Caldwell Cigar Co. The King is Dead | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Dominican Negrito
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: 5 x 50 “Premier”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $9.25 MSRP





There is a tremendous back story to Caldwell cigars. Too much for my sleep deprived readers to assimilate without nodding off.

So if you go to, there is a lengthy story about this company.

It appears that the only way you can buy this brand is through B & M’s. But there are a few boutique specialty stores like Small Batch Cigar that carry them. Andrew kindly sent me a few for review. Now that’s customer service!

There is a shit load of blends by Caldwell. SBC carries Eastern Standard, Gibraltar, Long Live the King, Murcias, Sevillana, and The King is Dead. Prices range from $5.00-$9.00 depending on blend and size. New Havana Cigars carries the Bellatto in just one size and in 5 packs.

Premier: 5 x 50
The Last Payday: 6 x 52 Torpedo
Broken Sword: 5 x 40
Supreme: 7.5 x 52

The wrapper is chocolate brown. Seams are tight. A few veins. A bit rustic. And a small pig tail atop the well adorned cap. The wrapper is very smooth to the touch. The cigar is packed perfectly.

The cigar band is worth mentioning as it is a classic example of slick and artsy. It shows a king’s throne split down the middle lengthways.

I clip the cap and find aromas of subtle sweetness, strong cocoa, fruit, and leather.
Time to light up.

First puffs are very sweet. And fruity…yes, like me.

Lots of wood including oak and a smidgen of hickory. The draw is perfect. I really like my robustos. No redwood tree hanging from my drooling maw.

Other flavors include sweet cedar, salty pretzel, rich earthiness, and green bell pepper.

I’ve been on a winning streak lately. I piss and moan how bored I am by the same flavor profiles over and over; so what do I get? Several cigars in a row which are unique and very flavorful with their own identity.
A bit of cocoa shows up.

The char line is a bit wavy but no matter. It’s fine…but I can’t remember the last time I had a razor sharp burn.

The strength is classic medium body.

As I take photos, I notice that the cigar is coming out darker than it really is. It is dreary outside and rain is coming. No sunshine to liven up the photo-challenged Instamatic camera I use. This is the ONLY time I wish I had a smart phone. We are truly pathetic. Charlotte and I share a single $20 phone we got from Virgin Mobile. We pay $20 per month for 400 minutes and that’s it. It makes phone calls.

The stick has a definitive Dominican slant to the flavor profile. Even keeled, smooth, not too strong, no particular stereotypical flavors, and a very nice character when blended by the smart people.

The cigar is smoking slowly. I’m at the 1” burn mark and it’s taken me a good 15 minutes to get here.

Here are the flavors: Earthiness, sweetness, fruit, oak, hickory, salty pretzel, sweet cedar, cocoa, and creaminess begins to build.

And just a few moments late, we have flavor bomb status. The flavors of cream, cocoa, sweetness, fruit, and oak explode all over my face. My dog licks it up.

Sometimes I wonder if there is something wrong with my palate. Or just the other way around. I tried to find information on this cigar; which was not easy, and the couple reviews I read left out half of the flavors I am describing.

Yes, I did the dry box thing with this cigar too. Thank you Skippy darling. Skip is a writer in his own right. He has a dozen Kindle books on Amazon. All pretty much poetry or prose. His writing is brilliant.

Really brilliant! I have to admit not being able to understand some of it but Skip is a genius. Bona fide. And his writing skills are so far above mine that there is no comparison. How he hasn’t been discovered by now is beyond me. Click on to get a little taste of what a real writer can do. BTW- ASH is his initials.

Citrus jumps aboard this moving train. Lemon peel. And the lovely graham cracker crust oozing in butter.
There are some interesting spices that are just peeking over the fence. I smack my lips like a dog over and over trying to identify them.

The stick has been devoid of any serious spiciness until now. A black pepper begins to rise like Godzilla from the ocean…swimming like a sea of swarming simbas.

After 30 minutes, I’m still not at the start of the second third.

The cigar is so Dominican. It’s an amalgam of smooth city and perfectly balanced flavors. The body remains at medium. With no hint of getting stronger. I like strong cigars but I love full flavored, medium bodied cigars as well.

The second third begins.

The complexity is amazing. Flavors of creaminess, cocoa, citrus, fruit, and sweetness are just unbelievable. And with only 10 days of humidor time; using my dry box method. I’m sure it’s just luck but you never know.
A couple of the reviews analyze this cigar like they are writing their doctoral thesis. Maybe it impresses Marvin Shankman but it puts me to sleep.

Strength begins its jaunt to a higher level.

Here is a pet peeve that probably no one gives a shit about…video reviews. I cannot stand watching some shmoe for 20-30 minutes while he smokes a cigar making brilliant comments. First, you should have a nice face. That rules out most of them. Second, please, someone be entertaining. I am sure there a few out there that are entertaining but not the big guys. To me, it’s a snooze fest.

I’ve gotten lots of requests to do video reviews but it just ain’t my style. First, I don’t have a good lookin’ punim. (Yiddish for face)..and second, who needs the pressure of getting it right in one long take? And lastly, who the fuck wants to stare at my face for 25 minutes? I know I don’t.

Godamm. It’s getting even darker outside. Pretty soon, the cigar photos will have the stick looking like a charcoal briquette.

The halfway point is here. No substantial changes to the flavor profile other than the flavors keep climbing the tree of life. The flavor profile is so intense that my yarmulke keeps falling off my head. Yes, I always write with that little Jewish beanie on my head especially when it is the Sabbath, like today.

Technically, I’m not supposed to be even doing this so I use a mind meld technique to move the keys on my laptop and the dog takes the photos.

