Leaf Speak

January 2021
Crowned Heads Las Calaveras 2019 _ Bunna

Crowned Heads Las Calaveras 2019 EL

Vitola: LC50 (5”, 50 RG)

Wrapper: Ecuador
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua

Origin Country: Nicaragua

Average Price: $13 USD

Visual / Pre-light Draw

The 2019 Las Calaveras has a rich, dark brown wrapper with pronounced veins and a light oil sheen. A stunning red band with gold trim wraps around the body, while a ‘Crowned Heads’ branded band wraps around the foot. A nice addition to this year’s release. An exceptional presentation for an exceptional cigar.

The construction is excellent, and no voids are observed within the body. The wrapper is perfectly intact and without cracks or holes. 

The dry draw revealed hints of spices and hay, and the tightness of the roll provides a medium draw resistance. Not concerning, but not as free as I’d like.

First Third

After a few mouthfuls of smoke, I find myself smiling and staring at the cigar lovingly. It’s been a while since I lit up an LC, and these first draws make me wonder why that is. Notes of ripened grains, pepper, and dark-roasted coffee attack my palate with precision and intent as the cigar introduces itself to me with boldness and confidence. I’m impressed by both the intensity and complexity that is present this early on, and I’m eager to see the profile develop throughout the session.

Second Third

The pepper died down slightly, and an earthy, woody profile began to emerge. The coffee was still there but was moving towards, or mixing with, a darkened chocolate note and a light cream hint. The midpoint of this session highlighted the medium-to-full body and complexity of the 2019 EL and, since this was my second last one, initiated a panic in me that I would soon be without this wonderful blend.

Final Third

The culmination of this cigar saw a move towards a sweetened dark chocolate/coffee note, subtle wood and earth notes, dampened pepper, and a slight tangy cream feel that rounded out the profile. This cigar is bold, complex, and a joy to smoke. For my palate, it sits in the top echelon of Nicaraguan blends, and I really hope to find another box in the near future.

The Las Calaveras line occupies a very special place in my humidor. When I was first getting interested in cigars, a very generous BOTL gifted me a sampler pack that contained a 2016 edition, and I couldn’t have been more impressed with it. I remember the experience because it was the first cigar that truly blew me away. The flavors and profile were just what I had been looking for, and the heightened level of enjoyment encouraged me to dive deeper into the lifestyle and develop my palate and knowledge. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to find boxes of each release and have not yet been disappointed. 

This annual limited release is truly something to look forward to each year, and I highly recommend picking up any previous releases as well, you won’t regret it.

The Pairing:

To pair, I chose the amazing Bunnahabhain 12. This is one of my absolute favorite whiskies, and I thought it would make an excellent partner for this cigar. Full disclosure, I was not wrong. These two complemented each other very well, and at times felt like two halves of a whole. The malt hosts flavors of savory darkened fruit, caramel, nut, and a very light smoke, which all play very nicely with the complexity and darkness of the Las Calaveras 2019 EL. I love both of these products and their level of enjoyment was only amplified when consuming together.