In February of 2012, the first mentions of the second Crowed Heads release came to light when Jon Huber mentioned the “Project HG” in an email along with the fact that while it would be regular production cigar, only 1,000 boxes of 25 in a 5 1/2 x 52 vitola would be released at first, with more sizes following at a later date. Eventually we learned that the official name was to be Headley Grange and that the inspiration of the name came from the fact that Huber wanted a cigar to taste same as the distinctive drum beat in the song When the Levee Breaks from Led Zeppelin which was recorded at a building of the same name in England.
Here is what I said in my original review back in August of 2012:
If this cigar were a book, I would call it “A Tale of Two Halves.” The first half is nice and even, with just a touch of pepper and strength, and some nice, enjoyable flavors. You are thinking you have everything down, you already know how it is going to end, and then BAM!, the whole profile goes crazy. At almost exactly the halfway point, things change dramatically. While I would prefer a slightly smaller ring gauge, the trunk press makes up for it, and it is an easy cigar to smoke and enjoy. It seems to me that the Crowned Heads people are trying to produce a cigar that is different from Four Kicks at almost every turn: trunk pressed instead of round, stronger medium/full medium, strong black pepper/wasabi note, almost totally different profile, etc. It’s a very good cigar—one that I could smoke at any time of the day—and I predict they will fly off the shelves once people try them.
- Cigar Reviewed: Headley Grange Estupendos
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuadoran Sumatra
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 5 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Robusto Extra
- MSRP: $9.25 (Box of 24, $223.20)
- Date Released: August 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1
The Headley Grange Estupendos seems impeccably constructed, with a slightly mottled mocha brown wrapper that is totally smooth to the touch. The trunk press that I mentioned in my original review is quite noticeable, and there is a nice firmness when it is squeezed. Aroma coming off of the wrapper is faint sweet hay, barnyard and leather.
Starting off, the Headley Grange Estupendos has very obvious flavors of leather, hay, creamy oak and bitter espresso, along with a touch of sweetness that I can only taste on the retrohale. There is some black pepper on the retrohale as well, but it is fairly light so far, and almost no spice on the lips or tongue to be had. At about the 1/3 point, I start tasting an interesting combination of mustard and wasabi flavors that is quite unique, and it keeps getting stronger as the cigar progresses. Like in the original review, the second half sees a significant increase in the mustard/wasabi notes, although not as hot as when they are fresh. There is more sweetness as the second have progresses, a great sweet chocolate flavor that combines quite well with the aforementioned flavors. Other notes of espresso, hay, leather and oak flit in and out until the end of the cigar, but none of them come close to being as dominant.
Construction-wise, both the burn and the draw are phenomenal for the entire cigar, and the smoke production is above average. In fact, the first ash does not fall until right at the halfway point in the cigar. The overall strength starts out at a mild medium, and ramps up fairly slowly, ending the cigar just above the medium mark. Final smoking time was exactly one hour and 29 minutes.
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The Headley Grange Estupendos for this review was purchased when the cigars were released, shortly after my original review. I only have about six left and I have smoked one from the box about every month or so, on average. I have noticed that while the core flavors have remained the same for the most part, over time the distinctness of the notes has blurred a bit, so they are not as sharp as when they were first released. This is not necessarily a bad thing – in fact, I like it slightly more now then when they were first released – and the Headley Grange Estupendos is still a wonderful blend with a few somewhat unique flavors, perfect construction and excellent balance. Well worth picking up a box to smoke or age – or both.