Cigar Review: Mule Kick 2017 by Crowned Heads

  • Mule2017_straightVitola: Toro
  • 5.875” x 52 ring gauge 
  • MSRP $9.90
  • Purchased at Burns Tobacconist

Background

In 2012, Crowned Heads debuted with a line called Four Kicks. They received a batch of wrapper leaf that was too dark for the regular production and after a quick discussion decided to use it on the first Crowned Heads Limited Edition (the first of MANY). November 2012 saw the quick release and even quicker sell-out of Mule Kick, a stronger version of Four Kicks using that “too dark wrapper.” They swapped out some of the ligero used in Four Kicks for something a little stronger…I took to calling it “Five Kicks.”

Earlier this year Crowned Heads shipped a new release of their second LE release—Headley Grange Drumstick—so it wasn’t exactly a huge surprise when they announced shortly thereafter that there would be a 2017 release of Mule Kick, as well. As with the original release, the filler and binder is Nicaraguan, the wrapper is Ecuadorian Habano and the cigars are made at Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s Tabacalera La Alianza factory in Santiago, Dominican Republic.

The first round of Mule Kick sold out within a couple days of reaching the store, as I recall. We had a Crowned Heads event scheduled for the week we received the Mule Kick 2017 and we sold out of every single box in one store that night, along with every single stick we had at the other store a week or so later. I asked Wes if we could get more and he told me that every box had already been shipped to stores…despite their having made 4 times as many this time as they did five years ago. I love the first Mule Kick so much that I didn’t hesitate to buy a box of the new ones. This review is based on the 3rd or 4th time I smoked one of these sticks.

Mule2017_angle2Prelight

The presentation is the same as it was in 2012, except this time the cigars are wrapped in cellophane…which is the same as pretty much all of Crowned Heads’ output: shipped naked in the box then, wrapped in cellophane now. I know that cigars look better outside of the plastic sheaths, but I still would rather see cigars in cellophane than out…it’s rare that I ever get a damaged stick inside the clear wrapper.

The wrapper had a toasted caramel color to it, with just a little lighter striation in places, a touch of red under certain light and a moderate amount of oiliness. Giving it a good sniff, I got mostly manure and cedar on the wrapper, while the foot had a sweeter, dark chocolate note to it.

The cold draw was excellent and I got pre-light flavors of molasses, earth, and cedar.

Flavor

The opening salvo of flavor from the Mule Kick 2017 is of cedar and earth, with a touch of sweet molasses. The body was noticeably more full than any regular-production Four Kicks cigar I’ve had. As I got deep into the first third, I noted a considerable amount of pepper spice coming to the fore on both the palate and nose.

Burning my way through the second third, I got plenty more earth but the wood notes were mostly replaced by a more leathery note. There was a touch of sweetness still in the mix and plenty of pepper spice hanging around still.

The last third had a slight increase in sweetness to go with the leather and earth notes, ending the cigar with an excellent balance and medium-to-full body.

Mule2017_angleConstruction

The burn line on this cigar was pretty wavy, necessitating several touch-ups, but nothing too dramatic. The draw was just about perfect and the ash held on for over half an inch at a time.

Value

The price tag of these went up a dollar or so since the original release—thanks, FDA!—but I would still judge them worth the cost of admission.

Conclusions

The 2017 version of Mule Kick Limited Edition is, as far as I can tell, every bit as good as the 2012 release. It is a “kicked up” version of Four Kicks that highlights the earthy, woody and spicy notes of the blend over the natural molasses sweetness that comes through more on the regular release. I do love this cigar, but I still slightly favor the regular release because of its even better balance of flavors and more accessibility for smokers at all levels. These are sold out in many places already; if you liked the 2012 release, you need to get your hands on these as quickly as you can…they won’t last long.

By-The-Numbers

Prelight: 2/2
Construction: 2/2
Flavor: 4.5/5
Value: 1/1
Total: 9.5/10

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

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