The Las Calaveras Editión Limitada 2014 is the first Crowned Heads cigar to be produced in the My Father Cigars factory in Esteli. I posted all of the details in the Cigar Pre-Game post. The Las Calaveras is set to be released in May of 2014.
There are a lot of reasons for cigar nerds to get excited about this release. For one, it's a new release from Crowned Heads and it seems that their blends just keep getting better. Another reason is that the Las Calaveras is the first Nicaraguan blend from Crowned Heads and they worked with the Garcia's. And on top of all that, it has a very unique story and cool look, which we have come to expect from Jon Huber and Mike Conder.
Crowned Heads La Calaveras Editión Limitada 2014
Manufacturer: My Father Cigars S.A.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Esteli)
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Oscuro (8th Priming)
Production: 3,000 24-count boxes
Release Date: May 2014
Available Sizes: LC550 (5 x 50), LC652 (6 x 52), LC754 (7 x 54)
MSRP: LC550 $8.95, LC652 $9.95, LC754 $10.95
Samples for review provided by Crowned Heads cigars
Pre-Light: Scroll up a bit and look at that wrapper. That photo is unfiltered. The Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper was basically perfect. It was oily with a lightly toothy feel and had few imperfections. It was the deep brown color of a well oiled baseball glove. Sorry for the hyperbole, but it's late March and I am a baseball junkie. The wrapper gave off an aroma of dark chocolate, raisins and dark cherries. Upon clipping the cap I was met with a very loose draw tasted like raisins (again), sweet tobacco and chalky cocoa powder.
Beginning: With the first puff I was blasted with the heat and flavor of red pepper flakes. The flavor and heat were present on the tongue, but the heat was magnified in the retrohale. That heat built up with every puff for the first 1/2 inch and plateaued at that point. The dried cherry note that I picked up in the cold draw came through to provide some early depth.
At the one inch mark the red pepper become more of an earthy black peppercorn. The heat was still there, but the flavor of peppercorn intensified and took on a "smokey" element. The red cherry note become more of a general jammy fruit somewhere between dried dark cherries and prune. I know prunes have a stigma that you only eat them when you "need" to eat them, but actually they are pretty tasty. Just sayin'.
Middle: The flavors really settled in at the 2 inch mark and were headlined by a big meaty note. By meaty I mean meat and by meat I mean a steak. If you can imagine a steak with peppercorns and deep cherrie reduction sauce, then you have an idea of what I was experiencing. The black pepper would take over for a few puffs here and there, but the three flavor notes stayed in pretty good balance for the most part. At this point the Las Calaveras was a full body and medium-plus strength cigar.
End: The general profile of the Las Calaveras stayed the same. The flavors became a bit thicker toward the end while the pepper softened a bit and the heat remained on the retrohale. The strength maintained its medium-plus status. The final two inches of the Las Calaveras stayed pretty consistent with what was happening in the middle.
Final Thoughts: My expectations for the Las Calaveras were too high. It is well documented that I am a bit of a Crowned Heads fanboy and Jon is one of my favorite people in the industry. I knew this cigars was going to be a departure from what Crowned Heads had done in the past and it was definitely that. The profile was very Nicaraguan and, to be more specific, it was very Esteli. It was well balanced, well constructed and well thought out. On top of that, I think it opens Crowned Heads up to an entire new market. In fact, I believe the Las Calaveras has the potential to be Crowned Heads most successful cigar. Smokers who like full strength and full body cigars are going to love it.
The Las Calaveras is a very good cigar, but it is simply not my style. I don't normally score cigars, but I like Logan's scoring system and under that system I would rate the La Calaveras as a "5-pack purchase." I will pick up more when they are released because I would like to revisit it after a nice steak and paired with a glass of Bookers.
Recommendation: As I said above, I think this is going to be a wildly successful cigar. If you like stronger cigars, give the Las Calaveras a try. If you've tried Crowned Heads in the past and found their blends not to your linking, give the Calaveras a try. I think the Las Calaveras was blended for the modern palate (thanks to Catfish for coining that term for me) and I think the modern palate is going to love it.