According to a press release from Crowned Heads, “As the story has been told previously, the Headley Grange blend was sonically inspired, specifically by the steady, heavy, plodding sound of John Bonham’s drums recorded in Headley Grange. Headley Grange was the former poorhouse built in 1795 (East Hampshire, England, UK) converted to a recording studio where Led Zeppelin IV was recorded. The Led Zeppelin song, “Black Dog,” which, like Stairway to Heaven, appeared on Led Zeppelin IV, was named after a black Labrador Retriever which was found hanging around Headley Grange during recording.
It is with this inspiration that Crowned Heads introduces, “Headley Grange Black Lab LE 2018.” Black Lab utilizes the original Headley Grange blend, and is finished with dark Connecticut Habano maduro wrapper. The cigar is box-pressed, and for the first time on any Crowned Heads cigar, features a closed foot that highlights the initial flavor of the sumptuous Connecticut Habano flavor upon the initial lighting. Production is limited to 1,500 12-count boxes (18,000 total cigars).” Headley Grange Black Lab LE 2018 is manufactured at Tabacalera La Alianza, S.A., under the supervision of cigar industry icon, Ernesto Perez-Carrillo.
Cigar Review: Headley Grange Black Lab LE 2018
Wrapper: Connecticut Habano Maduro
Ring Gauge: 52
The Look: While I like the different appearance of the 12 count box with the cigars laid out vertical in 1 row with six cigars divided by a wood plank this isn’t a retail friendly box at all. Hell, it’s not really a humidor friendly box either with its 12.5″ wide box. Insider, the cigar features the Headley Grange band with a secondary band denoting Black Dog. The dark Habano wrapper is evenly colored and it covers the foot of the cigar. In the hand this box pressed cigar is firm with no voids of tobacco and a nice weight.
The Notes: Once the cigar is clipped there is a distinct note of grapefruit and a subtle licorice thrown in for good measure. The nose on the foot of the cigar has a touch of mocha but not much else going on. Once the cigar is quickly lit the first note is that of damp earth.
As the cigar progresses the earth pulls back as notes of cedar and mocha become the dominant flavor profile. There is a citrus component in the background the reminds me of the grapefruit from the prelight draw. On the retrohale there is a hint of cashews, and a touch of a pepper.
In the second third the Headley Grange Black Lab sees the notes of cedar become the focal point with some earth and cashews in the background. The retrohale sees some pepper grow in intensity with a subtle nuttiness.
As the cigar closes out notes of mocha develop along continued notes of pepper and cedar with a subtle pepper on the retrohale with continued nuttinness and a long espresso finish.
Finish: It’s been a great year for Crowned Heads with some great releases and the Black Lab closes out the year on that note. It’s a solid smoke with a gorgeous wrapper and an excellent flavor profile. It’s smooth and balanced, and quite memorable.
Price: $10.99 / $118.99