Although the release did not have an official name at the time, the first we heard about the Mason-Dixon Project—Limited Edition 2014 was at the 2014 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, when Patrick Lagreid and I sat down with Crowned Heads co-owner Jon Huber to talk about the company’s upcoming releases. At the time, we were told that the limited edition would be two different blends available in different regions of the country.

In September, we reported that the project would be named the Mason-Dixon Project—Limited Edition 2014 and that the two blends would be available in retailers on either side of the Mason-Dixon line, a boundary created by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in 1767 to settle a dispute between the colonies of Pennsylvania and Maryland.

While both releases are composed of a different blend, there are quite a few similarities between them: both share the 6 x 52 toro vitola, both have an MSRP of $9.85, both are made at My Father Cigars S.A. in Nicaragua, both come in boxes of 20 and both have a total production of 25,000 cigars.

In terms of the blend of each, the MDP-LE 2014 Southern Edition is composed of a Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper covering binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua, while the MDP-LE 2014 Northern Edition uses a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper along with Nicaraguan tobaccos in the filler and binder.

The Mason Dixon Project Limited Edition 2014

The Mason Dixon Project Limited Edition 2014 Northern Edition 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: The Mason-Dixon Project—Limited Edition 2014 Northern Edition
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Connecticut broadleaf
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $9.85 (Boxes of 20, $197)
  • Release Date: Oct. 22, 2014
  • Number of Cigars Released: 1,250 Boxes of 20 Cigars (25,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review:

Covered in a dark espresso brown wrapper, the MDP-LE 2014 Northern Edition is a bit spongy to the touch, but features a significant amount of tooth when you run you finger down the length. There are several major veins present, along with a noticeable amount of speckles dispersed all over. Aroma from the wrapper is sweet oak, leather, raisins and manure, while the cold draw brings flavors of strong leather, hay and black pepper.

The Mason-Dixon Project—Limited Edition 2014 Northern Edition starts off with a dominant leather and oak combination, along with lesser flavors of dark cocoa, bitter espresso, gritty earth, barnyard and grass. There is some significant black pepper on the retrohale along with some spice on the tongue, both of which don’t seem to be receding any as the first third continues. Smoke production is massive off of the foot, and I can taste an interesting maple sweetness on the retrohale every once in a while. The draw is excellent and although the burn is a bit wavy so far, it never gets bad enough to actually correct. Strength-wise, the Mason-Dixon North easily hits the medium mark by the end of the first third, but seems to stall out there.

The Mason Dixon Project Limited Edition 2014 Northern Edition 2

While the maple sweetness remains on the finish, a gritty earthiness becomes the dominant flavor in the profile of the MDP-LE 2014 Northern Edition not long after the second third begins. Other flavors of leather, bitter espresso, roasted peanuts and dark chocolate flit in and out at random, and I even taste a hint of citrus intermittently. The black pepper continues to be present in fairly large amounts on the retrohale, and while the spice on the tongue has dissipated, it is still strong enough to notice. Both the burn and draw are identical to the first third, with the burn still a bit wavy — albeit not bad enough to actually worry about — and the draw exhibiting just the right amount of resistance. Smoke production has decreased a bit, but is still well above average, and the strength has moved very little, ending the second third slightly above the medium mark.

The Mason Dixon Project Limited Edition 2014 Northern Edition 3

The final third of the Mason-Dixon Project—Limited Edition 2014 Northern Edition features a profile that is close to a combination of the first two thirds: a dominant leather/earth mix up front, while the background flavors include dark chocolate, bitter espresso, peanuts, grass and barnyard. The sweetness has morphed a bit, turning into more of a floral note, but it is not overly strong at any point during the final third, and never seems to gain traction. The black pepper on the retrohale has actually increased a bit in strength, but the spice on the tongue is long gone. The burn has evened up nicely, and the draw continues to impress, while the overall strength stays stubbornly at a point just above medium until I put the nub down with about an inch left.

The Mason Dixon Project Limited Edition 2014 Northern Edition 4

Final Notes

  • As with a few of Tatuaje’s releases that use Connecticut broadleaf, the wrapper on the The Mason-Dixon Project—Limited Edition 2014 Northern Edition shows a multitude of shiny speckles up and down its length. While Huber could not confirm that the Connecticut broadleaf is the same used in Tatuaje’s blends, visually they look quite similar.
  • While the (generic) description of the binder and filler tobaccos for both blends say “Nicaraguan,” Huber confirmed to me that the Northern and Southern editions are very different blends internally.
  • The first time I saw the band, it instantly reminded me of the General Lee, most likely because of the similarities between the line of stars present on both.
  • This blend gets extremely harsh if you puff too fast, so take it slow.
  • The final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 35 minutes.
  • The cigars smoked for this reviewer were purchased by halfwheel.
  • halfwheel sponsor Atlantic Cigar has the The Mason-Dixon Project—Limited Edition 2014 Northern Edition in stock right now.
88 Overall Score

Crowned Heads has been knocking it out of the park with its releases this year, and the The Mason-Dixon Project—Limited Edition 2014 Northern Edition is no exception. While the dominant flavors do not move much past a combination of gritty earth and leather, the secondary notes really combine well, making the profile fairly complex as a whole. The construction was quite good on all three samples, and the strength was not overwhelming at any point during the smoke. If you love Connecticut broadleaf blends, this is a cigar you are going to want to track down.

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Brooks Whittington

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.