Caldwell Eastern Standard Midnight Express
After a great vacation, I spent the last final day resting and enjoying a bit of backyard time with a Caldwell Eastern Standard Midnight Express paired with some of Real Ale’s Black Quad.
The Good Stuff:
The Caldwell Eastern Standard Midnight Express is the follow up release to the 2014 release of the Eastern Standard. The Midnight Express is ultimately a tweaked Maduro version of the Eastern Standard which features the same Ecuadorian Aracon Maduro wrapper as the previous released Last Tsar, only a lower priming. The rest of the cigar is made up from a Dominican Habano binder, along with Dominican corojo and criollo fillers. The Eastern Standard Midnight Express is created at the Tabacalera William Ventura factory in the Dominican Republic and is offered in 4 sizes: Per Se Corona (5.75 x 46), Jockey Club Robusto (5 x 50), Palais Royale Toro (6 x 52), and the Outernationalist Pyramide (6 x 50). They all come packaged in 20 count boxes ranging between $10 and $13.80 a stick and is slotted to be a full-production line. I picked a handful of these up at 2 Guys Smoke Shop.
Size: 5.75 x 46
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Aracon Maduro
Binder: Dominican Habano
Filler: Dominican Corojo, Dominican Criollo
Pairing: Real Ale Black Quad (Quad 10.5% ABV)
The Caldwell Eastern Standard Midnight Express starts out with a very deep, dark brown, rustic looking wrapper. The color is consistently dark, reddish brown for the most part but does have a few darker splotches around the head of the cigar. The texture is very, very oily and smooth. I can literally see the oil residue left on my fingers as I hold the cigar. The wrapper feels decently dense and semi-hard while the entire cigar is packed pretty lightly making it easy to squeeze between my fingers. There are a few small veins, and lots of natural webbing in the wrapper leaf running through the body of the cigar up to the small, round, pigtail style cap. The Caldwell Eastern Standard Midnight Express features the same band design as the Eastern Standard, only in Black and Gold vs the White. The Caldwell Eastern Standard Midnight Express does feature a manilla foot band that simply states “Midnight Express” on it.
The wrapper on the Caldwell Eastern Standard Midnight Express gives off a very oaky, musky aroma while the foot of the cigar is much more natural with lots of earthiness, tobacco, and spice. The cap cut clean and easily using my Xikar double bladed cutter. The cold draw produces some really oaky, musky flavors as well with some nice spice, and subtle sweetness.
The Caldwell Eastern Standard Midnight Express starts off with only a minor black pepper punch which quickly faded after the first few puffs. What was left behind was a ton of deep oak and musk, lots of spice, some soft sweetness and wonderful cherry/berry flavors with just a bit of pepper on the aftertaste. The draw is perfect. It takes very minimal effort to get a great deal of thick smoke in my mouth while the cigar gives off almost no stationary smoke as it rests in my ashtray. The burnline is pretty thick, and slightly wavy while leaving behind a very beautiful, tightly compacted staggered black and medium gray ash which held on for about and inch before falling into my ashtray.
Into the second third of the Caldwell Eastern Standard Midnight Express and the cherry flavors have really began to show through the bold flavor palate. The cigar is also still pumping out the strong oak and musk as well as great spice, and soft sweetness. The flavor profile hasn’t changed up too much, but it’s very enjoyable so I am ok with that. The retrohale really piles on the oak as it and musk. The burnline is still a bit wavy, but not concerning as I close out the second third with a decent nicotine kick already.
I had a few issues with the Caldwell Eastern Standard Midnight Express wanting to go out here in the final third. I remember having similar issues with the Last Tsar so it may just be characteristics of the Ecuadorian Aracon wrapper. Either way, it only happened a few times and speeding up my smoking speed corrected the issue so no problem there. The flavors are still bold in the musk, oak, and spice departments backed by cherry and sweetness. It took me almost two hours to take this cigar down to the nub, and I loved it. No extra harshness, no extra heat, and very little burn issues outside of the cigar trying to put itself out towards the end.
I’ve been a big fan of most Caldwell releases to date, and the Eastern Standard Midnight Express is no exception. While The Eastern Standard is a tame, milder cigar, the Midnight Express version showcases just how potent that blend really is. It’s probably not something I’d recommend for for the Novice cigar smoker as it’s pretty powerful, and the price point may turn a few people off, but this cigar is great for the seasoned cigar smoker looking for an excellent ,premium, bold, cigar to add to their arsenal.
Real Ale’s Black Quad is a 10.5% ABV Black Quadruple ale produced in Blanco, Texas annually. While the recipe has been tweaked a bit in the last few years the beer’s character remains the same. The beer leads with some strong, sweetness and spice backed by tons of berry and plum with a very heavy mouthfeel before finishing even spicier with more plum and berry, malt, and some very tame clove and black licorice. The flavors in the beer married up wonderfully with the existing flavors in the Caldwell Eastern Standard Midnight Express while adding a bit more flavor to an already bold cigar. I loved it, I could also see this paired with a sweet belgian dubbel, a real spicy tawny port, or a sweet bourbon.