Caldwell Eastern Standard Sungrown | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Hybrid Mexican/Habano
Binder: Ecuadorian
Filler: Dominican, Mexican
Size: 5 x 50 Robusto
Strength: Medium
Price: $10.50 (Can be found for a buck less if you shop around)

Today we take a look at the Caldwell Eastern Standard Sungrown

Released: September 2018
Regular production
From Atlantic Cigar:
“Robert Caldwell, previously of Wynwood Cigars, has introduced the fourth blend in the Eastern Standard cigar line. The Caldwell Eastern Standard Sungrown offers a spicy full-bodied sun-grown habano wrapper, marking the first time in the series and is said to be the strongest cigar in the entire Caldwell lineup. This boutique brand offers everything you want in a premium cigar; rich flavor, meticulously hand-crafted with a solid full-bodied strength profile. The Caldwell Eastern Standard Sungrown cigars are made at Caldwell’s usual Tabacalera William Ventura factory in the Dominican Republic under the watchful eye of Henderson and William Ventura.”

Robusto 5 x 50 $10.50
Toro Extra 6.25 x 54 $11.20
Double Robusto 6.25 x 56 $12
Magnum 6 x 60 $12.40

A rough cob with extensive veinage. Seams are tight. An oily multi colored wrapper showing signs of cappuccino, tree bark, and tile grout. A nice, but cockeyed, triple cap. The bottom half is a little soft for my tastes. It feels underfilled.

Notes of chocolate covered malted milk balls, floral notes, barnyard, mulch, red cherries, cream, a touch of light coffee, cedar, and tree fruit.
The cold draw is full of barnyard, malt, milk chocolate, generic sweetness, coffee, cherries, cedar, and creaminess.

The draw is good. I put my PerfecDraw cigar poker and tool away for another cigar or another day. Resistance is a little light; probably due to a slight lack of tobacco in the bottom half.

John Lennon is playing an acoustic version of “Imagine.” The 38th anniversary of his death was just last month, December 8. Hard to believe. You just know that if he hadn’t been murdered, the remaining Beatles would be doing projects together.

OK…flavors: Very creamy, black pepper with a touch of red pepper, chocolate, apple butter, cumin, fresh pear, cedar, and malts.
This blend seems to want to be a sweetie pie. The spiciness turns up the volume. Making my eyes water.

The Who are playing “Baba O’Riley.” After I ditched the Eddie Munster project and my L.A. recording studio, I took on a local band that was hotter n’ shit. They did a great version of this song. I mixed their sound live. One night, I cranked the kick drum so hard through the massive speakers, I blew out an 18” cone. Not one of my finest moments.

Strength is an easy going medium.
I’d like a little more oomph right now. But it’s early.

I sense potential but it hasn’t settled in yet. The blend is only clinging to the hem of complexity’s skirt. Transitions are minimal. The finish isn’t bad, just not fleshed out enough.

Naturally, as I complete the last sentence, things begin to bubble up. The blend kicks in. Complexity is on the horizon now. There is a wonderful chewy finish comprised of fruit, coffee, creaminess, malt, chocolate, some almonds, apple butter, cinnamon, cedar, and earth, wind, and leather.
Much better.

A touch of citrus enters stage left.
Some minor burn issues. But so far, no torch to foot required.
How much is this cigar? $10. Hmmm.
With over 3 months rest, it should be plenty of time to reap the whirlwind.

There is a nice light mustiness that accentuates the maltiness and creaminess. The Caldwell Eastern Standard Sungrown is a nice blend but you don’t feel like women are going to be throwing their underwear and room keys up to you on stage.

There is no shortage of reviews for this blend. I swear that this blend is a true chameleon. Every review highlights different voices from this cigar. Amazing how different our palates are. So many differing opinions that it almost makes sense to either give it a thumbs up or thumbs down and move on with our day.

Cigar goes out.
The spiciness fluctuates among all things spicy. I like that.
This is not a bad cigar. Just overpriced. Plenty of $7-$9 cigars just as good; or better.
What I’m saying here is that the Caldwell Eastern Standard Sungrown just hasn’t shown any type of uniqueness. It could be any good blender’s cigar and impossible to determine that it’s a Caldwell.
The under filling of tobacco is causing an ugly char line.
I betcha’ a dollar, that this blend redeems itself in the second half…just a feeling.

Strength remains at an anemic medium. I like strong cigars. But this may be the perfect blend for newbies. No attack to the brain stem short circuiting animal logic and zenyatta mondata.

