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The Las Calaveras is the first joint venture between Crowned Heads and My Father Cigars. This is a yearly limited release meant to pay homage to loved ones lost in that year. The cigar’s name, Las Calaveras, is a link to the Dia de los Muertos – the Day of the Dead in Mexico. In fact, a Calaveras skull decorates the top of the cigar box. These skulls are colorful and vibrant, which makes quite a contrast to the dark somber subject of death. Crowned Heads writes on its website that its mission is to marry tradition with innovation. This cigar is the embodiment of that as Crowned Heads marries the tradition of Dia de los Muertos with their new relationship with My Father to create a new cigar experience.

Basics:

  • Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Oscuro
  • Binder and Filler are Nicaraguan
  • 6″ x 52 Toro / The Las Calaveras also comes in a Robusto size
  • The smoke time was about an hour and 20 minutes.
  • I had this cigar at night for the first Cigar Jukebox digital herf event over Facebook, which was very fun and thanks everyone for joining in.
  • This cigar was purchased from Cigar Hustler
  • Plus, big love to Mike at Cigar Hustler for hiding this toro for me, so I could buy one.
  • I have to say on the front end that this is different from my other reviews, because I could only have one cigar. The fact that it is a limited edition and there was only one left at Cigar Hustler, meant that I could not have multiple cigars for this review. Therefore, this review may or may not be representative of the line as a whole and may be unique to my cigar. I decided to do the review anyway, because a lot of people are asking about this cigar and I wanted to add to the conversation. Let me know if you had a different experience with this cigar.

Draw / Burn:

The draw and burn of this cigar started well. The first third worked well and had no real issues. The burn was pretty sharp and the draw was dialed in. However, the draw loosens up over the smoke and gets away in the final third. This poses a problem. The draw got a bit too loose and could burn the cigar too hot, which had an impact on the flavors. When you got to the final third you really needed to pay attention to the draw to avoid burning the cigar too hot. I cut this cigar pretty close, so I do not think it is a cutting issue and was more an issue stemming from the construction of this specific cigar. I cannot comment on the draw of other cigars; however, other reviews have not had too many problems with the draw, so this may have been an issue specific to my cigar. The fact that cigars are hand made means that there can be unique issues from one cigar to the next.

During this time the burn was still fantastic and did not waver or need to be touched up. The only issue was the draw and trying to guard against burning the cigar too hot in the final two thirds.

Final Grade: B

Construction:

Putting the draw issue aside, I found the construction to be very good. The cigar kept its shape throughout the smoke. It did not get soft near the end and it had a nice springy give to it. Also, I don’t think it can be understated how great this cigar looks. The dark wrapper with the colors of the band looks fantastic. The wrapper has a little bit of an oily feel to it and I love the way it looks. The ash held on well and broke off in nice chunks. Moreover, the amount of smoke coming off of this thing was crazy. It reminded me a lot of Drew Estate’s cigars in how they are known for their smoke output. I know it sounds a little childish……but I love when cigars put out a lot of smoke. I feel like I’m in a movie. We covered the draw already, so the grade in this section will represent the other aspects of the construction.

Final Grade: A-

Flavor:

The front end of this cigar is all business. It had spice, pepper and tobacco flavors right from the first puff. I liked the spice and pepper, which reminded me of other great My Father offerings and great Nicaraguan cigars. There was a bit of spice and pepper on the retrohale, which I liked. The pepper and spice in this third opened up to oak and tobacco flavors. What I really liked was a the richness and depth to the finish in this third.

The second third starts to bring in flavors of cocoa and cream with a bit of spice and pepper on the back end. I found the finish rich, but also punchy. Instead of flavors melding together into a layered finish, I found the finish to consist of flavors that jump up every now and then. I thought the strength was good and not overpowering. The flavors were good; however, they could have been more balanced between each other. However, I do have some tingle on my lips, which I always love. Finally, the first ash comes at this third and the flavor did not change much after the first ash. On the other hand, this is the point where the draw loosened up too much and had an impact on the final third.

This final third was enjoyable, but the draw was too loose and the finish lost its more subtle flavors. This third was characterised by spice and some earth. There are hints of tobacco sweetness, but these can be drowned out by the other flavors. This is where the flavors can be overshadowed by harshness and a burnt taste if the cigar burns too fast. Therefore, you really need to slow down and be careful in this final third. If you are slow and the cigar does not burn hot, you are rewarded with a nice rich texture and oak / sweet flavors. Unfortunately, these are only hints of flavor, as opposed to a well layered finish.

The finish had all the flavors I love, but not in harmony with one another. They seemed to jump in and out of the frame and really never came fully together. I could see what Jon Huber was after, but it didn’t quite come together. In contrast, I just had the L’Antelier De La Racine ER13, which is a clinic on how to blend flavors and create a complex finish. That cigar had flavors on the front of the palate with the finish developing different flavors at the back of the palate. The Las Calaveras on the other hand had great flavors, but lacked the complexity of a well layered finish. The flavors in the cigar were there, but they did not quite come together.

Final Grade: B

Overall:

This cigar is worth your time. The construction was great and it is interesting to experience what Jon Huber and My Father can come up with. I would be interested to see if the flavors are different in the robusto size. In the toro size the flavors by themselves are enjoyable, but they never fully come together to create a unique experience. Having said that, this is the initial offering by Crowned Heads and My Father, so it may be a feeling out period. For a first offering, there is a lot of potential and a lot to be excited about for the 2015 installment of the Las Calaveras.

I would not rate this cigar to the heights of a humidor necessity, but it is definitely a cigar worth smoking. I would recommend it to people to try out and I think I would get 10 for myself. I think I would go 5 robustos and 5 toros to see the difference between the vitolas. Also, I would like to age some to see if a year or so helps the flavors come together. However, I would smoke another one new, because it is an enjoyable cigar to mix in every now and then.

Overall Grade: B / B+

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