Each year Crowned Heads releases the Las Calaveras line of cigars. They began releasing Las Calaveras in 2014 as a way to honor and remember those in the cigar industry who passed away the previous year. It has become a release that I look forward to every year. Some are better than others, but I have really enjoyed the release every year. This year’s iteration features a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper over Nicaraguan binders and fillers. With broadleaf wrappers seemingly in short supply, any release that features one should be on every cigar enthusiast’s and aficionado’s radar.
SIZE: 5-5/8″ x 54
FACTORY: My Father Cigars S.A.
WRAPPER: USA Connecticut Broadleaf
STRENGTH: Medium Plus – Full
[November 10 @1:00pm
70° & 65% humidity
HOW MANY CIGARS SMOKED:
RELEASE TYPE Limited
ORIGINALLY RELEASE DATE July 2023
Typical Box Size: Boxes of 24
Production Totals: 39,000
o LC54 (5-5/8″ x 54)
o LC50 (5″ x 50)
o Belicoso Fino (5-1/2″ x 50)
o LC52 (6″ x 52)
The 2023 Las Calaveras band is deep yellow with white and black accents. It follows what Crowned Heads has done in previous years with the Las Calaveras releases. This year’s color is yellow.
The Connecticut broadleaf wrapper is the shade of a milk chocolate, maybe a bit darker. It’s somewhat rough to the touch. There are a few water spots on the cigars smoked for this review, but they add to the overall aesthetic of the cigar. There is a nice oily sheen on the wrapper, with a few pockets where the oil is more prominent. Veins criss-cross the length of the cigar, adding to its rustic vibe.
The Connecticut broadleaf wrapper gives off a solitary note, but oh what a note it is! Barnyard; straight barnyard. The foot also has that musty barnyard note, but there are more complex flavors under it. Notes of plum, grass, and a yeasty bread all join the barnyard.
The cold draw reveals much of the same notes: plums, bread, nuts, and a funky barnyard note that ties it all together. The draw itself has almost the perfect amount of resistance.
The smoke is thick and coats my palate nicely. The smoke production is exactly what I look for…not too much and not too little.
>> Cedar, Black Pepper, Mushroom
The first third begins with notes of cedar, nuts, and toasted bread. Black pepper rules the retrohale. Even after it’s calmed down from the initial light, the Las Calaveras LC54 2023 is full bodied and full flavored. The burn line is just short of being razor sharp. The ash is compact; it looks like a stack of nickels. Gorgeous. Streaks of black break up the grey and white. The mushroom note from the initial light comes and goes, adding a nice depth to the LC54. The baking spices and chocolate seem to have retreated after the initial light, too. A light note of leather joins the other earthy notes. The sweetness from the cold draw begins to sneak its way in, breaking up the earthiness and adding complexity to the flavor profile. The ash finally falls in a heap to the ashtray.
>> Chocolate, Baking Spices, Fruit
The middle third begins with notes of butter, chocolate, and baking spices. Nuts and spices on the retrohale. The burn line has gone a bit wonky after the ash fell, but it is not a concern. There is an umami flavor that balances the sweeter notes. Chocolate brownie with nuts lingers on my palate. The burn line corrects itself. The LC54 moves from full to medium plus, as the flavors take a sweeter turn in this middle third. It is taking me for a ride and I’m here for it. A rich fruity note flows in and out of the undercurrent, though I can’t make out what it is. A wood note slips itself back in the mix. The LC54 remains nuanced and complex. The ash is less compact, but I would not call it flakey. It immediately falls on my lap after I typed that…which is why the picture looks the way it does.
>> Dark Chocolate, Espresso, Black Pepper
Dark chocolate, leather, baking spices, and damp earth begin the final third. Notes of coffee, salted peanuts, and charred toast add their voices to the chorus of flavors. Black pepper returns to the retrohale. The ash no longer holds on, and the burn is a little wonky. The flavors really start to ramp up. Pepper and spices start clawing at the back of my throat. There is a sweetness that is holding it up, but can’t quite place it. Mushroom comes back and it is divine…almost meaty. Campfire, mushroom and espresso dominate now. The rich, fruit-like sweetness that I can’t quite place holds it all up. The burn line corrects itself as the ash remains compact, even if it doesn’t hold on for long.
RATING & FINAL THOUGHTS
The LC54 is a full flavored smoking experience that the initiated will most certainly enjoy. The flavors start strong off the initial light, calm down to low roar before mellowing out, and then ramps up. It’s a very enjoyable ride, but probably not for newer smokers.
There is a lot to love and just a little to critique. The burn line was razor sharp for 90% of the smoking experience. Each time it became even a bit wonky, it would self-correct. However, the ash loses its ability to hold on after the first third.
0.78 / 0.80 … Craft & Aesthetic
0.50 / 0.50 … Pre-Light Characteristics
0.50 / 0.50 … Lighting Process
7.10 / 7.70 … Smoking Experience
0.46 / 0.50 … Personal Enjoyment
COMPLIMENTS & CRITIQUES
LAS CALAVERAS LC54 EL 2023 HONORS THOSE WE LOST.
To be completely transparent, the annual Las Calaveras release is one that I look forward to every year. I really enjoyed last year’s release of the Las Calaveras and this year’s is even better…in my opinion. Your mileage may vary. That being said, the LC54 EL 2023 ranks up there with some of my favorite from past releases. There is an umami quality to the cigar that makes it almost a meaty experience. Tempered with notes of fruit, chocolate, earth, leather, and black pepper the LC54 EL 2023 is a cigar that you shouldn’t miss out on.