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Before 2018, Crowned Heads had never shipped two limited edition cigars based on the same blend during the same year.

That changed this year, as the company not only shipped two different Four Kicks Maduro Limited Edition releases—the Four Kicks Mule Kick 2018 and the Four Kicks Maduro Lancero LE 2018. The latter was initially released for retail members of the Tobacconists’ Association of America (TAA), who also got The Angel’s Anvil 2018.

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As with the rest of the Four Kicks Maduro line, this newest vitola incorporates a Connecticut habano wrapper along with Nicaraguan tobacco in both the binder and filler. While it debuted as an exclusive for Tobacconists’ Association of America retailers in June, Crowned Heads offered the remaining production—said to be less than 1,000 boxes—to all other retailers at this year’s IPCPR show.

“The Four Kicks Maduro Lancero follows in previous Crowned Heads lancero releases such as Headley Grange Drumstick and J.D. Howard Single Action,” said Jon Huber, Crowned Heads co-founder, in a press release. “It was difficult keeping this one quiet since its debut at the show; however, we wanted our TAA supporters to enjoy some time with this release before we made it available worldwide.”

Production of the Four Kicks Maduro Lancero LE 2018 is limited to 1,500 boxes of 10 cigars with each cigar retailing for $9.95. The cigars were rolled at the Tabacalera La Alianza, S.A. factory, in Santiago, Dominican Republic, the same factory responsible for the rest of the Four Kicks line.

There have now been four different Four Kicks Limited Edition releases.

In addition, the Four Kicks Maduro Lancero LE 2018 is the first new vitola in the Four Kicks Maduro line since it debuted last year.

  • Four Kicks Maduro Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46) — $8.95 (Boxes of 24, $214.80) — Regular Production
  • Four Kicks Maduro Robusto (5 x 50) — $9.60 (Boxes of 24, $230.40) — Regular Production
  • Four Kicks Maduro Sublime (6 x 54) — $10.40 (Boxes of 24, $249.60) — Regular Production
  • Four Kicks Maduro Robusto Extra (5 1/2 x 56) — $10.65 (Boxes of 24, $253.44) — Regular Production
  • Four Kicks Maduro Lancero LE 2018 (7 1/2 x 38) — $9.95 (Boxes of 10, $99.50) — 1,500 Boxes of 10 (15,000 Total Cigars)

  • Cigar Reviewed: Four Kicks Maduro Lancero LE 2018
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
  • Wrapper: Connecticut (Habano)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 7 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 38
  • Vitola: Lancero
  • MSRP: $9.95 (Boxes of 10, $99.50)
  • Release Date: June 2018
  • Number of Cigars Released: 1,500 Boxes of 10 (15,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Visually, the Four Kicks Maduro Lancero LE 2018 is covered in a mottled, dark espresso brown wrapper that features quite a bit of tooth to it as well as a noticeable sheen of oil. It is quite hard when squeezed, and the short pigtail on the cap is a nice touch. The aroma from the wrapper is a massive dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, manure, leather, cedar and cherry sweetness while the cold draw brings flavors of strong an distinct raisin sweetness, earth, hay, oak, leather, black pepper and slight spice on my tongue.

Starting out, the first third of the Maduro Lancero LE 2018 features the same bitter chocolate from the cold draw followed by lesser notes of coffee beans, creamy oak, floral, almonds and roasted corn. While the retrohale is almost all black pepper, there is quite a bit of sweetness on the finish and alternates between the rich raisin note from the cold draw to more of an apricot note, depending on the puff. The burn is excellent so far, the draw is a bit spongy after a simple straight cut, albeit not bad enough to have a negative impact on the profile. Smoke production is extremely dense off of the foot and while the overall strength starts out firmly in the mild range and does increase as the cigar burns down, it still is far from the medium mark by the time the first third comes to an end.

Dark chocolate is still easily the dominant flavor in the profile as the second third of the Four Kicks Maduro Lancero begins, along with flavors of creamy oak, leather, hay, bread, baker’s spices and a touch of floral that flit in and out in various amounts. There is a small amount of mint on the retrohale that is only noticeable due to the reduction in the strength of the black pepper compared to the first third, while the amount of raisin sweetness has actually increased considerably, easily overtaking the finish. Construction-wise, the draw continues to be a bit tight, but the burn remains excellent, never giving me a hint of trouble. The smoke production remains quite high—and is also quite dense in body—while the overall strength increases enough to come close to the medium mark by the time the second third ends, although it ultimately fails to cross over that point.

The raisin sweetness that has been a staple of the profile so far fades a bit in the final third of the Four Kicks Maduro Lancero LE 2018, although there is still enough to pair fantastically with the dark chocolate note that is still dominant. Other flavors of gritty earth, cashews, dried tea leaves, cedar and espresso beans are also present and accounted for, while the black pepper on the retrohale has increased again after having a lull in the second third. Nothing has changed for the burn—in other words, it remains a bit tighter than I would like—and the burn does start to run enough that I have to touch it up twice to keep it on track. The overall strength finally increases enough to hit a point just above the medium mark just as I put the nub down with less than an inch to go, but never came close to going any further.

Final Notes

  • The raisin sweetness on the cold draw of each of these cigars I smoked was easily the most distinct I have tasted in a cigar in a very long time. I would be happy to do nothing but cold draw on these for hours.
  • There is no denying that the draw on the samples I smoked was spongy throughout, but it was never bad enough to negatively impact the cigar in either flavor or burn as far as I could tell.
  • Interestingly, while the regular production versions of the Four Kicks Maduro have main bands with a black background, the background on the Four Kicks Maduro Lancero LE 2018 is red, which matches the three Mule Kick releases so far.
  • There was also a lancero released for the original Four Kicks blend in 2015, though it was an exclusive for STOGIES World Class Cigars in Houston.
  • Frankly, I was shocked at how long each of these cigars took to smoke: the final smoking time averaged just over two hours.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • If you would like to purchase any of the Four Kicks Maduro Lancero LE 2018, site sponsors Cigars.com, JR Cigar and Serious Cigars have them in stock.
89 Overall Score

Let’s get one thing out of the way: the amount of raisin sweetness that permeates the profile of the Four Kicks Maduro Lancero LE 2018 is insane; while I thought it would diminish after a few puffs—or at most, the first third—it stayed fairly consistent throughout, meaning it was easily one of the dominant flavors. As a result, the rest of the flavors in the profile seemed that much more complex, including a persistent dark and bitter chocolate, creamy cedar and black pepper. I have always been a fan of the Four Kicks blend since it was introduced way back in 2011—more so than anyone else on the halfwheel staff, I think—but this is a more refined, more complex and more enjoyable blend all around. An excellent cigar in a great vitola with very good construction overall, and a cigar I already look forward to smoking again.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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