The Crowned Heads Las Calaveras 2017
I swear we haven’t gone through a day without rain in El Paso for at least a week and a half now and I am loving it. Speaking of loving things, this week’s pairing is one I’ve been dying to get to. Today I take look at The Crowned Heads Las Calaveras 2017 paired with Founders Brewing’s KBS 2017.
The Good Stuff:
The Crowned Heads Las Calaveras line has easily become one of each year’s most anticipated releases. Starting in 2014 the Crowned Heads launched the Las Calaveras line to celebrate those who we have all lost throughout the year a backstory in which I personally love. You can read out review of the 2014 here, 2015 here, and 2016 here.
The Las Calaveras 2017 blend consists of an Ecuadorian Habano Maduro wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and Nicaraguan fillers which is produced at the My Father factory in Nicaragua. This year the Las Calaveras is offered in four sizes: The standard size (5 1/2 x 54), LC46 (5 5/8 x 46), LC50 (5 x 50), and the LC52 (6 x 52) which will run you between $9.70 and $11.75 a stick. Each size comes packaged in 24 count boxes with a sampler of one of each size being released as well. There is 1,700 boxes of each size released with the exception of the standard size which will see a release of 3,000 boxes. I purchased mine over from Atlantic Cigar.
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Maduro
Pairing: Founder Kentucky Breakfast Stout 2017 (Imperial Stout 11.9% ABV)
The Crowned Heads Las Calaveras 2017 starts with a gorgeous medium/dark brown wrapper which isn’t too consistent in color as there are several darker brown areas as well as some lighter almost orange splotches scattered throughout the cigar. The texture of the cigar is extremely toothy and gritty with a good amount of oil while the wrapper itself feels very dense and hard. In fact, the cigar as a whole feels very solid, heavy, and well packed. There are some very minor veins and lots of natural webbing located in the body of the cigar leading up to it’s round, triple-wrapped cap. Unlike the previous Las Calaveras blend this year carries a black base instead of white, with the similar red, gold, and white embossing as the previous releases.
The wrapper gives off some slight spice, and musk aromas while the foot of the cigar kicks out a ton of pepper, spice, grain and natural tobacco scents. The cold draw its massive throwing out a ton of pepper, spice, musk, leather, and tobacco flavors with some slight tartness left on my lips.
he Crowned Heads Las Calaveras 2017 starts out with a ton of black pepper that left my tongue and lips tingling for a bit. After the pepper fades I am greeted with some really bold spice, brown sugar, musk, raisin, vanilla and oak. It’s a bold and complex profile right off the bat. The draw is absolutely perfect despite being packed so tightly. Each little pull forces a huge cloud of thick white smoke into my mouth which hangs out for quite a while before dissipating as The Crowned Heads Las Calaveras 2017 pours out stationary smoke as it rests in my ashtray. The burn line is razor thin and dead even. The ash left behind is slightly compacted, semi-flaky and a bright white and medium gray in color which held on for an inch before giving way.
I’m into the second third of this Crowned Heads Las Calaveras 2017 and I’m having a real hard time putting it down. The flavor profile still leads with spice, vanilla, brown sugar and musk with a great cocoa addition now and some backing oak and pecan. It’s well into the full-bodied arena already but I haven’t felt much in terms of nicotine yet. The retrohale reminds me how much residual pepper is still in the mix and I don’t find myself doing it too often. The cigar is still burning flawlessly.
The Crowned Heads Las Calaveras 2017 has not stopped pouring on the love since I first lit it up. Now into the final third the flavor profile has been taken over by the musk and cocoa while the vanilla, spice, oak, and brown sugar have taken a step back and a real nice smokey flavor has crept in as well as a resurgence of the pepper. It took me two hours to take this little cigar down to the nub. It could have easily been much quicker but I really had to keep reminding myself to pace it. I experienced no harshness, nor extended heat even into the final half inch where I broke out my Redeemer to nub until there was almost no cigar left to smoke.
I am a huge fan of the Las Calaveras line, and a bigger fan of the Crowned Heads. How did The Crowned Heads Las Calaveras 2017 compare? It may be a bit early to say it as I only smoked through a handful, but this may be my favorite Calaveras release yet. It’s bold, flavorful, complex, well balanced and won’t kick your ass. That’s exactly what I personally look for in a cigar. The flavor profile was stellar and the price point is exactly where it should be. With a large release these won’t be too hard to find either which is a great thing cause it looks like I will be picking up quite a few more.
Why not pair one of the year’s most sought after cigars with one of the most sought after beers. Unless you’ve been living under a rock then you’re familiar with Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout, or KBS. Coming in at a rockin’ 11.9% This imperial stout is brewed with coffee and chocolate before being cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for a year. The result is fantastic. The beer leads with vanilla, cocoa, booze, malt, and cream with a very heavy mouthfeel before finishing with even more cocoa, caramel, malt, bourbon, oak, and vanilla. The bourbon really starts to come out of this beer as it warms. I can do this pairing all day! The sweet vanilla, cocoa, and malt really paired well with the cocoa, vanilla, and spice in The Crowned Heads Las Calaveras 2017. If I had to pair this cigar with another beer I’d go for a spicy Belgian Dubbel, a spiced Imperial Mexican Chocolate Stout, or a solid Tawny Port.