The year 2014 was a turning point for Crowned Heads for various reasons, but the main one was the release of what has arguably become the company’s most popular creation: Las Calaveras.
The overall concept was a limited edition series that would be released annually, although the vitolas and blend would change from year to year. When it debuted, it was the first line in Crowned Head’s history that was not made by Ernesto Perez-Carillo Jr.’s factory in the Dominican Republic; instead, it was a collaboration with My Fathers Cigars S.A. in Estelí, Nicaragua. In addition, the release was specifically inspired by Las Calaveras Catrina, a zinc etching by José Guadalupe Posada, and is meant to commemorate the memories of people who had died the year before.
Blend-wise, this year’s release is composed of an Ecuadorian habano maduro wrapper covering a Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua. As with the release last year, the new Las Calaveras is offered in four vitolas, three of which will be sold in 24-count boxes with an additional size available exclusively in a four-count sampler.
“Since we first introduced Las Calaveras in 2014, the marca has risen dramatically in popularity and notoriety,” said Jon Huber, Crowned Heads co-founder, in a statement to halfwheel. “One of the things I’m personally most proud of, however, is that the underlying message of the brand, i.e., to celebrate (rather than mourn) the lives of those who’ve passed on in the previous year, has been heard and received literally around the world.”
There are now 14 vitolas in the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada series.
- Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2014 LC550 (5 x 50) — 1,000 Boxes of 24 Cigars (24,000 Total Cigars)
- Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2014 LC652 (6 x 52) — 1,000 Boxes of 24 Cigars (24,000 Total Cigars)
- Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2014 LC754 (7 x 54) — 1,000 Boxes of 24 Cigars (24,000 Total Cigars)
- Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2015 LC50 (5 x 50) — 1,250 Boxes of 24 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars)
- Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2015 LC46 (5 5/8 x 46) — 1,250 Boxes of 24 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars)
- Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2015 LC52 (6 x 52) — 1,250 Boxes of 24 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars)
- Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2016 LC50 (5 x 50, $10.25) — 1,500 Boxes of 24 Cigars (36,000 Total Cigars)
- Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2016 LC54 (5 1/2 x 54, $11.25) — 1,500 Boxes of 24 Cigars (36,000 Total Cigars)
- Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2016 LC46 (6 x 46, $9.25) — 1,500 Boxes of 24 Cigars (36,000 Total Cigars)
- Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2016 Pirámide (6 1/8 x 52, $39.95 per sampler) — 2,000 Samplers of 1 Cigar (2,000 Total Cigars)
- Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2017 LC46 (5 5/8 x 46) — $9.75 (Boxes of 24, $234) — 1,700 Boxes of 24 Cigars + 3,000 Samplers of 1 Cigar (43,800 Total Cigars)
- Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2017 LC50 (5 x 50) — $10.75 (Boxes of 24, $258) — 1,700 Boxes of 24 Cigars + 3,000 Samplers of 1 Cigar (43,800 Total Cigars)
- Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2017 LC52 (6 x 52) — $11.75 (Boxes of 24, $282) — 1,700 Boxes of 24 Cigars + 3,000 Samplers of 1 Cigar (43,800 Total Cigars)
- Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2017 5 1/2 x 54 —$9.70 — 3,000 Samplers of 1 Cigar (3,000 Total Cigars)
- Cigar Reviewed: Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2017 LC50
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: My Father Cigars S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian habano maduro
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Robusto
- MSRP: $10.75 (Boxes of 24, $258)
- Release Date: June 14, 2017
- Number of Cigars Released: 1,700 Boxes of 24 Cigars + 3,000 Samplers of 1 Cigar (43,800 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2017 LC50 is quite striking visually, with a deep, espresso mottled brown wrapper that is extremely smooth when touched. The cigar is slick with a layer of oil and there are virtually no noticeable veins at all. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of strong almonds, hay, dark chocolate, oak and citrus, while the cold draw brings flavors of sweet and creamy orange ice cream, earth, barnyard, oak, cinnamon, and coffee grounds.
From my first puff of the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2017 LC50, I am immediately blasted with a sweet barbecue mesquite as the dominant flavor, followed by dark chocolate, oak, gritty earth, roasted coffee, almonds and cinnamon. In addition, there is some nicely integrated black pepper on the retrohale that seems to be getting stronger as the first third continues, and some spice on my tongue that does not. Construction-wise, the draw is giving me the perfect amount of resistance after a simple straight cut, while the burn is very close to razor sharp so far. The smoke production is about average, and while the strength takes a bit to get going, it ends the first third well on its way to the medium mark.
Both the sweet barbecue mesquite and the black pepper on the retrohale continue to get stronger as the second third of the Edición Limitada 2017 LC50 begins, combining nicely with the other flavors that till include dark chocolate, oak, popcorn, hay, coffee beans and leather. The spice from the first third is long gone by the midway point, and I am picking up some slight salted butter notes on the retrohale as well. The draw continues to impress and while the burn has become a bit more ragged, it is still not bad enough to warrant touching up yet. Strength-wise, the Las Calaveras does finally hit a point close to the medium mark by the end of the second third, but seems content to stay there for the time being.
The final third of the Las Calaveras 2017 LC50 is dominated by the same sweet barbecue mesquite note that has been at the forefront for the entire cigar, albeit a little less distinct. There are still some lesser flavors of espresso beans, leather, earth, almonds and floral, but they are not overly strong at this point in the cigar. The smoke production has increased a bit, and while draw remains quite good, the burn has gotten bad enough that it needs a couple of corrections to keep from getting out of control. Finally, the overall strength level does increase a bit more, and ends up just past the medium mark by the time I put the nub down with about an inch to go.
- I have always absolutely loved the skull logos and imagery associated with the Las Calaveras releases that are used on the boxes and marketing, and I am constantly disappointed that the bands on the actual cigars are do not incorporate said imagery.
- The 5 x 50 vitola is the only size that has been included in each year’s release.
- The vitola exclusive to the sampler last year was a 6 1/8 x 52 Pirámide, while this year’s exclusive is a 5 1/2 x 54 robusto extra.
- I find it interesting that the production numbers for each Las Calaveras release have steadily increased, coming close to doubling in four years.
- The four-count sampler, which contains one of each of the four vitolas, is priced at $41.95, and there were only 3,000 samplers produced.
- Crowned Heads advertises on halfwheel.
- The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- The final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 19 minutes.
- If you would like to purchase any Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2017, sites sponsors Atlantic Cigar, Cigar Hustler, Elite Cigar Cafe (972.661.9136) and Corona Cigar Co. all have them in stock.
There is no doubt, the Las Calaveras is one of the releases I look forward to every year, and although some years are better than others—most notably 2014 and 2015—Crowned Heads has not let me down yet. This year’s incarnation is no exception, with a profile that is dominated by a sweet barbecue mesquite note, along with some other flavors that are balanced nicely and very good construction overall. It is hard to live up a blend as good as the Las Calaveras 2014, but the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2017 comes close and is a very easy cigar to recommend, especially if you are a fan of past releases.