Crowned Heads, a company started by Mike Condor and Jon Huber after CAO Cigars was sold to General has made it a habit to build cigars around musical reference. The Jericho Hill is no different as it leans on Johnny Cash for inspiration. Jericho Hill was inspired by Cash’s rendition of “Cocaine Blues,” found on Cash’s 1968 live album, “At Folsom Prison.” The song is a tale of a man, Willy Lee, who goes down a dark path brought on by the influence of whiskey and cocaine. Willy is captured in Juarez, Mexico, and is brought to justice by the sheriff from Jericho Hill.
On a side note, one of my favorite TV shows takes place in Juarez, Mexico and El Paso, Texas. The Bridge, is in its second season and if you haven’t had a chance to check it out, I highly recommend it.
Cigar: Jericho Hill
Size: Toro 6.5 x 54, aka Willy Lee
Wrapper: Mexico (San Andreas)
The Look: Ugly. In word, that about sums it up. The box pressed Jericho Hill will not win any beauty contests but, thankfully the appearance of a cigar matters very little when it comes to the taste of a cigar. A gritty San Andreas wrapper that feels like fine sandpaper is rolled rather porous. The seams feel as if they have little gaps but the cigar is well packed and has a rather hefty weight to it. The Jericho Hill logo is a badge which is a reference to the sheriff that brought Willy Lee to justice.
The Notes: The cold draw of the Jericho Hill reminds me of stout beer and oyster crackers, making me realize I am now a product of my environment. The foot of the cigar has some thick molasses and some pepper which builds causing a delayed sneeze.
Once the cigar is lit, there is a subtle spice that builds up as you go through the nose. After that initial burst there is a well-defined wood note with a subtle sweetness that borders on molasses. Working into the first third of the Jericho Hill the wood notes become the dominant taste with a mix of leather and earth that has continued pepper through the nose.
The second third of the cigar the leather like note begins to take charge while through the nose the pepper reminds me of a peppercorn crusted filet mignon that I had in Philadelphia at Del Frisco. The aroma of the cigar helps bring out a sweetness and a slightly citrus note that help round out the cigar.
The last third of the cigar mellows out some and the notes become more defined. The wood and coffee notes battle for supremacy and the San Andreas characteristics that were dominant in the previous third take more of a back seat. The citrus experienced on the aroma defines itself as orange, not the actual fruit but more of a candied fruit slice. The last third of the cigar for me was the most enjoyable which makes me wonder how these will age.
The Burn: I am a huge fan of a box pressed cigars, and this one is a fine specimen with an exquisite draw, solid burn line and ultra thin carbon line. The light color ash holds for about a third at a time despite being slightly flaky. I wound up smoking this until there was slightly less than an inch left and it remained cool to the touch.
The Finish: I smoked the Jericho Hill in two of the four sizes. The first was the corona size at 5 1/18 x 44, and despite being a fan of small ring gauges I would say the Willy Lee (6.5 x 54) stands above it. The Jericho Hill was extremely tasty although at times the notes were difficult to pinpoint. But what really stood out for me was the fact that while the cigar had some similarities to My Father (the factory it comes from), it was different enough where it stood on its own in the Crowned Heads portfolio. A box worthy purchase.
Price: $9.89 each or $209.99 a box at sponsor 2GuysCigars.com