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.  




First Third

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.


Middle Third

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.


Last 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.


Final Word:

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.


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Comment by Stefan Lindblad on May 27, 2014 at 11:05am

How long did you let it rest? I tried one when they were first released and I could only describe it as somewhat bland. Last month I tried another one that had been resting for at least 4 months, and it was a totally different experience for me.

Comment by Cigar Surgeon on May 27, 2014 at 11:24am

Hey Stefan, that's a great question that I should have addressed in more detail in the review.   It's been resting since December, and I don't know what the purchase date was prior to it showing up.

It's about 6 and a half months of rest.  I'll have to try another when I'm down in Texas this weekend.

Comment by Matt Ross on May 27, 2014 at 11:26am

Interesting feedback, Stefan.  I smoked one back in October and it just didn't work for me, but I'll try one again soon.

Comment by Stefan Lindblad on May 27, 2014 at 11:33am

Even with the better experience with rest, I'm still on the fence with this cigar. I have two more resting, and the last one showed real promise: earthy, with a good amount of spice. There was a floral or fruit note that teased me here and there, but it never really came to the forefront. I wanted more of that flavor to mix with the other notes, but it never really happened. Maybe it never will, but I'm willing to try again :)

Comment by KRUK aka Tobacco Whore on June 1, 2014 at 7:12pm

I personally was really excited to try this due to Huber being Huber... I too, just like the rest of you found a very bland cigar. Thats card for me to say, because I am NOT a huge flavor guy. I love to have a cigar that is very natural and smooth on the pallete. That is what I was expecting here, but really found it to be TOO basic for my liking. My personal opinion, this cigar should be about $2 less then what it retails at. But thats just my opinion. I was just left looking for more. =/


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