Donovan is playing. Back in 1967, he released “Mellow Yellow” which all us Hippies took it meant you could get high on banana peel. Nope. We tried. All that happened was our girlfriends telling us how good our kisses tasted.

Construction could have been a lot better. Intermittent burn issues. Nicht gut.
There is no “WOW!” factor.
All the earlier described flavors are in play as the blend struggles for consistent complexity. Transitions have basically gone into hiding. The finish is the best part. Very languid and pleasing…like me.
Spicy cinnamon tooth picks appear.
Strength hasn’t moved the needle above medium.

Now Deep Purple is playing. We did some gigs with them in Europe. Good guys. One night, we took a middle of the night swim at the hotel’s pool and someone called the cops…saying a bunch of naked women were swimming after hours. The cops showed up and were disappointed that we were merely long hair rock stars and not beautiful naked women. The cops left with the required number of autographs.

Complexity returns. The intermittent reluctance of a consistent forward motion is a little disturbing as the blend shows bouts of brilliance only to see the impact fade in moments.

Right now…at this very moment in time, the blend is flying high. Fingers crossed it remains in place.

Maybe a few months is insufficient. I have no idea. The other reviewers probably gave the cigar the same amount of time I have…or less. Some guys just want to be the first one on the block to review a new blend.
The burn issue is not self-healing. The ash is delicate and fragile.

I find most Caldwell blends are hit or miss. Some just make your boxers catch on fire and others make your boxers slip to around your ankles.
There is a nice balance of sweet and savory. So, it has that going for it.

I’m at the halfway point and my optimism is slipping away.
A $10 stick should be special. Yes, I know you can go out and spend twice that but a sawbuck is still a lot of dough for 60-90 minutes of fun. Back in the late 60’s, hookers offered us BJ’s for $10 on Anaheim St. in Long Beach. So, there is a blow job quotient that will be installed in all future reviews.

Finally…the strength increases to medium/full. It gives a real boost to the flavor profile making it more accessible and identifiable to the palate.

It’s very nutty now. The cocoa is gone. Coffee remains. Spicy. The fruitiness is on the wane. Still, some generic sweetness remains.
Due to the underfilling of the stick, the cigar keeps going out on me.
The Caldwell Eastern Standard Sungrown is not a stellar example of what Caldwell is capable of. It is just a simple blend with outcroppings of sweet spots and some complexity. Like a roller coaster ride, there are highs and lows. And my arms are in the air while I scream and type with my nose.

I had high hopes for this blend and made the fatal mistake of reviewing a cigar I hadn’t tried before. I keep saying I’m not going to do that any more and here I am…
This is what happens when you’re a schmuck and buy into the name recognition of a blend.

I read some reviews and the writers are reporting a myriad number of flavors. I don’t taste them. It’s probably a tumor…(“It’s not a TOO-MUH!).
Citrus returns. More sour this time like a grapefruit element. It overpowers the sweet notes.
“De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da.”

The spiciness is in retreat. The cinnamon remains but is lackadaisical.
Creaminess is on life support. The complexity is gone. Shit.

The Caldwell Eastern Standard Sungrown has become boring.
The cigar goes out.
Like clockwork, the blend resurrects itself once again. Flavors return. Complexity isn’t bad at all. This too shall pass.
And a couple minutes later, it passes. Sonovabitch.

I envision this blend hitting the clearance racks. Watch. You will see this cigar going for at least a third less or more on the right online stores.
I really wanted to bring you a fine example of blending, but instead, I have just written a manifesto on why you shouldn’t buy this cigar.
Tomorrow is another day.


And now for something completely different:

Island Studios is in the Jamaican section of London. We had just finished recording our studio album to follow the “Live” album. All new songs. They even pulled a George Harrison and allowed me one song on the album.
It was called: “I Broke My Leg in Yucca Valley, but My Heart Lies in Palm Springs.”
Those were the entire lyrics. It was a jazzy scat type song in which the bass took a light Stanley Clarke-type bass riff.

Neither Darryl (the violinist) nor Mick (the guitarist) could figure what to play so they threw their hands in the air and left the recording area. It ended up being a bass solo and drum song. Drummer Stewart Copeland got it. I had worked with Stew, on that tune, for a month before coming to the studio.

For some reason, if you go to and go to the Old Website, and then to News, then MP3 Tracks & News Archive, there is a very early version of my song. It is horrible. It was before the guitarist gave up. It was before Sonja gave up and her vocals are horrifyingly terrible. You need phones or a decent sound system. It isn’t even mixed. So why would they put it on the top of the list of tunes? To embarrass me? But why embarrass Sonja? Don’t get it.

