J.D. Howard Reserve is the third release (not counting the limited edition Mule Kick) from Crowned Heads. The name of this new line comes from the alias used by the outlaw bank robber Jesse James back in 1876 as he attempted to establish a normal life while living in Nashville, also home to Crowned Heads.
Cigar Stats: Like all their previous releases, the J.D. Howard Reserve is blended by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. at the Tabacalera La Alianza factory in the Dominican Republic. The blend profile consists of a Nicaraguan filler, an Ecuadorian Sumatra binder, and a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper. It is offered in five sizes: HR46 (6 x 46, $8.50), HR48 (5 x 48, $9.00), HR50 (5.5 x 50, $9.30), HR52 (6 x 52, $9.70), and today’s subject, HR54 (5 x 54, $9.50).
Appearance: The J.D. Howard Reserve has a dark, mottled wrapper. The are some large veins visible and the pack is somewhat lumpy, giving it an overall rustic look. The band, with the gold-embossed JDH logo, looks fantastic.
The Smoke: The cigar starts off with a bit of spice on the back of the throat and a pleasant buttery sweetness as a counterbalance. This flavor profile continues for a while before adding leather and wood, and backing off some on the sweetness. The remainder of the cigar, the part I enjoyed the most, is dominated by black coffee and roasted nuts with some leather and mild spice playing out in the background. The ash on the J.D. Howard Reserve is spectacular, having to be forced off at the two-inch mark for fear of dumping it in my lap. The draw is a tad on the tight side causing the smoke output to be a bit weak, but not enough that I wanted to stop the review.
Verdict: The J.D. Howard Reserve is a very good medium-bodied cigar with a decent flavor profile that I thoroughly enjoyed, though not quite as much as the earlier releases from Crowned Heads — Four Kicks and Headley Grange. To learn more about the J.D. Howard Reserve, or any of the other lines from Crowned Heads, visit www.crownedheads.com. – Jason Zahner