Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2019 | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6 X 46
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $10.50 (I found the price $1.57 less at Atlantic Cigar)

Today we take a look at the Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2019.

BACKGROUND:
According to Cigar Dojo:
“The series was first introduced in 2014 and was quick to become one of the most sought-after limited cigars available. Themed around the Mexican holiday, Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Las Calaveras celebrates the lives of those lost each year. This year’s release is especially significant for Crowned Heads, paying homage to Cano Ozgener (1937–2018), who founded CAO International in 1968. In years past, Las Calaveras’ bands have displayed the initials of four individuals; the Edición Limitada 2019 will show only Ozgener’s (CO).

“Many of the founding members of Crowned Heads originally worked for Ozgener at CAO, eventually leaving (after the company was purchased by Scandinavian Tobacco Group in 2007) to form Crowned Heads.

“When Cano passed on June 9 of last year, the cigar industry lost a true trailblazer and innovator, and I lost a mentor, friend, and father-figure. He meant so much to us here at Crowned Heads and he touched the lives of far too many to mention. His legacy lives on not only in the cigar business, but in the lives of those whom he came in contact with during his lifetime.
Jon Huber, Crowned Heads co-founder

“Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2019 is said to be most similar to the fan-favorite blend from 2014, incorporating the same Habano Oscuro wrapper and all-Nicaraguan binder/fillers. Billed as “medium-full to full-bodied,” the EL 2019 is said to be focused on balance, complexity, and finesse.

“The cigars have been rolled in the same three sizes as in years past (LC46, LC50, LC54), as well as a new 6⅛” x 52 torpedo that is only available to those purchasing the cigars in the four-count sampler format. Total production is limited to 1,700 boxes per size, as well as an additional 2,500 sampler packs (132,400 total cigars for 2019). Prices are listed at $10.50 to $12.95 MSRP, with the cigars scheduled to begin shipping to retailers in June.”

This is the difference of the 6 years of leaf stats. The 2015 version had an Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper. The 2016 version had a Connecticut Broadleaf Grade “A” wrapper. The 2017 version had an Ecuadorian Habano Maduro (Grade “A” Dark) wrapper. The 2018 version had a Mexican San Andrés wrapper.
So, only the 2014 version had the current 2019 wrapper of Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro.

SIZES AND PRICING:
LC46 6 x 46 $10.50
LC50 5 x 50 $11.75
LC54 5.5 x 54 $12.95

APPEARANCE:
Despite obvious seams and a load of veins, this is a very nice-looking stick; due to the intense oiliness of the reddish-brown wrapper. It glistens and shines. The triple cap is expertly applied. There seems to small differences in how its packed. Some places are harder or softer than others. No matter. I have tools.

SMELL THE GLOVE:
I cannot remember the 2014 version experience. I skimmed my review and seemed to really enjoy the blend. I hadn’t yet started numerically rating cigars yet. My opinions of the following years varied as much as the wrappers.
There is dark chocolate, malt, creaminess, orange citrus, potent caramel, cedar, nuts, and that Worcestershire sauce influence; molasses, sugar, salt, tamarind, garlic and spices. Very similar to the 2014.

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

FIRST THIRD:
There is a small plug but my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool does the trick and eliminates the little bugger in the cigar band area.

Good start.
Complexity kicks in immediately. Good sign. Elements of black pepper, creaminess, malt, cedar, barnyard, and cinnamon.

Crowned Heads does not specify the Nicaraguan binder and filler so I have to assume it is the exact same as described in their press release. But then, who knows?
If the variation is totally dependent on the wrapper, then the Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro is my favorite.

Strength jumps to medium/full.

The creaminess surges. Along with it, the 2014 Orange Creamsicle is dragged to the forefront. The cocoa isn’t as strong as it was as an aroma. The coffee is barely there. The caramel and other ancillary sweet elements are taking hold; providing a nice, even balance.

The burn requires touch ups but then with the horrendous humidity we’ve had here in Wisconsin lately, it is no wonder. Struggling to maintain a humidor in very humid conditions is a real bitch. It seems to defeat the purpose of dry boxing. So, I grab a few cigars every day and put them in an empty cedar lined cigar box and close the lid tightly. It does a wonderful job, most of the time, of drying the cigar to a perfect state of smoke-ability within a couple of days.

An inch in, the blend explores its possibilities. I gotta be honest that the immediate influx of intense complexity comes so soon. Wasn’t crazy about this cigar for the last couple of years. This return to its roots reminds me what a great cigar this can be.

