Caldwell The King is Dead

Caldwell The King is Dead Toro Negrito

Origin : Dominican Republic
Format : Toro
Caldwell Cigar CoSize : 6 x 52
Wrapper : Negrito Dominicano – 2008
Filler : Corojo Ligero Dominicano 30% – 2006; Negrito Viso Dominicano 20% – 2008; HVA 20/20 50% – 2010
Binder : Corojo Dominicano – 2006
Price : $10.50 MSRP

Please welcome Scott AKA The Bare Hand, our new author! He starts with a very detailed review of a boutique cigar, Caldwell The King is Dead. Enjoy!

The King is Dead by Caldwell Cigar Company, owned by Robert Caldwell, is their second blend. They make very small batch releases, so finding them can be somewhat tough, but this cigar has been a hit, and I’m excited to finally give it a go after resting in my humidor for about a year.

Interestingly, according to Robert Caldwell, this cigar was blended with the intention of smoking the related brother blend, Long Live the King (which is fantastic BTW), just before. Unfortunately, I did not have that opportunity, but this cigar was enjoyable nonetheless.

This blend utilizes some rare and underused Dominican tobaccos (just check the blend. What a mouthful!), so I’m preparing for a unique experience.

Appearance : Rating: ★★★★☆
With a rustic look, the cigar is slightly lumpy and not perfectly round. It’s got an interestingly reddish brown mottled wrapper. It’s got a waxy, soft feel. There are a few small veins and the seam is visible, but perfectly smooth. It’s got a nice pigtail cap, and at the foot, the pack looks great and ripe for a perfect draw.

Caldwell The King is Dead

Construction : Rating: ★★★★½
As you can see in the pictures, this example had a razor sharp burn line, a nice solid speckled gray and black ash that fell off only once, and the draw was perfect with just the right amount of resistance. My only knock is that the cigar seemed to want to be puffed more often than I’m used to to keep ample smoke coming on the draw. I adjusted and all was well. Just be aware, you may not want to sit this one down for long periods between puffs or it might go out. Final burn time was 1 hour and 24 minutes.

Caldwell Cigar Co. - The King is Dead

Flavor : Rating: ★★★★½

Pre-light experience:

The wrapper smells exactly like raw honey. I should know. I’ve been a beekeeper for 7 years. It’s dead on. Amazing. The cold draws are forgettable with a very subtle coffee, fruit, and black pepper. There are perhaps some of the dreaded “brown paper bag” notes.

First impressions:

Roasted coffee bean, floral honey, and just a hint of a red pepper zing on the roof of my mouth. Completely smooth through the nose where I pick up a subtle milk chocolate. It has quite a long finish where the pepper tingle lingers for a minute or two. All in all, it’s a mild-medium start, and very subtle.

First 3rd:

By the first 1/2 inch, a buttered toast and a light caramel have begun to show themselves. The red pepper zing has morphed more to a black pepper flavor. It’s got a long creamy finish, just a touch of a pepper sizzle, and it’s becoming richer by the puff. Excellent. It’s burning very slowly – 25 minutes in and I’m only about an inch down. The burn line is noticeably razor sharp.

Rounding out the first 3rd, a strong vanilla, roasted black coffee, and cedar has joined the mix. It’s very complex. I’m really enjoying this.

Second 3rd:

The retrohale is divine at this point. The medium-bodied flavors have melded together now to produce a wonderful oatmeal cookie dunked in black coffee. We’ve got sweet cream, vanilla, cinnamon, brown sugar, milk chocolate, wheat, a touch of black pepper, and a nice base of that dark roasted coffee. The finish is very long. The draw is still perfect with plumes of smoke, and the burn couldn’t be any straighter. The ash held on to just before the halfway point at the 47-minute mark.

Final 3rd:

There is an interesting shift right as the ash fell. The sweetness has died down, and woodiness, pepper, and a drier mouth-feel are on the rise. The smoke output has fallen off, creating the need for triple puffs that seem to be creating a hotter smoke. The body is now medium-full, and I’m noticing a little strength in the nicotine department.

The last couple inches are mostly cedar, black pepper, coffee, and a welcomed toasted peanut. I was hoping for more of what the second 3rd had to offer, but this combo was enjoyable nonetheless.

Value : Rating: ★★★★☆
At $10.50, while not the cheapest price point, this cigar is probably right in line with what I would expect with the rare tobaccos used, and the performance and flavors I experienced.

Overall Rating : Rating: ★★★★½
This was close to a 5 star cigar for me. In the final section, the flavors and smoke output sort of fizzled. If the oatmeal cookie would have continued, this would be a 5 star rating for me – perfect construction, burn, draw, and a flavor profile right in my wheelhouse. If you want to splurge, you could grab a box, but I confidently recommend a 5-pack purchase.

Pairing recommendation:

Caldwell The King is Dead would pair well with a coffee in the morning. In the evening, I think it has just enough body to pair up with a sweeter, round, lower alcohol content bourbon or rum. A too-powerful spirit could crush the nuances of the flavor profile.