When it comes to regular production cigars, Crowned Heads has had a fairly predictable approach: one per year, introduced at the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show each summer. That all went out the window when the company began shipping four boxes to seven stores last month.
Inside the plain boxes was the company’s newest regular production line: Las Mareas.
Crowned Heads owner Jon Huber attempted to do it somewhat quietly, but shortly thereafter acknowledged the cigar’s existence and divulged a few plans for the release. Las Mareas is a Nicaraguan puro using a corojo 99 wrapper and Crowned Heads once again turning to the García family’s My Father Cigars S.A. for production.
Each of the seven retailers was shipped one plain box of each size with preproduction bands.
- Las Mareas (4 1/2 x 48) — $8.25 (Boxes of 20, $165)
- Las Mareas (5 1/2 x 52) — $9.75 (Boxes of 20, $195)
- Las Mareas (6 x 54) — $10.50 (Boxes of 20, $210)
- Las Mareas (6 1/8 x 46) — $9 (Boxes of 20, $180)
Huber recently posted an update as to what the box could look like.
According to a statement given to CigaHr, two vitolas of Las Mareas will ship next month limited to 10,000 cigars. Next summer, all four sizes will formally debut.
- Cigar Reviewed: Las Mareas (4 1/8 x 48)
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo 99
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 4 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 48
- Vitola: Short Robusto
- MSRP: $8.25 (Boxes of 20, $165)
- Release Date: Sept. 11, 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production1
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
I’m not sure when I’ve reviewed a cigar with a printed band on it, but it’s been a while. As for the cigar itself, it’s got a fair number of veins and is somewhat rough, but the wrapper has a bright tan color that I really like. From color to shape, it looks a bit Cuban. Despite the cellophane, there’s not a ton of aroma from the cigar, just some earth and leather. From the foot, I get sugar, cedar, some roasted cranberries and bits of cocoa. The cold draw doesn’t have a ton of flavors, but what’s there is very refined: grains, cedar and a touch of cocoa.
It’s a tale of two profiles for the beginning of the Las Mareas. At the outside of the tongue, there’s some floral flavors, but the core of the tongue gets dry cocoa with cedar. Through the nose there’s semisweet leather, some roughness and a big, yet quick, blast of spices on the finish. That theme continues as the cigar burns down; coffee and cedar are intertwined with toastiness, while a nuttiness is extremely developed and complimented by a burnt marshmallow. The flavor is full, body is medium-plus and strength is medium. Construction-wise, the draw is great and the smoke production is huge. The burn gets uneven quickly on two samples, but both manage to correct themselves a little over an inch in, although, it creates an extremely ugly-looking ash.
At some points during the second third, I’m not sure if I’m smoking a Cuban-made Montecristo or Hoyo de Monterrey, or a Nicaraguan Crowned Heads. There’s a lot of grains, coffee, dry peanut shells and some cocoa on the mouth and a sweet Cointreau-like citrus through the nose. Midway through, the mouth does begin to show a building sour earth, but the other flavors can still break through. As it was from the first puff, this is still very much a tale of two profiles: one very developed and one with some rawness. That being said, both are quite rich. The draw loosens a bit but is still well within acceptable range, and the ash seems to be falling off even quicker, while the burn remains even.
The loosening draw is forcing a quicker puff routine and I’m extremely confident that without it, the cigar would be going out. I manage to avoid that and the Las Mareas greets me with a flavor profile that is rather similar to the second third. The sour earth begins to recede pretty quickly into the final third and the toastiness returns from earlier in the cigar, but it’s otherwise extremely similar. With an inch left, I cannot pick up the peanut shell note, although there’s still a generic nuttiness.
- The “Cubanesque” term gets thrown around a lot, but this is on Curivari levels of Cubaneseque–as close as I’ve tasted.
- I haven’t smoked any of the other sizes.
- The draw got pretty open with a bit less than an inch left and after that all three samples managed to find a way to quickly go out. I was okay with it given how late in the cigar it was, that being said, this wasn’t that long of a cigar.
- I do find this a bit odd, since I would normally be in favor of it, but I think foregoing the bands might have made a bit more sense for the stealth prerelease approach the company was going for.
- For a company like Crowned Heads, trying to do anything quiet is comical. I understand that it was part of a marketing strategy, but the idea that anything was going to stay quiet for anything more than a couple of hours is unrealistic.
- Given the prominence of Ecuadorian, Mexican and broadleaf wrappers, a Nicaraguan puro is a bit of a surprise these days.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Site sponsor Lone Star State Cigar Co. (972.424.7272) was one of the retailers chosen as a prerelease account.
For better and worse, the Las Mareas reminds me a lot of current regular production Cubans. It’s got a mixture of flavors, some very developed and others very raw. They are bold and aggressive, oftentimes creating a profile that is quite enjoyable, but at times, too overwhelming. So oftentimes when non-Cuban cigars are designated as Cuban-esque it’s with an overly ideal image of what Cuban cigars are. This seems like a more realistic take on what Cuba’s bolder brands are smoking like today.