Selección No. 5, 6.5" x 44 ring gauge / approx. $7.50
In the beginning, like the Beatles, there were four. The Beatles had John, Paul, George, and Ringo; Four Kicks had Corona Gorda, Robusto, Pyramid, and Sublime. Then there was always talk of “the 5th Beatle” whether it was meant to refer to producer extraordinaire, George Martin; keyboardist, Billy Preston; or the occasional one-off guest musician like Eric Clapton. Similarly, Crowned Heads has just introduced a fifth vitola of Four Kicks. Selección No. 5 is thinner and longer than the Corona Gorda vitola that has been very, very popular among a lot of cigar smokers I know...and which I still mostly don't get. I've had a handful of CGs and still don't think the best one is close to the Robusto or Sublime in flavor and experience. To each his own. So when the Selección No. 5 arrived I wondered if I would like it or if this cigar's perfect size (for me) would remain the Robusto. As with the other sizes, this is all Nicaraguan leaf for filler and binder, along with an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. I've smoked about a half dozen of these...all of which I bought.
That wrapper is beautiful, caramel in color with oils under the fingers. Someone on Twitter remarked a few weeks ago on how simple the Four Kicks band is, but it really isn't. Sure...red ink and gold foil only...but the intricacy of the embossing is just amazing from a graphic design standpoint. When I first opened the box of these that I bought, I was almost floored with the cedar aroma that poured out of it. The first cigar tasted like almost nothing but cedar and it really didn't get a whole lot better until the box had been sitting open (lid off, in my humidor) for about a week. The stogie still has a whiff of cedar along with a sweet tobacco note; the foot had more cedar along with earth. My Xikar Xi made short work of the head and I got a very good prelight draw...something I take for granted with the Robusto, but I have gotten a couple of these that were slightly tight...it could just be a matter of exact humidity level, though, as that hasn't happened since the first week or so I had this box home. The cold draw had notes of natural tobacco and a touch of the molasses I enjoy so well in this blend.
On the palate, the initial puffs were earthy, sweet and a bit peppery, but with a smoother finish. The retrohale had a good dose of cedar. Smoke production was ample and the draw was as good once lit as it had seemed before. What is a bit surprising about this vitola is how great it captures the best of some of the others. It has the Robusto's sweetness along with a bit of the spice and earthiness of the Corona Gorda, a mix that makes works very, very well. Throw in a bit of cedar...something that neither original vitola had in much quantity...and you have Selección No. 5!
Since I sorted out how to better ensure a good draw with these cigars (slightly lower humidity than normal) I've had nothing but excellence in construction with the No. 5. This one was no exception; as I neared the halfway point, the burn line was even enough, the draw was good and the ash hung on for up to an inch or so before falling off. As I burned into the second third, I noticed the flavor profile get a bit more earthy, although it never lost that sweet molassesy touch. There was some black pepper at the back of the throat and the smooth, nutty retrohale.
The last third had a surge in the amount of black pepper on the tongue, mixing with the other flavors that stayed strong. So, back to the question of what is the perfect Four Kicks size. I like the Selección No. 5...a lot! But I still favor the Robuto slightly as the flavors just come through in a way that is more pleasing to me. This is a close second, supplanting the Sublime and blowing away the Corona Gorda, in my opinion. The body on this one is more of a medium-plus rather than the straight medium of the thicker vitolas and the nicotine strength is still nothing to worry about. This cigar is definitely suitable for just about any level of smoker and should definitely be put on your list to try.