Finally got my hands on two boxes of the Mule Kick via one of my go to B&M emporiums. Once again, it pays to have a nice relationship with a Tier 1 B&M that in turn has the personal relationships with the "guys" themselves - i.e., the Pete's, Jon's, Ernesto's, Litto's of the world. Its especially cool when your B&M guy calls you and say, "hey Komodota - you want a couple of boxes of.................."?
Review: Four Kicks Mule Kick
By now the brand Crowned Heads and their Four Kicks line are a well known among boutique cigar lovers. However if you’re unfamiliar with them let’s take a look back at what Brooks had to say about them in his Four Kicks prerelease reviewlast year:
In November of 2010, C.A.O. Director of Lifestyle Marketing Jon Huber decided to leave the company after Scandinavian Tobacco (which had acquired C.A.O. in January 2007) moved C.A.O.’s operations from Nashville to Richmond, Virginia, where General Cigar Co., is based.
Soon after that, it was announced that Huber, along with three other former C.A.O. employees: Mike Conder, formerly C.A.O.’s senior VP of marketing; Michael Trebing, who served as C.A.O.’s creative media manager, and Nancy Heathman, who was C.A.O.’s graphic designer, were starting up a new brand, based in Nashville, Tennessee, which happens to be where C.A.O. was located until the move.
Crowned Heads, LLC, the official name of the new brand, planned on releasing just a single line by the end of 2011. The line would be called Four Kicks with inspiration coming from the Kings of Leon song by the same.
Says Jon Huber:
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.
We covered the details of the Mule Kick in a September news story:
Following up on a tweet sent on August 30th, Crowned Heads has announced plans for a new limited edition cigar that they are calling the ‘Mule Kick’ to be released in early November. Details of this new release were first discussed in this interview on RobbyRasReviews/CigarChat.
According to an article by David Savona, the line was spurred by a batch of wrapper leaf that was too dark for the Four Kicks line. The name comes from an exercise that Ernesto Perez-Carrillo is fond of and showed off for Jon Huber and Mike Conder of Crowned Heads during the recent IPCPR trade show. Perez-Carrillo makes Crowned Heads’ cigars at his Tabacalera La Alianza S.A. factory in Santiago, Dominican Republic.
To accommodate the wrapper difference, Huber said that some stronger ligero was added to the blend. The cigar, whose formal name is the Four Kicks Mule Kick Limited Edition 2012, will be made in one size – 5 7/8 x 52 – and will bear a secondary band that reads “Limited Edition 2012.” MSRP is said to be around $8.95 per cigar, with the cigar packed in ten-count boxes.
Here is what the box looks like:
Now you know the background, so let’s get to the review.
- Cigar Reviewed: Four Kicks Limited Edition 2012 Mule Kick
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuadoran Habano
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 5 7/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $8.95 (Boxes of 10, $89.50)
- Date Released: November 20, 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
The mottled brown wrapper is soft to the touch and slightly oily. It is applied very well and tight revealing every bump and nuance of the binder, in addition there’s a triple cap so seamless I almost missed it. The Mule Kick is firm to the touch with only some minor soft spots. Aroma coming off the wrapper lives up to the cigar’s namesake having strong barnyard notes. The notes from the cold draw only has a minor barnyard aroma but also has some nice sweet milk chocolate notes as well.
The beginning of the first third starts off with wonderful roasted almonds and milk chocolate notes with a some dried orange peel and cedar in the background. Draw is a bit tight, though it’s not bad and there is still plenty of smoke. The burn starts a little rough but not uneven. Caramelized sugar has started to work its way in with the roasted almond and milk chocolate making this a very overall sweet profile. The dark gray and white ash holds very solid to an inch and a half before I decide it is better ashed in my ashtray than my lap. It continues into the second third with the almost dessert like profile of milk chocolate, almonds, and orange peel. A complimentary cinnamon note has started to develop which fits in perfectly. The Mule Kick’s ash continues to hold very well speaking volumes of the construction quality of the cigar. Burn has also evened up well making me think that the first third was my own fault when I lit it. The draw of the Four Kicks has also opened up just enough to be just easy enough. The final third isn’t much different from the rest which is a good thing. The cedar that had kind of disappeared in the second third has come back in the final third as a nice background compliment to the profile. With only about an inch left the cigar has gotten a touch harsh but nothing that deters from the overall enjoyment of this cigar.
- Interestingly, there’s not a 5 7/8 x 52 size of the regular Four Kicks line, so comparing side-by-side to see the difference isn’t really possible.
- Mule Kick landed almost a year to the date after the original Four Kicks line was released, the original Four Kicks shipped out from Crowned Head’s Nashville offices on November 8, 2011.
- It is somewhat interesting that Crowned Heads has finally released a limited edition, Huber & co. spent much of the time surrounding the release of Four Kicks and Headley Grange explaining why each of those cigars were not limited editions.
- With the added ligero I expected a little more strength out of the cigar however I’d peg the Mule Kick at medium strength.
- Given the bands and box read, “Limited Edition 2012″ you have to wonder if there will be a “Limited Edition 2013.” As of this time, there seems to be no record of a comment either way.
- The samples I tried I had to smoke very soon after they arrived and I think they might be a tad over humidified. They still smoked great, however I am very excited to see what they could do after acclimating to my humidor for a little while.
- Final smoking time is just under two hours.
The Bottom Line: Unfortunately I’ve not had the chance to try many of the other Four Kicks cigars. Those that I’ve had I definitely enjoyed, though I must say the Mule Kick brings a little more to the table. The overall sweet profile with solid and smooth flavors makes this a very enjoyable cigar. The flavor profile isn’t overly deep allowing the wonderfully matched flavors to shine without getting muddled or lost in the confusion. The lack of spicy kick and the medium strength of the cigar makes this something that could be overpowered by a stronger drink pairing, but works perfectly with lighter pairings. With a very reasonable price range and a box of ten costing less than a hundred dollars I can easily recommend going out and picking these up, however you’ll have to move fast as these are very limited and are going to be hard to find.
Final Score: 92