Caldwell Eastern Standard Midnight Express

Caldwell Eastern Standard Midnight Express

OVERVIEW

VITOLA:   Toro
SIZE:   6″ x 52

ORIGIN:   Dominican Republic
FACTORY:   Caldwell Cigar Factory

WRAPPER:   Connecticut-seeded Arapiraca Maduro
BINDER:   Dominican Habano
FILLER:   Dominican (Corojo & Criollo 98) & Nicaraguan Habano

STRENGTH:   Medium

SOURCE:   
Small Batch Cigar

ENVIRONMENT

WHERE:   
Three Season Porch at Home

WHEN:   
October 16, 2016 @ 11:30 PM

DRINKS:   
George Dickel Barrel Select Whiskey (neat)

WEATHER:   
Gorgeous, slightly cool fall night – low 70s

WHAT’S ON:   
The Walking Dead – Season 5

PRODUCTION

RELEASE TYPE  Regular Production

ORIGINALLY RELEASE DATE  July 2016

TOTAL PRODUCTION
Typical Box Size:     Boxes of 20
Production Totals:  On-going Production

VITOLA BREAKDOWN
 Corona – 5-3/8″ x 46
 Robusto – 5″ x 50
 Piramide – 6″ x 50
o  Toro – 6″ x 52

BAND DESIGN

The band is cleverly done as an inverse of the typical Eastern Standard band.   It’s simple enough and allows for instant recognition of the main difference between the sticks – the maduro wrapper.  

The gold is a great touch and adds to the elegance of the design.   As I’ve mentioned in the past, I love secondary bands and the foot band here is no exception.   It bears the cigar’s name and is white – which helps make sure it gets removed before lighting!

PRE-LIGHT OBSERVATIONS

CONSTRUCTION
This looks like a well-crafted cigar.   From the nearly invisible seams to the nice pig-tail detail on the cap – it’s clearly a labor of love.   It is quite veiny though – lots of raised veins throughout.   The foot looks densely packed.

Overall the cigar is very firm – not much give at all. No soft spots to be found!

AROMA
Gives a roasted cocoa aroma with some must.

COLD DRAW
Raisins and dates – gotta love that distinct maduro profile.  There are some scotch-like familiarities as well.

SMOKING EXPERIENCE

LIGHT & DRAW
Cut:  Palio cutter
Fire:  Match sticks
Nice clean snip – I went matches tonight, feeling old-school.  There really is something “right feeling” about lighting up this way.  Initial puffs offer great amount of smoke but taste profile is somewhat bland – not a lot outside of some buttered toasted and slightly sweet notes.  This isn’t a bad thing – just not overwhelming, out-of-the-gate flavor.

SMOKE
Cigar looks out when you set it down but otherwise doesn’t hesitate to produce good amounts of smoke.

FIRST THIRD
>> Creamy, espresso, brown sugar

Damn thing ashed right as I clicked the picture!  It’s really opened up nicely.  It has a creaminess to it – like a rich espresso that you loaded up with warm milk and some brown sugar cubes.  Still a little breadiness to it but much more on the dark, roasted coffee side of things.

SECOND THIRD
>> Creamy, espresso, spicy, arugula

Full disclosure – baby started crying; had to wash up, make bottle, sooth and feed – needless to say, cigar went out.   Relit with matches again – I got a pack with an order from Tampa the other day and I love those big ass Cain matches.  Relit without issue – but I’ll give it a few minutes before getting back to trying to observe tasting notes.  In the meantime, burn line is ragged but nothing crazy.  Creamy espresso continues but it’s transitioning to be a little more spice-driven with some leafy vegetable notes maybe – almost like creamed arugula or spinach – in a good way, I promise.

FINAL THIRD
>> Pot roast gravy, horseradish, wood, pepper

Still a definite sweetness to the flavors but it’s moving into a more of a pot roast gravy with some spiciness – maybe horseradish?  Maybe I’m just getting hungry.  Either way, this is quite the change from how it started – a very smooth transition from sweet, coffee to more hearty, peppery, meaty notes.

Like some other reviewers – I had some burn issues and had to relight twice.  I always wonder why some smokes go out at the exact same parts?  Also getting some wood and smokey notes as I get to the nub.

RATING & FINAL THOUGHTS

RATING BREAKDOWN
0.80 / 0.80 … Craft & Aesthetic
0.42 / 0.50 … Pre-Light Characteristics
0.47 / 0.50 … Lighting Process
5.98 / 7.70 … Smoking Experience
0.50 / 0.50 … Personal Enjoyment

COMPLIMENTS & CRITIQUES

  • Great construction
  • Very easy to identify flavor progression
  • Burn issues
  • Not a clean cigar to smoke

WONDERFUL NEW CALDWELL.

Overall, this was a really enjoyable smoke.  I like most of Caldwell’s efforts and this is no exception.

It’s a wonderfully complex cigar – but potentially overly so.  It is almost like eating a backwards meal, where you start with coffee and vanilla ice cream and end with a steak.  The strength creeps up on you – as it starts out so smooth but builds to a full-bodied, rich experience.

 

SIMPLY STOGIES RATING:  8.2 / 10.0

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