Deep in flavor. Deep in your mind.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Crowned Heads La Imperiosa - Cigar Review

Kippers and peanuts on a bed of lettuce.
Take that to the gastronomical bank, gentlepersons.
Trust me, I'm a #foodie.

& now onto the task at hand.

From the Crowned Heads website:
"La Imperiosa is the second Crowned Heads regular production brand (following-up ‘Jericho Hill’) released from the My Father Cigars, S.A. factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, for worldwide distribution.

Originally a Cuban brand from the early 1900’s, La Imperiosa translates to ‘the imperative,’ or, “..that which is absolutely necessary or required.” The La Imperiosa artwork and band were inspired by the original Cuban vista and band of years gone by.

The blend of 100% Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos, finished with a dark and imposing Ecuador Habano Oscuro wrapper, is identical to the Las Calaveras EL 2014 blend. Released in May 2014, the Las Calaveras EL 2014 brand went on to become one of the year’s most sought-after new releases, and was praised by cigar enthusiasts around the world. Despite selling-out in a matter of weeks, the demand for Las Calaveras EL 2014 remained high and constant. As a result, it became ‘imperative‘ and ‘absolutely necessary‘ to respond to that demand."

We shall see, just as soon as the kippers leave my palate.
[Four hours later...]

The Cigar:
La Imperiosa
by Crowned Heads
Ecuador Habano Oscuro wrapper
Nicaraguan binder/filler
5 1/2 x 54 "Dukes"
Courtesy Cigars City

I later reviewed the Magicos format HERE.
Inky dark but not an abysmal on account of quite a vibrant sheen. The complexion has a chocolate tone to it and is even throughout. Rustic but refined to the eye, with the aforementioned classically designed band. Seams are seemly and veins not overt. The tobacco visible from the foot echoes the wrapper's complexion and vibrancy and too shows a dirty blond fleck or two. Leaves are nicely herded together sans gapping or clumping; I'd say to a medium density.

It feels good in the hand, touting a nice peach fuzz/brushed suede feel. Giving it the Charmin treatment, it proves itself to be evenly packed to a medium firmness. Cap is well-affixed and I do believe I shall sniff the thing.

Wrapper brings notes of rich clean floral tobacco, some cocoa, fresh ground coffee beans, and a hint of wood. At the foot is a deepening of the tobacco and a red pepper spiced dark chocolate. What strikes me is how clean the aroma is, as if I'm smelling the notes off the tail-end of a gentle breeze.

Sweetly autumn spiced peaches and cream on the cold draw, with shaved chocolate over-top. An earthy, hearty tobacco with red pepper and cedar influences carries this all. Very nice, indeed.

Toasting the foot is akin to standing over a campfire of seasoned cedar. Too, there is a warm, rich tobacco that is quite intense and spiced. First hot draw is inherently sweet dark chocolate on rich toasted tobacco. Very savory already, and drool inspiring in quite a good way. A toasted cream joins in and lasts into a very nice finish with traces of syrupy fruits. A retro-hale offers a sharp red peppery cedar which while not entirely comfortable in and of itself does leave quickly and serve as a nice cleanser and way-paver for a growing and delicious finish with good legs to it. Mouth-feel is spot on as far as moisture, and creamy sans weight. A third hot one notches up the fruitiness and adds some floral notes and a light honey goes toward the toasted cream and stays on the finish.

Very fragrant and kind foot-smoke of flowers, honey, and a complex tobacco that is at one dark but not burdensome. As far as volume, I'd say medium. Burn is a tad jagged toward one end, but we'll just keep an eye on that. Burn-line is razor thin. Ash is just a tad flaky on the jagged side of the stick, but dense enough and not oily nor dry. It's white with medium grey low-lights that are rather infrequent. The burn is very cool and the foot-smoke dies back quickly in the event you stop puffing in order to prattle on in pedantic and descriptive terms re: ash.

This soon in the game, I'd say it's a medium profile.
Act I:
Some more roasted red pepper enters here and does so minus bite or dryness, but is forceful, indeed. The burn is evening, but the ash lilts on account of its earlier wonky ways. I lay my schmatta handkerchief out across my lap. The ash grows flakier. CLUMP. It just misses my left shoe and is complete powder on the concrete of my porch.