It also doesn’t need a lot of humi time. I’m running on less than a month with this one.

This blend should make those who know what they like and don’t like very happy. The flavor profile is mooshed into one big morass of cosmic flavor. Nothing stands out any longer. It is just an excellent smoke.

I’m not affiliated with Atlantic Cigar…I just found their online price worthy to mention. Other online stores may be doing the same thing in reducing the MSRP. And the usual suspects will not be doing so. On any limited edition, there is no shortage of land sharks out there trying to build a pile of cash on the backs of their customers.

Balance enters. Much more so than earlier. The medium/full strength mellows out a touch allowing for a smoother smoke. No rough edges on this baby.

It is early, so I have all the windows open before the heat/humidity index soars. So, I smell the Sunday cooking of curry from my neighbors. My eyes burn and tear up. The cat tries to soothe me but makes a run for the bathroom and closes the door. Windows are shut. I don’t want to, all of a sudden, tell you how much this blend tastes like curry.

If this is, indeed, what the 2014 release tasted like, I now know why I was so disappointed with some of the following releases. This blend is the gold standard for the Las Calaveras series.

I tried one a couple weeks in and was thinking, Uh-oh. Not again. Amazing what a couple extra weeks of humidor time will do. Accelerated aging process. This is a nice homage cigar for Cano Ozgener. Well done, Mr. Huber.

SECOND THIRD:
The first third displayed tremendous potential for the rest of the cigar. Something that I found missing in the earlier releases. They tended to need that first third to warm up; while this blend gets down to it from the get-go.

Flavors: Creaminess, orange zest, malt, hazelnut cream, steak sauce, cedar, caramel, cinnamon, with light touches of cocoa and espresso.

I like that the intensity of its complex nature rises to the occasion with each passing puff. This is a bold blend. Balanced and smooth but a powerhouse in the gratification department.

The Stones are playing. I find it otherworldly that merely 3 months after heart surgery, Jagger is back on tour and not losing a lick of his stage antics. The man is 75. Holy shit. Of course, his doctors are better than ours. I give you the living roach of Keith Richards as a prime example. How that guy made it to 75 without overdosing is a miracle of modern-day science.

Sweet and savory. This is my favorite type of blend. That perfect amalgamation of the right stuff.

The strength has not made a run for the border yet. Tick tock…

Oh no…”Free Bird” is playing. If I had a nickel for every time I played out in a blues band and a drunken patron yelled: “FREE BIRD!!!!”…I wouldn’t have to beg manufacturers for samples.

The Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2019 is now an official flavor bomb. It oozes and cajoles flavors like yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog’s eye.

The intensity doesn’t push. It is relaxed and aggressive in an alternate universe of nonsense. It’s a great cigar and I’m only approaching the halfway mark.
Methinks, a purchase of these would be a great idea before they disappear. I’m pretty sure it will be a long time before Huber re-introduces this iconic blend again.

Closed windows solve the curry issue. The cat wanders out of the bathroom, from hiding, and states, “WTF?” I’m a pet whisperer. I have the bite and claw marks to prove it.

Moment of obtrusiveness…at the synagogue where I volunteer as armed security, there is a paid armed guard on Saturday mornings for 4 hours. His name is David. Around 50 and a lifer in the Army Rangers and 12 years a firefighter and paramedic. A really good guy. But…he loves cigars while his wife hates them. She actually, according to David, has serious OCD about this. I gave him a fiver and his wife stole them and played dumb. He can’t even smoke at a B&M because his clothes bring the smell into the house. He can’t even smoke outside. And if he changes his clothes, his wife says she can still smell it and goes bat shit crazy on him. Next time, when you are feeling put upon by your wife about where you can smoke, think of David. Poor guy.

If you haven’t bought yourself a fiver, or better, of these cigars…or maybe felt like me about previous incarnations of this blend, I highly recommend you rectify the situation toot suite.

The flavor bomb comes and goes. But never the intense complexity. Transitions are delicious and mouthwatering. The finish is chock full of warm, buttery elements.

Just don’t be a moon calf and smoke this cigar too early. Waste of your money and waste of a good cigar. A month at least. You will be rewarded by fairies and trolls dancing on your testicles while declaring they don’t swallow. Remember when you were dating…and in the throws of good sex when the chick says, “Ah dunt waller.” It sounds like that when something is caught in her throat.

