Welcome to the first official Dirty Dog cigar review. We’ll be posting reviews on here fairly regularly. We’ll switch it up every once in a while and throw some video reviews at you as well. I’m going to avoid giving a point system style score. While most cigar reviews out there have them, I just don’t feel like it’s my place to grade somebody’s art. So that said, I’ll just smoke it and tell you what my experience was. If I’m particularly fond of it, I’ll try to keep the gushing to a minimum. Keep your eyes open for updates and make sure you hit the share button at the top of the page. All of your friends and followers will thank you. Your family will move you higher up in their respective wills for sharing such content with them. You’ll obviously make new friends that are cooler than your current ones. It’s a win-win for all of us. Ok. I’m done.
Let’s talk some smoke here. Our first cigar up for review is the Caldwell Cigar Co. Eastern Standard. For this review, we’ll be hitting up the Cream Crush vitola. That’s a 48 x 7 Churchill size stick with a nice pig-tail on the cap. For all of us cigar geeks out there, Caldwell has done a pretty cool thing on the box. They show you the details on the blend, including the percentage of each leaf. Check it out here:
Cream Crush – Dark Connecticut – 48 x 7
Capa: Connecticut Hybrid Ecuadorian – 2006
Banda: Habana Dominicano – 2005
Tripa: Criollo ’98 Viso Dominicano 30% – 2008
Tripa: Corojo Dominicano Ligero 30% – 2006
Tripa: Habano Seco Nicaraguense 40% – 2007
The Eastern Standard is darker than your average shade grown Connecticut. That’s the hybrid tobacco showing up. Some light veins stick out through the long, slightly oily, body of the cigar. The label is decidedly Caldwell. The portrait of a bearded man with the words “Eastern Standard” and “Live East – Die Young” split on each side of the man’s face balances Caldwell’s unique creativity and a traditional style.
I’ve taken to using my teeth instead of a cutter recently. I’ve gotten pretty good at removing the cap cleanly without loading my mouth with tobacco. I did the same on the Eastern Standard. A cold draw gave me creamy and sweet flavors. I noticed some grassy, almost hay-like, sweetness that had a nice brightness to it.
Upon lighting the Eastern Standard, there is a citrusy spice that sticks out immediately. A little pepper kick tickles the nose on a retrohale that is quickly followed by the citrus flavor. As a pairing fanatic, I can’t help but think of a few IPAs that I plan to drink with this cigar. About a half of an inch in and the creaminess of this cigar is noticeable. It’s a thick, almost chewy smoke that coats your mouth and makes me salivate like Pavlov’s dog at dinner time.
As I’m rolling through the first third of the cigar, I’m noticing that a cedar flavor is coming forward a bit more in the mix. The ash is still holding on firmly and the burn has been even so far. One thing that I will suggest with most Caldwell cigars is to let them rest outside of the humidor for a few hours before smoking them. I tend to leave them out overnight if I’m planning my next day’s smoke schedule. I’ve found that I have to work on them a little too frequently for my liking straight out of the humidor. A few hours (or a night) out and I’m able to sit back and enjoy the smoke without having to relight.
The start of the second third of the smoke and I’ve cleared the ash due to my fear of dropping it onto my laptop while I’m typing. The burn is still razor sharp and even across the stick. After each draw, I’m left with a peppery citrus flavor in my mouth. Almost a lemon pepper flavor while resting, but each draw brings the creaminess out. The grassy-sweet flavor from the cold draw is more noticeable on the retrohale as I push through the middle point of the cigar.
As I hit the final third of the cigar I am placing it steadily in the medium strength category. There is a TON of body to this smoke, though. I would say it starts out medium bodied and closes out much closer to full bodied. A lot flavor and character development as I make my way through the Eastern Standard. Caldwell’s shelf talker for this stick states “Not your Daddy’s Connecticut,” and they couldn’t be more accurate with their assessment. The Eastern Standard signals a new style of Connecticut that isn’t pigeonholed to the mild and flavorless Connecticut of the past.
While I wrap up the tasting, I noticed the citrus notes have taken a back seat to the creamy flavors. The wood and sweetness have taken the driver’s seat as I take my final few puffs on the cigar.
Anybody that has talked to me in the shop knows I’m not afraid to talk about how much I enjoy this cigar. If I had to put a list of my personal favorites together, this smoke is very much in the conversation of top smokes. It just fits really well into my personal wheelhouse of flavor profile. That said, I can’t tell you what to think about it. If you read this and think, “man… that sounds great,” I’d suggest you give it a shot and let the cigar speak for itself.
Here’s a final rundown on what I experienced:
Draw: Great – Never had to fight it and it wasn’t too loose either
Burn: Excellent and even throughout
Strength: Medium throughout
Body: Started out medium and progressed to medium/full
Complexity: This cigar has several pleasant turns throughout – keeps you on your toes