Agile Cigar Reviews replace what we termed “Assessment Updates”. The concept is the same, but the name is different. Agile Cigar Reviews use a lightweight, shorter format. These will never take the place of our comprehensive reviews. They are only used on blends we have previously assessed. This might be a blend we are re-scoring or providing a score for a first time. It might be a blend we are looking at in a different size. Today we look at the Eastern Standard Dos Firmas (also called the Caldwell Signature) in the Culebra size. This is a cigar we have last assessed in the Piramide format in November, 2016.
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade
Binder: Not Disclosed
Filler: Not Disclosed
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (Tabacalera William Ventura)
Piramide: 5 1/8 x 50
One of the staple lines of Caldwell Cigar Company has been Eastern Standard. This is a cigar that has been made popular by its unique Connecticut hybrid wrapper known as “Dark Connecticut”. In 2016, Caldwell expanded Eastern Standard into 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”. Last year, the Eastern Standard Dos Firmas Piramide scored big on Cigar Coop landing as our #12 cigar of the year. One unique thing about the Dos Firmas line is that it has a Culebra offering. Today we dig a little more into that offering.
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.
The culebra is one of the most unusual vitolas on the market. Culebra means “snake” in Spanish. A culebra vitola is three or four undefiled panatela cigars twisted together into a unit. The culebra vitola has origins in Cuba. There are many theories how the cuelbra came to be (we encourage folks to read an article on Stogie Fresh that discusses this topic in detail). Today a culebra vitola is probably more of a novelty, and its typically more a limited offering. What is unique about the Eastern Standard Dos Firmas Culebra is that it is packaged in seven count boxes. Typically in the U.S., culebra cigars are sold in individual units.
The Eastern Standard Dos Firmas Culebra consists of three 6 x 30 panatelas. Other than the Connecticut Shade wrapper, the details of the Dos Firmas blend are not being disclosed.
Similar to some of the other sizes of Dos Firmas, the Culebra delivered notes of cocoa, cedar, and a subtle orange sweetness. There was also some mixed pepper on the retro-hale. For the most part with Dos Firmas, the traditional sizes like the Piramide have delivered a smooth smoking experience. Because of the general nature of a culebra vitola, it wasn’t a total surprise that the Culebra had a “less smooth” profile. The Dos Firmas Culebra is a cigar that is going to skew more toward the woody and cedar side. The flavors and body pretty much were on the low end of medium from start to finish.
I always say a Culebra Cigar is beautiful when bundled, but quite ugly when pulled apart. Sometimes the burn and draw could be inferior. When the Dos Firmas Cuelbra, I found these cigars to burn quite well. The draw wasn’t too bad either – not too tight and not too open.
Size matters when it comes to a blend. Certain sizes are going to smoke better than others. The Dos Firmas Piramide is a stellar cigar. I don’t think Culebra cigars are designed to smoke better than a traditional ring gauge, so it’s a little unfair to compare the Dos Firmas Culebra to the other sizes. While the Dos Firmas Culebra is not at the level of the Piramide, it’s still quite a fun cigar to smoke – and it’s one of the better Culebras in the market.
While each three Culebra unit sells for $15.00, you are getting three cigars at $5.00 each, so the price isn’t bad when you think about it. The Dos Firmas Culebra is great to split one up with a group of friends. As for myself, it’s one worthy of buying a 5 pack of the culebra units.
Key Flavors: Cedar, Wood, Cocoa, Orange, Pepper
Draw: Very Good
Assessment: 3.0-The Fiver
Previous Assessment: Eastern Standard Dos Firmas (Caldwell Signature) Piramide by Caldwell Cigar Company
News: Caldwell Cigar Company Launches Eastern Standard Dos Firmas (Caldwell Signature) at 2016 IPCPR Trade Show
Price: $15.00 (per three cigar Culebra unit)
Brand Reference: Caldwell Cigar Co