As we get closer to the holidays and the end of the year I am trying to polish off just a few more reviews I’ve had stacked up in 2015. Caldwell’s Blind Man’s Bluff is amongst those.
The Good Stuff:
Casas Fumando is no stranger to Caldwell cigars. I have been on a mission to review as many of them as I possibly can and this week the Blind Man’s Bluff is at the plate. Caldwell hit the market last year and focuses on creating blends using rare, vintage, and limited tobaccos. The Blind Man’s Bluff is composed of an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper over a Honduran Criollo binder and San Vincent Viso (Dominican), Honduran Criollo “Generoso” Ligero fillers. The Blind Man’s Bluff is the first of a few lines produced at Davidoff’s Agroindustrias Laepe S.A. in Danli, Honduras vs. the usual Tabacalera William Ventura. Cigar Aficionado had some more information about this:
Caldwell Cigar Co. is expanding operations. The cigar company, founded by Robert Caldwell in early 2014, is finishing construction on a new factory in the Dominican Republic that is opening this week and preparing to launch four new cigar lines. Three of the lines, Sevillana Reserva, Gibraltar Extra and Muricas Especial, will be rolled at the new factory, appropriately named the Caldwell Cigar Factory. The fourth line is called Blind Man’s Bluff, and is made at Agroindustrias Laepe S.A. in Honduras, the same factory where Camachos are produced. The new cigars will debut at the 2015 International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers trade show in July.
“It’s been a crazy year so far,” Caldwell told Cigar Aficionado. “We’re excited about our new brands—and the cigar factory is in its final stages of construction. It will begin production this week.”
The core lines in Caldwell’s cigar portfolio are currently made at Tabacalera William Ventura, a small cigar factory in Tamboril, Dominican Republic. This week, those brands move to their new home at the Caldwell Cigar Factory, about a mile away from Tabacalera William Ventura. The Ventura family will still play a major role in Caldwell’s cigar production process.
The Caldwell Blind Man’s Bluff comes in four sizes: The Robusto (5 x 52), the Toro (6 x 52) and the Magnum (6 x 60) which all run for the modest (in Caldwell terms) price of $7.50 – $9.50 a stick. I picked up a few of these from the Caldwell team themselves at Fox Cigar Bar’s Foxtoberfest in Gilbert, Arizona a few months ago.
Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Honduran Criollo
Filler: San Vincent Viso (Dominican), Honduran Criollo “Generoso” Ligero
Pairing: 2015 Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (Imperial Stout 14.3% ABV)
The Blind Man’s Bluff starts out with a very rugged, rustic looking wrapper. The wrapper is medium brown in color with lots of darker, and orange splotched areas scattered throughout. The wrapper’s texture is very, very toothy as it feels like sandpaper with a decent amount of oil splashed over it. There are a few medium sized veins running their course through the cigar’s body as it leads up to a beautiful, round, triple cap. The cigar is finished off with a classic, brown, Caldwell band featuring a thug looking character with his eyes scratched out, and the words “Blind Man’s Bluff” and “We Own the Night” embossed in gold ink. The cigar is very firm, and very tightly packed while the wrapper is extremely dense and hard. There are no soft spots to be found through the cigar’s body.
The wrapper on the Blind Man’s Bluff gives off some very subtle cedar, molasses, and sweetness while the foot of the cigar is very spicy with some strong pepper, and bold tobacco aromas. The cap cut clean and easily using my Palio double bladed cutter. The molasses and sweetness carried over to the cold draw with the same bold amounts of spice and pepper.
Caldwell’s Blind Man’s Bluff starts out with a very potent black pepper blast which lasted through quite a few draws. After the pepper faded the cigar let loose some very strong oak, vanilla, espresso, sweetness, molasses and spice flavors. This cigar starts off full-bodied right out of the gate and I’m interested to see where it goes from here. The draw is flawless, each little puff kicks out a massive cloud of thick white smoke while the cigar burns like a while fire as it rests in my ashtray. The burn line is a bit wild, and decently sharp leaving behind a very flaky trail of medium gray ash which held on for about 3/4 of a inch before falling into my lap. Gotta love when that happens.
Into the second third of the Caldwell Blind Man’s Bluff and it’s still pouring on the flavor. The cigar leads with oak, vanilla, spice, and sweetness backed by espresso and molasses now. The flavor profile is incredible, the ash consistency is not. I ashed on my lap again… I won’t deduct from a review for that though unless its unescapable, which this is not. It’s just from my own laziness. The retrohale showcases the pepper that I picked up in the first third and it’s plentiful. I don’t find myself retrohaling this cigar very often. The burn line is still slightly wavy, but I haven’t had to reach for my torch yet as I close out the second third with a slight nicotine kick.
The strength has been hovering around the medium region up into the final third of the Blind Man’s Bluff before it really ramps up into the upper medium/full range. The flavors are still holding their own too leading with oak, vanilla, sweetness and spice with some great chocolate and espresso on the back end. Despite the wild burn I never once had to touch up or relight the cigar. It took me almost 2 hours to take this slow-burning cigar down to the nub and I experience no harshness, extra heat, and a pretty decent little nicotine kick.
Caldwell’s Blind Man’s Bluff is another great cigar from the company. They came flying out of the gate and haven’t slowed down. Add the price of this cigar in comparison to the other cigars in Caldwell’s portfolio into the equation and it’s easy to see why this cigar has been so popular amongst the cigar community. The flavors, full body, marketing, and price all lured me towards this cigar. Not to mention Caldwell’s track record, and it impressed me out of the gate. This may be a bit too full bodied for the novice cigar smoker, but it would fit in perfectly with one who wants to venture into full-bodied premium cigars without breaking the bank. On the flip side, and seasoned cigar smoker looking for a great, solid, reasonably priced cigar should be all over these. I plan on picking up a box as this is something I could easily see being a long-time contender in my daily rotation.
It’s a yearly thing for me. Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout needs no introduction. It’s a bold, rare, strong, bourbon barrel aged stout that is only available one day a year. People wait in line for it. People trade for it. People pay ridiculous prices for it. With good reason. The 14.3% stout leads with very bold chocolate, vanilla, coffee, bourbon, sticky sweetness, malt, and caramel with a very heavy mouthfeel before finishing heavy with lots of spice, bourbon, booze, vanilla, and a whole ton of sweetness. This is one of my favorite releases of the year and it always lives up to expectations. The spice, sweetness, vanilla, oak, and coffee paired absolutely perfectly with the flavors in the Blind Man’s Bluff. One thing to keep in mind is that this beer can easily overpower most cigars so you need to pair it with something that can hold it’s own.