In late 2011, the long-awaited and much-anticipated Four Kicks debuted from Crowned Heads, the Nashville-based company formed by Mike Conder, Nancy Heathman, Jon Huber and Michael Trebing, all former CAO employees. Four Kicks would be their first line, made by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr., and originally debuted in four sizes.
Huber told Brooks back in November:
It was towards the end of 2010, and my colleagues and I were in the midst of a tumultuous period of uncertainty, transition and change. The company that we held dear to our hearts, CAO International, Inc., was caught in the middle of a corporate merger between Swedish Match and ST Group (CAOʼs parent company at the time). The very foundation that CAO had been built upon–people, relationships, integrity, and loyalty–were being stripped away. The end result would be that many people whom we considered as ʻfamilyʼ would soon be unemployed and CAO would find itself being taken away from its hometown of Nashville, TN, and relocated to Richmond, VA.
When you see some 15 years of your lifeʼs work–your heart, passion, and joy–coming to an end, youʼre filled with many emotions. The song, “Four Kicks,” really spoke to me. It was filled with anger, rebellion, confidence, and determination. These were the feelings that inspired us to forge together and create what would later become “Crowned Heads, LLC.”
Four Kicks is about sticking to your guns, and remaining loyal to those whom you love, and the hometown that brought you to the dance. Four Kicks is about turning your back on the corporate machine, and making your own rules.
Shortly after the original four sizes shipped in November, Huber et al. announced that there would be a fifth size added to Four Kicks in 2012, followed by an announcement of a new line. By early 2012, the size was known as Selección No.5, i.e. the fifth selection or size, a 6 1/2 x 44 Lonsdale.
Huber explained the reason for the thinner vitola:
I’m a fan of classic sizes. I’m not a big RG fan. I believed the smaller RGs in the Four Kicks blend showcase the flavors more.
(In order of appearance)
- Selección No.5 (6 1/2 x 44) — $7.70
- Piramide (6 1/8 x 52) — $8.65
- Sublime (6 x 54) — $8.40
- Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46) — $6.95
- Robusto (5 x 50) — $7.60
As with the original Four Kicks, Selección No.5 will debut at UPtown’s Smoke Shop in Nashville, TN. The event, which is tomorrow April 27, 2012, will benefit Operation Stand Down Nashville.
And here’s the official Crowned Heads trailer for Four Kicks Selección No.5:
Like the rest of the Four Kicks line, Selección No.5 comes in boxes of 24.
- Cigar Reviewed: Four Kicks Selección No.5
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuadoran Habano
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 6 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 44
- Vitola: Lonsdale
- MSRP: $7.70 (Boxes of 24, $184.80)
- Date Released: April 27, 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Amongst the vitolas, Selección No.5 is the cleanest. The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper is applied near seamless and the smoothest and best-looking of the Four Kicks family despite a few watermarks. Given the lack of cellophane, I was a bit surprised at how strong the aroma is: earth, cocoa and a touch of barnyard with some underlying sweetness. It’s quite pungent and quite enjoyable. The foot provides a great contrast; significantly sweeter than the wrapper itself with notes of sweet graham cracker, cocoa and roasted nuts playing against the strong pungent leather from the wrapper. Cold draw is intriguing with the Four Kicks providing a dry profile of sweet earth, bits of cedar, some creaminess, sour leather and even a bit of a note that seems particularly reminiscent of twang.
The Four Kicks Selección No.5 begins the first third with a hearty and dry bittersweet nuttiness that continues to dry with some added leather and a touch of grapefruit. Without a doubt, the initial three puffs of each of the Lonsdale format are the most complex of any Four Kicks I’ve had, there’s not a lot of flavors, but they are doing a lot of different things. Unfortunately, after the five minute mark, the harsh black pepper that has been so synonymous with my other Four Kicks experiences takes over. The core is still nuttiness and leather with accents of creaminess and cedar underneath, but the pepper note dominates the lengthy finish enough that it’s a challenge to appreciate the other notes.
Fortunately, by the second third the pepper retreats. The core is a more mature nuttiness and sour leather, rather reminiscent of some of the cold draw with the nuttiness turning sweet into the finish thanks to some creaminess. In place of the pepper, which is still barely present, is a great array of spices that compliment the flavor profile wonderfully. While the flavor is overall much tamer, it’s a lot more enjoyable and still in the full category. As for construction, the ash can hold on a lot longer than it should and the burn is about as good as it gets. Draw and smoke production at times are phenomenal, but the Four Kicks makes you pay attention as the draw tightens in wave-like patterns and across all three Selección No.5s I smoked, I was concerned the cigar was going to go out any minute thanks to the odd smoke production.
The final third of Selección No.5 is an interesting take on the former third. Gone is the intertwined sweet nuttiness, as the two notes seem to separate themselves much more. The spices move up front a bit more and the cedar plays a much larger role in the flavor profile. There’s some coffee notes and much more of a generic tobacco, but the flavor is still full and still developed. Construction remains much like the prior thirds and strength is back at the medium plus levels from the first third after peaking in the medium-full range in the second third.
- If you reversed the thirds, I probably don’t make it halfway through the final third.
- While at every point from prior to lighting to the final third the Selección No.5 exhibits mature qualities, there are a few signs throughout that the cigar is still young. A bit of rest probably removes most of the slight hints of young tobacco.
- There will be a new Four Kicks hat at the event at Uptown’s Smoke Shop.
- I love the artwork for Four Kicks, it’s old school and extremely intricate without going overboard.
- Selección No.5 is not limited, but there were only 5,000 cigars as part of the initial shipment, that shipment is sold out for retailers.
- Crowned Heads is the first and only client brand for Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr.
- While the Selección No.5’s ash can hold for a few inches, I wouldn’t recommend it. The flavor turned around immediately after knocking off the huge chunk of ash pictured above and on the other two I smoked, I limited the ash to inch long chunks and got much better flavor and more consistent smoke production.
- Some might call it nitpicking, but the inconsistency of the construction became a bit annoying. At times the smoke production was excellent, and a times I felt I was moments from the cigar going out. The draw was tight, but it ebbed and flowed throughout and wasn’t really much of a problem for me, but those with less of a tolerance with tight draws might take issue.
- This is not an overly aggressive cigar in body or strength, but it is full in flavor. I think it would be difficult to taste much, particularly from anything that is not full flavor, after smoking most of the Four Kicks line-up, particularly Selección No.5
- Despite the immense amount of Crowned Heads apparel and swag, none of it is for sale.
- I would have loved to slow down more, but all three seemed to need the quicker puffing. Final smoking time was one hour and 30 minutes.
- If you would like to purchase Four Kicks Selección No.5, site sponsor Tobacco Grove (763.494.6688) is an authorized retailer. Don’t forget to tell them halfwheel sent you.
Despite the near universal love, I wasn't entirely sold on the first four vitolas of Four Kicks. The harsh pepper destroyed to much of the rest of the profile for me. Selección No.5 has the least amount of any of that harshness, although I recently smoked a Piramide from the first batch that definitely was improving, and as such I got to enjoy the other flavors in ways that just didn't happen with any of the other four vitolas. Still, it's there in the first third, and I'd much prefer it not to be. If you were part of the seemingly quiet minority that was not a fan of Four Kicks, and it wasn't because of the harshness, I doubt Selección No.5 is going to change your mind, because the reality is that Selección No.5 is best described as an amped up Four Kicks.