The T. by Caldwell, AJ Fernandez, Booth | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6 x 52 Toro
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $11.50 MSRP

Today we take a look at The T. by Caldwell, AJ Fernandez, Booth.
I bought a 5 sizes sampler from Small Batch Cigar two months ago.
I found something very amusing and confusing at the same time. As I researched the blend, I discovered that the name of the stick is not set in stone. Every online store and every reviewer calls it something different.
The list of manufacturers/blenders all mix up the names in different order. I don’t know why the reviewers and sellers don’t just look at the top of the cigar box which clearly describes the name of the bloody cigar.
And the name of the cigar was originally called The Truth but ran into copyright trouble with Tatuaje who owns the name. So it was changed to The T. Even the period after the “T” comes and goes with each description.

Production limited to 100,000 cigars
From Cigar Aficionado:
“Matt Booth is back in business—the cigar business that is. The Los Angeles jeweler-turned-cigarmaker known for his Room101 brand of cigars and avant-garde rings and bracelets has told Cigar Aficionado he is returning to the world of tobacco.

“Though he officially bid farewell to the industry earlier this year, Booth just couldn’t stay away. Soon after his supposed retirement in January, he quietly turned to Robert Caldwell of Caldwell Cigar Co. and prolific Nicaraguan cigar manufacturer A.J. Fernandez. The trio created two new brands that will be introduced next week at the IPCPR trade show—Hit & Run and The Truth.

“It was great to work with friends and create a new product with them,” Booth told Cigar Aficionado. “This was meant to be a true collaboration and a reinvention of myself. I stepped away from the business and now that I’m back, am able to participate more in the creative process. I find myself excited about tobacco in the same way I was when I first started in the industry.”

“Made at the William Ventura factory in the Dominican Republic, the Hit & Run brand was put together by Booth and Caldwell. It’s a mélange of Ecuadoran Habano wrapper, Indonesian binder and Dominican filler. Hit & Run will come packaged in 10-count boxes and offered in five sizes: 46×6, 54×6, 52×4 3/4, 50×6 (piramide) and 60×5 1/8 (perfecto).

“I think the boutique segment has changed,” Booth said. “Caldwell is the next step in alternatively stylized product, as well as market disruption.”

“The Truth is a three-way collaboration between Booth, Caldwell and A.J. Fernandez. It’s made in five box-pressed sizes: Short Churchill, measuring 5 1/2 inches by 48 ring gauge; Robusto, 5 by 52; Toro Grande, 6 1/2 by 56; Toro, 5 by 52 (sic) (Should read 6 x 52); and Lonsdale, 6 1/2 by 44. These come in boxes of 20, save for the Short Churchill, which is packed in a box of 10. Fernandez makes The Truth at his factory in Nicaragua using only Nicaraguan tobacco.

“Both Hit & Run and The Truth are slated to retail for $10 to $13.”

“Matt has been a friend of mine since before I was in the business as a manufacturer,” Caldwell told Cigar Aficionado. “He approached me to do something light and fun together and we came up with these collabs. I am also very excited to be able to finally work together with A.J. His attention to detail on the farm and factory level is second to none.”

This is a nicely box pressed stick. Few veins with nearly invisible seams topped by a perfect triple cap.
The cigar has a couple soft spots and a couple hard spots.
The cigar has the hue of chocolate with gingerbread highlights…with a very toothy feel and appearance.

From the shaft, I can smell milk chocolate, and an oddity: orange cantaloupe, malts, molasses, chocolate, coffee, cedar, maple syrup, raspberry jell candy, malts, and barnyard.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell dark chocolate, red pepper, coffee, cedar, various sweet objects such as melon, dried raisins, maple, molasses, dried apricot, and Hawaiian bread.

The cold draw presents flavors of barnyard, red pepper, malts, molasses, dark chocolate, espresso, summer fruit, and creaminess.

The draw is perfect. No need for my cigar poker.
The blend begins with a burst of flavor and character. Notes of red pepper, chocolate, espresso, malt, molasses, raspberry gels, an astringent lime citrus dollop, salty pretzel, almonds, green tea, and cinnamon and nutmeg laden rice pudding.
Whew. That was good for me.
I think I need to smoke a cigarette after that…

Due to the mix of blenders involved, the cigar falls between the cracks of Old School and New Breed blending. I tried a couple on the way to the 2 month mark and they just ended up being lamented as wasted opportunities.

