At the 2014 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, Jon Huber of Crowned Heads told my colleagues that the company was planning on a limited edition release for later in the year that would be available nationally, although split up between two regions, just not east and west as many others have done before.
As it turns out, the release would divide the country into northern and southern regions and as such The Mason-Dixon Project–Limited Edition 2014 was born. It’s named after a geographical line that was actually used largely to separate Maryland and Pennsylvania, but is often erroneously referred to as the border separating free states and slave states prior to the Civil War.
Like almost all of the Crowned Heads releases in 2014, the cigars are being produced at My Father Cigars S.A. Both are 6 x 52 toros with a suggested retail price of $9.85 per cigar and limited to 1,250 boxes of 20.
The MDP-LE 2014 Northern Edition uses a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and fillers, whereas the MDP-LE 2014 Southern Edition uses Nicaraguan tobacco for the binder and filler, covered in an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper.
- The Mason-Dixon Project—Limited Edition 2014 Southern Edition (6 x 52) — 1,250 Boxes of 20 Cigars (25,000 Total Cigars)
- The Mason-Dixon Project—Limited Edition 2014 Northern Edition (6 x 52) — 1,250 Boxes of 20 Cigars (25,000 Total Cigars)
In theory, retailers in the northern half of the U.S.—including Pennsylvania and Maryland—got the Northern Edition, while retailers in the southern half—which included Virginia—got the Southern Edition. That being said, a few retailers have indicated they have both in stock.
- Cigar Reviewed: The Mason-Dixon Project—Limited Edition 2014 Southern Edition
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
- 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: 3
There will be absolutely no confusing which version of the cigar is which. The MDP-LE 2014 Southern Edition sports a pretty typical Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper with a medium amount of veins and a hay like color. There are oak notes and fruit from the foot of the cigar along with a piercing pepper note that comes in towards the end. My first cold draw after clipping shows more of that generic berry flavor, but subsequent ones provide wheat and a growing mineral flavor. Given that, I stop pretty quickly and decide to just light the cigar.
While there are the sweet and creamy flavors of a lot of Ecuadorian Connecticut, the main flavors to start are a toasty wood, damp earth and a big oak. As the finish develops there’s a touch of sweetness and some hickory, although I get the sense that things are going to change quickly before settling. That safe prediction is fulfilled, the oak flavor remains the main flavor alongside wheat and almond through the nose, and creaminess largely in the mouth. Some black pepper lingers on the back of the throat, while there is nuttiness and grassiness on the finish of the tongue. The draw of this version of the Mason-Dixon Project is consistently slightly open, drawing no complaints from me particularly given the smoke production, burn and temperature all remain without any sign of issue. I peg the strength at medium-plus, although building as the first third comes to a close.
I wasn’t sure the fruitiness could become any less identifiable than it had on the cold draw, but it returns for the second third of the MDP-LE 2014 Southern Edition in an even more generic form. It doesn’t fully take over from the oak flavor, but everything is beginning to blend in a lot more. There’s also a meatiness to go along with the creaminess, the former through the nose, the latter largely in the mouth. Gone is the black pepper, replaced by a white pepper and burnt wood. I assumed the strength was going to be at medium-full by the halfway mark, but even as the final third nears, it’s nothing more than medium-full on all three samples.
It doesn’t take long and with less than two inches to go, the Mason-Dixon Project Southern Edition is now much closer to a medium-full cigar. Creaminess and almonds now dominate the palate—both the mouth and nose—while a wheat note remains lingering in the back. The white pepper does not follow in the black pepper’s abrupt departure, but it’s a shadow of itself compared to the second third. Grassiness is playing a much larger role on the finish, particularly given the disappearance of the burnt woods. While it is most certainly not my favorite flavor, the interplay between that and the big creaminess works well enough. Once again, construction remains excellent to the finish.
- All three samples were essentially identical. I think I made one addition to my original tasting notes over the course of the last two cigars.
- The line that most people refer to as “The Mason-Dixon line” is probably The Missouri Compromise line, which actually extended across the United States.
- I’m not sure how the retailers ended up with both releases, if I was running a store, I would definitely try to trade for at least a few of the ones I could not get with a store in the other region.
- While some of it comes off as a bit much, I enjoy the backstories that Crowned Heads goes into with many of its cigars, particularly when it’s historical.
- Sans for the last 25 minutes, this is a medium-plus cigar.
- I have not smoked the Northern Edition yet, so I can’t offer my comparisons. Given that the cigars use two very different wrappers, I’m not sure a comparison is really that fair.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 30 minutes.
The Mason-Dixon Project Southern Edition is definitely part of the new Connecticut crowd, a trend that has admittedly died down in the last 24 months, and it works. It’s a Connecticut you expect from the My Father factory and quite honestly, probably the best sans Cabaiguan.