Cigar Review – Crowned Heads Las Calaveras EL 2014
The Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2014 is a collaboration between Crowned Heads and My Father Cigars. This cigar is the first of what is scheduled to be an annual release paying homage to those who have passed away in the year before. A “calavera” (Spanish for “skull”) is a representation of human skull made from either sugar or clay, which is used in the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead, hence the “remembrance” theme of the cigar. A total of 3,000 boxes (72,000 cigars) of Las Calaveras EL 2014 were produced at the My Father Cigars S.A. factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, under the supervision of Jose “Pepin” Garcia and Jaime Garcia. Here are the leaf stats:
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Oscuro (8th priming)
For today’s test-smoke I procured a sample of the LC550 (5×50) size.
This stick came dressed to impress with a single clean and classy, Cuban-esque band over its oily oscuro wrapper. Pre-light draws let off a taste of dark, fruity sweetness and a bit of the ol’ barnyard action. I opted for a punch cut on this one, and after a quick toasting the cigar lit up evenly with no problems.
In the first few puffs I was greeted with a taste of punchy black pepper and molasses, along with dark, woody notes of oak. The first third of the smoke was rife with this kind of pungent, earthy flavor. The burn was off to a good start and the cigar was pumping out plenty of milky smoke with each draw.
Going into the second third there wasn’t a drastic change of flavor, but there were some subtle transitions. The pepper was now more of a background note and the heavy, damp earthiness of the cigar became even more thick and juicy. During this portion there was just a trace hint of sweetness, and some lingering spice on the finish. Just when things started to get a bit too heavy for my taste, a prominent cream note streamed into the profile, adding a new dimension of balance to the hearty smoke.
In the final third of the cigar the stampede of meaty tasting notes continued on, now offset nicely by the cream. Hints of coffee and nuts popped up here and there, along with more earthy sweetness and a rich and spicy tobacco taste instead of the vivid black pepper from the intro. The last few puffs introduced an unsweetened cocoa taste similar to baker’s chocolate, and at this point the strength of the cigar had me tapping out, I had seen enough.
The Las Calaveras turned out to be a strong smoke in every sense: flavor, strength, and aroma. Construction and burn of this cigar left absolutely nothing to be desired, it smoked like a dream from start to finish. Nicotine strength was not crazy full, but definitely on the high end of medium-full. As far as flavor is concerned, I would say this one is not for the faint of palate. This was easily one of the most full-flavored cigars I’ve ever lit up and the first couple of inches left my tongue totally drenched in earthy, peppery aftertaste. I personally preferred the second half after the cream kicked in, then I was able to discern some recognizable tasting notes that conveyed the cigar’s real depth of flavor. All in all, this was some strong stuff folks, the kind of cigar one might imagine Chuck Norris smoking for breakfast, and for today I give it a solid B grade. The overall high quality of Las Calaveras is undeniable and those who like hard and heavy flavor are sure to flip for this limited edition stick. If you’re curious, pick up a 6-pack here.