What's new

Crowned Heads Paniolo Especiale 2015 (Hawaii)


Chulo Savage
Rating - 100%
78   0   0
Aug 21, 2014
Lakeland, FL, USA
Review: Crowned Heads Paniolo Especiale 2015 (Hawaii)
Size: 5 5/8 x 46 (Corona Gorda)
MSRP: $8.50
Factory: My Father Cigars S.A. (Esteli, Nicaragua)
Date: 3rd day of April, the year 2015…..

Smoking Environment: Good ol' Florida winter had it's two weeks of glory, and we are in full summer swing again. The temperature has settled down to 76 degrees in the dead of night, so I shut the doors and kick the A/C down a couple of points.

This being my first review in a long while, I find myself hesitant. It seems the groove of writing I had fallen into has faded into just whispers of a habit long forgotten; yet, it’s only been a matter of weeks. I am, without a shade of doubt, in one of the happiest places I have been… ever. As my fingers creek over the letters, unhurried keystrokes and plentiful pauses give way to my recollection of the day.

I felt my unborn daughter kicking vigorously against the membrane of my wife’s belly, and I leaned in for the most fulfilling sound for a soon-to-be father; a thunderous heartbeat with the strength of a bear.

I stretch, the fog seeps away, and my inspiration is found once again. The pace quickens, and familiar words and phrases leap out at me from the screen with renewed vigor…

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

Appearance/construction: Solid construction, with a strong triple cap and near seamless wrap. Some slight freckling to the semi-oily wrapper, with medium tooth. A faint glitter is twinkling under the desk lamp, a sure sign of the mineral rich growing environment at the My Father farm in Esteli. One or two medium veins that shouldn’t cause any trouble. Excellent appearance and construction, overall.

Aroma Pre-Light: I am scenting mostly hay, earth, and pepper from the foot of this stick.

Cold draw:
I’ve opted for a straight cut for this stick, which is my usual. I barely – and I mean BARELY – clip the cap and it draws like sucking air through a straw; wide open, folks. The flavors coming off the cold draw are a mix of light hay, pepper, cocoa, and leather. The wrapper is salty and sweet on the lips.

The Paniolo lights evenly after some heavy toasting of the foot. Seems to be a bit wet, but we will see if it actually hinders the experience… or greatens it.

First impression:
My first deep draw is rewarded with a blast of sundried tomato and cocoa, with some insane pepper on the retro. Not bitter at all and a nice clean smoke.

Aroma Post-Light: I waft a few large clouds of smoke and am surprised with some fruit scents, along with the ever present hay and cedar.

First Third: The burn has remained mostly even through the first half inch, leaving a trail of light grey ash in its wake. The initial pepper has simmered down to a pleasant level and pairs nicely with the immense sweetness of fruit and cocoa blasting me through the draw and retro. There is still the hay and earth backdrop in the aftertaste, but it goes nicely with the saltiness of the wrapper. The profile is not incredibly complex at this point (about halfway through the first third). The flavors are really impressive, but have not deepened below the sweet layer and pepper crust. The wide open draw causes me to smoke a slow as possible, to keep the heat at a minimum. It doesn’t seem to be a problem yet, but I would rather not smoke too fast and regret it. VAST smoke production from this stick, which I absolutely love. Moving into the second third as a strong medium-bodied smoke.

Second Third: I’m drifting into the ‘meat’ of this cigar, and wouldn’t ya know it…. The peppercorn kicks back up with some very pungent red meat flavors. The cocoa flavor has all but disappeared, leaving the citrus flavors lonely and afraid, sulking in the background. Somehow, there is a sweetness on the tip of my tongue still, only present on the draw before morphing into the pepper crusted pork loin that is contently sitting in the back of my throat. I shift in my seat, and the ash that had been hanging on from the foot escapes into the crevasse between my couch cushions. Still, this cigar has not become incredibly ‘deep’ in profile. There are two to three major flavors playing together at once, but the sandbox never gets crowded. Of course, we can all find pros and cons to this, depending on your preference. Personally, I could work with a few more flavors at a time, but it doesn’t make the present flavors any less delicious. The Paniolo is still burning even, and hasn’t needed any touching or relights along the way. Impressive construction and the strong cap is still holding firm against the battering of lips and teeth.

Final Third: The ash has become increasingly fragile. I’ve made a mess of my shirt and workstation! The flavors in my final third are diluted by the heat from the open draw. The spice has turned up substantially, but not to a deafening level. I am still picking up the occasional hint of citrus, now reminiscent of the rind with a tangy sweetness. There are heavy steak and peppercorn flavors dominating the stick. The burn and construction are still impeccable, although the speed of the burn has also increased. About halfway through the final third (about 1.5 inches from the cap) and I am calling it a night, settling this nub gracefully among his fallen brothers, in a graveyard of ash.

Overall Impression/Final Notes: Great flavors on this smoke with decent but limited complexity that could be unlocked with age. I enjoyed the Paniolo, as I do nearly all the cigars Crowned Heads produces, but look forward to aging a box to unlock the full potential of this flavor profile. I would recommend a punch for this stick as I found the open draw from the straight cut to let too much air in. However, a tighter draw could also be accomplished with a point or two of increased humidity, as this blend was about 63-65% at the time I smoked it. I enjoyed this release enough to warrant multiple boxes (of course to share) and shall experiment with rH and cut to find the perfect balance for this stick. Thank you to @ckay for sharing this wonderful smoke with me. As always, thanks to @JonHuber and Crowned Heads for keeping up the hard work.

Smoke time: 1hr 50m

Appearance and Presentation: 18/20
Lighting and Burning Properties: 14/15
Construction Properties: 28/30
Taste & Complexity Properties: 29/35
Total: 89/100

Author’s Note: I welcome any constructive criticism so that my reviews can continue to grow in strength and depth. I will try my best to review sticks that have not been previously reviewed here and that are generally “available.” As a service to my brothers, I intend to write with as much detail as I can muster, and with an honest opinion. However, it is only MY opinion, so please try a stick before you buy a box if you have any intention of being fiscally responsible with this beloved affliction for fine tobacco that we all have. Also, all cigars are kept humidified at 65-68%. Thanks for reading!
Last edited:
Rating - 94.7%
20   1   0
Dec 13, 2014
Great review Chris! No worries on falling out of habit. And this makes me wish they would come on, I'm on the list for the next go round but I'm ready to see what it's all about
Rating - 100%
36   0   0
Mar 29, 2015
Medford, NJ
Thanks brother, fantastic review! I especially enjoyed the personal touch in the beginning. Congrats on the baby! Also I agree with your assessment that the Paniolo would do well with slightly higher RH. Just by chance I put my box in 65-67 tupperdor and they've been delicious so far! Not overly complex but chocolate and stone fruit with periods of pepper. Thanks again!