Two of the most well-respected and established brands in the premium cigar industry have partnered, once again, to take the cigar industry by storm with La Coalición—a term that means “a pact or union to achieve a common goal.” The goal in this case was clearly to deliver a bold and unique flavor profile that was meaningful to the collaborators, Juhn Huber of Crowned Heads and Willy Herrera of Drew Estate.
This wasn’t the first time these two industry giants had collaborated on a project. They delivered a stunning release to the state of Ohio in Buckeye Land as part of the Crowned Heads regional release line of cigars. Buckeye Land was also the first time that Crowned Heads had worked with a new factory outside of their core relationships by having the cigar made at La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in Nicaragua. As they had great success with that release, as well as two more limited Paniolo Especiale releases, they returned to the scene of the crime for the La Coalición project.
With these two legends working together, now on their first core-line, nationally distributed brand, the whole industry took notice and waited with anticipation as the announcement was made just before the 2019 IPCPR Trade Show (now known as PCA). And while there were still some last minute revisions to the branding, etc., we saw the launch in October of that year met with excitement, as premium tobacco fans and media alike sought out the release.
La Coalición Breakdown
- Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
- Binder: Sumatra
- Filler: Nicaragua | Dominican Republic
- Factory: La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 5″ × 46 (Corona Gorda)
- Price: $10.95 (MSRP)
The Corona Gorda (5” x 46) is one of four vitolas in the original release line. Along with La Coalición Gordito (5½” x 50), La Coalición Siglo (6” x 52) and La Coalición Sublime (6½” x 54). Seen below is the original pre-release cigar band compared to the final release version.
La Coalición comes in 20-count, highly lacquered white boxes with a simple badge of two conquistador-style, armored knights on horseback (likely representing the collaborators) with the name “La Coalición” on the top of the lid. The box has a gold stripe around it with both Crowned Heads and Drew Estate named on the front panel.
The underside of the lid shows a more elaborate and decorative version of the riders. This is embellished with the regal feel of gold embossing, emphasizing several gold coins and an untold story of two champions facing each other in the end.
The cigar is the color of a medium-plus-roast coffee that is darker around the raised portion of stems and pressure points of the tobacco beneath, giving an almost marbled look. There’s not a lot of oily sheen but rather a powdery matte look and feel. The seams are almost invisible other than a slight color differential to the leaf itself. The corona gorda is secured in an elegant and nearly royal decorative band that simply states “La Coalición” and, in small sub-text, “Crowned Heads.”
The wrapper is a dark contrast to the lighter brown fillers, giving the foot a pronounced look that draws the eye to what appears to be many leaves rolled entubado-style. On the opposite end sits a solid round head that looks to be double capped and applied as seamlessly as the wrapper.
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Pre-light, the La Coalición has aromas of coffee and baking chocolate with more intense notes of barnyard and Mexican dried chilis around the foot. Upon lighting the cigar, you get a rich baking chocolate and Mexican chili up front with notable black pepper in the retrohale. There is also a touch of leather that faintly adds to the complexity of the flavor profile. The draw of the cigar is just slightly snug, which I would rate as virtually perfect. The cigar has an expectedly profuse smoke output, as I have become accustomed to with Drew Estate-made cigars.
La Coalición offers a full-bodied smoke experience that fills the palate and gives a very satisfying exhale and retrohale. There is a sweet tobacco note along with some woody flavors that leave a lingering chocolate fudge and toasted oak character on the palate. As I get close to two inches in, the ash is still holding strong, as the combustion line holds a perfect ring around the cigar. The spice and chocolate mellow into a syrupy maple note. It reminds me of a rum barrel-aged stout with ancho chilis.
The ash is gray, with black lines showing each spot where I drew and stopped. It is also quite dense and solid, giving the appearance of a concrete pillar. At the halfway point of the cigar, the flavor is driven by chocolate and coffee, with a distinct syrupy note and an underlying presence of a medium-toasted oak barrel. Each of the flavors are very distinct and the Mexican dried chili component has subsided in the final third.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
With enthusiasm. This cigar is a true intersection of the flavor, quality, and construction that I have come to know and love of Crowned Heads and Drew Estate. The cigar is a rich and syrupy concoction, delivering flavors of coffee, chocolate, and charred oak that leave the palate wanting more. I found it to be a great compliment to pair with a brown ale, porter, or stout.
- La Coalición showed a construction that you can count on lighting it once and settling in to do nothing but enjoy until the nub.
- This cigar has rich and deep flavors that any novice can enjoy and a veteran smoker will appreciate until the last draw.
- The price point may limit it as an everyday luxury but delivers well above its value.
- Continuing a fruitful working relationship, this is the third collaboration between Jon Huber and Willy Herrera. A partnership that this reviewer hopes to see continue and will follow closely.
- Flavor: Flavor
- Strength: Medium-plus
- Body: Full
- Syrupy sweetness
- Mexican dried chilis
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Bourbon | Brown ale | Porter | Stout
- Purchase Recommendation: Box purchase
- Distinct and intense flavors
- Appropriate balance of strength to flavor
- A sweet richness and depth of flavor that makes for great pairing opportunities
- No significant transitions, as the flavor is somewhat linear from start to finish
- Price point may limit it as a daily smoke
- Lacked subtle flavor complexity