Coffee amps up and begins to put me in mind of a frou-frou Starbucks thing but sweeter. My mother's Cafe International cups of excursions from my dad and I's near constant tom-foolery. It's crisped up by cedar and red pepper (especially on the retro-hale) and a touch of milder white pepper which weaves in and out and is seemingly attached to the cream notes. There's also a graham cracker addition to that toasted cream, but both are to far distinguished from the chocolate draw notes to accurately say "S'mores." A touch of light honey remains but the floral notes therein subdue. The tobacco stays complexly deep and rich, while light on the palate.

The burn wonks a bit again and the line widens to a medium. Smoke output mellows off the foot and on the draw, but is nice and far, far from wispy. There are now a couple of soft spots in the shaft but the form holds. As I type, the burn attempts to even.

Touted as a full profile by some, I would say meduim+ myself as of now. And I am a dainty man. There remains some aggression on the burn when I pull. I notice the red pepper easing up considerably.

The mouth-feel and finish are near divine and a creaminess mounts. A savoriness remains but in a crispy and full potato chip fashion, not in a beefy manner.

Act II:
The strength now approaches fullness and does the body on still rising notes of creamery butter and toasted cream. Flavors of chocolate sweeten to a good Dove caliber. There is a fruitiness, and a syrupy one, but it's of light fruits. The perfect compliment to breezy dark tobacco. Very graham on the finish, as that jockeys with the cream for the lead there. There is drama but no melodrama. If'n ya wait out the long finish, a floral honey awaits.

Construction evens to catch the softer spots and holds there. Burn is a constant wonk then evening -- no touch-ups. Line widens a hair. Smoke remains cool. It continues to feel great in the hand and dangling from the ol' smoke-hole. I'd give it a very gentlemanly kind sort of full- profile all around. Well-bred, this offering. The ash even offers its flakiness in a rakish sort of way.

The midpoint transition is of a darkening cedar and a big injection of darker fruits. Purple and red and syrupy. A molasses emerges with some brown sugar. There's an earthiness and leather, too. A malted caramel. Oh, baby.

The once complex finish is now even more so as most of the draw notes linger there and dance around my palate. Cleanliness remains and is reminiscent of a very nice amber wine. My head swoons. I have recently contemplated re-growing my pencil-thin moustache. This La Imperiosa offering begs that pairing. There is a rapscallion nature at play here.

This is a smoke, sure. A heckuva smoke. But too it is a story-teller, there alone on a stage. I have sipped from nothing and will not. It does not need an accompaniment. Its flavors too nuanced and complex, and its mouth-feel too perfect. In short, I am riveted.

Act III:
Nothing to see here. Just me dipped in honey, frolicking in a field of flowers, and drunk on wine. Uhm...I mean those are the flavor notes, of course. Creamy chocolate and graham crackers are on the finish. Where is my dress? I mean where are my pants?

Flavors are back to pre-transition but elements of said transition remain on-board. It's all there, and wonderfully so, gentlepersons. Construction softens again, still holds. Burn is as always. Burn-line is medium thick. Ash is consistent throughout.

At the mid 3/3 I do begrudgingly need to re-touch the light. The amber wine turns white. Profile rides off into the sunset on a full- stagecoach and I wave my schmatta hankie as it drives on out of sight. Nine months later, I shall name the baby for the father and see his rakish ways in its newborn eyes, regretting nothing. Nothing, I say.
La Imperiosa, as discussed, means 'the imperative.' I can only concur. A restrained and refined smoke with a definite twinkle in its eyes. Very flavorful though not in an over-bearing manner. The kindest full-profile offering I've enjoyed in some time.

Don't need a thing, it got plenny a' swing.

Final Grade: A
(I wanted to + it, but the burn is imperfect, and required a touch-up.)

Hush, I finally got the baby to sleep.
Now hop the next stagecoach and I'll meet ya at Cigars City. Ya'hear?