Every now and then a cigar comes out of nowhere and in short order seems to be everywhere. And if not physically everywhere, the topic of enough conversation it you’d think it had been in the cigar shops for years. It’s a bit of exaggeration to say this applies the K. A. Kendall’s 7-20-4, but it seemed like no sooner did I have time to think “what an odd name for a cigar” than I was getting email from shops selling it, and tweets from people asking for an opinion on it. It wasn’t until a trip to New York last month that I actually saw the cigar, and by that time, it seemed like I had been waiting to try it for ages. It goes with out saying I bought some.
It could just be the cigar’s unusual name making it stand out more when mentioned. As you may have already heard, the 7-20-4 is a revival of an old cigar line made by the R. G. Sullivan cigar company from 1875 until it closed in 1963. In it’s heyday, R. G. Sullivan was the largest seller of 10 cent cigars in the nation, making at least 54 million annually in the early years of the 20th century. And reportedly, R. G. Sullivan had the largest tax bill of any business in America for at least one of those years. (Could you imagine how many cigars you’d have to sell today to have that dubious distinction?)
The numerical portion of the name appears to be a tribute to the original R. G. Sullivan factory, which was located at 724 Elm Street in Manchester, New Hampshire. The rest is an abbreviation of the current brand owner’s name, Kurt Kendall, and subtle nod to the previous owner. And now it’s my turn to pay tribute by lighting it up!
Size: 5 5/8 x 46
Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Undisclosed (Probably Nicaraguan, Mexican and Honduran)
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Price: MSRP $6.75
Based on the results of my internet search for the original 7-20-4 line of cigars, it appears that Mr. Kendall did a fine job of recreating the original artwork on the cigar’s band. It’s both sharp looking, and at the same time has the appeal of a vintage cigar advertisement. The cigar itself is a little odd looking with that chunky pigtail cap. The “pigtails” look more like stems, hinting that perhaps these cigars were recently plucked from some miraculous cigar tree.
The wrapper itself is a rustic, dark reddish brown, with a few larger, somewhat twisted veins tracing its length. One of the cigars did have wrapper damage at the foot, which is one of the dangers of being without cellophane protection. (But probably due to my handling.) The cigars were pretty firm to the touch, but I did notice a bit of inconsistency in some sticks. Not quite soft spots, though.
The scent of the wrapper was a potent combination of sweet honey and compost, but the cold taste produced slightly sweet chocolate and coffee.
It’s such a relief to not have to recount the horrors of a bad burn this week. The 7-20-4 drew perfectly, burned evenly (for the most part), and produced an attractive, solid white ash. A few touch-ups, but no re-lights or any other extra-curricular lighter activity were required.
The first couple of puffs off the 7-20-4 coated my mouth with a rich combination of creamy cedar, coffee and cocoa. Before the first third of the cigar was done, the profile seemed to settle into a long lasting, slightly sweet combination of chocolate, coffee and a little bit of pepper.
The chocolate flavors evolved toward bittersweetness, the coffee notes became a little more like espresso and the pepper became slightly more pronounced in the second third. Toward the end, the cigar produced a lot of cafe con leche and cedar flavors.
Interestingly, the profile again became creamy and almost nougaty for a short period at the beginning of the final third. But before long, dark chocolate, coffee and pepper flavors returned.
Ordinarily in this section, I just make a call as to whether or not the cigar is worth the price. In this case, I think it is. But the history of the 7-20-4 had me wondering what a 10 cent cigar would cost today, adjusted for inflation. Based on a couple of online calculators, 10 cents around 1910 is worth about $2.20 today. (Somehow I thought it’d be higher.) So it’s no inflation-adjusted 10 cent stogie, it’s still a pretty good value.
