Headley Grange is the sophomore release from the guys over at Crowned Heads. Their first release Four Kicks floored most of the cigar community and set an incredibly high standard for them to follow. The inspiration for this new blend came from the drum beat from the Led Zeppelin classic tune “When the Levee Breaks”. Jon Huber said he wished they could blend a cigar that tasted like the first six seconds of “When the Levee Breaks” the heavy ominous sound created from the drums. He told me about the conversation he had with E.P. Carrillo to describe what he wanted the blend to taste like. He said “Ernie was on the phone, so I put him on speaker phone here in the office and I had ‘When the Levee Breaks’ cued up and I started playing it for him, I told him I want the cigar to taste like this sounds!” So thats great and all, but where does the name Headley Grange come from? Well its the name of the house where Led Zeppelin recorded this song, along with quite a few other albums.
Unfortunately this cigar isn’t for sale to the general public yet. Luckily, for me I work right across the street from Crowned Heads headquarters. I emailed Jon and asked him if I could come over and get the down and dirty about Headley Grange before the big convention show next week. He was incredibly accommodating, he said he could squeeze me in for about 20 mins between calls to his retailers. So we set up a time and I headed over there. I ended up staying for almost 45 minutes just talking about cigars. Jon is one of the most passionate people I’ve ever met, and I think that passion just oozes out of the cigars that they make. I took my notebook to try and take detailed notes about the cigar, but honestly Jon talked so fast and so passionately it was all I could do keep up listening to him. So if I get any of the facts wrong, hopefully he’ll correct me!
On my way out Jon gave me a 4 pack sampler of Headley Grange to smoke for this review. He also gave me a HG hat and four brand new stickers that had just arrived that day. He literally opened the box on my way out and gave me the first stickers out of the box. These guys are incredibly generous and passionate about their brand. Hopefully I can do it justice in this review, so lets get into it!
As you probably know by I’m a huge fan of great packaging. The problem is I got these cigars as pre-release samples so they don’t have any bands on them. However, last week Jon tweeted pictures of the final packing for Headley Grange I have to say the pictures look good, but they don’t do the box justice from what I saw in person.
They wanted to stay with a more traditional packaging style for this release. The box is the classic cuban style box with thin wood wrapped in a printed paper lining (I can’t remember what Jon called it, once again, couldn’t write fast enough). The crest on the box is absolutely gorgeous, like I said the pictures don’t do it justice. Laced with gold and hints of purple and green it’s a very classic looking crest that is imprinted on the box. In the middle of the crest you’ll see the letters H and G in the top right there is a tobacco leaf and the bottom left is a picture of the house known as Headley Grange. Pretty freaking cool right? Then making up the bottom edge of the crest are gold medallions it’s hard to make out what is in each medallion, but I can definitely see the Crowned Heads logo. The rest you’ll just have to see when you buy a box.
The band on the Headley Grange is classic and subtle, yet when you look at it you think ok, “Am I about to get my ass kicked?” The black background gives a look of dominance and power and then the words Headley Grange really pop off the band. It’s not a traditional font used for cigar bands, but it looks perfect. Honestly when I look at it I instantly think of someone riding a motorcycle, it’s looks calm and collected, but at any second it could pop out and kick you in the teeth. Take that for what’s worth, I don’t have any other way to describe it.
Looking at the wrapper on this cigar there is only one word that comes to mind, Rustic. It’s a semi-light brown that has perfect coloring all the way down. It’s an Ecuadorian Sumatra it has a few small veins in it, but nothing that really should affect the smoke of it. Sometimes when I’m looking at a cigar I want a nice oily wrapper that just glistens. However based on the inspiration of this cigar, an oily wrapper wouldn’t have been the way to go. To really hone in on what the guys from CH wanted for the Headley Grange line, they needed a gritty rustic wrapper and thats exactly what they went out and got.
This cigar is shaped a little differently than most, its not quite a box press, its a little more rounded than that. Jon called it a ‘trunk press’. I didn’t have to do my typical ‘pinch test’ on the samples I got. Jon made sure to test them out when he pulled them out of the package for me. He made sure to give me great cigars.
The filler on the Headley Grange feels firm and packed in there really well, but it’s an incredibly light cigar. Because of the trunk press it sits in your hand really well and very comfortable to hold on to. The construction on this cigar looks absolutely flawless. It has a perfectly placed triple cap on the head. No soft spots whatsoever.
