|Eastern Standard Cream Crush by
Caldwell Cigar Company
The Eastern Standard one of three lines made by Caldwell Cigar Company under its Caldwell Collection brand. Caldwell Cigar Company is owned by Robert Caldwell. Caldwell was best known as a partner of Christian Eiroa with Wynwood Cigars. Last September, it was announced that the partnership with Caldwell and Eiroa had dissolved. Following his departure from Wynwood Cigars, Caldwell set his sights on the Dominican Republic where he has teamed up with William and Henderson Ventura at Tabacalera Ventura to make his blends for his new company. One big differentiator is that Caldwell Collection will use rare / hard to find tobaccos. For the Eastern Standard, Caldwell uses a unique wrapper that is referred to as Dark Connecticut. Eastern Standard is meant to be the milder offering in the Caldwell Collection. I have recently have had an opportunity to smoke the Eastern Standard. Today I will take a look at the the Churchill-sized Cream Crush. The end result of the Eastern Standard Cream Crush is a most unique offering in a Connecticut Shade variety, and it clearly shows Caldwell is going to be a player in the boutique cigar market.
In addition to the Eastern Standard, there are two other lines in the Caldwell Collection – the King is Dead (featuring a rare wrapper called Negrito), and Long Live the King (a Corojo offering). The Caldwell Collection features rare tobaccos rated “Grade A” and thus is a more premium offering. Caldwell also released a more value priced line called Junior Varsity to address that segment of the market.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Eastern Standard Cream Crush and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The Connecticut Hybrid Ecuadoriano wrapper is what is known as “Dark Connecticut”. There is no doubt this is a darker Connecticut Shade wrapper. In fact it really is more of a natural color to it. It is actually a hybrid of Connecticut Shade and Brazilian Mata Fina.
The cigar also features tobaccos from the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. For the Dominican tobaccos, Caldwell is sourcing tobaccos from Leo Reyes.
Wrapper: Connecticut Hybrid Ecuadoriano (2006)
Binder: Habana Dominicano (2005)
Filler: Criollo ’98 Viso Dominicano 30% (2008), Corojo Dominicano Ligero 30% (2006) Habano Seco Nicaraguense 40% (2007)
The Eastern Standard is available in four sizes. One of the sizes, the lancero-sized “Silk Road” is a limited production that was added back in August. All four sizes are classic sizes with none having a ring gauge greater than 50.
Cream Crush: 7 x 48
Euro Express: 5 1/2 x 44
Corretto: 5 x 50
The Silk Road: 7 1/2 x 40 (Limited Production)
As mentioned above, this assessment with focus on the Eastern Standard Cream Crush size – which is a Churchill-sized vitola. As also mentioned, this Dark Connecticut has the look more of a natural wrapper as opposed to the light brown Connecticut Shade wrapper. The surface of the wrapper has a light oily sheen giving the wrapper a silky look. There are some thin visible veins and some thin visible wrapper seams. The cap is finished with a small spiral pig-tail.
|Spiral pig-tail on the Eastern Standard Cream Crush|
The band is off-white in color with gray font. On the center of the band is a sketch of a bearded man surrounded by rounded gray trim. To the left of the sketch are two lines of text – “EASTERN” and “LIVE EAST” with the lines of text divided by a short gray separator. To the right of the sketch are two lines of text – “STANDARD” and “DIE YOUNG” that also are divided by a short gray separator. The remainder of the band has some gray trim close to the edge.
|Portrait on Eastern Standard Band|
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As opposed to pulling the spiral tail off, I went with a straight cut to remove the entire cap of the Eastern Standard Cream Crush . After clipping the cap, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw provided a mix of wood, cream, grass, and a touch of citrus. Overall I considered the pre-light of the cigar to be very good. At this point I was ready to light up the Eastern Standard Cream Crush and await what the smoking phase would have in store.
The start to the Eastern Standard Cream Crush provided some notes of black pepper, lemon citrus, and cream (listed in decreasing order of intensity). The cream and lemon notes moved into the forefront while the pepper moved to the background. There also was an underlying tobacco component that gave the Eastern Standard a real “cigar feel” to it. The retro-hale produced a nice citrus-spice.
As the flavor profile took form in the first third, the cream remained in the forefront and was joined by wood notes. The wood and cream alternated in intensity throughout the first third. The lemon flavors became more prominent on the after-draw. The pepper notes remained in the background.
The start of the second third saw a chestnut note surface in the distant background. As the Eastern Standard moved through the second third, the pepper notes increased and combined with the wood, the spice morphed into a cedar sweet-spice. By the midway point the primary flavors were now a combination of cream and cedar.
During the later part of the second third, the cedar and cream were now alternating in intensity. The lemon notes diminished greatly while the chestnut notes were tertiary. This is the way the Eastern Standard Cream Crush remained into the final third. The close to the cigar experience was flavorful and not harsh. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The burn performed quite well for the Eastern Standard Cream Crush. While there was a slight curvature to the burn line, for the most part the burn remained on a straight path. The resulting ash was not overly firm, but at the same time was not overly loose. The ash itself had a light charcoal gray color and came off the cigar in nice clean chunks. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
|Burn of the Eastern Standard Cream Crush|
The draw scored nicely as well. It was a draw that was not too loose, yet not too tight. The cigar produced an ample amount of smoke from start to finish. Overall I found the Eastern Standard Cream Crush a low maintenance cigar to puff on.
Strength and Body
When it comes to Connecticut Shade cigars there are two main categories in the market: 1) Those that are traditional in terms of strength and body – i.e. are skewed more toward the milder side; 2) Those that are less traditional – and try to push the boundaries of a traditional Connecticut Shade cigar in terms of strength and body. There are many cigars that claim to be in the second category, but in reality are in the first category. In the case of the Eastern Standard while, I believe this is a more traditional in terms of strength, but less traditional in terms of body.
The strength to the Eastern Standard Cream Crush started out in the mild to medium range. By the end of the first third, I found the strength had increased to medium. While there was a further increase in strength going forward, the Cream Crush still stayed in the medium range. In terms of body, the Cream Crush started out medium-bodied and by the second half, it was into medium to full-bodied territory. Overall I found the body maintained an edge over the strength.
While I mentioned there are both traditional and non-traditional Connecticut cigars in terms of strength and body, it’s getting harder an harder to get excited about Connecticut Shade releases because many still have cookie cutter types of flavors. The Eastern Standard brings something different to the table. The hybrid wrapper doesn’t just look different, it brings a different spin to the table. While lemon and cedar are not totally unique flavors, the way they mesh with the other notes is what is going to make this cigar very different. I also was surprised how well this blend performed in the Churchill format. Because of the ratio of the wrapper, there will be variances on how this smokes in the other sizes. Overall, I found this to be an excellent cigar. It is a cigar that I would recommend to novice or experienced cigar enthusiasts. While I still feel this cigar can appeal to Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade cigar enthusiasts, I would encourage those who don’t like cigars with this wrapper to give it a try. As for myself, this is a definitely a box worthy cigar – and it’s one I’d easily smoke again.
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st Third), Medium (Remainder)
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
News: Caldwell Collection by Caldwell Cigar Company Launches
Stogie Geeks Episode: n/a
Stogie Feed: Eastern Standard Cream Crush by Caldwell Cigar Company, Eastern Standard “The Silk Road” by Caldwell Cigar Company