The more 7-20-4’s I smoked, the more I liked them. I appreciated the great burn, but more than anything else, I loved the rich, mouth-coating, full bodied flavors that lingered forever on the palate. I have not yet tried the other vitolas, but this corona format seemed to be just about right too. This is simply an excellent cigar, at a very reasonable price. Sure, it may not be 10 cents, but I think R. G. Sullivan would be pleased. If your local brick and mortar carries the K. A. Kendall’s 7-20-4, I recommend you one up and try it on for size.
Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Absolutely
Recommend It: Yes
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.
16 thoughts on “K. A. Kendall’s 7-20-4 Corona”
Sounds like a cigar I’d enjoy. I’m hitting a shop tomorrow, be interesting to see if it’s there? Seems like it’s a hard one to find based upon your experiences. I’d be interested to know if you have found it to be more readily available of late?
They are getting easier to find. The supply is starting to catch up with the buzz.
The 7-20-4 can be purchased at Twin’s Smoke Shop, 2 Guy’s Smoke Shop, New Havana Cigars, Leaf and Ale (I believe they have started, if not, they should be getting them soon), and from what I heard, multiple other sites. While they are not hard to find in the NE region, they may be difficult to find else where.
And they are worth it.
Coming from you Ron that means allot——Need to get me mitts on a few and see what they are all about–Nice read Brian…….
The Wrapper as stated is a Brazilian Mata Fina
The Binder is Costa Rican
and the 4 country blend of the filler is Nicaraguan, Honduran, Mexican and Columbian.
Not only is the band a tribute to the original maker but the box is as well. When I catch up to you I’ll show you a box from the 15 cent days and the current box.
It is my pleasure to be the Representative for 7-20-4 and hope to have it placed in 10 retailersin each of 4 of the 5 states that I travel with 15 -20 in Georgia.. It is now available in a few shops and selling well.
I’ve seen that listed as the composition on some other sites, but according to the Twin’s Smoke Shop website (as well as a Perelman’s article), the official composition is Brazilian Mata Fina, Columbian and an undisclosed three nation blend. Did this change at some point, or did they just make a mistake on the website? I figured if the owner’s shop’s website says it’s so, it is.
I’d love to see (and get a picture of) one of the original boxes.
Had one at Ole Stogies the other day, and quite enjoyed it!
I just wish it were a dollar or so less expensive.
Great review Brian! This cigar actually sounds like it has pretty good flavors for a nominal price. I wouldnt call it a daily smoke, for us poor people anyway, but maybe a once or twice weekly cigar.
Nice review. I’ve smoked a few of these in different sizes. A great burn goes a long way with me and these all burned perfectly. However, the flavor just wasn’t there so I don’t have a desire to smoke more.
Sounds like a great smoke. I can’t wait to try it.
I have smoked a bunch of these. The corona is by far my favorite. They have a great rich flavor all the way to the end. For a medium strength stick, it has great flavors. Not a bad price point either!
I had the churchill a week ago with a cup of coffee and really enjoyed it. Great draw, burn and ash with a nice earthy flavor. Didn’t knock my socks off, but a solid smoke that you should try.
I had the Grand Torino. Great cigar. Loved the nice easy draw. It had a very nice ash too. It was 2 plus inches and I was about to take a picture when it fell off. Grr.
So almost a year and a half after your review I get my hands on one of these, as well as the next size up.
Gotta tell you, I hated the dog walker. And the little bastard wasnt cheap so I’m not all that excited to purchase another one to see if it was a fluke. I wanted to like this cigar. I loved the size. Hated the taste.
A few days later I smoke the larger of my 2 purchases, and had a totally different experience.
Still a little more than I want to pay for what I feel I got in return, but definitely a much better experience than the DOG WALKER.
Curious to see if you still think them box worthy in 2011.
Love this stick . A friend of mine brought it for me today from a cigar lounge un Rhode Island so I went to the web, to learn about , before I smoke it. I highly recommend it
Like our friend Mr. Dennis, I only comment on posts that are well aged. Just smoked one of these from 2009 and OMG still has a lot of spice- even after 11 years. A bold tasting cigar with lots of flavor. I have a few more older ones- hopefully they are as good as this one!