Crowned Heads LLC, the Nashville, Tennessee, cigar company formed by former executives from C.A.O., has joined with Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, the veteran cigarmaker who once rolled La Gloria Cubana cigars in Miami. Perez-Carrillo is going to make Four Kicks, the first cigar for Crowned Heads.
Kicks is scheduled to reach cigar stores in November. It will be rolled
at Tabacalera La Alianza S.A., in Santiago, Dominican Republic, and
will consist of Nicaraguan binder and filler and Ecuadoran Habano
wrapper. The cigars will be triple capped and rolled in entubado style.
"We're looking for medium to full in body, but full flavor," said Jon Huber, who founded Crowned Heads in February with Mike Conder, Michael Trebing and Nancy Heathman. The cigars will come in four sizes: Corona Gorda (5 5/8 by 46 ring gauge), Robusto (5 by 50), Sublime (6 by 54) and Piramide (6 1/8 by 52). The suggested retail prices will range from $6.95 to $8.65 per cigar, and they will come in boxes of 24.
The team from Crowned Heads is excited to be working with Perez-Carrillo. "His cigars are just fantastic," said Huber in an exclusive interview with Cigar Aficionado Online. "I've never smoked a bad one. We feel very fortunate and lucky to be partnered with the Perez-Carrillo family." Said Mike Conder of Crowned Heads: "Ernesto's career and tobacco knowledge is nothing short of legendary, and we are honored that he has opened his factory to us and shared his expertise."
"When we started talking, it just became a natural thing for us to do," said Perez-Carrillo. "The brands that they like, I'd be very proud to be making for myself."
Kicks is not only the first cigar for Crowned Heads, but it's a first
for Perez-Carrillo, who has made cigars for more than 40 years. Four
Kicks will be the first cigar he has made under contract for another
company. Ironically, making cigars under contract was Perez-Carrillo's
original game plan when he set out on his own after leaving General.
"When I first decided to go out on my own, that was the original idea," Perez-Carrillo told Cigar Aficionado. "But I'm glad it didn't turn out that way," he said. When his children, Ernesto and Lissette, joined him in his venture, the idea changed, and the E.P. Carrillo brand was born.
The partnership brings together several people who had previous relationships with General Cigar Co. The quartet who founded Crowned Heads left C.A.O. as it was being merged with General late last year and Perez-Carrillo was in the employ of General after he sold the La Gloria Cubana brand to Swedish Match AB, which later purchased General.
Huber said Four Kicks was inspired by a song from the band Kings of Leon. "The four kept coming up," he said, making reference to the four people at the company, four sizes in the brand.
also said that people shouldn't expect a cigar with the name "Crowned
Heads" on it. "Crowned Heads is the holding company," said Huber.
Expect about 30,000 to 40,000 Four Kicks cigars in 2011. "They're in no rush to grow," said Perez-Carrillo. "We're in no rush to grow."