The Crowned Heads Las Calaveras 2015
The Crowned Heads Las Calaveras 2015 has been taking the cigar community by storm. It’s my turn to take it out for a spin.
The Good Stuff:
Starting last year, the Crowned Heads have been releasing an annual limited edition blend they call Las Calaveras (you can read last year’s review here). Las Calaveras is a cigar created each year to honor those who have passed. Here is some detailed information from Jon Huber, co-owner of The Crowned Heads about the project:
Crowned Heads Las Calaveras was inspired by “La Calavera Catrina,” a zinc etching by Mexican printmaker and illustrator, Jose Guadalupe Posada.
The image depicts a female skeleton dressed only in a hat, and has become an icon of the Mexican Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. The holiday focuses upon gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember those who have died.
Beginning with the Edicion Limitada 2014, Las Calaveras will be an annual release that is a respectful homage to those who have passed away in the year before, and is intended to be a celebration of their lives and remembrances, rather than a mourning or a symbol of sadness and death. Each year, we all lose a friend or loved one, or know of someone who has endured that same loss. In today’s fast-paced world, it is all too easy to forget the fragile nature that is life. Often, in the race to gain material success, we lose sight that our true legacy are the lives we touch and the love we leave behind once we pass on. It is in this spirit that Las Calaveras pays tribute to those who have touched our lives and shared their love.
With each year’s annual limited release, the blend and presentation of Las Calaveras will be altered. What will remain the same, however, is the spirit behind the cigar. We hope that with this annual remembrance, we will choose to celebrate–rather than mourn–the lives of those who have so graciously shared their legacies with us.
The blend features an Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper (last year’s blend carried a Habano Oscuro wrapper) with Nicaraguan binder and fillers. The cigar, like some of the Crowned Heads releases is manufactured at My Father Cigars S.A. in Esteli, Nicaragua. The Crowned Heads Las Calaveras is offered in three sizes this year: The LC50 (5 x 50), the LC52 (6 x 52) and the LC46 (5 5/8 x 46). The Las Calaveras come packaged in boxes of 24 with a limited run of 1,250 boxes of each vitola produced which run between $8.95 and $10.95 a stick. These hit retailers this past week and WILL sell out extremely fast so get them while you can. I pre-ordered a bunch of these over at Cigar Federation and got them shipped right over.
Size: 5 5/8 x 46
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Rosado
Pairing: Brouwerij Van Steenberge – Gulden Draak Brewmaster’s Edition (Belgian Strong Ale 10.5% ABV)
The Crowned Heads Las Calaveras features a gorgeous, medium brown wrapper. The wrapper features some natural darkening around the webbing in the leaf, a mild tooth, and a whole mess of caked on oils. There are a few larger veins running through the cigar’s slender body with lead up to a perfect, round, triple cap. The wrapper feels very thin and delicate while the most of the cigar has a slight sponginess to it which is more evident around the foot. The Las Calaveras is polished off with the same style band we saw on the 2014 release, except the red is replaced with a nice, elegant cream color. The band features the “Las Calaveras” crest in the front along with “Esteli, Nicaragua” and “EL 2015” embossed in gold metallic ink along with two more gold crests around the back of the cigar with the initials “P.S.” and “K.B.” which I can only assume honor individuals were very are close to the Crowned Heads.
The wrapper screams sweetness, honey, and cedar as I take a few whiffs while the foot of the cigar carries a more natural, spicy aroma. The cap like butter using my double bladed Palio cutter. The cold draw already showcases how much flavor this cigar packs with notes of cherry, spice, cedar, and deep natural tobacco.
The Crowned Heads Las Calaveras starts out with a quick little black pepper blast which quickly faded into some very, very strong sweetness, brown sugar, deep cedar, cherry, and natural tobacco. It’s a flavor bomb right off the bat, but the flavors are really complimentary and well balanced. The draw is perfect. Each little puff gets the right amount of thick smoke while the cigar gives off almost no stationary smoke as it rests in my ashtray. The burn line is pretty thin, and very even leaving behind a trail of mostly compacted medium to dark gray ash which held on for about an inch before falling into my ashtray.
Into the second third of the Crowned Heads Las Calaveras and more of the cherry/plum flavor has been brought to the center backed by the strong sweetness, spice, deep cedar, and natural tobacco. The retrohale is real smooth coating my nasal passage with a ton of cedar and spice. The burn line has been rocking dead even since I’ve lit the cigar up and I close out the second third with absolutely no nicotine kick.
Early into the final third the black pepper made it’s resurgence backing up the sweetness, cherry, cedar, spice, and natural flavors. The flavor profile has been pretty consistent but the flavors themselves would ramp up at different times creating a unique experience that kept me on my toes. The Crowned Heads Las Calaveras took me about an hour and a half to take down to the nub and I experience no harshness, no heat, and only a little nicotine kick.
Let’s face it, The Crowned Heads are a force to be reckoned with. Here they are again kicking out yet another amazing blend. I was a big fan of last year’s Las Calaveras, but the 2015 blew last year’s out of the water. I know it’s still very, very early in the year but this is the best new release that I have had so far. I’m a big fan of bold cigars, and I am even a bigger fan of bold cigars that create amazing flavor profiles without being overloaded with strength. The Las Calaveras did just that. This is a great cigar that for a novice cigar smoker looking for a bold experience without breaking the bank, and a perfect cigar for those seasoned vets looking for a complex, bold experience. At a very affordable price point the only bad thing about this cigar is the availability. Believe me, I have quite a few on hand now and will be on the hunt for more. Get your hands on these while you can.
Brewed at the Brouwerij Van Steenberge brewery in Belgium this strong ale comes in at a whopping 10.5% ABV. The Gulden Draak Brewmaster’s Edition is the same Gulden Draak we have grown to love, aged in whiskey barrels making for a very smooth, yet bold finish. The beer starts off with some great bitterness, sweetness, cherry, and citrus with a light mouthfeel before finishing strong and clean with a bunch of booziness, whiskey, cherry, and malt. This is a perfect pairing as the sweetness and cherry paired great with the Crowned Heads Las Calaveras. I would also pair this cigar with any Belgian strong ale or quad, some sweet bourbon, or some nice iced tea.