This J.D. Howard Reserve HR 46 by Crowned Heads came to me by way of the /r/cigars Secret Santa last December. Thanks again to whoever sent me an extremely generous package of cigars. I was eager to try the J.D. Howard Reserve as the Drumstick currently sits at #1 position on my top non-cuban cigars of 2014. I was also a big fan of the Four Kicks Seleccion No. 5, also included in my Secret Santa package.
I spent a fair amount of time examining the nose on the J.D. Howard HR 46 before lighting up. The strongest note was cedar, and there was some faint dark chocolate.
The J.D. Howard Reserve measures 6” by 46 ring gauge in the corona grande vitola. The HR XX represents the ring gauge of the various options, available as HR48 measuring 5” by 48, HR50 at 5 1/2” by 50, HR52 at 6” by 52 and finally HR 54 at 5” by 54.
On the J.D. Howard page for Crowned Head they go into detail on the inspiration for the name. Based on an alias of Jesse James, “J.D. Howard Reserve is a throwback to an era where times were wild... I appreciate that they take the time to go into background detail and inspiration for the blend.
The first few draws are quite earthy. It then suddenly transitions to sweet creaminess. There is some cedar notes that push through after about 5 minutes.
The overall mouth-feel is quite dry.
The cigar is smoking very well but I’m not seeing a lot of flavor development.
The creaminess present in the first third becomes more balanced against the cedar and wood notes. The earth tastes come back and overpower most of the creaminess around 10 minutes into the second third.
The profile ends up flopping between dominantly creamy and earthy for the remainder of the third.
The complexity picks up going into the final third. Unfortunately it’s short lived as earth dominates for the remainder of the smoking experience.
I did my initial cut with a v-cutter and it was quite tight. I did an x-cut and it opened up but was still leaning towards a tight draw. The burn was absolutely flawless, this cigar would be a great pick if you’re competing in a long ash competition. Total smoking time was 1 hour and 24 minutes.
Singles of the J.D. Howard Reserve HR 46 are around $8.50. You also have the option of a 5-pack for about $40. They can also be snagged for anywhere from $183 – $204 as a 24 count box. At around the $8 mark you’re getting a pretty decent value for a boutique cigar that is very well constructed.
I didn’t find that the flavors developed into the map that I typically would enjoy. As I mentioned in the intro, I’m a big fan of all of the other offerings I’ve had from Crowned Heads. If you tend to prefer cigars from the Dominican Republic, the J.D. Howard Reserve HR 46 is going to fit nicely in your wheelhouse at a very affordable price.