In March, we reported on the The Angel’s Anvil, a 7 1/8 x 49 churchill from Crowned Heads made exclusively for members of the Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA). The standalone brand is rolled at Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr.’s Tabacalera La Alianza, S.A. in the Dominican Republic and incorporates Nicaraguan tobacco for both the binder and fillers and is covered in an Ecuadorian Havana wrapper.
According to Crowned Heads co-owner Jon Huber, the story behind the new brand involves a wingless angel who befriends a blacksmith to help him create new wings. The story parallels Huber’s time in the cigar business, specifically when his former employer, CAO, was forced to move from Nashville to Richmond, Va. in order to become part of the General Cigar Co. portfolio following the completion of the merger between Swedish Match and Scandinavian Tobacco Group. Huber and Mike Conder, another former CAO employee, started Crowned Heads in 2011.
The information sheet that comes with the cigars indicates it was centered around the idea of classic Cuban Churchills. “The Angel’s Anvil blend was inspired by the classic Cuban Churchill cigars of years gone by, a la Romeo Y Julieta Churchill, H. Upmann Sir Winston, and Quai d’Orsay Imperiales.”
It’s the sixth limited edition release from Crowned Heads.
- Four Kicks Limited Edition 2012 Mule Kick (5 7/8 x 52) — November 2012 — 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Headley Grange Drumstick Limited Edition 2013 (7 1/2 x 38) — October 2013 — 1,500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (15,000 Total Cigars)
- Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2014 LC550 (5 x 50) — May 2014 — 1,000 Boxes of 24 Cigars (24,000 Total Cigars)
- Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2014 LC652 (6 x 52) — May 2014 — 1,000 Boxes of 24 Cigars (24,000 Total Cigars)
- Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2014 LC754 (7 x 54) — May 2014 — 1,000 Boxes of 24 Cigars (24,000 Total Cigars)
- The Angel’s Anvil (7 1/8 x 49) — June 2014 — 1,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
The TAA consists of just under 80 retailers and 40 manufacturers. Each year, they come together to discuss issues of the cigar industry, partake in a smaller trade show and socialize. While crafting cigars exclusively for TAA members is nothing new, over the last few years the idea of making limited editions for members has become significantly more popular amongst the manufacturers.
This year, seven new exclusives were offered to TAA members.
- The Angel’s Anvil (Crowned Heads)
- AVO 2nd Movement
- H. Upmann Bank Note
- La Flor Dominicana 707
- Padron 1964 TAA Exclusive
- My Father TAA Exclusive
- Tatuaje TAA 2014
In addition, a variety of exclusive cigars are available to TAA members annually, these include ACID Big Bang, Padrón 1964 TAA Toro, Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary TAA and Romeo y Julieta Magnum TAA.
The Angel’s Anvil is limited to 20,000 cigars with a suggested retail price of $10.50, and they are sold in boxes of 20.
- Cigar Reviewed: The Angel’s Anvil
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza, S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Havana
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 7 1/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 49
- Vitola: Churchill
- MSRP: $10.50 (Boxes of 20, $210.00)
- Date Released: June 19, 2014
- Number of Cigars Released: 1,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
The Angel’s Anvil is slightly imposing size-wise and covered in a mocha brown wrapper that has both some noticeable oil present as well as some tooth when felt. There is just a little bit of give when it is squeezed, and the band contrasts great with the brown in the cover leaf. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of sweet chocolate, nutmeg, cedar, leather and bakers spices. The cold draw brings distinct flavors of strong cinnamon, leather, creamy oak, sweet citrus, along with a touch of white pepper.
The first third of the The Angel’s Anvil starts out immediately with flavors of sweet milk chocolate, oak, leather, creamy nuts and coffee. The cinnamon from the cold draw is easily noticeable, getting strong enough to become the dominant note at times and combining well with a generic sweet undertone that comes and goes. Strength-wise, The Angel’s Anvil hits a point close to the medium mark by the end of the first third, while smoke production is above average so far. The burn is quite good and the draw is excellent.
The slight sweetness from the beginning of the cigar takes a major upswing in the second third, turning into a great floral sweetness that overpowers many of the other notes in the profile at times. Other flavors of milk, nuts, slightly tart citrus, leather and coffee flit in and out, although the cinnamon from the first third is long gone by the halfway point. The overall smoke production has increased noticeably, but the strength has not, ending the second third once again just short of the medium mark. Both the burn and draw continued to impress and there is a nice white pepper on the retrohale that only compliments the profile.
Once again, the dominant flavor in the profile of The Angel’s Anvil shifts, this time to a combination of creamy wood and sweet nectarine sweetness that is wonderful to taste when it is strongest. The background flavors have not changed much: leather, nuts, coffee, cocoa and hay, along with that same white pepper on the retrohale that has not seemed to dissipate as the cigar burns down. The burn and draw remain excellent, never giving me a problem on either front, while the smoke production has decreased slightly. Strength-wise, The Angel’s Anvil hits the medium mark by the time I put down the nub with about an inch to go, but barely.
- This is the first TAA release from Crowned Heads
- Interestingly, all three cigars the company claims The Angel’s Anvil inspired by are actually the classic Cuban size of 7 x 47.
- While the logo on the box and bands does have a striking resemblance to the Freemason’s logo, Huber says it is just coincidence:
The concept for The Angel’s Anvil was to incorporate the initials for TAA into its own brand. The idea for the logo was to take the T and overlay the A with an inverted A. We took that one step further in making the T a t-square and the two As into compasses.
- Speaking of the box, I do love the simplicity of the look that it has, with nothing more than an embossed logo on the front, as it really shows off the Cuban theme that inspired the release.
- In the story that Huber referenced about The Angel’s Anvil above, the blacksmith tells the Angel, “With these tools, you will forge your new wings. With these wings, you will announce the words Ascend Word He, and you will find your way home.” Interestingly, the term Ascend Word He in the story is an anagram for Crowned Heads.
- The overall construction on all three samples I smoked was extremely good, both burn and draw.
- Use of a capitalized ‘The’ in front of a cigar’s name is not entirely new. Pete Johnson’s Monster Series uses it for its core releases.
- The next annual TAA meeting and convention will take place March 23-27 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
- The cold draw is wonderful, one of the best I have tasted this year so far.
- I am afraid that some people will miss out on some of what this cigar has to offer, either by smoking too fast, not retrhohaling often enough — for what it is worth, I was retrohaling about once every three puffs on this cigar — or by just not taking their time in general.
- The cigars smoked for this review were sent to halfwheel by The Crowned Heads.
- This was not a fast burning cigar by any means, and the average smoking time for all three samples was just under two hours.
- This cigar is a TAA exclusive, meaning it’s only available at retail members. A list of retailers is available here.
With The Angel's Anvil being released just weeks after the Las Calaveras, comparisons are inevitable, but to say the two blends are extremely different is an understatement. Where the Las Calaveras is aggressive, The Angel's Anvil is subtle; where the Las Calaveras' flavors are in your face, the The Angel's Anvil profile is quite nuanced. While the churchill size is a bit large for my personal tastes, I understand why it was chosen, and more importantly, the blend seems to fit the vitola perfectly. While The Angel's Anvil is not in the same league as the Las Calaveras LC550, it is an extremely good release that requires patience and reflection to get the most out of it, and more importantly is well worth the effort of doing so.