2 Aug 2011
Though I haven’t gotten around to reviewing any of them, Kurt Kendall’s 7-20-4 cigars have become staples in my humidor. The “Dogwalker” size has particularly become a favorite as it delivers full cigar flavors in a small size (4 x 40) that takes less than 30 minutes to smoke.
So when I heard Kendall was introducing a new line at this year’s industry trade show, I was looking forward to trying it. It is called 1874, which commemorates the opening of the 7-20-4 factory in Manchester, New Hampshire. Two years ago Kurt Kendall, who runs the Twins Smoke Shop in New Hampshire, re-introduced the 7-20-4 blend (and resurrected the trademark) which had been made at the Manchester factory until 1963.
The standard line is made by the Plasencias in Honduras. The new 1874 series is made in Nicaragua and features filler tobaccos from Jalapa and Estelí surrounded by a Habano wrapper from Jalapa. The light brown wrapper is slightly dry in appearance with a few veins.
The first thing that struck me about this cigar was the unique pre-light flavors. A cold draw revealed a taste that was instantly familiar, but hard to pinpoint, though I associated it with Christmas. Five minutes later I realized it was, of all things, mincemeat: savory, with dried fruit and a hint of citrus.
After this most unique start I lit up the 6-inch, 46-ring gauge Corona Especial (the 1874 Series also comes in a robusto and torpedo) to see what I was in store for. The cigar revealed medium-bodied flavors with excellent balance. I also found a dry characteristic with some graham-like sweetness. It’s toasty with buttery notes and slight raisin flavors. Though slightly soft, the cigar featured excellent combustion with an easy draw, even burn, and clean ash.
All in all, I was impressed by the 1874 Series. Like the original 7-20-4, it’s a unique offering in an industry that too often plays follow-the-leader. The obvious question that comes next is whether the 1874 is better than the original blend. For me it isn’t better, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a fine smoke. (The slightly higher price point of over $150 for a box of 20 1874s, versus around $120 for a similarly-sized cigar from the original 7-20-4 blend, makes that conclusion easier.)
Still, I appreciate the balanced and unique flavor profile of K.A. Kendall’s newest line, which is why I give the 7-20-4 1874 Series Corona Especial a formidable four out of five stogies.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys