Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2018 | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 5.625 x 46 LC46
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $9.95

Today we take a look at the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2018.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington…
I reviewed the 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 editions. The cigars were good but not great. None broke the magical “90” barrier.

BACKGROUND:
From Halfwheel.com (5-14-2018):
“For the first time in its five-year history, the Las Calaveras will use Mexican tobacco.
Next month, Crowned Heads will ship the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2018 to retailers nationwide. Most of the core details around the cigar remain the same: three sizes plus a fourth in a sampler, 24-count boxes, made at My Father Cigars S.A. and the use of skulls.

“The latter is inspired by La Calavera Catrina, a zinc etching by José Guadalupe Posada. This year’s release uses a Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper, Nicaraguan binder and fillers from Nicaragua. Those skulls can be found in Mexico, particularly during late October, for the Días de los Muertos holiday, days of the dead. Crowned Heads says the release is to celebrate the lives lived by those who have passed away. While the release has been heavily inspired by Mexico and its culture, the cigars themselves have been a mixture of an Ecuadorian wrapper over Nicaraguan fillers.

“As 2018 marks the five-year anniversary of the Las Calaveras marca we felt it apropos to utilize a Mexican San Andrés (maduro) wrapper, which finishes a 100 percent Nicaraguan tobacco binder and filler blend,” said Jon Huber, Crowned Heads co-founder in a press release. “We also drew heavy packaging inspiration from the vibrant colors of the Día de los Muertos holiday.”

SIZES AND PRICING (MSRP):
LC46 5.625 x 46 $9.95
LC50 5 x 50 $10.95
LC54 6 x 54 $11.95
Las Calaveras Edicion Limitada 2018 Sampler: 4 sizes including 5.5 x 56: $43.00

DESCRIPTION:
Large veins permeate this dark coffee colored stick. It’s actually built a bit like the leaning tower of Pisa. Looks like a rum soaked crook. Yes, this is the poster child for a rustic looking cigar. The level of rollers was not top notch.

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW POINTS:
From the shaft, I can smell barnyard, cinnamon, chocolate malt, red pepper, and various in your face Nicaraguan aromas.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell red pepper, chocolate malt, red pepper, cinnamon, barnyard, cedar, and new cat litter.

The cold draw presents flavors of red pepper, cinnamon, malt, cocoa, cedar, barnyard, and baking spices.

FIRST THIRD:
I can’t get any draw on the cigar. Nothing. Flat straw. Out comes the PerfecDraw cigar poker tool. Takes several reams but saves what might have been a lost cause back into a working sex machine.

Usual Nicaraguan flavors are hoisted by the Mexican San Andrés sweetness. Bits of charred meat, coffee, malts, nuts, cedar, red pepper, cinnamon, cream, and salty pretzels.
Strength is a touch above medium.

So far, nothing exciting going on. I believe that regardless of the blend or year of this cigar’s unveiling, that it is truly an old school blend requiring a lot of humi time.

I am not alone in feeling disappointed by this blend no matter its incarnations. My brain seems to fool my sensibility as I always seem to remember this offering as a great cigar. But when I read my own reviews and reviews by others, most feel the same way. It’s not a bad cigar; just not a great cigar. Clearly, a voo doo curse is clapped on tight to induce the smoker like a cobra and a flute. Except the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2018 won’t bite you in your naughty bits.

I smoked one about a week ago and liked the second half very much. I appear to be doubling down on that experience. The first half seems to be dull and uninspired. But the Mexican wrapper will swoop down shortly to save this damsel in distress. Because right now, I taste none of the blender’s intent.
The main flavors are now a meaty substance akin to frozen veggie burgers, spice, cinnamon, cedar, and just an ordinary tobacco influence.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is 25 minutes.

There has been zero complexity. Transitions are in absentia. The finish is way short of short.
There is a cardboard quality to this blend that is impossible to ignore. I would like to give this cigar blend an even break as I really do want it to do well and impress but so far, it doesn’t deliver. A $10 stick should have me wrapped around its little finger by now.
The spiciness kicks in with some solid black pepper. Strength begins to inch towards medium/full. Maybe the pregnant lull is over.

Only half an inch into the second third life begins to show itself. Flavors spread out and that annoying cardboard element disappears.
It’s finally beginning to feel like the blend has a chance of redemption.
The burn has required touch ups with some regularity.

A touch of complexity settles in to give this blend a sorely needed kick in the ass. If the cigar had begun this way, I wouldn’t have shown it disrespect in the first third.

I don’t find a reviewer that goes gaga over this blend. Most seem to agree it is a decent stick but find no joy in Mudville.

I was truly hoping that the Mexican San Andres wrapper would cure its earlier ills but only barely. I fear that the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2018 is heading down the same path as its predecessors. A sub 90 rating.
With the ridiculous pricing of all those new cigars coming out of the 2018 IPCPR trade show, at least it seems appropriate that this is not another overpriced $20 stick. There seemed to be no shortage of those present in Vegas.

At the halfway point, the cigar can now be approached with some reverence for the blender; albeit not a kiss the ring of obedience.

Complexity finally kicks in. This blend has done the change up in just a couple of minutes and transforms itself into better than a decent cigar.
But the first third really ruined the whole experience for me. I thought I might just ditch this review than smoke something I’m not enjoying.
Oh lord…The Eagles are playing. Seems fair enough for this juncture in my review morning.

Maybe the solution is simple…the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2018 needs 9 months of humidor time.

I’m exactly at the point that if the cigar had begun its journey in this mode, I’d be singing its praises for an explosive start. Alas, I had to smoke half before any type of serious character showed up.
From here on moving forward, the blend becomes a winner. Flavors are disparate enough to force my palate into submission.
Now it’s a good cigar.

I did find a few video reviews but I don’t watch them. I don’t find anyone interesting enough to sit there for 30 minutes and entertain me. I can only look at so many shots of the reviewer taking a big puff and then stare at the ceiling as if he is waiting for a message from God to tell him what to say about the cigar.

Black pepper, cinnamon, baking spices, malts, espresso, cedar, sugar cookies, vanilla bean, an intense tobacco element, and a slight touch of lavender.

The blend should be raging on the Nicaraguan flavors we expect…with the help of a Mexican San Andrés wrapper.

Chocolate reappears. So do the malts. It has quickly become a cigar redolent of seeing it as a whole rather than its different parts. At this point, I should just be thankful it kicked in as opposed to suffering through an entire cigar minus the fun.

Finally…the first, and probably only, sweet spot occurs. Complexity and balance are in full play. Transitions decide to jump in head first. The finish is chewy and exculpatory.

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is one hour 10 minutes.

The constant that shows itself in each year’s blend is that both the binder and filler are Nicaraguan. The wrapper is the ace of spades on all counts.
The Mexican wrapper gives this blend a needed sweetness and shot of character missing in earlier blend generations.

Despite the cigar looking like a liquor store crook, the construction has been all right. The char line is behaving.

All the new cigars that debuted at this year’s trade show are beginning to hit your local B&M’s and online stores. There will be a massive choice for you on how to spend your hard-earned dough. Supply and demand will reign supreme. The cream will rise to the top while those not making the cut will find themselves in bargain bins within 6 months.

Taste is subjective. Regardless of the fancy rating calculators found everywhere online, it still requires a human being to punch in their own experience. A palate is like a finger print. Not one is the same.

Maybe my palate is averse to the guts of the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2018. It could be all me. Discuss cigar tobacco with any expert and you will get a different response from each.

The last third is expansive and all encompassing of an excellent cigar blend. Once again, its either due to humidor time or it just is what it is. You will have to make your own mind up.

If the cigar had been this good in its earlier incarnation, the final rating would be in the low 90’s. But the first third really screwed the pooch for me. So, no 90 rating for the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2018. I wanted it to do well and I’m disappointed. The second half’s effusive flavor qualities just can’t overcome the first half’s imitation of a flounder.

If you have some in your humidor, be patient and wait. And wait. And wait. I believe if I had given this cigar 5-6 months rest, it might be a completely different animal. I thought in my heart of hearts that this would be a new breed blend which only needed a month or so of proper rest. I may be completely wrong.
Final smoke time is one hour 20 minutes.

RATING: 87

And now for something almost completely different:

My band was scheduled to tour Ireland back in 1975. The relationship between the British government and the IRA in those days was beyond brutal. The winter of 1974 saw indiscriminate bombings in downtown London every day for 14 days during the Christmas holiday. It was the scariest thing possible.

Bombs were placed in waist high trash bins, on main drags, and if you happened to walk by one when it went off, well…bye-bye. I remember two photos in the newspaper after one bombing. It showed a bobby bending over to look at a package on the street. Next photo showed him blown apart about 30 feet away.

This following incident will stick with me til the day I die.
I had been fired from Curved Air. This guy, Andy Morris, contacted me telling me he was associated with Ringo Starr and he was putting a band together and they would rehearse in L.A. Ringo wanted me as his bassist. I was thrilled so I called and told all my friends back in SoCal.

The guy’s name was very familiar. But I just couldn’t place it.

Our first meeting was to take place at the London Hilton lobby at 1pm on a Monday. We met, had coffee and discussed details. He even asked me to join him as he had an appointment with his lawyer. I thought I’d be invited in on the discussion. Instead, I sat in the lobby cooling my heels for an hour. This was the first red flag.

Exactly 24 hours later, almost to the minute, a huge bomb went off in the Hilton lobby killing dozens of people and injuring hundreds. I was in shock. For the grace of God, I could have been there.

A week passed and this guy was giving me excuses about meeting with Ringo.
He told me that he was an original member of the English band, “Badfinger.” These guys were big for a while but had broken up before this guy contacted me. The Beatles discovered them and even wrote a hit song for them.

I needed to check out his story.
I went to record stores trying to find Badfinger records but they were out of print. I couldn’t verify this guy.

So, I made a bold move and called Apple Records and asked to speak to Derek Taylor. He was the Beatles’ press agent. He was their guy for the entire time the Beatles were together. Everyone knew who this guy was. I was thrilled just to talk to him but I had business to discuss with him.

Derek took my call, because I was in Curved Air, and I asked about this guy. Derek said this guy was never in Badfinger. And then we chatted. He told me some inside Beatles stories and I was on Cloud 9. He confirmed to me the names of some of the famous musicians that played on their albums but were never given credit.

I now realized I had been had by this Andy Morris.
I got on the phone with this guy and called him a fraud and it was the last time we spoke.

A month later, I was listening to records at my Edgeware home (a suburb of London) and I grabbed a CA album that I played on. On the back of the Curved Air “Live” album, I noticed something. Down at the bottom were credits. And here was this guy’s name as a production assistant. The fucking fraud! A music assistant’s duties were merely being a gopher. He got us tea and coffee. And if necessary, cleaned the toilets.

I had bragged to all my friends about this project. I was about to live a dream come true: play with a Beatle.

I did, for a moment, run into a Beatle while in London. The only big guitar shop was on Tottenham Court Road called the Fender Sound House.

I was leaving when I grabbed the glass door to open it. On the other side was McCartney grabbing his side of the handle. I was in shock. He rattled the handle a couple times motioning to let him in but I was frozen in time.
I finally let go and he entered and as he passed he said, “Thanks mate.” I wanted to go back in and talk to him but I was too sheepish.

My final analysis of the music business is everything you imagine it is. Corrupt and full of bullshit artists. Being naïve is the death knell for any musician. Especially, young ones.

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Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

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3 replies

  1. A liquor store crook!
    Gotta remember that description.
    I found that the 2017 blend if you wait 3 to 4 months is pretty good.
    I ordered up some recently at small batch. They sent 2018 by mistake.
    I complained. Told me to keep the 18 and they sent me a pack of 17.
    Nice guys.
    Guess I’ll be putting the 18 to rest until December.

  2. Katman, Just used my PerfecDraw for the first time. I should have had one of these 30 years ago! Thanks for recommending this little jewel!!!!

    Hugh Woodruff

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. I can’t remember what year was the blend they turned into La Imperiosa. I like that one. I’m not big on limited editions, in general. Best case scenario is it’s so good, and so popular, it becomes regular production like La Imp. Worst case scenario, it’s wonderful, they go away, and you can never get them again. Most often, they’re decent, but nothing worth getting too upset about when they disappear. I don’t know… I’ve never been much of a collector, I guess.

    Great review, as always.

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