Behind The Stick:
For those of you who know the history of Robert Caldwell this may be a refresher, but those who don’t may find it interesting that he was actually a custom cigar developer for a number of luxury hotels. After his success at this position he was pulled in to work with Wynwood Cigar Venture that was part of Christian Eiora’s return to the cigar industry – CLE. As so happens with personal or business endeavors, Robert and Christian had a falling out and Robert decided to create his own cigar company. This company, focusing on high-end lines was called Caldwell Cigars and while their initial start was on the West Coast, the success quickly expanded to an internationally known, admired and respected cigar company.
While the band of the Eastern Standard features an image of an unknown man that was drawn by Miami-based street artist Evoca1 – the artist of all of Caldwell’s cigars – the hype and discussions behind ‘who it could be’ has been rumored to be this or that for years. The fun and mystery don’t quit there – found within the box of the Eastern Standard is a story of a man, Hans Nielsen Lahsko, who was raised by a school of fish before moving to Cuba and inventing dirt.
“In the Summer of 1916 Hans Nielsen Lahkso was hired as a boat hand for the United Royal Finnish Herring Oil Company, Ltd. His boat sank off the coast of iceland soon thereafter. Luckily for young Hans, he was brought to shore by a school of fish that raised him as one of their own. After gaining many friends and amassing an almost comical wealth, young Hans moved to Cuba where he invented dirt. He used to keep his dirt in a secret wooden box in his bed, next to his blankie. This is why we put Eastern standard Cigars in a wooden box, it is representative of the box Hans used to keep his dirt in.
After losing all of his money in a series of bad investments, Hand fled to Dominican Republic, carrying his special dirt with him in his little box. So as not to raise suspicion, he hid the box under his blankie. Hans passed his tradition of dealing dirt down through the generations.
The Eastern Standard Brand pays homage to this 100 year history. Each box has a very old Finnish saying “Herring, Dirt, Boat” which is meant to celebrate what the old Herring-os thought made them happy. Herring, Dirt, Boats.
There was only one thing missing from this formula:
Live East, Die Young
Don’t Believe the hyper. Make your time count.
These are the kind of stories, mysteries and ‘fun’ around a cigar and the manufacturer that make a cigar more than just a cigar. Enough of this, onto the review.
Vitola: Corona Extra (5.5×44)
Wrapper: Connecticut Hybrid Ecuadoriano – 2006
Binder and Filler: Habano Dominicano – 2005 and Criollo ’98 Viso Dominicano -2005, Corojo Ligero Dominicano – 2006, Habano Seco Nicaraguense – 2007
Factory / Country of Origin: Tabacalera William Ventura in the Dominican Republic
Release Type: Limited
Release Date: 2014
Construction: Oh construction, the thing that we see first and admittedly – we all begin to judge first also – the wrapper. While the color is a little hard to pin down, I have seen some say a light mocha coffee color, a cardboard color or simply enough – a shade of light brown – the silky appearance and ‘refined’ look to it is what really pulled me in. The pigtail cap adorning the head and the stark contrast of the brown to whites and shades of gray and black in the band make this package a cigar that is hard to miss even if mixed in a humidor among other cigars.
Flavor: The prelight draw gave the classic ‘tobacco’ flavor while the delivery just after lighting the Eastern Standard really gave way to some interesting combinations. An overtone of nuts – almost Almond like – mixed with the classic tobacco core was broken up by hints of pepper spice and a slightly sweet undertone on the finish. This flavor combination held true for the majority of the cigar, a few tangy yet smooth buttery flavors would come and go, the black pepper spice became more apparent and the nutty almond flavor diminished slowly all the way up to the end.
Overall: As with most manufacturers out there, a bit of history mixed with drama and a touch of mystery create a brand that is not only recognized and respected but becomes a company that people look forward to hearing more about. Caldwell Cigar Co is no different – the story and buzz surrounding this company has driven the cigar community to love or hate, research or disregard and overall acknowledge their existence.
The Eastern Standard Euro Express – for me – was a cigar that I was really looking forward to trying – something that I had heard a lot about and that I had researched fairly significantly before putting fire to the tobacco. While I do try my best to not do this – the whole unbiased smoking experience thing – I felt this cigar was dead on par for delivery of what I expected. The price, the flavor profile, the burn, the consistency – it was all ‘okay’. Nothing really stood out as bad and nothing really stood out as ‘amazing’. I would smoke another and if the price was right I would absolutely pick up another but it isn’t something that I am going to look all over town for.
Every Cigar Has A Story, Every Smoke A Memory