Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2017 | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Maduro (Grade “A” Dark)
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6 x 52 Toro LC52
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $11.75 MSRP

Today we take a look at the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2017.
I bought a 5 pack from Summit Cigars about 2 months ago. Joey Holub is a good guy I’ve known for years. Buy one cigar from him and he throws in around 30 travelers.
What’s that sound? Oh. It’s Joey falling stone dead as he reads this.
Crowned Heads has a death grip on the pricing so don’t expect any significant discounts anywhere online.

BACKGROUND:
From Holt’s Cigars:
“The fellas at Crowned Heads continue their popular limited edition series, Las Calaveras, with the Edicion Limitada 2017. Pepin Garcia blended the rich and luscious profile from aged Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos beneath a lustrous Ecuador Habano wrapper leaf. Medium-bodied notes of molasses, black pepper and wood deliver a range of mouthwatering nuances in a handful of classic shapes. Fans of uber-boutique releases who add Las Calaveras EL 2017 to their collections are guaranteed to impress their cigar-obsessed pals.”
Only 5100 boxes were produced.

SIZES AND PRICING:
LC46 5.625 x 46 $9.75
LC50 5 x 50 $10.75
LC52 6 x 52 $11.75
5.5 x 54 $9.70 3,000 Samplers of 1 Cigar
A four-count sampler that contains one of each is $41.95.

DESCRIPTION:
Generally speaking, this is a very pretty wrapper. It changes color like a chameleon as different types of light gently swaddle its exterior. In the sunlight, it is a very oily caramel/gingerbread/cinnamon/pecan set of colors. There is also, at times, a nice orange pumpkin color whose sheen is appetizing.
Solid cigar. Nice triple cap. Seams are nearly invisible. But a shit load of veins that cause the stick to be lumpy and bumpy and exude a rustic appearance.

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW POINTS:
From the shaft, I can smell killer dark chocolate, cream, malts, cinnamon, red pepper, strong caramel, cedar, raw cashew, iced coffee with cream, and a touch of Worcestershire sauce; with its influences of molasses, sugar, salt, tamarind, garlic and spices.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell chocolate, mixed nuts, red pepper, cinnamon, caramel, cream, malts, coffee, and steak sauce.

The cold draw presents flavors of steak sauce, chocolate, coffee, cedar, malt, cinnamon, red pepper, molasses, and salted mixed nuts.

FIRST THIRD:
Before lighting the cigar, I crank up “Disraeli Gears” by Cream to the point of eye vibration and shaking walls…now we’re ready.

I’ve got two plugs…one near the cap and one in the last third. So out comes my PerfecDraw cigar poker and clear a perfect air hole. (15% off with promo code: Katman).

What a difference that marvelous little tool makes. It figures that I have to be nearly dead before Dr. Rod invented this device. 50 years of frustrating cigars; many of whom ended up in the trash heap.

The Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2017 starts off slow. Flavors are mellow but essences of malt, cream, nuts, cedar, molasses and caramel pop up first.

I discovered there are only a few reviews of this cigar out there in the interwebs. That made me realize that this stick needs all the humi time it can get. Either that or the cigar is a dud and the big reviewers are crossing their fingers that time will heal its slack underpinnings.

The burn needs immediate attention. Drat. I hope I don’t find myself chasing this bugger throughout the cigar.
Cream and butter dominate at this early stage. The LC52 is not what you call an impressive starter. It is on a slow roll with teases of flavors that hopefully will blossom soon.

Strength is barely medium.
Red becomes black pepper.
A smoky oak comes to the surface. As well as a touch of fragrant floral notes and grapefruit zest.
Flavors improve with each passing puff. But there is no Wow factor.

I reviewed the 2014, 2015, and 2016 versions. The 2016 only got an 89 from me. The 2015 got an 88. And the 2014 got a rave review…I wasn’t numerically scoring cigars back then but the taste similarities to the 2017 are striking.

Both the strength and the flavor profile are medium bodied.

Most Crowned Heads’ blends are ready to smoke in a month or so. I am not sure where the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2017 fits into that equation. It isn’t popping with orgasmic revelations of cigar supremacy. Some of the best cigars I’ve smoked exploded in my face from the very start…not slowly up the anty while trying to pretend I’m patient.

It’s been two months since the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2017 was released with only 5000 boxes made available. Based upon this blend being Crowned Heads’ show off piece, I’m surprised that these cigars can still be had everywhere online not counting your local B&M. Ezra Zion disposes of 1000 cigars in an hour…and that’s selling a cigar blend no one has heard of. I would have expected the 2017 to have disappeared in a week or two…and here we are seeing them still for sale and even prices being slashed by some online stores.

1-1/2” in and the cigar is nothing special. Certainly not like the 2014 version.

It’s pleasant enough but it is lacking oomph. Strength remains at a steady medium. I had hoped by now that the blend would be ratcheting up in strength.

Some transitions are in motion. Not much complexity. A simple medium distance finish.

I went through my 5 pack in the last two months and notice no discernible difference between the sticks smoked a month ago from this review cigar.

Boy I was tempted to review this cigar much earlier but my gut said hold off and allow it some reasonable humidor time. Maybe this blend needs 6 months of rest before its ready; which would be out of character for other CH blends.

Just before the first third ends, the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2017 gets a kick in the ass. More distinction is apparent. Flavors disseminate dramatically and the strength is kicked up a notch.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is 30 minutes.

Here they are: Black pepper, malt, creaminess, orange citrus, salted nuts, steak sauce, smoky cedar, molasses, espresso, and caramel.

Strength moved quickly from a weak medium to nearly medium/full in just minutes.

The Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2017 is now behaving as I expected it should have from the start; not the beginning of the second third. More humidor time a solution? No idea.
Huge difference from the lackluster first third.

This is now a totally different blend. The sweet steak sauce is full of onion and garlic.

The orange reminds me of the 2014 version where I described the flavor as that of an orange Creamsicle. Déjà vu all over again.
Strangely, I expected the influence of chocolate and coffee to be more prominent but they are basically gone.

Still, I think Jon Huber showed some real class by not raping his customers like so many other manufacturers do. He keeps his blends affordable by boutique brand standards. That this blend is only in the $7-$11 range; depending on where you buy it, is a testament to the man and his awareness of his customers. Anyone else would be charging you $12-$15 for this limited production blend.

Transitions are in constant motion. A thick complexity is at work. The finish is a mile long; especially after a sip of water.

Now I have to figure out how many points get deducted for the laissez-faire first third.

Malts are plentiful. Simply put, it seems like a switch was thrown to get this iconic blend into high gear.
Strength is a potent medium/full on its way to bombing Guam. A touch of nicotine enters stage right.
Halfway point gets here in 45 minutes.

I have no criticism at this point. The cigar is bringing all its got to the table now.
Sweetness grabs the wheel. The smokiness is right behind. It has multi tasked nuttiness. The malts are wonderful. I feel like a beer now.

The citrus is on the wane. New flavors are exhibited: buttery toast, toffee, coffee returns, cinnamon and ginger, and a return of the dark cocoa. The steak sauce element has prevailed throughout.

The bottom has been pulled out of the strength quotient. It is back to medium. Nicotine disappears.
The Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2017 is exceedingly smooth on the palate.

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is one hour 10 minutes.

The blend is absolutely delicious. It is once again pushing its way to a stronger platform.

Complexity takes over the whole megillah. Flavors aren’t as distinct but are working as a whole now. The complete experience. I’m guessing the limp beginning might just be as simple as not enough humidor time. Maybe 3 months would cure this?

The Mars rover skips over medium/full and hits full strength faster than I can do three shots of tequila.

As good as the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2017 is, it is not a barn stormer. It is a very nice blend with sophisticated flavors, swooping nuances, and amenable to my palate. It just doesn’t have a wow factor…which is a shame.

The Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2017 is a nice easy going smoke. Nearly worth the $12 a stick for this size. But if you want a good deal, go for the 4 cigar sampler. It is sold at retail by most online stores but Famous Smoke has it for $38. If you go this route, tell Famous in the comment section that the Katman sent you…that should annoy the shit out of them.

I’m quickly losing eyesight from the nicotine.

Some harshness enters the picture.
I take a 5 minute break and the harshness disappears.

The Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2017 is a good cigar. It just doesn’t pack a wallop.
Still, Crowned Heads is one of the more consistent boutique brands out there.

In hindsight, I would have allowed my sticks 3 months rest.
I recommend this cigar if you give it the proper amount of humidor time. But then again, maybe this is what the cigar has to offer and is merely an excellent cigar instead of a stellar blend.

RATING: 89 (Would have been higher if the first third had been better)

And now for something completely different:

The Paradiso Club in Amsterdam was closed one day a week. Monday. The band arrived in town on a Monday. We would headline the Paradiso on Tuesday. Drummer Stewart and I headed down there as soon as we checked into our hotel.

We were devastated as we saw young Hippies milling about the entrance. It was closed. As it turned out, this was an excellent opportunity for low lifes to sell their wares just outside of the club. And when I say club; I mean a four story building with a basement. It was huge.

For only 5 Guilders, you became a member of the club which gave you all sorts of perks; like the several floors of music and the sales of small quantities of hashish in the basement bar. All legal.

We always started a European tour in Amsterdam which was perfect as we would stock up on hash and pot for the entire tour. This was the first time we had to deal with the Paradiso being closed. We had no idea where to go. Although, the canals were full of houseboats with a shit load of marijuana growing on their roofs. We tried that a couple times with disastrous results and mostly dangerous to our physical beings.

We were standing outside the Paradiso looking forlorn when this one scum bag motioned us over with a whisper, “You want buy hashish?” He held out some nice hunks of hash in his hand and the two of us drooled.
“How much?”
“15 grams for 75 Guilders.” (A Dutch Guilder was worth about 25 cents back then.)
So, yeah, hash was cheap. Back in the States, we paid four times as much. And it was old.

Stew said he would take care of it and we would work it out back at the hotel.
We grabbed a taxi and got to the hotel in no time. We went to Stew’s room. Our chick singer was there awaiting our return.

I grabbed my hash pipe. Fortunately, we weren’t pussies like the English and the rest of the Continent. Everyone smoked their hash in tiny pieces rolled up in a make shift cigarette. Two rolling papers were overlapped length-wise. A cigarette was broken apart and the tobacco placed inside the papers. Then the hash was broken into pieces and sprinkled on the cigarette tobacco. Then a piece of cardboard, usually torn from a match book, was rolled into a tube and placed at one end of the construction. The paper was rolled and voila; you had a 4” long joint…with a cardboard mouthpiece. Ridiculous. Plus I’ve never smoked a cigarette a day in my life so it always made me dizzy. Quickly upon moving to Europe, I bought a hash pipe. Turns out I got to smoke it without interference because the Europeans proclaimed that they got too high from smoking hash by itself. Pussies.

Stew and I smoked it the American way in a pipe. With no stinkin’ cigarette tobacco.

We loaded the pipe and lit up. We couldn’t get the damn thing to light. We were puffing until our cheeks were inside out and then Wham! The little piece of hash caught on fire.

A 1” flame extended from the pipe…but didn’t go out. We smoked it. It was horrible. Maybe this wasn’t hash. But we were hash poor and we didn’t care.

We all ended up with horrible headaches and never got high. Everyone went to their rooms to lie down.
As it turned out, the scuzz balls would sell shoe polish on the days that the Paradiso was closed to idiot tourists like us.

I forgot to mention this. We had a friend in Amsterdam who guided us to the Paradiso. The schmuck OK’d the purchase of the shoe polish. He was with us when we smoked the pipe.

His name was Uve. Well, Uve was outraged at this swindle and said he was going back and asking for his money back. We told him that this was not a good idea. The guy we bought the stuff from had knife scars all over his face. Not a good omen.

But a few hours later, we accompanied Uve back to the Paradiso. And there was the asshole. We were there to back Uve up but it didn’t feel right. I just knew something would go wrong.
And it did.

The guy kept telling us to get lost. But Uve persisted. Finally, the guy pulled out a knife and told us in no uncertain terms, “LEAVE!!”

Uve had some stupid sense of machismo and kept railing on him. Then in one quick motion, the guy stuck the knife into Uve’s stomach. Uve dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes.

The guy took off running. A cop on foot was nearby and he called for an ambulance. And we got a lecture on top of that. This wasn’t Kansas. The cops were very tolerant of hash use. You could smoke it in public and even the hundreds of coffee houses that populated the city. It wasn’t uncommon to sit down at a table and find roaches in the ashtrays.

Uve made it OK. The knife didn’t penetrate more than an inch. And Uve had enough fat on his stomach so the cut never made it into his organs.
We stayed with Uve at the hospital and then said our good byes. We had a sound check to go to.
So we learned a valuable lesson that day. Stick with the sellers inside the Paradiso.

More Rock n Roll:
The Police Chronicles…1983

It was the Hollywood party to celebrate the album “Zenyatta Mondata” going platinum.
I tried to get a hold of Stew, and his brother Miles, but they didn’t take my calls. This was the tip off; but I ignored it. I saw them in Santa Barbara a year before and it was all smiles and giggles. I don’t know what had changed.

I had a couple good buddies that were L.A. radio disk jockeys. To be honest, they were more my friends because I had to use coke to grease the wheels to get my Eddie Munster single played. But they did their best to appear sincere.

Anyway, Marshall the DJ, asked if I wanted to go the party that I couldn’t get in to. He had a pair of tickets and I gladly went. He would rather take a source for drugs than take his woman.

There must have been 600 people at this party right on the Sunset Strip. I finally found Stew and asked him to come with me and let’s kibitz. He looked like a wild man and said he would be right back. His eyes were dilated to the size of dinner plates.

What I didn’t know at that particular moment was that he was nearly overdosing on cocaine. He had those weird sensations of you must keep moving. One cannot even carry on a conversation whey you are that high. He ran through the party, continuously, like a video game. He kept blowing me off. I got pissed. Marshall told me to calm down.

I found Sting who was wandering around the party by his lonesome. He had some force field around him because no one dared to approach him. I did.
I re-introduced myself and he remembered me. He was kind and generous and we spoke for a few minutes.

Then I found Andy Summers and he remembered me too. Curved Air was a big deal. These guys grew up with the band. He and I talked for a good 20 minutes and found ourselves laughing our asses off. Andy was the most down to earth fella of the band. I gave him a single of “Hound Dog” and he took it. A couple months later, I got a letter from Andy telling me how much he enjoyed talking with me and saying how much he enjoyed the song.

After a couple hours of feeding our faces and drinking for free, I sought out Stew to say good-bye.
He stood still long enough for me to tell him that my record of “Hound Dog” had hit the Top 40.
“Well, let me be the first to congratulate you!”
I told him thanks but he was just about the last person to congratulate me. “See ya chump.”

On the way out, I ran into Miles Copeland. I stopped and he was all smiles. I let him have it and the whole time me poking my index finger in his chest.

Marshall had to pull me off of him.
I left that party fuming.

When “Hound Dog” hit the Top 10, I called Stew after he was back in London to tell him. It was the middle of the night for him and I woke him. He mumbled congrats and some other unintelligible things and I said good-bye.
He changed his phone number after that.

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Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

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1 reply

  1. I pre-ordered a box of these on a whim. And, I’m not sorry I did! It’s a very good, rather strong, stick. Probably be killer in a half year or so.

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