Wrapper: Connecticut Arapiracca Maduro
Binder: Dominican Republic Habano
Filler: Dominican Republic Habano Seco, Criollo 98 Viso, Corojo Ligero
Vitola: Piramide (6 x 50)
Brand: Caldwell Cigar Co
CigarNoise Price Range: $11-$14
Availability: Regular Production
Click any of the above links to view other cigars that we’ve reviewed with similar characteristics
Caldwell Midnight Express – First Thoughts
For me, Caldwell set the benchmark high with the Eastern Standard. To create a maduro version of such an excellent cigar, it has to equally set the standard.
Turning the cigar in my hand, the first thing that leaps out at me is actually what doesn’t – the wrapper is beautiful applied, showcasing a beautiful chocolate-brown hue. The foot smells like soft chocolate and sweet cedar, while a cold draw is equally vague and pleasing. My early impressions are that this is a delicate cigar, but I could be wrong.
Caldwell Midnight Express – First Third
Cedar, Leather, Pepper, Cream, Burnt Honey, Oak, Chocolate Graham Crackers
After toasting the foot, the first few draws are of cedar, leather, and just a trace amount of the sweetness that I assumed would be here. Pepper is noticeable if I concentrate on it, dancing on my tongue like a synchronized swimmers. Cream edges it’s way in after the first half inch, attenuating the sharper qualities of the flavors and adding balance to the mix.
Smoke production is on the mediocre side, most likely due to the Piramide vitola. Likewise, this Caldwell Midnight Express has characteristics almost like tongue bite.
Approximately one inch in, the smoke becomes drier, losing the creamy textures, as cedar, burnt honey mead, and toasted graham cracker take the lead. Burnt honey is an oddball, but if you’re ever in Monroe, LA stop by Governor’s Cigar & Pipe and see if Chief has any available to sample. It’s an amazing mead, one of their first runs, and is surprisingly represented in the Caldwell Midnight Express.
Towards the end of the first third, those cedar elements transition into oak as a chocolatey presence makes itself known. Ever had chocolate graham crackers? It’s like that, only better because it’s a cigar.
Caldwell Midnight Express – Second Third
Charred Wood, Roasted Meats, Dark Chocolate, Cherries, Cream, Earth, Milk Chocolate, Hazelnut, Pepper
Dropping the ash, charred wood, roasted meats, dark chocolate, and a hint of cherries set the stage for our middle segment. Whereas the sweetness in the first third was more obvious, now it’s much more subdued to our savory components in a regular draw. Cream also returns without the presence of pepper, once again bringing everything together.
A retro hale at this point yields dried fruit notes amidst a backdrop of earth. So far the burn has been maintenance free, and the draw has been adequate. Tongue bite continues to prevail, so expect a follow-up review in a different vitola down the road.
At the midway point, our Caldwell Midnight Express begins to shine with rich, vibrant notes of chocolate ranging from silky smooth, milk chocolate to sultry dark chocolate. An occasional blast of cherries serves to reinvigorate the palate.
I’m experiencing my first touch-ups near the end of this third, as well as beautiful notes of hazelnut. Chocolate covered, of course. To spice things up a bit, literally, pepper makes a come back.
Caldwell Midnight Express – Last Third
Pie Crust, Nutella, Soft Oak, Cream, Walnut, Pepper
The last third shifts yet again, featuring notes of pie crust, subdued Nutella, soft oak, and cream. Tongue bite is either no longer present, or I’m used to it at this point – which is odd, considering I would’ve thought this would be the point that it would become overwhelming.
The body of the Caldwell Midnight Express is ramping up in a crescendo effect, deepening and intensifying the flavors in a satisfying finish. While I thought the second third was my favorite, I’m now learning that the last third of this Piramide is where this cigar makes its money despite a few more touchups.
Oils are now clinging to the roof of my mouth as these flavors continue to weave an interesting story. Walnut and pepper also join the lineup with a little over an inch to go.
And just like that, it’s out. No need to relight at this stage in the game.
Maintenance Free Burn
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