Cigar Federation Consolidated Top Cigars of 2013: #1 Crowned Heads Headley Grange Drumstick

As we near the end of 2013, you will begin to see many "Top" lists throughout the cigar community. The Cigar Federation team decided to attempt to do something a bit different. Each of the main reviewers on the site - Logan, Rob, Dustin, Jerad and John - has their own list, but we also wanted to see what a Cigar Federation Consolidated list would look like.

I gave the guys absolutely no direction - I just asked for their lists. Some of the lists included only cigars released in 2013 and others included the reviewers favorite cigars smoked in 2013. Some of the lists were just cigars that the reviewer had reviewed on Cigar Federation while others might not have been reviewed and were only smoked. Some lists included Cubans and some were just "domestic". This, coupled with the fact that the 5 reviewers live in different parts of the country and Canada (and, thus, have access to different cigars) and have vastly diverse palates, produced some interesting results. The #1 cigar on our Consolidated list only showed up on 3 of the 5 total lists. The most any cigar appeared was 4 times meaning no cigar was a unanimous "Top" cigar for all our reviewers.

Over the next ten days (not including weekends), I will unveil another cigar in the Consolidated List. In the end, each of our reviewers will unveil their personal lists. How does your list match up? Without further adieu, I finally unveil #1 on our list!


#10 Jameson Santos de Miami Lancero

#9 Regius Mitchell Orchant Seleccion

#8 El Cedro

#7 Ortega Serie D Maduro Lancero

#6 Nomad Esteli Lot 1386

#5 Crowned Heads JD Howard Reserve

#4 Casa Fernandez Miami Reserva Maduro

#3 Ezra Zion Tantrum

#2 AKA Nth Degree

#1 Crowned Heads Headley Grange Drumstick

The Crowned Heads immediately put a stamp on the cigar industry in 2012 with its Four Kicks, Headley Grange and Mule Kick releases that were all over Top 10 lists across the community, and many were eager to see what would come from the brand in 2013.  We've already seen their new regular production line, the JD Howard Reserve, land at #5 on our Consolidated List, but The Crowned Heads weren't done there.  As seems to be the pattern for the company, along with the release of the JD Howard Reserve, the company chose to produce a Limited Edition of one of their existing lines.  In 2012, it was the Mule Kick - a Limited Edition tweak on the Four Kicks line with a different wrapper that ended up being critically acclaimed - and this year it is our #1 Cigar of 2013 - The Crowned Heads Headley Grange Drumstick.

In 2012, The Crowned Heads put out a small release of the Headley Grange in one vitola before expanding the line in 2013.  The name represents the name of the actual building in London where Led Zeppelin recorded "When the Levee Breaks" amongst other tracks.  Jon Huber has told us in the past that he wanted this cigar to taste like the drums sound in that song.  So in September, when the company announced that its next Limited Edition (this has become an annual thing for the company and rumors of a 2014 LE, presumably for the JD Howard Reserve, already abound) would be a Lancero for the Headley Grange line, the name "Drumstick", a nod to John Bonham, was a given!

Unlike the Mule Kick which utilized a different wrapper, the Drumstick includes just a tweak to the blend to fit the Lancero vitola but it is still rolled at Tabacalera La Alianza in the Dominican Republic under the watchful eye of Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr.  As an interesting aside, I believe this is the first Lancero rolled at that factory! Like the other sizes, the Headley Grange Drumstick utilizes an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper around binder and filler from Nicaragua. Only 1500 boxes of 10 are to be released.

"Classic Lancero presentation with some visible veins and a rustic looking light-brown wrapper."
"The wrapper is a bit rough, and you can see some seems and where the wrapper leaf was stretched around the binder and filler."
"The wrapper and foot of the Drumstick gave off an interesting note of slightly sweet grains."
"Draw has a bit of tension, but still provides significant smoke output."
"Flavors off the bat are nuts and wood with a surprising amount of spice that I didn't expect."
"The Headley Grange Drumstick started off with strong notes of wood, mostly oak, nuttiness and a black pepper spice. The wood notes turns into a more smoked wood flavor as I continue into the cigar, with the nutty flavor hanging around. As I neared the end of this first third, I begin to notice that the peppery note is getting really spicy in the back of my throat and tongue."
"As I enter the second third, the flavors remain but are actually melding together quite nicely.  Leather starts to come out as I continue to smoke."
"There is a sweetness that joins in with the nutty flavors, that weaves in and out with the oak notes I am getting. Every now and then I got hit with some leather and, dare I say meaty, flavors."
"The biggest thing I realize [as I enter the final third] is that the smoke on the retrohale has developed a decent amount of sting.
"Really impressed with the burn on this as outside of a relight early in the smoke, the construction has been fantastic."
"Definitely enjoy this vitola more than any other version of the Headley Grange."

You can read Jerad's review of the Crowned Heads Headley Grange Drumstick here.
You can see Matt's short review of the Crowned Heads Headley Grange Drumstick here.
You can see Robby's interview with Jon Huber at IPCPR '13 here.
You can see Jon Huber on CigarChat here.
Get into the discussion and share YOUR Top List here.

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Comment by Cigar Coop on December 20, 2013 at 9:33pm

I want to congratulate Cigar Federation on a great job with this list!


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