LAST THIRD:
A floral element arises. As well as some kind of lavender tea. Unexpected, but very nice.
If this cigar were any smoother, it would be a big bowl of frozen custard.

Chocolate returns with extreme prejudice. It is sailing above the other flavors like a drone over the Strait of Hormuz.

The other big reviewers tend to shy away from limited blends for review. I hope they all dive into this baby. I’m very curious as to their opinions. I’m pretty sure their opinions will be in alignment. An excellent, beautifully blended cigar.

And now a word about a great sponsor: Casdagli Cigars. I received an email from Jeremy Casdagli asking if he could put $14.7 million into my bank account. I told him yes and gave him the digits. That was a week ago and I’m still waiting. He said he was the newly appointed president of Estonia. He has never lied to me yet. His cigars ain’t cheap but worth every shekel. Use promo code: Katman when you visit Small Batch Cigar and get 10% off.
A great blend suggestion, the last Bespoke cigar I reviewed, was the Daughters of the Wind Calico. New to 2018. And my number one pick for my top 2018 cigars of the year. It is designed with an Ecuadorian wrapper, Costa Rican binder, and Peruvian and Dominican fillers. It comes in one size of a 6.1 x 52 Pyramide. A devastatingly good cigar.

I expected that the Las Calaveras would hit full tilt by now but it has maintained an even keel of medium/full. No overwhelming strength and no nicotine. Huzzah. Vision intact.

Experienced smokers and newbies alike must indulge.

No more flavor bomb status as the blend’s complexity deepens. A molten collection of components that hunker up to the bar and do the light fantastic on your palate.

The Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2019 finishes in triumph. Not a lick of harshness or bitterness. Still smooth and balanced. And it didn’t inflict the poisonous nicotine to my brain.
Get some.

RATING: 94

And now for something completely different:

I am dredging up this old story as the news has been full of people getting conked in the head from foul balls. Why? Because the backstop net does not go all the way around the first and third base lines. More commentary at the end…

This story has nothing to do with rock n roll or sex and drugs. It is a story about the building of the Arizona Diamondbacks stadium, starting in 1996 and finishing in 1998. It was called Bank One Ballpark. Now it’s Chase Field.
Only nerds need apply for this story about structural engineering and near-death experience.

I was a senior project manager for a company that did high end metal fabrication and installation. Rails, glass rail, stainless, bronze, copper, etc.

We had a huge contract to do all the foo-foo gingerbread stuff in the stadium. One of the things we provided was a two-foot square panel, made of solid ¼” copper that was cut to show the Diamondback logo. It was cut using water jet technology. It is cleaner than laser cutting because it doesn’t leave burned edges. Laser cut edges must be ground smooth to remove the black burn marks. Obviously, water jet cutting is very, very expensive.

We provided hundreds of these panels and they were inserted, every 8-10 feet, in all the guard rails in the stadium. They have since been removed because the idiot architects decided not to coat them in some sort of clear lacquer. This meant they wanted them to oxidize and the color would eventually look like an old penny. Which is not very pretty. Not to mention, people were touching them constantly. So, the oil from their hands left bright fingerprints and the whole thing looked horrible. After a couple of years, they removed them all.

I got the idea to make a 2” square version to use as key chains. I still have mine. I got enough for everyone at work but I had the shop coat them with lacquer so they would stay shiny. We paid $5 each for them.

Schuff Steel did the structural work on the stadium. And when they left, there was still a lot of miscellaneous metal work to be done, as extras or change orders, because the architects couldn’t find their asses with a gay metal detector.

The general contractor knew I had a structural background and gave us several million dollars in no-bid contracts to finish the stadium. Sort of a small Halliburton situation.

The back stop behind home plate was a metal wire mesh panel and designed to protect the people in those seats from errant foul balls. Believe it or not, the design was very complicated. The wire rope cable support was ¾” stainless steel. And the cables were attached using a swaged connection. This means the cable is inserted into a stainless-steel tube and then compressed, or crimped, to hold the cable in place. This was stupid considering the amount of tension/torque that would be placed on the units.

They should have used mechanical connections, which are basically tied off cable, but the dumb ass architects liked the clean look of the tube. This would backfire. And the really stupid thing was that because the connections were so high, no one could see them anyway.

The main cable was over 800 feet long. It stretched from far-right outfield, down the first base line, around home plate, down the third base line, and then back out to left field by the bleachers.

