tight as other cigars that I smoked and you have some of it flaking off but not to the point where it’s annoying. The foundation of cream continues but gets a little more interesting in the second third. A sharp, sweet tobacco comes in which shakes up the pallet a little bit. The way the first third finished moves in closer to the main flavors on the pallet. There are earthy tones with a little bit of pepper and some cocoa powder. The finish is the same but not as dry as the first third. Those notes stick with you for at least 30 seconds so it is a nice long finish that is very mild. The cigar edges being completely mild with some peaks of medium body flavor.

FINAL THIRD
>> Chocolate, Almond Milk, Ginger Snap

Despite tearing off some of the wrapper and exposing the binder when removing the band, the cigar managed to fight through the flaw and continue to burn straight. It is a full-blown medium body, if not, edging on the full side in the last third. On the pallet you get way more chocolate sweetness, almond milk, and earthy tones. The retro actually has no spice to it and has a pleasant creaminess with some almond. The finish where you really see this cigar start to move into the full bodied realm with bold earth, black pepper and espresso notes rounding out the experience. Towards the end you get a nice ginger snap with butter. It’s such a stark contrast from the first third that seemed so tame. I have to say that I was skeptical at first and thought that this cigar would be just your normal, mild body cigar, but it really turned into something interesting. It would have been better if the experience and notes of the last third were more prevalent earlier on.

RATING & FINAL THOUGHTS

FLAVOR PROGRESSION

The flavor progression of this stick is one that I have not experienced often. From a very mild beginning that builds with each passing moment to a final third, that is bold and well rounded. While the cigar keeps all of the elements that I enjoyed from the first two thirds, it would have been better to have some of that boldness in the last third sooner. This is a cigar that I want to sit down by myself and smoke, and really enjoy all of the transitions it has to offer.

BURN EXPERIENCE 

The construction of this cigar is something that I really look for despite some flaws. It performed very well, and even when issues came up in any of the samples, it self corrected every time. With noticeable soft spots and cracks in the wrapper from the band glue tearing it off, I never had any doubts that it would ruin the experience.

RATING BREAKDOWN
0.75 / 0.80 … Craft & Aesthetic
0.45 / 0.50 … Pre-Light Characteristics
0.50 / 0.50 … Lighting Process
6.50 / 7.70 … Smoking Experience
0.30 / 0.50 … Personal Enjoyment

COMPLIMENTS & CRITIQUES

Great Transition!

I really enjoyed this cigar, and I did not think I would in the beginning. There is a time and a place for mild cigars and that’s usually in the morning with a cup of coffee. I made a pre-judgment thinking that this was gonna be like any other mild stick and I was wrong in making that decision. If you have never experienced a drastic transition in a cigar, this is a perfect cigar to get that experience. If you can’t make up your mind between a mild or medium or even full bodied cigar this is definitely a stick that you want to try.

SIMPLY STOGIES RATING:  8.5 / 10.0

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