The Crowned Heads Las Calaveras 2020
I had a bit of a throat injury that had been limited my smoking time the past few weeks. Its a funny story, but not one I’d like to go into. That being said I have finally healed up and I have been cigar smoking machine ever since. This week I take some time to hang out back with my dogs, a 2020 Crowned Heads Las Calaveras and a bottle of Bottle Logic’s Fundamental Observation.
The Good Stuff:
Each and every year since 2014 The Crowned Heads have released the “Las Calaveras” which is a cigar created to pay tribute to those who are close to us which we have lost and each year has been special to me as I lost so many great people in my life over the past few years. If you want to catch up, you can reach each of my reviews on each different release below:
- Las Calaveras 2014
- Las Calaveras 2015
- Las Calaveras 2016
- Las Calaveras 2017
- Las Calaveras 2018
- Las Calaveras 2019
The year the Las Calaveras blend features a Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and fillers. As with the rest of the previous releases the 2020 Las Calaveras is produced at the My Father Cigars S.A. in Esteli, Nicaragua and comes in four vitolas: LC48 (5 1/2 x 48), LC 52 (5 x 52), LC56 (6 x 56), and the torpedo (6 1/8 x 52). Each of the first three sizes come packaged in boxes of 24 ranging between $10.95 and $12.95 a stick while the Torpedo is only available in a 4-count sampler which features each of the 3 main sizes as well as the torpedo for $49.95. I purchased mine over from our great friends at Fox Cigar Bar who have them in stock now and offer free shipping, no minimum.
- Size: 5 1/2 x 48
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Body: Full
- Strength: Medium/Full
- Price: $10.95
- Pairing: Bottle Logic Fundamental Observation (Imperial Stout 13.55% ABV)
The 2020 Las Calaveras starts out with a chocolatey brown wrapper that is semi-consistent in color with only a few lighter brown areas splotched throughout the leaf. The wrapper’s texture is extremely firm and dense with a good amount of tooth and grit as well as a ton of oils that transfer onto the tips of my fingers as I inspect the cigar. The Calaveras feels very firm and tightly compacted as the wrapper is laid seamlessly over itself leading up to the cigar’s round, triple-wrapped cap. The cigar is then polished off with the standard “Las Calaveras” band and crest only this year they chose a brilliant purple color which makes it stand out a bit from the rest of the releases. The new purple band is accompanied by a gold foot band with the “Crowned Heads” logo embossed across the front.
The wrapper on the Crowned Heads Las Calaveras 2020 gives off a ton of rich cedar and sweet brown sugar aromas while the foot of the cigar is much more spice focused with bold notes of natural tobacco. The cap cut clean and easily using my Xikar XO double bladed cutter. The cold draw produces some great cedar, brown sugar, coffee and natural tobacco flavors.
The Crowned Heads Las Calaveras 2020 starts off with a pretty potent cayenne pepper bang which left my tongue and lips tingling for quite some time. After the first few draws the pepper began to wear off and I was left with bold notes of dark chocolate, brown sugar, blackberry soft spice and musk. The draw is a tiny bit on the tight side from the start, but as I progressed into the first inch it began to open up. The burning has some very slight waves while remaining very thin as it leaves behind a trail of tightly compacted light and medium gray ash which held on for almost an inch before falling into my ashtray.
Into the second third of the Crowned Heads Las Calaveras 2020 the dark chocolate has really began to take over the flavor profile backed by bold musk, light spice and blackberry along with some soft brown sugar notes. Pairing this with such a sweet beer with vanilla it really added this creamy texture to the cigar that I didn’t get the first few times I smoked it when I paired it with water or iced tea. The retrohale brings out a ton of the spice that is very faint in the standard experience. The has been no touchups, or relights as the cigar has been burning flawlessly. I close out the second third with only a very minor nicotine hit.
Into the final third of the Las Calaveras 2020 and the flavors remain much of the same from the second third. The chocolate is leading the charge backed by musk, spice, and soft brown sugar. While the blackberry has dropped out of the experience there is a nice chamomile tea flavor that has crept its way in. The cigar started in the full-flavor full-body arena but has balanced out to a more full-medium/full experience towards the end. It took me almost 2 hours to take this cigar down to the nub and I really appreciated being able to sit back and enjoy a great smoke and beer after a long hiatus. I experienced no harshness nor extended heat and never once had to touchup or relight the cigar.
This year’s Las Calaveras release simply put, is fantastic. It seems a bit of a departure in flavor from previous releases as the flavors seemed more on the sweet/chocolatey side vs more organic tobacco flavors. The construction is flawless, and the price point as always, is very affordable. This was one of the better cigars I had this year, but I still don’t believe it competes with last year’s release as far as the flavor profile goes which is strictly subjective. I even smoked them back to back to make sure my bias against how much I enjoyed last year’s wasn’t leading my decision and I still choose last year’s release over this one. I can’t stress this enough, that doesn’t mean this cigar isn’t on par by any stretch, it certainly is.
This week’s paring is one of my all-time favorite beers, Bottle Logic’s Fundamental Observation. Brewed at the Bottle Logic brewery in Anaheim, California Fundamental Observation is a bourbon barrel aged Imperial stout aged with Madagascar vanilla beans. The beer starts off with a whole mess of sweet vanilla, milk chocolate, caramel and malt with a very heavy mouthfeel before finishing sticky-sweet with more vanilla and milk chocolate over light toffee. Its easy to see why I paired this beer with the Las Calaveras 2020 as the flavor matched up extremely well and the more pronounced sweetness in the beer really brought the sweet character out of the cigar.