Last year, Caldwell Cigar Co. released one of its most expensive cigars and limited cigars to date: The Last Tsar.

The 5 1/2 x 52 short torpedo was limited to 500 boxes of 10, distributed to the first 49 retailers who carried Caldwell’s new product. It was made to honor the company’s first anniversary and used a “hybrid Connecticut Arapiraca maduro wrapper” with undisclosed fillers.


I did not particularly enjoy the cigar the first time around:

When announcing this cigar, the word “full” came up a few times—and there’s no question The Last Tsar lives up to that standard. Strength-wise, this is the fullest new cigar I’ve smoked this year, particularly given the bang it starts out with. That being said, flavor is what generally guides are reviews and for that, the Caldwell was decent. This is a cigar for after a big meal and with a big spirit, and in that case, it works. What doesn’t work is the balance, which is completely gone. I’ve enjoyed my fair share of fuller cigars, but right now, this needs a bit better harmony for me to designate as part of my after dinner cigar rotation.

I was going through one of my humidors and found a handful of the original The Last Tsar releases and decided it would make for an ideal redux.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Caldwell The Last Tsar
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera William Ventura
  • Wrapper: Hybrid Connecticut Arapiraca Maduro
  • Binder: n/a
  • Filler: n/a
  • Length: 5 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Petit Belicoso
  • MSRP: $18 (Boxes of 10, $180)
  • Release Date: May, 4, 2015
  • Number of Cigars Released: 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1

According to Patrick Lagreid’s notes from the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, the new Anastasia is a follow-up The Last Tsar, which seems interesting given the wrapper on The Last Tsar is noticeably darker than the Anastasias I’ve seen. Aroma from the wrapper of the short torpedo is a mixture of dried sunflower seeds, taffy candy and some saltiness. From the foot I pick up orange soda, redwoods, some Spanish cedar and peppermint. As for the cold draw, I get some jerky, paprika, lots of cedar and some spicy meat mixture I cannot really identify.

It starts quite mild with a smooth cedar and some wet earth, particularly on the finish. Despite a pretty conservative cut, the draw is a bit too open for my liking at the start. As for the flavor, it develops into a mixture of smooth cedar, mild berry fruitless, a French baguette, some grass on the finish and a touch of pepper on the finish. It continues quite similarly in the second third though there’s more creaminess and pepper, less fruitiness. There’s also more cedar and some bright lemon and pepper through the nose. Towards the end, The Last Tsar adds burnt popcorn, a sharper pepper and some earthiness. The finish is a mixture of popcorn, sunflower seeds and some saltiness.

Caldwell The Last Tsar

While the draw starts out a bit loose, it settles in nicely, something I don’t particularly understand given the shape. Smoke production is above average and The Last Tsar doesn’t seem to mind being pushed in terms of puff rate. The burn is good, though I do make a quick touch-up within the first few minutes. Strength is medium-plus for the first two thirds, but right before the final third it begins ramping up to full, much more reminiscent to the original The Last Tsars I smoked. One note, the cigar burned ridiculously slow taking me over two and a half hours.

91 Overall Score

I remembered three parts of my original review of The Last Tsar: it burned very slowly, it was very strong and I didn’t particularly care for it. Looking back at a more detailed assessment after I finished smoking the redux makes me wonder if I smoked the same cigar. What I found after over a year in the humidor is a cigar that has a very nice progression and a bit of a surprise strength kick towards the end. Needless to say, I’m glad I unexpectedly have a few more in my humidor.

Original Score (June 2015)
Redux Score (August 2016)

Charlie Minato
About the author

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.

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