Cigar Aficionado

The Beat of Headley Grange

“I wish we could blend a cigar that tastes like the first six seconds of ‘When the Levee Breaks’ sounds.” That comment, uttered by Jon Huber of Crowned Heads LLC, resulted in the creation of Headley Grange, a one-size (for now) cigar brand that had its public debut two weeks ago in Orlando, and will start shipping to cigar stores in mid-September.

The first six seconds of “When the Levee Breaks,” a 1971 cover tune by Led Zeppelin from Led Zeppelin IV, is defined by a heavy drumbeat. The sound was recorded in a British building called Headley Grange. There, John Bonham’s drum kit was set up in a stairwell and caught with a microphone set high above to give it a memorable sound that intrigued Huber.

It’s quite unusual to blend a cigar based on a drum beat. Huber wanted a cigar that matched the drums, which he called “dark and ominous,” and turned to Ernesto Perez-Carrillo, a former drummer who had previously made Crowned Heads’ first cigar brand, Four Kicks, which was considerably lighter.

The blending began in October 2011, and was originally dubbed project HG. Perez-Carrillo made many, many samples of the cigar in his Tabacalera La Alianza S.A. factory in Santiago, Dominican Republic—so many that he threatened to take the final one for himself if Crowned Heads wanted still more changes.

The cigar was shown at the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers trade show in early August. The samples were heavy, rich and extremely flavorful.

Headley Grange is made with an Ecuador Sumatra wrapper, and is otherwise entirely Nicaraguan. The first size in the brand, a 5 1/2 inch long, 52 ring gauge called Estupendo, will be the sole size released in 2012, and will cost $9.25. More sizes will follow in 2013.

"They need to have the song playing when you open the box like a jewelry box." —September 6, 2012 20:09 PM
"They need to have the song playing when you open the box like a jewelry box." —September 6, 2012 20:08 PM
"Crowned Heads, great company, great cigars. " —August 23, 2012 23:44 PM
"This blend is getting good reviews and I'm looking to try it soon. Best Regards, Antonio" —August 22, 2012 12:44 PM
"Gary, I wish. Just a cigar guy who enjoys a fine smoke! " —August 21, 2012 22:09 PM
"Christian, are you CLE from Honduras? If you are, I am looking forward to trying one of yours as well as the Headley Grange. I'm Matt W's F-In-Law up in Oregon. Wish we could get the show going again but doesn't look good, though we have CigarStock in Portland. Adios." —August 19, 2012 22:22 PM
"pricey for a robusto." —August 17, 2012 13:08 PM
"John and Enrie made a hit with Four Kicks and I'm looking forward to a heavier flavor from these guys. " —August 16, 2012 19:37 PM
"Named after the studio the song was recorded in, nice touch indeed!" —August 16, 2012 19:33 PM
"Nice touch naming the cigar after the Studio that Zep recorded the song at! Excellent!" —August 16, 2012 19:31 PM
"Yes! My two favorite things: cigars and zeppelin!" —August 16, 2012 15:16 PM