The newest release from Crowned Heads at IPCPR 2015 was La Imperiosa, which is actually the same blend as the Las Calaveras '14. Some of the big differences between the two is that La Imperiosa is a regular production cigar, where the LC'14 was a limited edition, and La Imperiosa is being offered in all new sizes. Because LC'14 sold out so fast, most people didn't even get a chance to try one, Crowned Heads decided to remedy that by releasing the cigar again. Check out the video below, to hear Jon Huber explain things at IPCPR15.
La Imperiosa by Crowned Heads
Size: 4.5 x 52
Vitola: Magicos (Robusto)
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
Cigars smoked for review: 1
Cigars for review provided by Crowned Heads
Note: For this review we used CigarFederation's rating system
Jerad's review: 88 AKA "5-Pack Purchase"
Pre-Light: The La Imperiosa looks great. The teal and gold bands contrasts nicely with the dark, chocolate brown wrapper. A well formed tobacco leaf with smooth seams and clean looking construction, it gives off aromas of deep, rich tobacco with some earthy, barnyard notes. The cold draw has a deep, rich tobacco flavor, a white pepper spice, a tinge of saltiness and leaves behind a chalky mouth feel.
Beginning: The first third starts off a bit slow, with a dry, peppery note dominating the first quarter inch or so. Then I start to get some strong earthy notes and a slight amount of cedar. The finish is quite dry, but not distracting, and it lingers in the mouth for a long time. Towards the end of this third I started to get a few notes of a salty citrus, but it was in the background. Medium in strength & body, and the construction is near flawless. With the ash still holding on into the second third..
Middle: Just as I enter into the second third, the smokiness and saltiness combine to become a bit more savory. It was almost like the charred crust on BBQ brisket, but it went away WAY too quickly. Then it was mostly wood notes with some spice, but, the charred meat note returned as I neared the final third. About halfway through this third is where the ash finally falls off, and the strength & body is still medium.
End: The final third really kicked it in gear for me. The charred meat flavor is back, and while not just booming, it is the dominant flavor. Backed up with a solid earth and spicy wood note. I also start to get a smokey, sweet fruit note. More smokey than sweet, like smoked raisins or prunes, but the sweetness is there. The retrohale suddenly has a red pepper spice to it and the finish tastes similar to the tin aroma of some of my pipe tobaccos. This third was a definite winner for, making up for the slow start and ending in the medium-full range.
Final Thoughts: Another solid offering from Crowned Heads. I have yet to try one of their cigars that I wouldn't buy again. This is not my favorite though, probably somewhere in the middle, but definitely good. Nice strength and flavor levels, I just wish the flavors of the final third could be found throughout more of the cigar. Construction was just spectacular too.
Matt's review: 86 AKA "Couple"
Mixed expectations heading into La Imperiosa. I've not been overly enamored with most cigars from Crowned Heads as is well documented on CigFed. Many of the cigars produced by EPC missed the mark for me, but the move to Pepin has sparked newfound interest in me with the Las Calaveras 2014 being one of my favorite Crowned Heads cigars. We'll see if the La Imperiosa hits like I expect it to.
The wrapper on the La Imperiosa is dark with a nice oily sheen to it. You can tell that the cigar is rolled perfectly as the seams are hard to decipher and there are minimal veins. I really like the band on the La Imperiosa and I think the color scheme - baby blue with gold trim - really stands out. I clip the cap with my table cutter and take some prelight draws that are very unique as I get a chalky salty/sweet flavoring (after I wrote this, I noted Barry Stein called this soy sauce which is probably pretty spot on - Read that HERE).
Upon toasting the foot, I fully light the cigar and am met with some pepper, but not overpowering and mainly on the nose. About a quarter-inch in, and I think we're firmly finding the initial flavors of this cigar - earthy with some very subtle fruity sweetness and a red pepper that lingers above everything else and dominates the retrohale. As I'm smoking this cigar, I'm reading the Crowned Heads website and it notes a "charred meat" flavor. I don't know that I would have used that term specifically, but I am getting a BBQ flavor at about the one inch mark which I think is really just a conglomeration of the fruit, earth and pepper together. Through the first third, I find the draw to have a slight restriction, but stil quite open giving off tremendous plumes of smoke. The construction remain outstanding with the ash holding on well over an inch so far.
As I kick off the middle, I swear I got a quick note of s'mores. Quicker than I could say "You're killing me, Smalls", it disappeared, though. I'm going to keep searching for that, but it won't return as the flavors are holding pretty consistent into the middle. The ash falls off just under 2 inches in, but I'm still getting a solid draw despite a slight restriction. The sweet fruit is very subtle now and almost non-existent.
In the final third, the flavors again are fairly consistent and I get none of that sweet fruit, and the spice ramps down a bit with the earthiness being the main player. I would have thought this began as a medium-full cigar, but by the end its firmly medium. If I remember correctly, this is a similar story to the original Las Calaveras which makes sense. The cigar is solid, but not spectacular. I find it to be fairly straightforward, but, luckily, the note it plays is one I enjoy. I'd probably pick up a couple of these and consider a 5 pack depending on price.
John's review: 87 AKA "5-pack"
Nose is sweet rich tobacco. A touch of barnyard is present on the wrapper.
I used a v-cut and found the draw extremely tight, ended up doing an x-cut and still found the draw quite tight.
The first third is light and slightly sweet to start. I get a spicy, sweet combination on the retrohale. The spice has a bit of bite to it but short intensity. As the first settles in there is some hay to finish each draw.
The first third is a balanced, medium bodied combination of spice, wood, and hay. Pretty tasty. As the La Imperiosa moves towards the middle third each draw is finishing with the spicy sweet combination and I'm really enjoying it.
The spicy sweet combination carries into the middle third. The retrohale transitions to a wood and spice but again it's fairly subdued. The woody flavors do start to dominate over the spice at the middle of the cigar.
In the last third the flavors are below medium strength and continue to decline. The main flavor is dry wood and the spice on the retrohale is quite light.
Total smoking time was a very leisurely 1 hour 51 minutes.
The Crowned Heads La Imperiosa is an enjoyable cigar. The complexity however doesn't achieve the heights of the Drumstick for me. I think the vitola is an excellent choice at a time where the market is pushing for larger length and ring gauges.
Surgeon's Pairing Recommendations:
Rum, sweet tea, a light scotch like a Glenmorangie or Glenfarclas, or a Miyagiyko 12.
Cigar Federation Group Rating: 87 AKA "5-Pack Purchase"