Buying this cigar from SBC, using the coupon code of leafenthusiast, will bring the price down to $7.20. Now if this stick was in the $9-$10 range, it would still be worth it. This is a most excellent blend concocted by people that really know what they are doing. I have three other blends that Andrew at SBC sent me: Sevillana, Long Live the King, and Eastern Standard.

I should do a Caldwell run and review all three cigars in the next 3 days.

I’ve got music on in the background and it’s playing the instrumental, “Freeway Jam” by the Jeff Beck Group.

Into the way back machine of the early 70’s. Beck’s band had a big influence on me, among others, just before I made the trek to England in 1974. I brought with me the “American” sound that was beginning to become very popular across the pond. So during my Curved Air audition, while the other bassists were mimicking Chris Squire of Yes, I was playing like the jazz fusion bassists so new and exciting in America.

And I nailed the gig on my first audition. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. Plus, I was heavily influenced by Cream’s Jack Bruce. I loved his improvisational skills. I even played the same bass as Bruce at that time: The Gibson EBO which I had totally tricked out.
CA live


The last third begins and this has been a wonderful hour of smoking a really fine cigar.

It is here that the flavor profile changes a little: Spice, creaminess, cocoa, sweetness, citrus, fruit, sweet cedar, graham cracker, and oak.

The black pepper is on a rampage.

The strength moves to medium/full. And the nicotine settles in totally fucking up my motor skills.

The cigar finishes very full bodied and with a bucket full of nicotine. I’m going to need to walk this off when I finish. I get up to grab a box of Kleenex because my nose is running due to the heavy spice. I wobble the whole time.

This is a great cigar. I could not find if this is a regular production cigar or a limited run. My guess is the latter.

The stick is cool, not a hint of harshness or bitterness as it finishes.

I most definitely recommend this cigar. Small Batch Cigar has them. Go get some.

And now for something completely different:

A few words about best buddy Skip.
It was Skip’s idea to go live in Europe and play music for a living. I did not hesitate when he suggested the idea. Skip was a guitarist. We had a vocalist but screwed everything up when he got in a drunken bike accident and spent 3 months at the VA.

We went anyway…let the dice roll as they may.

Within a month traveling the continent, we ran out of money and made a dash for England where we could beg for money on the streets in our mother tongue.

Within two weeks, I got the Curved Air gig.

Poor Skip accomplished nothing. Back in the day, you had your rhythm guitarists and you had your lead guitarist. Skip was a rhythm guitarist. He went to dozens of auditions and never got asked to join a band.

So here I was, all of a sudden, a rock star in a big band and it just ate away at Skip. His wife was furious that he couldn’t procure a gig. She hated me.

The thing was that I was an exceptional bassist. Skip was mediocre.

In the beginning of our stay in London, we all lived together in a basement flat on the west side. I finally accrued enough dough to move out with my girlfriend. So Skip got 3 borders to help pay the rent. Two were musicians.

Skip formed a little trio in that basement and they played all the time.
They were terrible.

And here is something I am terribly ashamed of. One day, while visiting, they asked if I wanted to join in. I told them I was not allowed to play with them because of my contract.

As soon as I said that, I was embarrassed. They didn’t like me much after that and I don’t blame them.

I stayed in London a little under 2-1/2 years. Skip and his wife left just under a year.

Soon after that, Skip’s wife divorced him.

I spent years apologizing to Skip for my rock star behavior. It took a long time for him to forgive me.
But we’ve remained best of friends all these years. He currently works for a company that makes antibiotics and he is the quality control scientist.

In the roughest of times since my skydiving accident, Skip has been very good to me bailing me out time after time.

You just don’t make those kind of friends when you get old. Protection Status


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7 replies

  1. It may be a great stick, but the press release is so obnoxiously self-regarding that I wouldn’t cross the road to piss on the guy, never mind smoke one of his cigars

    • OK, I was a bit harsh, but the release was so cynically tailored for the artwork groupies at Halfwheel.

      • Halfwheel provides a service. It is the only comprehensive cigar news service.
        My only issue is that they seem to flaunt the fact that they always have the newest info and pre-release cigar reviews…but only on the boutique brands and the big manufacturers. You never see a review of a Camacho Ecuador. It seems to beneath them to review the $6 cigar that most cigar smokers buy. I realize that everyone is tugging at their coat tails to get their info published on Halfwheel and they only have so many people that can respond, but I wish they were more down to earth.
        Yes it is a news service, but it is aimed at cigar professionals, not we flotsam and jetsam. The great majority.
        But at the same time, they don’t go Medieval on a reviewer if he uses one of their photos; as long as due credit is given. Try snagging any other review site. Or mine. I don’t mind if someone uses my photos, but please ask permission first. And give me credit.
        There are a couple of semi-big reviewers that literally plagiarize Halfwheel and I don’t know how they get away with it.

      • Point taken. I love that phrase – “go Medieval”.

  2. I remember the first time I heard Freeway Jam. I thought,’Man,this guy can’t be human’. Jeff Beck,Eric Johnson,I could go on and on. They don’t make shredders like that anymore,that articulate every note so perfectly. Well,Slash comes close.

  3. Yes it is great to have longlife friends. And no, one doesn’t get to meet friends like that later in life. Those friendships take time to evolve and mature.
    Ref. “Artwork groupies”, I’m not sure to what Matt was referring to? The way it is advertised? I have met Mr. Caldwell and he is a rather eccentric type artist in real life. He was very instrumental in reviving a part of town in Miami that was kinda low rent, but now is an artsy fartsy kind of place. He originally partnered up w/ Christian Eiora and build a rather artsy factory for the “Wynwood” line. Here is a great article on Caldwell & the company.: