Cigar Review: Buckeye Land by Crowned Heads

  • Buckeye_straightVitola: Short Churchill
  • 6” x 48 ring gauge 
  • MSRP $9.60
  • Purchased at Burns Tobacconist

Background

Several years ago I was talking with Jon Huber (it may have been in a video I posted online, but I honestly can’t remember) about his choice of blenders to work with. After working with Ernesto Perez-Carrillo for his first few releases, he had just started working with Don Pepin Garcia on Las Calaveras and Jericho Hill. “Are there any other blenders you have thought about working with?” I asked. Jon’s reply: “Why? We’re working with the two best blenders in the business right now…what more do we need?” I can’t deny the basic truth to what he said then, but it was a state of being that was not going to last for Crowned Heads…in September 2018 they announced they were working with Willy Herrera of Drew Estate on another regional exclusive release.

Crowned Heads’ state exclusives started with the Tennessee Waltz, exclusively made for the state they are based in. They followed that up with the Yellow Rose for Texas and the Paniolo Especiale for Hawaii (although that functions as a store exclusive, as well, since there is apparently only one cigar shop in the state that carries Crowned Heads). Buckeye Land was made for Ohio. Huber had this to say about the project:

[W]e garnered a strong following in Ohio over the years. The state also holds a special place in my heart as my wife was born in Lancaster, Ohio. Her maiden name is “Land” hence Buckeye Land. We could not be more excited to be working with Willy Herrera and Drew Estate on this project. I believe Willy and I share a similar admiration for the artistry and tradition of cigar making, and as such the creative process on this particular project was very fluid.

Buckeye Land uses Pennsylvania Broadleaf and Nicaraguan fillers, a Connecticut Broadleaf binder, and a Mexican San Andres wrapper. While it is intended for Ohio-based retailers to buy any time, the last two years Crowned Heads has allowed for “lawless day” on November 1. Any CH retailer anywhere in the country can order any of the state exclusives. Burns got in Buckeye Land and Yellow Rose (Paniolo Especiale has not been included in “lawless day” so far) and I purchased several samples to try and to review.

I got some background for this review from Cigar-Coop’s news story about the release. Leaf Enthusiast sponsors Cigar and Pipes and Small Batch Cigar both show Buckeye Land in stock and available to ship as of this writing (neither of these stores is based in Ohio, so they are likely to run out at some point and not be able to re-stock until the next “lawless day”).

Buckeye_boxPrelight

The box is fairly minimalist, as are the other state-exclusives. The wood grain shows clearly through a varnish finish, while the “Buckeye Land” logo exists only on the lid, with “Buckeye Land” in the same type style (but not in the logo format) on the front side of the box. Keeping with the other tradition of the previous state sticks, the cigar itself has no real band, just a color ribbon on the foot…Tennessee has orange (University of Tennessee color), Texas has yellow (after the song “The Yellow Rose of Texas” that the cigar is named after) and Hawaii has blue (?…really, I don’t know). Ohio has red, like the Ohio State University’s colors.

Getting to the actual cigar, the wrapper is one of the darkest I can recall seeing anytime recently…really a dark, dark, dark chocolate brown color, just slightly short of black…and it sets off the red foot band exceedingly well. The leaf was oily but a touch rough to the fingertips. Giving it a sniff, I got strong earth, leather and anise aromas from it. The foot of the stick had a mix of earth, cocoa powder and coffee aromas.

The cold draw of the Buckeye Land was very good, tasting mostly of cocoa powder and French roast coffee.

Flavor

The cigar fired up its a very nice mix of espresso bean and semi-sweet chocolate notes up front, followed quickly behind by deep earth and leather flavors, and finished with red pepper that lingered a long, long time. The retrohale was strongly peppery with some roasted nuttiness and leather. The times I had smoked Buckeye Land previous to this, I hadn’t noticed it being this complex and I wondered if it was because I wasn’t paying as close of attention to it, or if a few extra weeks of age in my humidor at home completed the process of the tobacco settling in to how it is properly supposed to taste. Either way, I was delighted by the beginning of this cigar. As the first third burned along very slowly I noted that the leathery flavor increased to dominate the profile, with chocolate and coffee notes falling into a supporting role an pepper hanging on as an accent.

The second third had plenty of leather still up front, along with a steadily increasing anise note and diminishing notes of chocolate. Coffee and pepper notes rode along steadily in the background.

During the last third, the Buckeye Land had a resurgence of coffee flavor and a slight increase in sweetness that wasn’t quite the chocolate flavor as before. Anise notes were downplayed and pepper was a distant memory.

Construction

I had a snug, but good, draw. The burn line was straight enough to not need touching up and the ash held on for an inch or so.

Buckeye_angleValue

At less than $10 per stick, I found the price point on the Buckeye Land to be very fair.

Conclusions

Buckeye Land was a very pleasant surprise with a very nice flavor profile throughout. I couldn’t help but be reminded of other Drew Estate offerings like Undercrown and Liga Privada…but it definitely had its own twist on the formula, making it fit as a Crowned Heads offering. I found it full-bodied from the start, but not terribly strong in terms of nicotine. Even though it was basically a Corona Gorda or Short Churchill, it burned very slowly for about an hour and a half. Crowned Heads and Liga Privada fans should definitely make time to find this cigar.

By-The-Numbers

Prelight: 2/2
Construction: 2/2
Flavor: 4/5
Value: 1/1
Total: 9/10

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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