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In June, Robert Caldwell showed off a new collaboration cigar between himself and Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Jr. for the first time.

Dubbed Anastasia, the cigar is meant to be the follow-up to Caldwell’s The Last Tsar and features an image of Princess Anastasia, daughter of Nicolas II, the Tsar of Russia on the band. While there are no blend details to be had, the Anastasia line is rolled at Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s Tabacalera La Alianza S.A. factory in the Dominican Republic, with boxes only being sent to 35 stores around the U.S.

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There are four vitolas in the Anastasia line.

anastasia-vitolas

  • Anastasia Caspia (5 3/4 x 43) — $12.50 (Box of 20, $250)
  • Anastasia Kartel (5 x 49) — $13.30 (Box of 20, $266)
  • Anastasia Mercure (7 x 47) — $14 (Box of 20, $280)
  • Anastasia Opera (6 x 52) — $14.70 (Box of 20, $294)

The new cigar marks the second collaboration that Caldwell has produced this year, after All Out Kings, a cigar being produced by Drew Estate.

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  • Cigar Reviewed: Anastasia Caspia
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera La Alianza S.A.
  • Wrapper: n/a
  • Binder: n/a
  • Filler: n/a
  • Length: 5 3/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 43
  • Vitola: Corona
  • MSRP: $12.50 (Box of 20, $250)
  • Release Date: July 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Anastasia Caspia is covered in a nutty brown wrapper that is silky smooth to the touch and there is very little oil present. It is quite spongy when squeezed, and while there are a few veins running up and down the length, they are not overly noticeable. Aroma from the wrapper is a massive dark chocolate, nutmeg sweetness, creamy oak, barnyard and peanuts, while the cold draw brings flavors of the same strong dark chocolate, creamy oak, leather, white pepper and a touch of floral.

The first third of the Anastasia Caspia starts off with that same dark and bitter chocolate dominant on on the palate, strong enough that it overwhelms other notes of fresh cut grass, creamy oak, floral, almonds and espresso beans. There is a small but noticeable mint note on the retrohale, along with an obvious nutmeg sweetness on the finish, both of which combine nicely with some white pepper that is also present. Both the burn and draw are excellent so far, with neither giving me even a hint of a problem, and the smoke production is copious off of the foot. The overall strength starts out firmly in the mild range, and while it does increase, it still is far from the medium mark by the time the first third comes to an end.

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Coming into the second third of the Anastasia, the dark chocolate note is still quite dominant, although there are other notes interspersed throughout that are strong enough to make an impact on the profile, including creamy oak, yeast, anise, hay, leather and a touch of spice. The mint from the first third has disappeared totally by the halfway point, replaced by a slight mesquite note, and both the nutmeg sweetness and white pepper continue to make an impact. Construction-wise, the draw continues to impress, and the burn remains excellent, never giving me a hint of trouble. The smoke production remains high for the vitola, and while the overall strength does come close to the medium mark by the time the second third ends, it ultimately fails to cross over.

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The nutmeg sweetness becomes a major part of the profile in the final third of the Anastasia Caspia, combining fantastically with the still dominant dark and bitter chocolate note. Other flavors of leather, earth, salted peanuts, tea leaves, oak and freshly brewed coffee flit in and out, and while the mesquite from the second third is still evident, it is fading fast. Nothing has changed in the burn in the draw—in other words, both are still fantastic—and the strength finally does hit the medium mark just as I put the nub down with less than an inch to go.

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Final Notes

  • I have to say, Anastasia has some of the largest amount of dark chocolate I have come across in a cigar in recent memory: it is dominant in the scent, on the palate and even on the finish.
  • While the ash on the Anastasia is not flaky, it does not stay on for more than about three quarters of an inch at any more time, which is why it is missing in the first third photo.
  • While I understand the significance, the photo on the band for this release looks like something you would find on a cheap bundle stick. In addition, the pale green secondary band looks a bit sickly, and brings out the green color in the wrapper it is attached to.
  • Having said the above, I really do love most of the bands for Caldwell’s releases, and find them to be a breath of fresh air style-wise.
  • The final smoking time was just over one hour and 10 minutes.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Site sponsor STOGIES World Class Cigars carries the Anastasia (713.783.5100).
92 Overall Score

While cigars that I have tried from both Caldwell and E.P. Carrillo have been hit and miss for me in the past, I can safely say that Anastasia is a winner in just about every category. The cigar is a flavor-bomb from the start, with a profile that  is creamy, complex and full of life, as well as superb balance and excellent construction. While both companies have had great releases in the past, it is apparent to me that, at least in this instance, their work together is far greater than the sum of its parts. If you see them for sale, don’t think, don’t rationalize, don’t hesitate, just buy.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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