Cigar Review: Las Calaveras 2017 by Crowned Heads

  • LC2017_straightVitola: LC46 (Corona Gorda)
  • 5.625” x 46 ring gauge 
  • MSRP $9.75
  • Purchased at Burns Tobacconist

Background

We are barely past the halfway mark of 2017 and we have already seen 5 separate Limited Edition releases from Crowned Heads…and this is the 3rd of them that I have reviewed. First, Hawaii got the latest installment of the Paniolo Especiale, a new blend from the previous releases. Then we saw the redux of the Headley Grange Limited Edition Drumstick and Four Kicks Limited Edition Mule Kick. Then TAA stores nationwide got the latest Angel’s Anvil release and now all Crowned Heads accounts have access to Las Calaveras EL 2017.

Las Calaveras has been an annual release since 2014, made to honor the Mexican “Day of the Dead,” which is a celebration of the lives of those we’ve lost in the previous year. Each installment of this series has been made in the My Father Cigar Factory in Nicaragua and each release has been a different blend. From my own observations working in a cigar shop and my own palate preferences, I saw the first release sit around a bit and found it to be good upon release…but amazing after it sat in the store’s humidor for a couple months. The second release was amazing from day 1 and is still my favorite. The 2016 version used a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper that seemed to be everywhere for Crowned Heads that year…it was great, but to me not quite as great as the 2015.

For 2017, the blend uses Nicaraguan filler and binder leaves, along with an Ecuadorian Habano Maduro wrapper. I have smoked several examples of this blend before this review stick, in both LC46 and LC50 vitolas. I bought this review sample at Burns Tobacconist. Keith previously reviewed a different size of this cigar.

Prelight

The band and box design of Las Calaveras are really the same from year to year, with the only change being in color combinations. This year, the box is black and the artwork on it is in gold and white. The band uses gold and orange art on a black background, with just the name in white lettering.

The wrapper was a milk chocolate brown color with some semi-heavy veins and a little mottling. It had a very oily feel to it, with my fingers coming away with some oily residue after touching it. The aroma from the wrapper was leathery and earthy, while the foot had earth and cedar notes predominantly.

I clipped with my normal Xikar Xi cutter and got a very good cold draw. The pre-light flavors were of earth, cocoa powder, and black coffee.

LC2017_bandFlavor

The Las Calaveras 2017 started off slightly above midway in terms of body, with a smoke that carried flavors of espresso bean and cocoa powder to my palate, backed up with something a little sweeter…semi-sweet chocolate, maybe, but it was hard to tell on the first few puffs. There was very little pepper spice on the palate, but when I retrohaled the burn was sharp and short-lived. Within a few minutes, I would define the body as medium-to-full as the oiliness of the cigar really kicked in, making the smoke thicker and more mouth-coating. Halfway through the first third, I noted that flavor of dark chocolate had resolved more clearly, with espresso bean and earthy notes still strong in the mix, as well.

Burning through the second third, I picked up notes of cinnamon and cedar joining in with the dark chocolate, while the coffee notes receded. There was a little more pepper heat on the palate and a nuttiness on the retrohale.

The final third of the cigar had more earth and cocoa powder, with a reduction in the sweetness in the mix. Pepper spice never rose above “mild” on the palate, which is seems really unusual for a My Father-produced stick.

Construction

In all the samples I’ve smoked of the 2017 Las Calaveras, I have had a great draw, very even burn line and solid ash.

Value

I find the price of admission on these to be worth it, even though they have increased a bit in price since last year…thanks, FDA!

Conclusions

Overall, I didn’t enjoy this year’s Las Calaveras as much as last year’s…but remember that I am a huge Connecticut Broadleaf fan. I did really like this stick, though, and love the fact that every year is different from the last, making for a true voyage of discovery with every new installment of the cigar. The Habano Maduro wrapper on this cigar didn’t have as much sweetness as the Broadleaf, but did provide a good amount of coffee and dark chocolate notes. The balance and complexity was very good throughout and I never got bored with the cigar. From what I’ve seen, some people like these more than last year’s, some people like them less…either way, most people have said they do like it. You’ll have to decide for yourself where you stand on Las Calaveras 2017.

By-The-Numbers

Prelight: 2/2
Construction: 2/2
Flavor: 4/5
Value: 1/1
Total: 9/10

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

You may also like...