The team at Crowned Heads Cigars are carving yet another path with the much anticipated release of the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2016, the third installment to their Las Calaveras annual limited production series. According to GoGo Jones, the creative artist behind Crowned Heads’ marketing, “The concept for Las Calaveras came to Jon Huber, co-founder of Crowned Heads, in a dream. He wanted to create a cigar as an homage to those he had lost close to him the previous year. With Day of the Dead iconography and elegant ornaments, this Crowned Heads staple reminds us to take the time and reflect upon those joys and celebrate our loved ones.”
Very few cigars cause the buzz online and in social media forums as does the Las Calaveras, as when its release date was confirmed earlier in the year, the CYOP (Carve Your Own Path) community started saving their “coins” and planning their work days around a special trip to their local brick and mortar to grab this years blend of the cigars before they’re gone forever.
Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2016
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Vitola for Eval: LC46 (6×46)
Factory: My Father Cigars, S.A.
The 2016 blend comes in 3 sizes, the LC46 (6×46), LC50 (5×50) and the LC54 (5.5×54). Always looking to throw a curveball, there are a few firsts for the line, as this year the Las Calaveras is also available in a 4-cigar sampler that includes the previously mentioned three violas and a sampler-exclusive 6×54 torpedo.
The cigar is rich, oily and rustic in appearance…the kind of “rough beauty” that only a broadleaf cigar can offer. The banding is the same concept as previous years, but true to tradition, the color scheme has changed. This year the cherry-wood boxed cigar brandishes a white background with orange, brown and gold trim. We mentioned coins earlier because on each side of the vertical oval displaying the edition year, the cigar’s name and the country of origin, are four traditional gold cuban coins. While sampling my LC46 I noticed for the first time that inside of each metallic coin was a crest bearing initials. According to Huber, “Each of those sets of initials are for special people that we have lost during the previous year. They are placed on the bands in remembrance and homage to them. You’ll notice that with each release there are different initials on the crests.”
Expecting sweet and buttery from the broadleaf, I guillotine cut and single-flamed my Las Calaveras and sat back on the couch at Smoker’s Abbey in Nashville, TN. Upon light I got the very notes I expected, but just when I was about to settle in on the calm nuances of that salty/sweet combination, the 2016 punched me in the back of the nose with a tingling pepper sensation. Burning perfectly on these first two or so inches I tasted and smelled the aroma of chocolate, cedar and nuts.
Halfway through the LC2016 the cocoa notes are still present as the wrapper begins to develop a slight sheen from the visible pockets of oil that run the entire length of the cigar. Still producing a flaky black and gray, yet strong ash, the smoke output is thick, aromatic and lingering. The sweetness now resembles that of natural honey and their is a tanginess like a nutmeg that coats the tongue. I have to take my time on the retrohale as the pepper has been relentlessly filling my nostrils from my first draw.
Coming out of the 2nd third I couldn’t help but to compare this years release to the previous two. Initially I told my couch neighbor that this rendition was not as strong as the 2014, not as sweet and complex as the 2015, and that it was a great marriage between the two concepts. Then I stood up…my taste buds became more active and my mouth began to water more than it had earlier in the cigar. The 2016 slowly and gradually builds in body and the complexity as the earth turned to leather, the sweetness to a strong, black coffee and the spice transitioned to a roasted, chili pepper flavor.
Bold and balanced are the best words I can use to describe the Las Calaveras 2016. While most cigars offer something very particular that a certain consumer might like (either peppery, sweet, creamy, leathery), this cigar covered all of those bases and a few more. At no point did the cigar loose any of its character and every draw gave me a little something from the last yet offered a few more unexpected flavors the closer I got to the end. There was never a time in the cigar that I said, “I don’t like that” or “I hope it gets better”, and each Las Calaveras that I sampled was consistent in performance and taste. This years edition is an anytime cigar that met my expectations…and just like in previous years I trust that they’ll fly off of the shelves immediately, becoming another pleasant memory that builds anticipation for the next edición limitada.
The Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2016 for this eval were purchased at Smoker’s Abbey in Nashville, TN.
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