Two months seems to be the magic number for the blend receiving significant humidor time. And always naked unless I plan to hold on to the cigars for years. If you want to smoke your stash because you don’t own 4000 cigars, then naked sticks is the way to go to quickly ready your blend. Cellos slowdown that process but help elongate the life of the cigar over time if you don’t plan to smoke it within the first few months of possession.

I complain bitterly all the time about having no luck with the burn on box pressed cigars. Gotta give MB, RC, and AJF their props for making sure the stick is rolled perfectly. Not a single char line issue.

Flavors inch their way into a new plane of entropy. Black pepper meets red pepper in the middle. Creaminess and malts take the lead. Chocolate is a mixture of dark and white. A green mintiness appears giving the blend an airy lightness that is delightful.

Caramel shows itself. Replaces the molasses element. Creamy custard with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg. Damn. This is like eating a fancy dessert at your favorite $45 per steak restaurant.

It appears that putting heads together from all three contributors was a 3 act play perfectly written and conceived.
Complexity hammers it home. Transitions are wonderful. The finish is long and luxurious. The cigar takes its time tickling my fancy.
Strength started out as straight ahead medium but is now moving into medium/full territory.

Smoke time is 30 minutes.

The T. by Caldwell, AJ Fernandez, Booth is becoming a complex dynamo. Full of life and pleasing characteristics. Remember Pop Rocks? This is the cigar version with bits of small flavors exploding in your mouth and coating your palate with an array of smile inducing reactions.
It’s no secret; I’m a big fan of all things AJ. He just is the guy who can push my buttons. Having Caldwell and Booth at his side makes it even more exciting.

This is a delicious experience. I’m being overwhelmed by an exemplary cigar orgasm. Yeah, it’s that good.
I can taste the Caldwell…All Out Kings. I can taste the Booth…all the Room 101 series, and of course I can taste the best from AJ.

Word will get out, if it already hasn’t…that this mere 100,000 stick release won’t last long.

I would definitely be able to be coerced into spending my lunch money on more of these cigars.

The halfway point arrives too soon. Instead of a dreary long drawn out affair that crap sticks produce, the brilliance of this blend makes time speed up. I’ve spent only 45 minutes with this blend and it is going so quickly. Glad I chose the Toro to review.

This is a blend worth every dime of the MSRP $10-$13 per stick. This is a real treat. I slap myself for wasting two cigars by smoking them early.
The char line remains spot on.
Strength is a solid medium/full.

Did you know that Jose Feliciano bought one of my songs while I was in Curved Air? Yep. A 2 year license. It is called “I Broke My Leg in Yucca Valley but My Heart Still Lies in Palm Springs.” No shit. And he never recorded it…lol. I thought I had a shot.

This is a killer blend and is going to upset the apple cart of my almost prepared top 25 cigars list for 2017.

If you want the All Out Kings experience without spending the dough, this is it. If you want the Montecristo Crafted By A.J. Fernandez experience, you’ve found pay dirt. And if you paid homage to the Room 101 Series Black Scale, you’ve got it.
Now that’s some pedigree.

OK. Here goes: Creaminess, chocolate, malts, red and black peppers, caramel, espresso, summer fruit, dried fruit, lime zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla custard, tea, and mixed nuts. I’m impressed.
Complexity rises with each puff. Transitions are killing it. The finish is almost its own food group.

Smoke time is one hour 10 minutes.

Nicotine arrives as the strength moves to duck and cover.
We all have different palates. But this baby is a definite crowd pleaser. It is going to spread a huge swath of acceptance from all appreciative smokers.
I’m betting they put out a sequel in a year…hopefully less.

We are way past the sweet spot now. I have no desire for this review to end…even if you do.

I’m begging you…don’t smoke this cigar with less than two months humi time. You don’t want to be a schmuck like me and waste a single toke of this blend.
This is a cigar for the most experienced of smokers. Not recommended for newbies based solely on its strength. And you don’t want to smoke it on an empty stomach.
I don’t remember the last box press that maintained a perfect char line throughout.

The cost of the cigars seems to be price controlled as every online store I visit sells them for the same price. So pick your poison.

The nicotine has chemically castrated me. That’s OK. I’m 68.

