Two years ago, when Robert Caldwell made his return to the cigar industry, he unveiled a line called the Eastern Standard. Eastern Standard was cigar in that featured a unique Connecticut hybrid wrapper known as “Dark Connecticut”. This year, Caldwell has taken some steps to make Eastern Standard a full-fledged brand in his portfolio by introducing two new blends under the Eastern Standard line. One of those new blends is a maduro offering known as the Eastern Standard Midnight Express. The other is another Connecticut cigar, using a different Connecticut Shade wrapper known as Eastern Standard Dos Firmas – a.k.a. called the “Caldwell Signature”. At the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show, I had an opportunity to smoke this cigar in the Piramide vitola and informally declared this my best cigar I smoked during the trade show. Recently I’ve gone through a more formal assessment of the Eastern Standard Dos Firmas Piramide. Now, three months later, my assessment of this cigar hasn’t changed as this easily ranks as one of the best cigars produced by Caldwell.
The name Dos Firmas translates to “two signatures”, thus the name Caldwell Signature. The name is appropriate because the cigar carries the signatures of brand owner Robert Caldwell and William Ventura (owner of Tabacalera William Ventura where a good chunk of Caldwell’s production is made). While a new addition to the Caldwell portfolio, the Eastern Standard Dos Firmas has been around for sometime as it was a personal blend of the Ventura family,
Without further ado, let’s break down, lets break down the Eastern Standard Dos Firmas Piramide. and see what this cigar brings to the table,
Other than the use of what has been described as a special Connecticut Shade wrapper, the remainder of the blend is undisclosed.
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade
Binder: Not Disclosed
Filler: Not Disclosed
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
The Eastern Standard Dos Firmas is available in four sizes:
46 x 4 7/8: 4 7/8 x 46
52 x 4 3/4: 4 3/4 x 52
Piramide: 5 1/8 x 50
Culebra: 6 x 30
Each of the four sizes are packaged in 20 count boxes with the exception of the Culebra. The Cuelebra consists of seven culebra units per box. Each culebra unit consists three panatela-sized cigars twisted together.
While not quite as “dark” as the “Dark Connecticut” wrapper of the original Eastern Standard’s wrapper, the Connecticut Shade wrapper of Dos Firmas still was a shade or two darker than a typical Connecticut Shade wrapper. There was a light coating of oil on the wrapper. There were some some visible veins while most of the wrapper seams were on the thin side. The Piramide vitola is tapered from the footer to the tip with a sharper tapering toward the tip.
There are two bands on the Eastern Standard Dos Firmas. The primary band is a variation of the original Eastern Standard band. The band itself has a light beige color with sepia font. On the center of the band is a sketch of a bearded man surrounded by rounded sepia trim. To the left of the sketch are two lines of text – “EASTERN” and “WE OWN” with the lines of text divided by a short sepia separator. To the right of the sketch are two lines of text – “STANDARD” and “THE NIGHT” that also are divided by a short sepia separator. The remainder of the band has sepia trim near the edge.
There is a secondary band on the Dos Firmas that sites just below the primary band. It is also light beige in color with sepia font. The signatures of William Ventura and Robert Caldwell are featured on the band. On the far right is a small Caldwell bicycle logo.
The Culebra does not feature the banding of the Eastern Standard Dos Firmas.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I typically do for figurado vitolas, I used my Credo Special T cutter with the 36 ring gauge hole to get an ideal cut on the Eastern Standard Dos Firmas Piramide. Once the tip was successful removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw delivered a mix of bittersweet cocoa and wood. Overall I considered this to be a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point I was ready to light up the Eastern Standard Dos Firmas Piramide and move into the smoking phase.
The Eastern Standard Dos Firmas Piramide started with a mix of cocoa, cream, cedar, red pepper, and a very subtle orange sweetness. The cocoa and cream notes moved into the forefront early on with the cedar, pepper, and orange notes secondary. The cocoa notes delivered more in the way of sweetness as opposed to the bittersweet notes on the pre-light draw. This flavor profile held throughout the first third. Meanwhile the retro-hale produced a mix of red pepper and cedar notes.
As the Dos Firmas Piramide moved into the second third, the combination of cocoa and cream continued. There was a slight increase in the cedar and pepper spices, but these were still background notes. The orange note continued to diminish further into the background.
The cedar notes closed in on the cocoa notes during the last third. The creaminess from the first two thirds had diminished into the background. There was still a touch of red pepper from time to time and the orange notes had now dissipated. This is the way the Dos Firmas Piramide came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
One note on the construction – I did find the Dos Firmas Piramide to have a fragile wrapper. It is one that required some tlc when handling. In addition, I did find this wrapper to be one that could blister quite easily when putting the torch to it.
Overall I found the Eastern Standard Dos Firmas Piramide maintained a straight burn path from start to finish. The burn line required some touch-ups along the way, but this was a cigar that didn’t require an excessive amount of them. The resulting ash had a salt and pepper color scheme. This was not an overly firm ash, but it was not a loose and flaky one either. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw to the Eastern Standard Dos Firmas Piramide performed quite well. It was not too loose, nor was it too tight. The torpedo tip of the Dos Firmas Piramide.
Strength and Body
Overall I found the Eastern Standard Dos Firmas Piramide to perform as a medium strength, medium-bodied smoke from start to finish. The strength and body did increase in intensity toward the last third. Both came close to medium to full territory, but did not quite cross into that area of the spectrum. While she strength and body balanced each other nicely in the first half, I did find the strength had a slight edge in the second half.
There was something very special about the Eastern Standard Dos Firmas Piramide. It’s a different smoke than the original Eastern Standard, but equally as intriguing. While Dos Firmas had a little more strength than I normally like on a Connecticut, this cigar clicked in the area that mattered most – flavor. I also thought that the Piramide format worked beautifully with this blend and as a result its the belle of the ball. While I little stronger than most Connecticuts, I could still see a novice trying and enjoying this cigar. As for myself, this is a cigar that I would easily smoke again. With this Piramide, it is definitely worth a fight for Chuck Norris over it.
Assessment: 4.5-Fight Chuck Norris for Them
News: Caldwell Cigar Company Launches Eastern Standard Dos Firmas (Caldwell Signature) at 2016 IPCPR Trade Show
Source: Purchased *
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Episode 195, Episode 200
Stogie Feed: Eastern Standard Dos Firmas (Caldwell Signature) Piramide (Will), Eastern Standard Dos Firmas (Caldwell Signature) Piramide (Paul)
Brand Reference: Caldwell Cigar Co