Wrapper:  Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Binder:  Nicaraguan
Filler:  Nicaraguan
Brand:  Crowned Heads
Factory:  Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
Price Range:  $5-$7
Availability:  Store Exclusive (Famous Smoke Shop)
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Back in December, Crowned Heads released a store exclusive variation of the Four Kicks.  It’s limited to Famous Smoke Shop, and is mostly the same as the original Four Kicks with one exception:  the wrapper has been replaced with Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro.  It only comes in my favorite size, the Corona Gorda, and is sold for $71.99 / 10 ct box.  If memory serves, there were only 1,000 boxes produced.

You can read more about it here from Cigar Coop.  I smoked one of these after Christmas, and to my tastes it’s better than the original.  Today we’ll break it down and see how it performs under a microscope.  Rolling with a Mocambo rum pairing since I remember this cigar as pretty sweet.  Usually I’ll opt for a sweeter rum with maduro wrappers, but this time I think the oak notes from the Mocambo will balance the Black Belt Buckle nicely.

Black Belt Buckle – First Impressions

While the wrapper looks a little rough, it’s extremely toothy with a beautiful hue to it.  Pre light aromas from both the wrapper and the foot are very sweet with varying degrees of vanilla, tobacco, and wood.

Crowned Heads Four Kicks Black Belt Buckle Initial Thoughts

Black Belt Buckle – First Third

Caramel, Oak, Kettle Corn, Toast, Beef Au Jus

After torching it up, a chewy caramel is immediately present.  The smoke begins with a med+ body to it while being very smooth and enjoyable.  A retrohale is easy and brings a gentle oak to the this cigar with a kettle corn sweetness to the finish.

Around the 3/4 inch mark, more woodsy notes come in and I take my first sip of rum.  The cigar makes the rum sweeter, much sweeter, but the rum doesn’t do much for the cigar.  Garbage.  Replacing it with Zaya Rum (my usual go-to for maduro wrappers) and voila!  Instant success for those out there that pair with spirits.

Crowned Heads Four Kicks Black Belt Buckle First Third

Zaya rum enriches everything about this cigar: the smoke has a different texture to it and the flavors become more pronounced.  A soft molasses is brought out this cigar over a faint background of popcorn.  Sounds really odd, but it works nicely.  Almost like a holiday popcorn.

Past the inch mark (and back to water) I’m pulling dual notes of toast and grilled beef.  Very much reminiscent of Beef Au Jus.  Having never been familiar with a flavor wheel before, I’m way too comfortable spitting out exactly what it reminds me of.

Black Belt Buckle – Second Third

Bran Cereal, Cream, Cherries, Orange Zest, Leather, Toasted Graham Cracker, Vanilla, Bread

Dropping the ash, a much sweeter cigar is waiting for me.  Like bran cereal and milk.  Several puffs later and cherries come into play.  Several puffs after that and an orange zest lingers on the tongue.  Wow.

I’ve only been drinking water for somewhere around 12 minutes now, and this cigar is really coming into it’s own.  Just didn’t want you to think it’s the rum doing the talking.  More citrus, more fruit, and now a leathery development.  If it turns into graham cracker we’re going to have a full blown parfait on our hands!

Ask and you shall receive!  Approaching the halfway point and a toasted graham cracker with a vanilla sweetness emerges.  Less scorched graham cracker than the Flor de Valle Sky Flower, but just enough to make another interesting addition to this cigar.  Too bad the fruit is no longer with us.

A less than pleasing mineral note struck a couple puffs, going to take the opportunity to open some mail and give the Black Belt Buckle a break.  Side note: @joshs is a beast.  Holy crap man.

And we’re back!  Mineral has disappeared, and a bread-like sweetness has taken it’s place.  Graham cracker and all the rest have left us.  Another bout of cherries washes over me as I begin to consider sliding the second band off.

Crowned Heads Four Kicks Black Belt Buckle Second Third

So far the burn has been very even and hasn’t required any attention.  The ash holds like a champ and the mechanics of this smoke are solid. The draw is just a little tight, I think I would prefer either a little looser or a little tighter.  This cigar doesn’t put out a lot of smoke for those that are into that sort of thing.

As the second third is coming to an end, we’re still holding with really pleasant fruit notes with a sharp sweetness on the tongue.  Plenty of citrus and berry notes complimenting each other.

Relight. Dammit. 

Black Belt Buckle – Last Third

Citrus, Fruit, Toast, Charred Meat, Popcorn, Stir Fry, Peanuts

Still pulling lots of citrus and fruit notes flavor forward, but traditional toasty notes from the Broadleaf wrapper are making a comeback.  Sometimes there’s a charred meat flavor as well.

When paired with rum, Black Belt Buckle once again brightens with notes of molasses and milk chocolate.  Drinks bring so much to the table, I’ve never been one to try a review with just water.  And yet, this experience of course isn’t guaranteed without the same pairing.  But definitely noteworthy.

Charred meat and popcorn dominate the scene right now without the aid of rum.  As we progress further, a bright citrus note is stinging the tip of the tongue while peanuts and peppercorn show up to the party.

Crowned Heads Four Kicks Black Belt Buckle Last Third

Relight.

The addition of citrus makes for a very interesting combination of flavors. It’s sweet yet savory, and makes me think of stir fry.  Stir Fry with crushed peanuts liberally sprinkled over it to be exact.

With about two inches or less left, hickory and oak play dueling roles vying for the spotlight.

To be sure, the last third of this cigar is my least favorite but the flavors are unique and interesting.

Crowned Heads Four Kicks Black Belt Buckle
8.9 Reviewer
8.4 Cigar Noise Network (1 vote)
Pros

Great Burn

Excellent Price Point

Entertaining

Cons

Low Smoke Output

Couple Relights

Summary
Comparatively, I prefer this cigar to the original Four Kicks. It's an interesting lesson in how much of a difference the wrapper makes in blending a cigar. Originally I paired this with Pinot, and I'd definitely recommend a Pinot or a sweet Rum to enjoy the Black Belt Buckle with.
Value
Burn
Draw
Flavor
Enjoyment
What Other Folks Are Saying: 1 Make some Noise
Its good
Has a little more kick and more flavors than the regular Four Kicks.
January 19, 2016, 5:06 pm
Value8.5
Burn8.4
Draw8.2
Flavor8.4
Enjoyment8.7
0
2
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Dave West

Editor and Contributor at CigarNoise
Identifying as a Cigar Enthusiast more than an Aficionado, I enjoy trying new cigars and attempting to annotate my experience. Disclosure: As of June 2017, I began writing for SmallBatchCigar.com and will no longer be reviewing SBC exclusives
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