Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Grade “A” Dark
Size: 6 x 46 Corona Gorda LC46
Humidor Time: 3 Months
Number of Cigars Smoke Prior to Review:1
Today we take a look at the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2016 LC46 by Crowned Heads.
Thanks to Bryan Kinnaman for the sticks.
The third release of the Las Calaveras in three years by Crowned Heads.
Factory: My Father Cigars S.A
108,000 cigars produced.
Release Date: June, 2016
Since I am the last guy on the planet to review this, I’m sure you’ve read all the background on this blend months ago.
Reviews have been inconsistent. I think that’s why that, 5 months after its release, there are plenty of online stores still selling them.
I rated the 2015 an 88. I hadn’t begun rating in 2014 but after reading my review, I clearly liked the blend better than the 2015 version. The 2014 made No.11 in my top 25 cigars of 2014 list. The 2015 didn’t make the cut.
So let’s see if the 2016 can kick the others asses.
SIZES AND PRICING:
LC50 5 x 50 $9.25
LC46 6 x 46 $9.25
LC54 5.5 x 54 $11.25
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell spiced cider, pepper, chocolate, berries, malt, espresso, caramel, cedar, honeysuckle, and nutmeg.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell dark berries, red pepper, chocolate, espresso, cedar, honey, black licorice, nutmeg, malt, whipped cream, and meaty.
The cold draw presents flavors of creaminess, red pepper, cedar, chocolate, baking spices, honey, and licorice.
I got the three bootlegs, from 2003, of Joe Bonamassa Live yesterday and I’m plugged in with headphones. Fingers crossed I don’t forget they’re on when I get up to take photos. Thanks Bryan. Now that’s a pal. Free music. Yeah.
The draw is money, moon doggies.
Flavors begin with creaminess, salty pretzel, red pepper, chocolate, coffee, and something sweet.
The pepper sees enhancement with each additional puff. Moments later, I’ve got a pepper bomb on my hands. Must have been the My Father influence.
Strength hits medium body immediately.
There appears to be a minor surge to reach some complexity early on.
The finish becomes more protracted, and flavor laden, as we go.
Construction is top notch. Char line is a super hero.
Slow roll due to the stick being evenly packed. No soft spots. No plugs. Nice.
Coffee strolls in doing more than the speed limit. It hits hard; along with the creaminess and nutmeg. The medium strength red pepper is the perfect complement to my faux Starbuck’s drink.
Too soon to tell if this is the “one” yet. Will it surmount 2014 and 2015? Dunno.
The berry flavors surface with some flare: boysenberries and blueberries. I grew up on boysenberries in SoCal. Thanks to Walter Knott…the inventor of the berry strain.
There is tartness from the berries that give the blend an almost citrus base.
Strength hits medium/full.
Smoke time is a bit over 20 minutes.
Now I realize I’m smoking a Corona Gorda but that first third seems to have passed too quickly.
The other thing, just as important, is that it didn’t blow me out of my socks with a giant flavor profile like the 2014 version did.
This is what I said in that review: “The cigar became a powerful flavor bomb during the first half of the first third. And the flavors feel like they are taking a ride on the Hadron Collider.”
Nothing like that has happened with the 2016.
So I can assume that the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada will hold its status as the best of the three. Now, which one makes it to 2nd place?
Strength is lurking in the medium/full category.
The Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2016 is doing a nice job but it isn’t Wheatena yet.
The spiciness has retreated to the back of the pack. Other flavors are more subdued now. The complex nature of the blend has evened out. The finish remains long. But there is no excitement surrounding the flavor profile. It isn’t bold and beautiful like the 2014.
I had a lot of problems with the construction of the 2015 blend. It was agonizing. And it affected the final score. I also noted that flavors went dead during the last third.
No such problems with the 2016. Methinks that this blend will come in a strong 2nd to the 2014 Las Calaveras.
As if a light switch has been turned on, flavors explode in my face. I grab a wash cloth.
Here we go now…the spiciness is back in force, the list of flavors provided earlier are boomers now. This is what I had expected within the first 5 minutes of the cigar…not in the nearly 30 minute range. Go figure.
Halfway point. Smoke time is 30 minutes.
The Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2016 is kicking ass and taking names now. It is the phoenix of cigar blends. It has arisen from the dead, and its ashes, to become a bolder beast.
Bryan told me this was his fave cigar of 2016. I expected a lot. I did get some impressive character but not until the halfway point. Palates. Whatcha’ gonna’ do? Bad boys, bad boys.
I said in the 2015 review that if I had been rating cigars in 2014, I would have given it a 92. So that’s what I’m up against with the 2016. Based upon how flavorful the earliest version started, it will be hard for this current version to match that score.
Creaminess makes the blend bulge with flavor…accentuating the chocolate, malt, nutmeg, baking spices, coffee, berries, citrus, and cedar.
Make no mistake, the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2016 is no flavor bomb. It does have some nice rich elements that allow the blend to rise like cream to the top of the milk. But no cigar.
I see no activity that would have me believe this blend isn’t going to reach full body until the last third.
This review is going to bum out Bryan…a lot.
The Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2016 is a tad bit inconsistent. One moment, flavors are blaring like horns announcing the return of Caesar and then the next moment, the profile settles into a more traditional blend. Nice flavors but not bowling me over.
I am rethinking the rating of the 2015 Las Calaveras. I believe I was too kind to the blend with an 88. I say that because I don’t think the 2016 is dead center between the other two releases.
The problem with comparisons is that the 2014 and 2015 were different blends. So how do you compare. It’s apples and oranges. Same goes here.
The 2015 had an Ecuadorian Habano Rosado and a medium body blend. The 2014 had an Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro with a medium/full strength.
I think the issue is that I’m not the biggest fan of Broadleaf wrappers. Instead of the Broadleaf, I believe a nice Mexican San Andrés would have been a better choice.
I should be getting an adult portion of oomph by now because the cigar self-describes itself as full strength. It ain’t there yet.
Smoke time is 45 minutes.
The Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2016 is all in now…as predicted.
Strength hits full body. Flavors explode as if the first two thirds were just hibernating.
This is how the cigar should have started its journey. The 2015 started this way…with a bang!
Inconsistencies have tarnished my final rating. The transitions were out of whack. They came and went as they pleased.
The 2016 beats out the 2015 without giving it a thought. But the 2014 remains my fave.
Malt, chocolate, sweetness, creaminess, nuts, fruit, baking spices, licorice, and coffee are the major driving forces at this point. So, no, not a flavor bomb.
The Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2016 is a very pleasant blend. Just not a great one.
With 1-3/4” to go, we have ignition. The blend soars with beautiful characteristics of flavor, complexity, transitions, and finish. Drat. The naive expectation to the start of the blend ends up flash dancing only at the end.
The Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2016 is now providing me with a complete cigar experience. I must squeeze and savor every bit of deliciousness from the last portion of the blend.
The complexity is up against the wall now. It has completed its mission to make my palate smile.
Bryan also sent me a Toro. I shall smoke it at a later time and come back to report. I might even alter this review to show the comparisons.
The Las Calaveras line has an excellent reputation. The last two releases had folks scrambling and over paying.
Five months after this release, there are still plenty of online stores selling them. The 2014 version was only 1000 boxes. The 2015 released only 1250 boxes. This year, Crowned Heads went big or go home with a whopping 4500 box release.
I saw several reviews in which the blend only received mid-80 ratings. Others hovered around 90. I think I get it. Some blends attract a certain type of palate. This being my first cigar of the day, I expected to be blown away.
I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2016. I’m saying that Crowned Heads could have done better. The 2014 proves that.
The stick touches the hem of full bodied now. Only a touch of nicotine. Crash helmets for me and the cat not required.
I want to thank Bryan for the sticks. He is going to send me an email telling me I’m full of shit. That’s OK. He is one of the nicest guys I know so he won’t hate me forever for this review of his favorite cigar.
Final smoke time is 60 minutes.
And now for something completely different:
(I know I said I’d refrain from dragging up old rock n roll stories…I changed my mind.)
The Sonja Chronicles.
I was tasked during our first tour to keep a secret from the band about Sonja’s rehab. She was a morphine addict that used a needle. She was getting help from a private doctor who put her on methadone…injected.
Within days, it nearly gave me a nervous breakdown. Here I was. A kid from California and whisked away into the big time, from being a bar band bassist, to one of the biggest progressive rock bands in Europe, Japan, and South America. They just couldn’t budge in North America. They tried but just couldn’t break.
Sonja’s instability, while tapering off her morphine addiction, was horrifying. Never saw anything like that. Realized just how middle class America I was.
She had serious insecurity issues. On the albums, before this tour, she sang with a lovely, soaring feminine voice.
On the tour, the addiction really fucked her up and she thought she was Janis. Some of the written reviews of our concerts were devastating for her. Time after time they wrote that the band was brilliant and I got mentioned a lot for bringing new life to the rhythm section. I was playing jazz fusion while they were playing classical music rock. No soul.
Every time Sonja read a review, suicide attempts came within hours.
She used to cut her wrists a lot. But she would use blunt instruments to do so. All she accomplished was to scar her wrists and arms ugly.
We played in Dover. Jeff Beck was there. Jazz violinist Jean Luc Ponty was there. And Mahavishnu Orchestra violinist Jerry Goodman was there. They even jammed with us during our encores.
In the dressing room, after the show, I shoved Sonja into the bathroom and told her to change. We had to get back to the hotel and shoot her up with methadone. She never shot up before a concert because it made her high. Of course, the rest of the band members were high on either hash or alcohol. But no matter. They’d gone through this with Sonja for years and the caveat for doing the album was that she remained straight the whole time. So they couldn’t know she was a junkie. At that time, Stewart Copeland and Sonja became an item. Stew was the only person to know because he had moved in with her.
By the time we got back to the hotel, she was long overdue for that methadone shot.
All three of those monster guest musicians were visiting in the dressing room and I forgot about Sonja.
I dashed to the bathroom. She had been in there for over an hour. I knocked. No answer. I knocked again and again. No answer.
That was it. I couldn’t take it anymore. I went back to the dressing room and told the band what was going on. They were livid.
We all tried to cajole Sonja out of the bathroom but she never made a sound so we broke the door in.
There she sat. On the toilet. Unconscious and her arms extended away from her body with blood running down them. They were superficial wounds caused by a bottle opener.
We carried her to the couch in the dressing room and I went into my gig bag and got her stuff. Minutes later, she was fine.
The tour lasted 6 weeks. The band was in an uproar when they found out Sonja didn’t keep her word. Darryl threatened to quit the tour.
I was the peacemaker as I had finally found the big time and didn’t want to lose it. Naturally, this position made me rife for being the eventual scapegoat a couple years later. Someone had to be sacrificed for a poor recording of an album in 1975; so why not pick the one least responsible for the problems? The bassist of course. The peacemaker.
Sonja and Stewart Copeland eventually married.
Back then, Stew was not half the drummer as he was in The Police. He would constantly solo like Keith Moon. And this pissed off Darryl something awful. He and the guitarist would be up front and center on the stage trading riffs and Stew was soloing. They had no idea where “1” was. So I started playing quarter notes and accenting the 1 count so they knew where they were. I had to abandon my cool riffs to play quarter notes.
Like clockwork, Stew got fired by Darryl every single week. A brouhaha would break out and Sonja would threaten to leave the band if Stew went.
So every week, fired…re-hired…fired…re-hired. Tiresome for the morale of the band.
Sonja finally got well after that first tour. She became productive and began to write songs again. But the rancor between her and Darryl never went away.
Darryl was probably the most arrogant S.O.B.’s I had ever met in the music biz. It was impossible to please him and, of course, his shit didn’t stink. (He has been writing music for the biggest orchestras in the world. Ballet and opera as well.
Darryl invited my girlfriend and me to move in with him in the little town of Datchet outside of London. It was a great deal and we would save money. Darryl still approved of me at that time in the band.
But as things do, shit happened….
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS
I will give this blend 60/100. Taste nothing else but humid earthiness (like the flavor from newly digged ground hole).
Las Calaveras..(The Skulls)? The hunt is in for a 2014 model then.
Cool picture of Sonja..do you know where she is now Uncle?
She is still touring with a “new” Curved Air’ with only one original member. Her old band mate, Francis Monkman, calls her Mama Cass.
I was a little bummed with this one. I enjoyed it more than some previous blends but for the price I could do better.