You are going to love this blend and I tip my hat to the three gentlemen who had the foreskin to come up with the joint venture and create a classic.
You’re going to dig it big time.
Final smoke time is one hour 45 minutes.


And now for something completely different:
I took this sweet young thing to see a Doors concert at the L.A. Forum in Inglewood. She was something else. It was a blind date. I had just bought a brand new 1969 Chevy Impala custom. It was yellow with a black tonneau roof. I had the dough to trick it out completely. And this would be the first time I took a chick out in my new ride.

For some reason, the concert promoter thought putting Jerry Lee Lewis as the opener was a good idea. Now if he had played his oldies, that would have been a show. But he was in his country stage. A big band with everyone wearing the same country styled three piece suits. And all the audience heard was country music. Didn’t even play a single big hit.

He played for an hour and when he finished, he said good-bye. The crowd went nuts because he was done. Lewis mistook this for praise.
He asked the audience if they wanted more? In unison, 25,000 people yelled, “NO!!!”

He was clearly taken aback. And then he leaned into the mic and told everyone to go to hell. As he stomped off the stage, the crowd erupted in applause.

The Doors had a wall of sound. Literally. They had speaker cabinets stacked 20 feet tall. And covered the stage from one end to the other.
The band came on to thunderous applause.

Throughout the concert, Morrison drank from a bottle of whiskey. He kept a cardboard box nearby so he could throw up in it…which he did a few times…Lovely.

I was lucky to see the band in their heyday…even if Morrison was becoming a cartoon of his former self.
Move forward to the early 80’s when I was single and hanging in the Hollywood clubs. I was playing in my original band, “The Attitude.”

A buddy, that was a big radio DJ, whom I hung out a lot with…was always my wing man when we hit the Sunset Strip clubs.
There was a small club we frequented during the week. The name eludes me. The band played upstairs. The Fabulous Thunderbirds was the house band and I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan a lot. But it was his brother, Jimmy, that ran the show.

Upstairs would only seat 40 people at tables with four chairs.

One night, we sat down at the same table with Ray Manzarek. He was the keyboard player for the Doors.
He had gotten into producing and managing acts. Very down to earth and we saw him every time we went to that club and always sat with him.

I gave him the 45 single of Hound Dog that The Attitude recorded. I got the feeling that his attitude was, “Yeah, sure. Leave your name and number in the ashtray and I will get back to you.”
Regardless of his not caring about my group, we got to hear lots of inside dirt about the Doors. That was priceless. Manzarek was a true story teller.

He was managing the L.A. band “X” at the time. They were the “it” punk band in L.A. Plus, they were a big deal nationwide.
Ray arranged for my buddy to interview them at their house. The chick singer (Exene Cervenka) and leader (John Doe) lived together. Doe went on to become a movie actor. You’ve seen him dozens of times. Probably didn’t know it.

We got to their house and they let us in.
It was the biggest pig sty I had ever seen. Dozens of unfinished plates of old food were everywhere; covered in ants, and it was furnished by the Salvation Army. Even a brave rat would go running if it found itself there.
After leaving, I was disgusted.

I left something out. That honey I took to the Doors concert? I took her back to my parent’s house. I tried to screw her but she was a virgin. My first.
It was like trying to stick your penis into drywall…so I gave up in frustration.
And then for some reason, I asked her age.
“I’m 15.”
I threw her off the bed, we got dressed, and I took her home. Her mother called me and told me to stay away from her. No problem lady.
Had it been another time, she would have had me arrested. I guess I should have asked her for her I.D. before agreeing to go out with her.
Call me Katman Weinstein. Or Judge Katman Moore.


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4 replies

  1. Good to see the gimmicky collaboration turns out to be a decent blend

  2. I am somewhat jealous as I do not have the time to smoke as many blends as you. Matt Booth seems like he knows what he doing as I have met him several times, and like his previous cigars.
    I also did some personal training with Robbie Kreiger’s dad, trying to help improve his golf game. Not sure it I helped or not.

  3. Phil, I just smoked the Robusto from my Small Batch sampler and loved it. Did you have a favorite vitola from this sampler?

  4. Boy are you right about the humidor time….I bought some in January and thought I got scammed…they were so angular…they sucked in mid Feb as well. Fast forward to April and I’m smiling at this balanced delicious complexity.

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