I hired a contractor, that I had used before, that was out of San Diego. It took them over a month to install the cables. They had the cable connections fabricated by a company that does nothing but cable work.

Cables were everywhere. 20 cables were attached to the 800-foot cable to pull it back to create that parabolic shape. They had to tie these cables to the big swooping cable back to the second and third levels; thereby holding the big mutha’ in place. It required engineers to survey the installation so that as the cable was tightened in increments of 1/16″, the big cable would drop into place. One cable would be tightened a sixteenth of an inch, and then the surveyors would move to the next cable. They did this over and over in a certain sequence. Very complicated and I won’t bore you with the math. It took two weeks for the surveyors to get the cables tightened and at the right height.

I was there when they finished. Less than 30 minutes later, I looked up as I heard what sounded like a plane crashing through the sound barrier. The big right field cable connection came loose and the cable was shot, like out of a cannon, all the way back to home plate along the first base line. It flew several hundred feet at the speed of sound.

Workers were everywhere in its path. There was over 30,000lbs per square inch tension on those cables, so when it came loose, it tore dozens of bolted seats and threw them 100 feet into the air… and sent them flying into the infield. Where the cable just barely touched the top of the seats, it left half circles of missing plastic at the top of the chair. It literally dissolved the plastic.

I watched as this loose snake missed hundreds of workers in its path. Had it hit one person, it could have decapitated him or cut him in half. And God help us if it happened during a game. It would have killed dozens of people.

So, you can imagine the brouhaha that followed. It got the same response as if a plane had crashed on first base.
The general contractor insisted that this time, the connections would be mechanical. Screw the architect. The blame for this was shifted to the manufacturer of the cable. In all situations, engineers over design connections, so that they are several times the required design. That’s how all structural steel is designed. The bottom line is that the manufacturer just let this swaged connection pass by inspection. Everyone asked where their quality control was? The GC demanded all their paperwork. It got ugly.

I spent the next two weeks supervising the re-installation of the cables. It was slow and laborious. It took four teams of surveyors and engineers to get it right. We had no liability and it was not our fault. But we were the messengers, so to speak. And the GC was really pissed off at us for something that was not our fault. The cable company took full responsibility for this and re-fabricated the connections at their cost. And they had to pay for the re-installation…and the four teams of surveyors.

I remember standing in the rain, due to a leaking retractable roof, in the middle of February. The closing roof had so many leaks that it was like a rain forest inside the stadium. And I got sick as a dog the first week. After seeing how diligent I was, the GC got off my back and our relationship went back to normal as they came to terms with this not being my fault.

As expected, the owner of the company I worked for didn’t give a shit if I was sick or not. I was to be there every single day until it was fixed…10-12 hours, 6 days per week. I remember taking the cable connection part that failed and having it made into a coffee table curio. I had the connection welded to a stainless-steel plate.

When it was complete, I spent the next four days in the hospital with pneumonia. The boss never visited once. Construction is a really shitty industry. I don’t miss it one bit.

The only upside was that I spent almost two years watching a ballpark being built. From breaking ground in 1996 to the laying of the sod in 1998. Once the sod was down, they put guards around the playing field to make sure no workers stepped on the grass.

Later, when the park was open, I went to a game with our CFO and we had home plate seats. I got there early because the D-backs were playing the Cardinals. And I wanted to watch batting practice.

I remember being in awe at the size of Mark McGwire when he came to the plate. I was only 30 feet away. And I watched as he hit every pitch outside the park. And his last one smashed a hole in the Jumbo-Tron.
The D-Backs lost the game that day.

Commentary:
I know the pricing of installing a backstop. Adding to an existing backstop is not rocket science nor does it make a dent in the club owners’ pockets. We are talking about a few hundred thousand dollars. It has to be cheaper than the lawsuits. But the owners all look at this as risk management. Weighing the cost differential between liability insurance fees and the cost of new construction. Guess which one wins?
I saw on the news where the commissioner of baseball said it was a difficult task because each stadium is different. Bullshit.
This is why God invented architects and engineers. Don’t worry Mr. Owner. These guys will figure out what you cannot. Pull out your wallets, full of cobwebs, and pay for it.
Just in the last couple of days, we are seeing clubs toeing the line as public opinion and the news media had a field day with this injustice. I believe we will see those nets expanded to fit the need for the safety of all.

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Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

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2 replies

  1. Favorite cigar of 2019……so far.

  2. Trying this as I read your review…very pleased so far…

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