I brought out the ole V cutter for this cigar. I took a nice wedge out of the head to test the cold draw and WOW. The draw was perfect, very little resistance and I could just pull air right down the barrel and pick up little hints of flavor all the way down. This might be the best draw that I’ve ever had on a cigar. I seriously sat there for a couple minutes cold drawing on the cigar it was so good! Ok ok I know, you want to know how it smokes.
I think I like to stick with one lighting technique for a few weeks then find a new one. I’m still on the kick with my new Xikar lighter so that’s what I chose to light up the Headley Grange. I made sure to toast the foot really well to get this stick off and going. The first drag off of this stick was incredible. It’s like the first time that a chubby kid discovers Oreo cheesecake, it’s somewhat magical. As a chubby kid that remembers his first bite of Oreo cheesecake I can make this reference, you might have to search for something else that’s magical for you to understand what I’m talking about. Go think about unicorns or some crap like that… Anyway back to the cigar.
Smoking the first third of this stick just flew by, the next thing I knew I was holding a 2″ ash off this stick. Are you kidding me? I’ve never seen an ash this long except for those Nub ads in cigar magazines. I was blown away. This cigar was smoking perfectly, the draw was absolutely incredible. I just sat there and enjoyed this cigar so much that it made it difficult to remember to actually review it for you guys.
I was afraid this might not last. I thought I would surely hit a snag along the way with this smoke. All good things have to come to an end right? Well this good thing took me all the down to the nub, where I almost burnt my fingers. By the way, I think I’m going to file a Worker’s Comp claim for almost burning my fingers, is that possible? I wonder how I go about that…
The construction and the draw on the Headley Grange are phenomenal, in fact they are perfect 10/10 for this cigar on how it smokes. Steady even burn all the way down, held the longest ash I’ve ever had. Fan-freaking-tastic thats all I can say about it.
So after all this talk about wanting the blend to taste like the drum beat sounds. Does Headley Grange live up to that? You beat your ass it does! (Sorry for all the cursing by the way, but I really love this cigar and it gets me pumped up). Jon said he wanted something big and bold with this blend something that had some balls to it. Personally I think their slogan should be “If Chuck Norris smoked a cigar it would be a Headley Grange”, but thats just me thats probably why I don’t work in a big marketing agency.
This cigar hits you right out of the gate, it just starts attacking your taste buds like its tap dancing all over them. I picked up spice, woodsy notes, a very strong tobacco flavor ( it is a cigar after all). So many complexities with this cigar its hard to pick them all out. The whole first third is laying a solid foundation like its building up to something. I can’t help but parallel it to the song that inspired the blend. I just have to bob my head along to it while I’m smoking.
Headley Grange really hits it stride on the second third. It’s like an eruption, all of a sudden you’re rushed with flavor and strength. The complexities and the same flavors are there but it seems like there are more of them! The tobacco notes have really picked up and are just hitting you right in the face, but it feels so good.
The final third brings you back down again from all the intensity into a nice soothing calm similar to the first third and just lets you fade out and enjoy it down to the nub. The blend is incredibly consistent all the way through. I don’t know how in the hell they deliver that intensity in the middle without bring out more spice, but they did. I’m still floored by this cigar as I’m writing this review.
I would describe Headley Grange as medium-full bodied cigar. It starts out very medium and then builds into a very full bodied cigar and then fades back out in a medium body. The flavor profile on this cigar is outstanding they’ve mixed a lot of different flavor notes into one fantastic blend that takes you on a ride throughout the entire stick. I can tell you right now, this is the best cigar I’ve ever smoked.
Would I Buy It Again?
It may be the only cigar that I ever smoke again, ok thats not true, but yes I would buy it every chance I can!
Is It an Every Day Smoke?
If I could, I would smoke one of these everyday. It’s that good!
Would I Buy a Box?
I plan on it! This may be the first box that I actually buy of the same cigar. I’ve purchased mix and match cigar boxes before, but I think I may have to buy a box of these for myself.
Typically I smoke one cigar for my reviews to get a first time impression, but I smoked three cigars for this review, not because I felt like I needed a more robust review, but because I literally didn’t want to put these cigars down! I’ve only been smoking for close to 7 years, but I can honestly say that the Headley Grange is the best cigar that I’ve ever smoked!