In mid-2010 it became quite apparent that the CAO we knew would be no more. The company’s executives were leaving, its Nashville headquarters was to be shut down, and its spirit was definitely not in a good place.
Reading back through some of the comments from 2010, I think it’s fair to say General Cigar Co. has done a better job with CAO than most of what have expected. It’s different, just about any company that is acquired by a much larger competitor ends up being that way, but no one was expecting the success that General has enjoyed.
One of the reasons why was the people that were leaving CAO. Many of them ended up at Toraño, which ended up being acquired by General a few years later, but four started a company called Crowned Heads.
The company’s first line was called Four Kicks, based on the Kings of Leon of the same name and certainly a reference to the four individuals. It started with just four cigars, a number that has doubled as far as the regular blend is concerned. There’s a twice-released limited edition with different colored wrappers, a private label line for Famous Smoke Shop, and now, Four Kicks Maduro.
Four Kicks Maduro is offered in four sizes, three of which are the same as the debut four vitolas for the original line. It uses a Connecticut habano wrapper in place of the Ecuadorian habano cover leaf found on the original blend over a Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan fillers.
- Four Kicks Maduro Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46) — $8.95 (Boxes of 24, $214.80)
- Four Kicks Maduro Robusto (5 x 50) — $9.60 (Boxes of 24, $230.40)
- Four Kicks Maduro Sublime (6 x 54) — $10.40 (Boxes of 24, $249.60)
- Four Kicks Maduro Robusto Extra (5 1/2 x 56) — $10.65 (Boxes of 24, $253.44)
While the company originally planned to ship the cigar in August, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr., whose Tabacalera La Alianza S.A. factory is making the Four Kicks Maduro, wanted to delay the release to allow more time for the wrapper to process. As such, it didn’t begin shipping to stores until early November.
- Cigar Reviewed: Four Kicks Maduro Corona Gorda
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
- Wrapper: Connecticut Habano
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 5 5/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 46
- Vitola: Corona Gorda
- MSRP: $8.95 (Boxes of 24, $214.80)
- Release Date: Nov. 10, 2017
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The dark wrapper could pass for Connecticut broadleaf on some of the cigars that came through our office, but on others, it has a distinct smoothness that isn’t a particularly common feature for the wrapper. Speaking of the wrapper, I struggle to get much aroma off of any of the cigars, despite them being packed in cellophane. Oftentimes, it seems like hand soap is what I’m largely picking up. That being said, I piece together bitter cocoa and barnyard, two flavors that aren’t found from the aforementioned soap. The foot has a sweeter cocoa, barnyard and some nuttiness, but I once again find each sample to be quite mild. The cold draw certainly is stronger in terms of the intensity of the flavors, but the distinctness isn’t particularly better: popcorn, nuttiness, barnyard and a grainy flavor that I never place specifically.
It begins toasty with earth, grainy and a touch of floral flavors leaving a semi-sweet impression. The beginning stages of the Four Kicks Maduro is medium-full with great smoke production. Unfortunately, the latter doesn’t stay great for long. The draw is open on each sample and the first sample I smoke quickly goes out despite what I thought was a fair attention to detail. Flavor-wise, it’s quite enjoyable with a pleasant mixture of nuttiness, earthiness and creaminess over some coffee, oranges and black pepper. I really wish the draw was a bit tighter, not just to keep the burn form going out, but also because I think the flavors aren’t benefitting from my much quicker smoking rate.
The second third of the Four Kicks Maduro Corona Gorda gets sweeter with apples on top of a woody and salty sunflower mixture. At times, I pick up more of a pink salt flavor, but for the most part the saltiness is embedded with another flavor creating the sunflower seed sensation. After the halfway mark, toastiness builds, though never getting close to challenge the woody flavor. Flavor picks up to full, body is medium-full and strength is medium. The draw continues to be an issue, though my increased smoking rate is keeping the cigar from going out, albeit not without a few touch-ups.
There’s a pretty dramatic turn for the final third with creaminess and nuttiness returning to the forefront, but the creamy flavor is certainly the dominating aspect. Behind that there’s some paprika and at times, a really pronounced macadamia nut cookie flavor. Flavor drops to medium-full, the body reduces to medium and the strength remains on the milder side of medium. Unfortunately, my issues with the Four Kicks Maduro draw remain and I’m forced to keep my lighter close.
- I really like the change made to differentiate the main line from the new Maduro version.
- Connecticut habano is having a quite resurgence, something that’s a nice change given the prevalence of broadleaf-wrapped cigars on the market.
- I didn’t run the numbers, but I suspect this would be a top 25 contender for halfwheel without the draw issues.
- The draw was a huge disappointment on all three cigars. I am looking forward to smoking the other sizes to see if they can avoid that problem. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: when a cigar doesn’t draw properly it affects every part of how the cigar performs, including flavor.
- On that note, there were times in which the smoke production was absolutely insane.
- I didn’t detect any issues with the draw in the cold draw.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Cigar Hustler, Elite Cigar Cafe (972.661.9136), JR Cigar, and STOGIES World Class Cigars (713.783.5100) carry the Four Kicks Maduro.
This cigar should be better than its score, which I didn't know until it was published due to how we write reviews. Whatever the number is, know this: if the cigar was rolled just slightly better and tighter, it's worth a few points. Flavor-wise, this cigar is on point; construction-wise, not so much. Given the brand, the factory and the price, I'm willing to try the other vitolas or another box to see if those issues can be avoided, because if they are, it should be a very good cigar.