One of the perks of doing this for as long as I have is that I generally get some time to talk about what I need to do at this trade show. When I arrived at the Caldwell booth on Day 3, Robert Caldwell was talking to his U.K. distributor. After that finished, he told me he needed to go to the bathroom. He came back, and suddenly there was another distributor that had arrived in the meantime. I try to avoid interrupting the flow of commerce, so I let Robert talk to them, photographed what I needed, went and visited another booth hoping to catch Caldwell for a chat at a later time.

Subsequent visits and glances over to the Caldwell booth revealed a steady stream of visitors, so I never had that second conversation with Robert Caldwell.

Fortunately, I’ve seen Robert Caldwell about as much as any cigar company owner this year. In addition to the industry events he and I have both attended, he visited Dallas a number of times in the first half of the year and I caught up with him for some lengthier conversations during those visits. Those conversations proved helpful given that many of Caldwell’s new releases are part of the new Crafted & Curated Series, which we’d previously discussed.

The next day, Brian Burt went back to try to record a video of Caldwell, but it was Day 4 and there was a paper airplane war going on with a neighboring booth.

Anastasia

Most of what was on display in the Caldwell booth is part of the company’s new Crafted & Curated Series, but Anastasia Yellow Label is not. Officially, the cigar is simply called Anastasia, but that’s a bit confusing as this is the fourth cigar to be called that, so it’s easiest to identify it by the color of the band; previous Anastasia releases used blue or green bands.

It’s made in the Dominican Republic but Caldwell isn’t disclosing which factory. There are 750 boxes per vitola for a total of 75,000 cigars.

  • Wrapper: Undisclosed (Habano)
  • Binder: Undisclosed
  • Filler: Undisclosed
  • Anastasia Caspia (5 5/8 x 46) — $22 (Box of 25, $550)
  • Anastasia Kartel (5 x 50) — $24 (Box of 25, $600)
  • Anastasia Opera (6 x 54) — $26 (Box of 25, $650)
  • Anastasia Igor (7 1/2 x 38) — $30 (Box of 25, $750)

Production: 75,000 Total Cigars

Release Date: June 2022

Not pictured.

Athenee

For most of 2022, Caldwell has been talking to me about a new series called Crafted & Curated, though I’m not sure anyone has written about it. The basic premise is this will be a series where Caldwell can experiment.

Athenee is a great example of this; it’s a small production run of a 5 1/4 x 52 Eastern Standard that has an Ecuadorian habano wrapper instead of the normal Ecuadorian hybrid Connecticut wrapper. This is made at William Ventura’s El Maestro factory in the Dominican Republic.

I don’t have a photograph of it. I’m not sure if that’s because I missed it or because it wasn’t on display when I was in the booth.

  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano)
  • Binder: Dominican Republic (Habano)
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Athenee (5 1/4 x 52) — $15 (Box of 25, $325)

Production: 260 Boxes of 25 Cigars (6,500 Total Cigars)

Release Date: July 18, 2022

Louis The Last

Louis the Last is another example of this experimentation. This is The Last Tsar except Caldwell says there was different fermentation on the binder and wrapper. The tobaccos come from exactly the same place as The Last Tsar but they are processed differently.

It too is made at the El Maestro factory.

  • Wrapper: Undisclosed (Hybrid Connecticut Arapiraca Maduro)
  • Binder: Undisclosed
  • Filler: Undisclosed
  • Louis The Last (5 1/4 x 42) — $12 (Box of 10, $120)

Production: 500 Boxes of 10 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)

Release Date: July 18, 2022

Montrose

Montrose is Caldwell’s Long Live the King blend but with a Nicaraguan habano wrapper—the normal blend uses a Dominican corojo wrapper—and one filler change. One of the corojo fillers has been replaced by Dominican aromático.

This is also made at El Maestro.

  • Wrapper: Nicaragua (Habano)
  • Binder: Dominican Republic (Corojo)
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Montrose (6 x 50) — $17 (Box of 10, $170)

Production: 300 Boxes of 10 Cigars (3,000 Total Cigars)

Release Date: July 18, 2022

Antoinette Culebra Lanceros

Here’s a Crafted & Curated release that isn’t an existing blend modified. This is an entirely new blend and it too is made at El Maestro. Caldwell previously told me that Crafted & Curated would also be a place to experiment with weird sizes, nothing is more obscure than a culebra.

  • Wrapper: Ecuador (Habano)
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic
  • Antoinette Culebra Lanceros (7 x 38) — $30 (Box of 10, $300)

Production: 202 Boxes of 10 Culebras (6,060 Total Cigars)

Release Date: July 18, 2022

Long Live The Queen

Caldwell told me that he promised the information regarding Long Live The Queen to Cigar Aficionado first so he wouldn’t talk to me about this cigar until after Cigar Aficionado wrote about this cigar. That conversation took place more than 10 days ago and Caldwell is still declining to talk about a cigar that was on display at an event with lots of cigar media.

I’ve tried to refrain from publicly commenting about the exclusivity requests and arrangements that Cigar Aficionado engages in with cigar companies. A company should choose what it wants to talk about, who it wants to talk to, etc. and more power to Cigar Aficionado if it can get cigar companies to go along with an agreement where they agree to not talk about their own products to other media outlets for a specific period of time.

That said, this is a new level of absurdity.

Update (July 26, 2022) — As noted below, the original prices listed for Anastasia were incorrect.

Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda 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.