Bite Size Review: Crowned Heads Las Calaveras Edición Limitada 2019 LC46
Two aspects of the cigar experience that can put a serious dent in your enjoyment: a draw tight enough it feels as if you’re sucking a golf ball through a garden hose and corrections requiring you to sling more fire than a knife dancer at a Honolulu luau. As we noted several weeks ago, we’ve officially put our ‘V’ cutter on notice. Why? Because too many of the cigars we’ve smoked over the last few months, including some that we reviewed, just didn’t perform as expected. By perform I’m primarily referring to combustion and draw
There was just a little too much consistency in tighter draws and poor combustion events like runners and general unevenness not attributed to poor rolls. Coincidence? Maybe. We’re going to continue to monitor this and may experiment on a small sample set of cigars and see if there is any merit to this. We’ll report accordingly. An argument against our growing hypothesis is the apparent disparity between our review of the Las Calaveras 2017 (LC17) versus today’s review of the Las Calaveras 2019 (LC19) version.
Ironically, the LC17’s draw and combustion scored “excellent” and “very good” respectively with a ‘V’ cut, yet the draw of our LC19 is “tight” while combustion is also “very good” using a straight, guillotine cut. But that’s not enough to pump the brakes on this story and fortunately, the LC19 fared better in other departments. Pricing has been consistent over the years and in fact the 2019 Corona Gorda was actually a few pence cheaper than our 2017 Toro. The LC19 will wear a foot band for the first time and is dedicated to the memory of Cano Ozgener, CAO’s founder, denoted by the “CO” on the band’s coins.
The rustic and mottled oscuro-wrapper is a nice start, bound with a nice triple cap and a seamless roll. The length shows some veins and lumps and while for the most part solid, there’s a small spongy patch near the band. There’s still some oil after simmering for 7 months and the sweet hints of honey and cocoa aromas from the wrapper and foot are mouthwatering. Thanks to the spoiler above, clearly the draw was tight and sadly, it did not improve. But there is enough draw to dust the palate with a fruity zest.
The opening profile from just about every cigar from the Crowned Heads’ portfolio is rarely disappointing. The Oscuro wrapper contributes a rich, warm nucleus of leather wrapped by notes of creme, toasted oats and peanuts. The draw is rife with wood and toasted oats and our LC19 finishes with generous creamy notes of nougat and toast. A light spice emerges as does notes of honey, cedar and some woodiness. With a smooth texture, transitions warm things up in body, spice, intensity and a dominant woodiness. Draws are more earthy but are well balanced by notes of caramel and honey.
Complexity wanes in the last transition imparting little more than poorly-balanced heavy earth and cedar intonations. Occasional appearances of caramel come and go, but it’s largely one dimensional. Having smoked the last 3 Las Calaveras iterations, the LC19 is a clear favorite based on a solid blend. Combustion is solid with some wavy chars and LC19 is a generous smoke producer, but the draw just never eases up. I can overlook a weak ending, but a persistent, tight draw is an enjoyment killer. Hopefully our LC19 is the exception. – In Fumo Pax!
Recommendation: 5 Packer
Did you Know: Since 2014, each Las Calaveras release pays respect to 4 individuals, but 2019’s release pays homage to just one: Cano Ozgener of CAO (former employer of Jon Huber).
- Profile: Med-Full
- Vitola: LC46 [Corona Gorda]
- Length / Ring Gauge: 6.0″x 46
- Purchased: Gift
- Origin: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Blade: Xikar Xi1
- Fire: Colibri Firebird
- Price: $9.46 [Box $231.50]
- Humidor Age: 7 mo.
- Box: 24 [Torpedo available only in sampler boxes of 4]
- Other Vitolas: LC50 [5″x 50], LC54 [5.5″x54], Torpedo [6 1/8″x 52]
N O T E S
Smoke Time: 1:28
Construction: Nice triple cap; veiny; lightly oily; mottled, rustic appearance; lumpy; solid with soft spots near band; holds strong 1+” ash; good smoke producer.
- Wrapper – Honey, citrus
- Foot – Cocoa
- Cold Draw – Fruity
- Initial: Leathery nucleus; notes of toasted oats, cream and peanuts on retro; spice on tongue; Finishes with creamy mix of nougat and toast; hints of wood on retro; savory draw of wood and toasted oats; very smooth; adds honey and cedar notes late; draw does not improve.
- Transition: More of a woody center; slight increase in spice along with hints of kola nut; maintains creamy finish but more woody; caramel notes on retro with residual honey; draw more earthy; cedar notes more prominent.
- Transition: Cedar core; light earth and coffee finish; residual hints of caramel; toasty texture and flavor.
Touch ups: N/A
Combustion: Very good
Weaknesses: Tight draw does not improve; Complexity gone in last profile; char persistently wavy.
Recommendation: 5 Packer
- 5 packer
- Yard ‘gar
- NR [No Recommendation]