For this album, rhythm tracks were done first and then everything was layered on top. So, my job was done in a week. (A really stupid way to record) The coolest way to record is have every player do his thing right along with the other band members. It has a much rootsier and live sound. Layering makes it sound stiff and technical.

Even as I whizzed through my parts on the album, we still had 4-5 weeks of studio time left. I preferred to hang in the studio than sit at home and watch BBC1. Plus, there was petty cash to always feed us and I learned to love Jamaican food.
Jose Feliciano was touring Europe and had never been to England. England was all abuzz.

Our press agent was a good friend of Feliciano and got him to stop by the studio one night. I was pretty excited. We were a week away from finishing the album.
Feliciano brought a then unknown percussionist named Paulinho da Costa. He went on to be a big deal in the years to follow.

Feliciano had a big mouth and you couldn’t get a word in edge wise. Man, he could talk. Yeah, he smoked dope but he must have been doing uppers like a madman.
He listened to our tunes and jumped up. He got his assistant to help him into the studio. He pulled out his guitar and started laying down tracks on our tunes. After a while, it got weird. It wasn’t supposed to be the “Curved Air album starring Jose Feliciano.”

During a break, he sat on the couch in the booth. Our chick singer had a vocal coach who was currently a big star in the rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar” in London. His name was Derek.
Now Derek was as queer as a $3 bill. No offense but he was a raging queen. He was a really good guy. And he was very funny. He loved being gay and would flaunt it til we couldn’t breathe from laughing; we enjoyed his company.

Derek was there the first night that Feliciano was there.
Feliciano showed up the following night as well.
Before the proceedings began on the second night, Jose took the floor. Word had spread and the booth was jam packed with people.
He sat on the couch. I sat next to him. And Derek sat on his other side.
Feliciano is blind. But you knew that.

You’d think he would take that into consideration when talking about people behind their backs (or in front of their backs) because he lit into Derek.
“Did you hear that queer last night?” And then he went on to imitate him. Everyone in the booth froze in horror.
Derek just sat there and said nothing. Finally, he had enough and leaned into Feliciano’s ear, with his hand on Feliciano’s thigh, and said, “Lissssssten Ssssssweetheart.”

For a moment, we all thought Feliciano got his sight back by the way his eyes opened and his glasses flew off.
There was uproar of laughter in that booth. The whole time, Feliciano tried back pedaling; saying stuff like: “I don’t care about how people live their lives, blah, blah, blah.”

Apparently, Feliciano had no sense of humor when it came to himself.
He stood up, made his excuses and shuffled off into the darkness of the Jamaican section never to be seen again by Curved Air.

BTW- He liked my tune the best and even Paulinho played on it. This really pissed off our ego maniacal band leader. I never got a copy of that song no matter how I begged.
During the official play back and release party at RCA headquarters in London, I remember that when my song was first heard by everyone, they did a double take.
“What the hell is this?”
They hated my song. Was it too progressive for a progressive rock band? No, it was too jazzy. Such backwards thinking by the suits.
I took a lot of crap and they dropped the song from the album. I was not happy.
It was the only truly original song on the album but it was just too much for them. The album went on to be the lowest selling album in Curved Air’s career of more than 20 albums. Yeah. I was the asshole.


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5 replies

  1. “Back in the late 60’s, hookers offered us BJ’s for $10 on Anaheim St. in Long Beach. So, there is a blow job quotient that will be installed in all future reviews.”

    This is why the Katman is in a class of his own; Constant Innovation.

  2. Nice review. I agree on the hit and miss. Hope you the Anastasia I think I sent you is more enjoyable.


    On Tue, Jan 8, 2019 at 8:45 AM Cigar Reviews by Phil ‘Katman’ Kohn wrote:

    > The Katman posted: “Wrapper: Hybrid Mexican/Habano Binder: Ecuadorian > Filler: Dominican, Mexican Size: 5 x 50 Robusto Strength: Medium Price: > $10.50 (Can be found for a buck less if you shop around) Today we take a > look at the Caldwell Eastern Standard Sungro” >

  3. I have had several Caldwell smokes and they seem to be the blend of the moment for some.
    Lots of hype with an ok product line. Most cigar smokers will smoke anything new for a couple of months , then they move on.

  4. Has anyone been taxed lately on cigars purchased online from Pennsylvania and shipped to New York? I was charged $5 and change on a $60. Did I miss the bad news?

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