Plans are for The Caldwell Collection to be made in the Dominican Republic by Henderson and William Ventura. According to Caldwell, “The Dominican Republic is one of those treasures that hides in plain sight. There is so much fantastic tobacco, so unique and with such distinct flavors. Unfortunately, many don’t make it to market. It is impossible. Big brands are limited to the variety of tobaccos they can use due to the quantity of cigars that they have to make. A few bales of tobacco to the big boys is nothing. The purpose of Caldwell Cigars is to go wherever we must to find the most exotic flavors we can.” The plan is for the brands to utilize these premium rare tobaccos.
The first cigar in the portfolio will feature what is being called a ‘Dark Connecticut’, which is a hybridized Connecticut Shade wrapper. It is a medium-bodied cigar, meant to really break the mold on how a Connecticut Shade is perceived. It will come in 25 count boxes, available in 3 sizes.
Second is what the company describes as a “truly interesting cigar” using a Negrito wrapper. Negrito is one of those wrappers (like Caldwell) that just doesn’t play well with others, but after a couple of months, the right matches were made. It is also being presented in 25 count boxes, available in 4 sizes.
Finally, the third cigar is being described as Caldwell’s return to Corojo. This cigar will be the fullest of the portfolio. It too comes in 25 count boxes, with 4 sizes to the selection.
Every cigar was blended size-specifically. Pricing has not yet been released, but expectations are for them to begin in the $9 range. Plans are to start shipping product around April 1st. Caldwell says that the first round of cigars were rolled last month and need to rest a minimum of 10 weeks before being packaged. Since the blends use use tobaccos that have been aged up to 7 years, he wants to make sure that the flavors really marry so that they smoke just right.
In terms of working with Ventura, this is a father and son team with over 40 years experience. “There were several factories in the running, but I have been wanting to work with the Venturas for years. They obsess over tobacco. They are open-minded and really are a craft factory. They both get this twinkle in their eye when they talk about making cigars. It is almost weird”.
From the press release it is noted that the leaf is being sourced from several places, but the most notable come from Leo Reyes. “Leo is one of those Domincan Gems. His knowledge, passion and love of the leaf really floors you”, he chips in excitedly. The two first met about 7 years ago. Leo acted almost as a mentor, giving him hours upon hours of his time and answering all of his questions. “Leo taught me more in 5 minutes about tobacco than I had learned in my first 15 years as a cigar smoker. He would walk me through the barn and roll me a pachuche from each bale so that I could taste the tobaccos on their own. He would explain to me all of the creative techniques that he would use in growing and how they affected crop. And he is ‘The Guy’ that you want if you are looking for rare and unique leaf”, he continued
In addition to the Caldwell Collection, he has also setup a manufacturing and distribution company. According to the press release, the company will now be manufacturing La Barba Cigars, which has been gaining momentum in the boutique cigar company. Tony Bellato, partner in La Barba Cigars says, ““Caldwell is special. Interpret that as you will…anyways, the kid knows tobacco. He knows cigars. He knows branding. He earned my respect with his ‘no bullshit’ approach. He gets the boutique game and takes the time to sit down and figure out how to deliver to the consumer an experience. When it came time to re-evaluate my manufacturing options, there was no one else I would rather work with”. As for Bellatto’s partner Craig Rossi, he had this to say: “After spending countless hours with Robert and getting down to the nuts and bolts of what we wanted our brand to be, we quickly realized that his palate and attention to detail overcame his lack of emotional development”.
Caldwell has assembled a U.S. based team of people who have supported and believed in him without fail since he entered the the cigar industry. “We are setting out to deliver to our customers special cigars using only the finest, most exotic All-Grade-A tobaccos we can find. We are in this for our love of the leaf and our drive to share with you the fruits of our labor”.
The press release notes that Caldwell knows the value that a strong team brings to a company, so he is giving them all a stake in the brand. They are still building the team, but here who is on-board so far.
Jeremy McDonald – National Sales Manager
Jaclyn Sears – Events, Marketing
Daniel Cordero – Sales
Wilson Vasquez – Sales
Juan Antonio Jaramillo – Development
Hernando Caicedo – Dir Operations
Henderson Ventura – Quality Control
Caldwell returned yesterday from Honduras where is working on a limited release with an undisclosed factory.
Finally, in the press release, Caldwell wrote a the following note:
To: My Friends, Family,and Friends
I cannot say Customers, because you were only customers before we met. When I sat down for the interview I was at a loss for words. All I wanted to do was thank you. I wanted to thank you for the support that you showed me last time around and the love that you gave me over the last 7 months. It took all of 24 hours for me to know I had to come back if not to just stop the calls. Building my dream and you all believing in my vision was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
I left because I felt I had to. I thank Christian Eiroa for the opportunity to work with him, but unfortunately, some marriages end in divorce.
Thank you to my family for the unwavering belief you have in me.
Handing over the keys was one of the hardest decisions of my life. I owe my friends for pushing me to get back into the driver seat and go for another ride.
Special Thanks to: Nancy Caldwell, Catalina Naranjo, Tom Peil, Dylan Austin, Matt Booth, Jeremy McDonald, Leo Reyes, Henderson and William Ventura, Jaclyn Sears, Danny Cordero, Elio Mercado, Wilson Vasquez, Hernando Caicedo, George Rami, Tony Bellatto and Alan Rubin.
It is now or never. Thank you for your ongoing support.