Caldwell Cigar Co. and Drew Estate announced just before IPCPR the release of the collaborative All Out Kings brand. The new cigar was shown off in in Caldwell Cigar Co.’s booth at the IPCPR Convention and Tradeshow held July 24 – 28, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The collaborative project was announced earlier this year at Cigar Federation’s Cigar Safari where Robert Caldwell, Founder of Caldwell Cigar Co., Jonathan Drew, Founder of Drew Estate, and Willy Herrera, Master Blender of Drew Estate, led the tours blending session where attendees collaborated together with Caldwell, Drew and Herrera to create blends and lay out the rules they couldn’t break.
All out Kings will be distributed in the United States by Caldwell Cigar Co. When asked about the project, Robert Caldwell, from Lago di Lugano, Switzerland stated, “Caldwell Cigar company has been an adventure for me from the day we began. We set out day one to do things differently. We had a lot of challenges and success in launching our brands in 2014. One of the ambitions of the company was to collaborate with other brands. Our biggest success is about to debut. People have been asking me for years when I was planning to release a Nicaraguan cigar. When John started kicking around ideas with me, I knew it was our time to let the ball roll in Nicaragua. It is a great compliment to our company to be able to work together with Drew and Willie and the Swag Cave Crew on this special project.”
All out Kings debuts with Tobaccos from La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in Esteli, Nicaragua including Connecticut Stalk Cut and Sun Cured Habano Wrapper, with Indonesia Sumatra Binder, and filler comprised of Jalapa Viso, Esteli Viso, Dominican C-98 Seco, and Connecticut Broadleaf Ligero. When asked about the blend, Willy Herrera, from Miami, Florida noted “Working with Caldwell was challenging because he is very specific on what he likes and does not like with a maduro blend. Creating a cigar that he could enjoy while still staying true and giving it my signature spice was a delicate balance that I looked for in our numerous blending sessions at Joya and Drew.” All out Kings will be released in four sizes: Smash (5 x 52), Gimme your Lunch Money (5 ¾ x 46), Foreverlast (6 ½ x 54), and The Fourth Pose (6 x 54). The project is packaged in 20 count boxes.
Put simply, it looks like a T-52 in a Corona Gorda size. That alone makes me happy. It is very evenly rolled and the pack feels firm. The color is a range of deep browns and caramels that has an almost marbled appearance. The wrapper leaf was applied skillfully with seams only showing on areas with minor color variations. The texture of the wrapper is oily, toothy, and rich. Before lighting, the cigar smells like a farm that has a candy factory next door. Mild aromas of hay with a gentle sweetness like molasses or brown sugar with some baking spice. The cold draw is surprisingly mild with flavors of leather and cinnamon.
The wrapper is beautiful, dark, red and toothy. The double cap is very well applied and there is only one noticeable vein. The wrapper smells like fresh roasted coffee and just a bit musty. The foot is more must with a bit of barnyard. The pre-light draw is much like the aroma but with added sweetness to it.
Being that this is a 46 ring gauge, I choose a simple Bic lighter to fire up this cigar. First light is not what I was expecting. Considering the combination of tobacco leaves in this blend, I was expecting bold spice and pepper right away. Color me surprised when the first few puffs were subtle. I said subtle, but not boring. It just doesn’t slam the palate with pepper and earth right away. I would call both the strength and body a medium minus in this first third. The smoke output is intense, and the texture of the smoke is rich and almost chewy, but the flavors are layered with notes of wood and baking spices. As the initial third progresses the bolder spices of the stalk-cut wrapper finally show up, but still don’t overpower the range of other flavors. A commanding sweetness with notes of cinnamon roll and a little zip of red pepper close out the first third.
While the cigar gently warms up into the second third, I am still amazed at the overall characteristics of the cigar. It is exactly what I was expecting, and yet still surprising. Massive smoke output on every puff. Smoke that has body, richness, depth, and texture. The smoke has the texture that typically accompanies earthy and leathery flavor profiles, but the actual flavors in the smoking experience are sweeter and richer than expected. I get noted of raisin and prune, with a bright finish like orange peel or some kind of citrus. All the while with an underlying base of a salty flavor, almost like soy sauce or tamari. A slight bump up in strength intensifies the flavors as this third concludes.
The final third continues into an intense grouping of flavors and ridiculous amounts of smoke. A big finish seems almost inevitable as the flavors and texture continue to get bolder. The salty component from earlier turns into a tamari-marinated smoked brisket flavor that causes me to do a double take. I kinda thought I was losing my mind for a minute there. Charred oak, molasses, black pepper, and the citrus finish from earlier are still present. Since I took this down to about a one inch nub, it’s no surprise that the end has some harsh and sour flavors like bitter coffee and leather. Still, this was not so overwhelming that it ruined the entire smoking experience.
This third makes a slight turn in the direction of earthiness. I’ve lost the coffee but the sweetness is still on the finish. Things got just a bit metallic and bitter at the end, but I think a little more rest would heal this.
Yes, I knew what I was smoking. Yes, I am a fan of Drew Estate, especially the T-52 and also blends from Willy Herrera. Yes, I am a fan of Caldwell, especially The King is Dead and The Last Tsar. Take all of that into account, and call me a fanboy if you want. I just don’t care, because this was an excellent cigar. It was constructed well, it burned well, it game full draws of rich and chewy smoke. The flavors started with subtle nuance and progressed as the cigar was smoked, and intensity increased the whole way. The burn line was solid and the draw was perfect. The ash was a bit on the flaky side, but that is not uncommon for a 46 ring gauge cigar. I want to say that this cigar smoked and tasted like a hybrid of products, but I honestly think they created something new. If you enjoy rich smoke output with a vast array of flavor nuance, this cigar is for you. What am I saying? Who doesn’t enjoy that? Go get some. I give this a score of 92.
Overall this was a really good cigar. Construction, draw, and burn were just about as perfect as it gets and the flavors were great. I wouldn’t have minded a bit more complexity, but I think some rest might add that. I’m surprised how mild this cigar was with the T-52 wrapper. I give this a score of 91.