Cigar Review: Caldwell Eastern Standard Midnight Express
Caldwell Cigar Company
Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Connecticut (Arapiraca Maduro)
Binder: Dominican Republic (Habano)
Filler: Dominican Republic (Criollo 98 & Corojo Ligero) & Nicaraguan (Habano)
Size: 5 3/4 x 46
Overall Rating: 9.1
Once again, the Caldwell Cigar Company booth was one of the busiest at the IPCPR. It’s a testament to Robert Caldwell and the following that his cigars have gained over the past few years. One of the new cigar from Caldwell that keeps coming up in conversation is the Eastern Standard Midnight Express. (Mostly because my friend Lauren won’t shut up about it.) While not a standard “maduro version” of the Eastern Standard, since it is it’s own unique blend, the Midnight Express has a lot to offer the medium to medium-full bodied cigar enthusiast looking for something on the original side.
Pre-Light: The black and gold Eastern Standard band is a negative image of the original Eastern Standard band, and is extremely unique in both concept and execution. A secondary Midnight Express band, doesn’t really match the main band, but doesn’t really detract from the overall look of the cigar. The Connecticut Arapiraca Maduro wrapper of the Eastern Standard Midnight Express has a milk chocolate brown color to it. The veins are small to medium sized, and the slightly oily cigar is finished off with a tiny pigtail cap.
There are wood and earth scents from the Connecticut Arapiraca Maduro wrapper of the Eastern Standard Midnight Express. From the unlit foot of the cigar there are earth, cocoa and barnyard aromas. The cold draw is quite easy, and allows through flavors of earth, hay and mild cocoa.
Burn: The Eastern Standard Midnight Express has a near perfect draw, and allows through a large amount of smoke. While the burn is even overall, the burn line itself is a bit wibbly wobbly. The Midnight Express produces a very dark gray ash, that is almost black at times.
Flavor: The Eastern Standard Maduro Midnight Express starts off with some black pepper and woodsy notes, though the pepper mellows out slightly as the cigar gets going. Coffee, leather and woody flavors mix with some mild black pepper. There is an interesting depth to the flavors of Midnight Express. On the retrohale there is a blend of pepper, wood and leather. As the cigar burns into the second third there is the addition of an interesting mineral note that seems to highlight the mix of wood, coffee, nuts, leather and natural tobacco that interweave together for a pleasing experience in the palate. During the transition to the final third of the Midnight Express there is an uptick in the coffee note, that is back up by mellow black pepper. There’s a good deal of coffee and earth forming the base of the last third’s flavor profile. Background notes of leather, cedar, nuts, subtle spice and black pepper round out the final third of the Eastern Standard Midnight Express. Right up to the very end, this cigar remains flavorful.
Overall: The Eastern Standard Midnight Express is not exactly what is appears to be, but turns out to be much better in the end. Those hoping for a straight up Eastern Standard with a Maduro will be slightly disappointed, as this cigar is a different blend and an altogether experience. There is real originality to the Midnight Express’ mix of earth, wood, coffee, nuts, leather and pepper that occurs on the palate. Journeying between medium right up to the cusp of full, the Midnight Express does a good job of balancing strength, body and flavor. It’s easy to why my friend Ginger Lauren won’t keeps going on about how great a cigar this is. Personally, while I agree with her that it’s a great cigar, it’s definitely not an everyday cigar for my tastes. The Eastern standard Midnight Express is (for me) a great after dinner cigar. Those who liked Robert Caldwell’s Long Live the King (see our Top Ten Cigars of 2014) or The King is Dead, will definitely want to give the Eastern Standard Midnight Express a try. If you’re looking for a standard Connecticut Maduro, maybe the Midnight Express is worth picking up, but it’s not going to be what you see in so many other Maduro cigars.
Pairing: This is a cigar that I personally enjoy pairing with a coffee or espresso, as it really lets the coffee and nut notes of the cigar shine while complimenting the pepper. The Dalmore 12, Macallan 18 and Glenfarclas 15 are all excellent pairing choice for those looking for something a bit stronger.
Reviewed by Jonathan David (@JonDavid1210)