- Vitola: Robusto
- 4.75” x 52 ring gauge
- MSRP $10.50
- Purchased at Maxamar Ultimate Cigar
As with many smaller cigar companies, 2016 was a very busy year for new releases from Caldwell. Basically, it’s gone like this: get as many new products on the market before the August 8 FDA deadline, even if you can only get 10 boxes of them on the market…then do a “full national release” of said product sometime in the next year or two when the production capacity is there.
One of the new items from Caldwell goes by the name “Caldwell Signature” if you look at the label on the cellophane, or “Eastern Standard Dos Firmas” if you look at various news stories on the release. Dos Firmas is Spanish for “Two Signatures” and refers to the two scrawls featured on the secondary band of the cigar. The story I heard is that Robert Caldwell’s partner in the Dominican Republic, William Ventura, has been making and selling this blend for about 20 years in the DR, but has been unable to bring it to the U.S. market under his own name because of a trademark issue. Slap a different band on it, call it something else and get Caldwell’s group to distribute it…problem solved.
I couldn’t find out anything about blend details online except that it uses a Connecticut Shade wrapper. I’m guessing all or mostly all Dominican leaf in the filler and binder, but that merely speculation. I picked up my sample when I was out in California in October. I bought it at Maxamar for this review.
For this project, Caldwell basically just re-used the “Eastern Standard” artwork for the band and changed the colors. Instead of gray on white, this time the print is brown and the paper is a pale yellow. The band still says “Eastern Standard” and “We Own The Night” on it, but a secondary band is added that has the two signatures of Robert Caldwell and William Ventura, signifying this as a different cigar. It amounts to a quick and dirty way of getting the cigar on the market, but I think it will cause confusion.
The wrapper leaf was a light caramel color with very little variation to it. It had a smooth, slightly papery feel to it and an aroma of fresh, sweet hay. The foot of the stick had more hay, a touch of barnyard, and a hint of wood.
After clipping, the cold draw was very good. Unlit flavors on the cigar were of wet forest and hay, with just a touch of molasses sweetness.
I lit up the Signature and got a rather thin, mild smoke that tasted of natural tobacco and sweet hay, with light overtones of cedar and earth. The smoke was so mild at first that I had to check the draw and see if I was even getting smoke. I puffed harder and the smoke was definitely there, but it was unapologetically mild, with no out-of-the-gate surprises or aggressiveness. Before the first third was over, the body picked up to the mild-to-medium range and a stronger earthiness came through, supplanting the cedar flavors.
As I got into the second third, the flavor was earthy still with notes of hay and a touch of sweet graham cracker, riding on a creamy smoke with just a dash of white pepper in it. The retrohale still had some wood notes in it.
During the last third the body bumped up a bit more to the low part of the medium range. There was more earth and a corresponding decrease in graham. The smoke was still creamy and smooth, though a little more pepper crept into the mix all the time.
The draw was very good, burn line even, and ash as solid as I could ask.
The price tag is a little high for the experience delivered on this one. Good cigar, but not really a “$10.50 Connecticut Shade” experience in my opinion.
I found the Caldwell Signature/Eastern Standard Dos Firmas to be a good, solid mild-to-medium bodied Dominican-based, Connecticut Shade-wrapped cigar. It wasn’t terribly surprising or unique, though if this blend really has been made for close to two decades, it would have been something really different and special at the time it came out. These days there are a plethora of this type of cigar on the market and this one just didn’t stand out to me as “better” or even “different enough,” especially for the price tag.