It’s challenging to believe that Tennessee Waltz has been around for five years. More specifically, this redux takes place nearly five years to the day after I first reviewed the cigar.
For those unfamiliar, Tennesse Waltz is one of four regional exclusives from Crowned Heads. It’s a single 5 1/2 x 52 robusto extra that uses a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper and Nicaraguan fillers. Like the rest of those exclusives, the cigar uses a ribbon on its foot in lieu of a band, this time a bright orange color that looks a bit more Oregon State University than the University of Tennessee.
Regardless, outside of a special day here and there, the cigar is only sold to stores in Tennessee, the home state of Crowned Heads.
- Tennessee Waltz (5 1/2 x 52) — 2014 — Tennessee Exclusive — Regular Production
- Paniolo Especiale 2015 (5 5/8 x 46) — 2015 — R. Field Wine Co. Exclusive — Limited Edition
- Yellow Rose (6 1/4 x 54) — 2015 — Texas Exclusive — Regular Production
- Buckeye Land (6 x 48) — 2018 — Ohio Exclusive — Regular Production
“I don’t want you to like all our cigars, I want you to love a few.” It’s one of my favorite expressions in the cigar industry, something I heard Steve Saka say repeatedly during his tenure at Drew Estate. Crowned Heads is not Drew Estate, there are no infused cigars; there isn’t even a true mild offering in the portfolio, nor is there a knock your socks off powerhouse for that matter. But I still think it would be difficult to like, let alone love, everything Crowned Heads has put out in the market. It’s a very diverse portfolio flavor-wise and Tennessee Waltz is no different. It is neither Las Calaveras light, nor Jericho Hill juiced up. It’s its own cigar, with at times similarities between the aforementioned My Father Cigars S.A.-made Crowned Heads products, but liking, or even loving, one of the former products will not guarantee the same result for the newest cigar. For those curious, I think Las Calaveras is one of, if not, the best new cigar I’ve smoked this year, Jericho Hill was okay, while Tennessee Waltz was very good.
- Cigar Reviewed: Tennesse Waltz
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: U.S.A. (Connecticut Broadleaf)
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 5 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Robusto Extra
- MSRP: $9 (Boxes of 20, $180)
- Release Date: Sept. 23, 2014
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1
The wrapper has a great color, though there are some very obvious signs of it being stretched still present. I also notice some metallic flakes, particularly around the cap. Given that this has been stored outside of cellophane for quite some time, I’m not surprised to find a very faint aroma, basically just like sticking my nose into a box of brownie mix. The foot aroma is stronger, maybe medium-full, but it basically just has the exact same smell as the humidor that it came out of. Cold draws have a great sweetness and a flavor that reminds me of Sanpellegrino’s Blood Orange soda, officially called Sanpellegrino Aranciata Rossa, along with some oak and a bit of dry leaves.
Initial puffs of the Tennessee Waltz deliver cedar, creaminess, chocolate and some lemon, around medium-plus. Things stay pretty similar for the first inch or so, before transitioning to creaminess, woodiness and some underlying cranberry sweetness. Flavor is full, body is medium-full but smooth, along with medium-full in strength. The second third is much creamier with honey and nuttiness. Retrohales have wet leaves, minerals, peanut butter and more creaminess. Pepper ramps up until about the midway point of the cigar, but then it falls off completely. Flavor is full, body is closer to full but still smooth, along with medium-plus in strength. The final third keeps with the creamy base, and at times it seems like white pepper might come to the forefront, but it never gets that far. Dark chocolate, grapefruit and some generic nuttiness round out the final third, though it’s admittedly tough to delineate between where the second third ends and the final third starts.
As pleasantly surprised as I am by the profile, I’m equally perplexed with the construction. After five years in a humidor, I’m surprised to find a cigar that seems like it might be just a bit too humid. I struggle to get a normal level of smoke production and burn production in the opening inch. After about 30 minutes, and less than an inch of cigar smoked, I take a picture and knock off the ash and apply the lighter all the way around the cigar. That works for a little while, but at multiple points in the second third I’m touching up the entire cigar just to get the cigar to burn normally. Oddly, the final third is the best third when it comes to smoke production, though I still have to use my lighter.
Five years has done wonders to the Tennessee Waltz. There wasn’t much to complain about when I smoked this cigar originally, but the flavor is now complex and smooth. Most importantly, the pieces works really well together. This reminds me a lot of what people hope for in their best Cuban cigars: something that is both extremely flavorful, full bodied but also smooth. Unfortunately, this particular Tennessee Waltz also had another classic Cuban trait: a bad burn. It might cost the cigar a few points in this review, but make no mistake, a five-year-old Tennessee Waltz is the best Tennessee Waltz I’ve had.