Las Calaveras by Crowned Heads
To say that the guys over at Crowned Heads have been busy this year is an understatement. To kick off the year they did two Limited Edition cigars, one a TAA special release called the “The Angel’s Anvil”. I wasn’t able to get one of these smokes because there isn’t a TAA shop in Nashville. We should look into fixing that somehow… They were also working on this release, the Las Calaveras by Crowned Heads. Then of course they had to have something new for the IPCPR convention. So that led to the Jericho Hill, and lastly they’re working on a new regional release that is called the Tennessee Waltz. 4 cigars in 1 year, that’s a hell of a lot of work and I know we all appreciate it!
There’s an awesome backstory behind this Las Calaveras by Crowned Heads. The reasoning behind the cigar is pay homage to loved ones and friends that we’ve lost over the last year. Not to mourn for them, but rather to celebrate their lives. Everyone around the cigar industry was really excited about this cigar because it was the beginning of a new relationship for Crowned Heads. This is the first cigar that they worked with the Pepin Family on down at the My Father Cigars factory in Esteli. It was a departure from their previous relationship with E.P. Carillo. So you can imagine when news hit that this relationship was being forged everyone was excited to see what was in store for this new blend.
This cigar is set to be released every year, but don’t expect to find the same blend. According to their site, the blend and the presentation will be altered yearly as a new homage to our departed. This year the cigar comes in 3 sizes : LC550 (5″ x 50), LC652 (6″ x 52), LC754 (7″ x 54) for this review I smoked the LC652. So let’s dive into it and see how this new Crowned Heads & Pepin combination works out.
One thing you’re always gonna get with the Crowned Heads is great packaging. They never “mail it in” thats for sure. Everything they do has a purpose to it when it comes to the graphics on the band and the box. The Las Calaveras is no exception. The box is a rich dark black color with a white label on the top. Your eyes are immediately drawn into the skull colored with bright colors. The skull image has become synonymous with the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday where friends and family gather to pray for those that have left us behind.
One thing that I love about the packaging is that the band on the cigar is quite different from the box. There is no image of the skull on the band. Instead it has a large white oval in the middle with “Las Calaveras” printed in dark black ink for a nice offset. In gold print above the text it says EL 2014 and below Esteli, Nicaragua. On the top of the band a crown is placed which I think is a nice subtle look as well. There is a nice bit of color mixed in to give it a little pizazz. On the outside edge there is a ring of red arcs to give it a nice bit of complexity.
Looking at the Las Calaveras by Crowned Heads itself, it looks hefty and strong. Coming in at 6″ x 52 it’s larger than most of the stogies that I tend to smoke. That Ecuadorian Oscuro wrapper is dark and oily with just a little bit of tooth on it to give it some texture. There are no significant veins running down through the cigar and the seams are nearly impossible to see. Just dark rich earthy looking tobacco that I can’t wait to set on fire.
I’m not too worried about the pre game tests for this cigar. Most everything that has come out of the My Father factory has been flawless in terms of construction. This Las Calaveras by Crowned Heads is no different. The filler bounces back nicely when squeezed up and down the barrel. After nipping off the cap I tested the dry draw and it was perfect. Just a slight bit of resistance coming through allowing me to get a good dose of flavors as well. Nothing to worry about here so I think it’s time to take some fire to this smoke.
Right out of the gate there is a nice amount of smoke that comes pouring out. The initial ash is a bit flaky, but still holds on for well over an inch. The first third smoked great, the burn line got a little out of whack every now and again. I did have to touch it up in the 2nd third a little, could have been due to the wind outside, but nothing that really detracted from the smoking experience. It was drawing really well made for a nice easy smoke all the way to the nub.
This is what we’ve all been waiting for, what sort of flavors is this cigar going to have. The foot starts off with a sweet note of molasses and pepper. There is a hint of earthy notes coming through as well. On the cold draw I’m getting a lot of sweetness coming through the barrel and just a little tinge of pepper on the lips. Off to a great start.
The 1st third brought a nice peppery and earthy goodness, especially on the retrohale. If you’re not smoking this cigar and retrohaling, you’re leaving the majority of the flavors on the table. It’s a lot more complex with the subtle aromas swirling around. Towards the end of the 1st third the strength is starting to build with and transitioning to a nice woody note.
To me the 2nd third began a little more tame, the spice backed off a bit. The rich earthy note was punched up some and it was thicker than before. It felt like a hint of butterscotch was in there at one point. Very interesting note for sure. Still tons of smoking pouring off this thing and the retrohale really sets the cigar apart.
The final third brought on a new level of flavors with the pepper coming back in, but this time it brought a nutty flavor with it. Roasted nuts and pepper, pretty delicious combination. That earthy backbone note never left it continued all the way through. Sometimes it was in the foreground other times it moved back to let other flavors shine.
All in all a great cigar that is delicious and complex. Exactly what you’ve come to expect from the guys over at Crowned Heads.
Would I Buy It Again?
Yep. Already have.
Is It an Every Day Smoke?
Not for me, it’s one of those cigar you might have once a month. I can imagine it would be delicious with age as well.
Would I Buy a Box?
Absolutely. Again, I’d love to age these and see what develops.
I go back and forth on what to give this cigar in terms of ratings. To me Crowned Heads have set such a high standard for themselves that they have to keep exceeding their previous cigar. Now for me, I’m not sure that this cigar will over take Headley Grange as my favorite, but it’s definitely up there in my top 10. So for that, I’m going to have to give it a 10/10. I know this is one that I’ll constantly reach for and keep going back to well for, over and over as long as I have some in the box.