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Just as the end of 2014 was on the horizon, Crowned Heads and Cigar Federation announced the release of a limited edition called The Buckingham, the fifth and final limited edition release for the year from the brand and a cigar that would be released for the online cigar community via its retail partner, Delaware Cigars.

Originally referred to as Texicali and intended to be made for Cigar Chat, the weekly radio show hosted by Logan Lawler and Rob Rasmussen, the cigar evolved into The Buckingham after Lawler purchased Cigar Federation from Kyle Hoover and Chris Kelly of Ezra Zion Cigars in July 2014. As such, he wanted a cigar that represented “a changing of the guard” and The Buckingham was born, drawing its name from the London residence and workplace of the monarch of the United Kingdom with its well-known guards.

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The cigar came to a bit more prominence via Jon Huber of Crowned Heads, who in a November 2014 Tweet called it “A lil small-batch-somethin for some friends of #CrownedHeads,” with the cigar bearing a band that said Proyecto 5, Spanish for Project 5, a reference to the limited editions the company had coming out that year. The other four were The Mason-Dixon Project, Tennessee Waltz, Arrington Vineyards Double-W, Hecho con Corazon—LE 2014, all of which were produced by My Father Cigars, S.A. in Estelí, Nicaragua.

As noted in the original review, the blend appears to be very similar to that of another 2014 Crowned Heads release, Jericho Hill, but Huber said it is a completely different blend, and that the intent with each cigar was completely different. “I was looking for a ‘Padrón-esque’ complexity of spice and sweet on Jericho—on Buckingham, my directive was to create the blend ‘for the modern palate,’ as I wanted something with a good base of structure and ‘kick’ to it,” he told halfwheel at the time of the cigar’s release.

Here’s what I said about The Buckingham when I reviewed it in December 2014:

Smoke The Buckingham on its own and you’ll find that it’s a very enjoyable, well-balanced cigar that offers plenty of flavor, aroma, pepper, strength and a respectable finish, though that is probably the most lacking characteristic of the bunch as it fades fairly quickly. Smoke The Buckingham within a few weeks of smoking a Jericho Hill, and you’ll likely find that it falls short of the level that cigar established. I make no secret of my love of good San Andrés tobacco, and it was the depth of that flavor that was about the only thing lacking for me, with the less prevalent sweetness also noticeable. But if you tried Jericho Hill and found it a bit much for your palate, The Buckingham offers another enjoyable expression of similar tobacco.

  • Cigar Reviewed: The Buckingham
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
  • Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Maduro
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 46
  • Vitola: Long Corona
  • MSRP: $7.95 (Bundles of 10, $79.50)
  • Release Date: Dec. 2, 2014
  • Number of Cigars Released: 200 Boxes of 10 Cigars (2,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Redux: 1

There are a few cigars out there that for the trained eye absolutely scream Mexican San Andrés wrapper, and for me, The Buckingham is one of them. A bit dry, toothy, some distinct veins and a distinct aroma of earthiness are all clues as to this leaf’s origin, and The Buckingham has them in spades. Without a band, there’s absolutely nothing to distract from the presentation of the cigar, which is well-rolled and firm, an almost model cigar for what My Father Cigars S.A. produces on a daily basis. The aroma off the foot has faded quite a bit and now has a shell of grape jelly sweetness but not much in the way of a hearty core. The cold draw is smooth and near effortless with just the right amount of resistance, and it too is much simpler than it was a year ago, echoing the sweetness but manifesting again more as the milk chocolate and tree bark combination it showed when first smoked.

Almost immediately I’m greeted by the familiar earthy and slightly peppery taste of San Andrés, rested a bit after nearly a year and while not jumping out of the cigar, still eager to introduce itself. The chocolate is still there, though now more cocoa powder than milk chocolate, and the coffee note I picked up originally is nowhere to be found. After the first clump of ash departs at just over an inch long, a woody profile begins to enter the flavor, quickly followed by a bit of baking spices in the aroma. Pepper isn’t really much of the flavor, but every retrohale so far has offered a good amount, making them almost essential to getting the full experience that The Buckingham has to offer. The burn is near flawless, and I can’t find anything to complain about from its performance in the first half, with plentiful amounts of smoke and ash that does a commendable job not ending up on my lap.

Much like it did just under a year ago, The Buckingham begins a flavor transition around the midpoint, picking up more notes of wood and subtly moving away from the earth and trace sweetness in had in the first third. The retrohales stay plenty full of pepper, but with a bit of age it is far from overpowering and is downright enjoyable for all but the most sensitive of noses. By the final third the cigar is now leading with a strong aroma of fresh cut firewood that shines brightest in the aroma, and with that change the flavor is now at its fullest point yet, medium to just shy of medium plus but with a restrained level of strength as I don’t pick up much nicotine and the pepper stays just at the end of its leash. There are no burn issues in the final inches as it seems time has helped remove those issues, which allows the cigar to get smoked down to a small nub with no issue, save for an occasional reminder not to puff too fast that comes by way of the cigar picking up a thin, charred wood note.

88 Overall Score

Time has certainly mellowed The Buckingham out a bit, but in this case it's not a bad thing. While it wasn't an overpowering cigar when it debuted in December 2014, it had a few spots that didn't always quite hit my palate as I'd hoped. Now, while the first half is much mellower, the second half is brighter and better aligned and the transition between the two is both more pronounced and cleaner. While this expression of Mexican San Andrés still doesn't rank among the best I've tried, it's still a quality representation in a slightly mellower profile that has gotten a tick better with time.

Original Score (Dec. 2014)
87
Redux Score (Nov. 2015)
88

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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