Founded by Robert Caldwell in 2014, the Caldwell Cigar Company came bursting onto the boutique cigar scene with four cigars that premiered at the IPCPR in July 2015. Robert Caldwell’s love of cigars began when he was just 12 years old after visiting Ernesto Perez-Carrillo’s factory in Little Havana, Miami, Florida. When starting the company, Robert decided that he was going to do things his way and began scouring the world for the best tobacco leaves which he would test over and over again until getting the exact flavors he was looking for — before testing it again. He is so committed to his product that he keeps production limited to ensure that he is delivering a superior cigar. Currently, Caldwell Cigar Company is based in the Dominican Republic and has built a new factory aptly named the Caldwell Cigar Factory.
In 2016 Robert Caldwell came full circle and teamed up with Ernesto Perez-Carrillo to create a highly coveted cigar called Anastasia, named after the Russian princess. Only shipped to a few select retailers, this cigar was extremely limited due to the availability of the wrapper leaf. Ernesto and Robert teamed up again and created a newer version with some slight tweaking. Now called the Anastasia H, this smoke has replaced the wrapper with a well-aged Habano leaf. Like the original, the binder and blend itself has not been disclosed, but what we do know is that they are rare and well-aged in Ernesto’s famed Tabacalera La Alianza factory. Medium to full in body, expect notes of caramel, leather, spice, and smooth creaminess. Pair this tasty morsel with your favorite bourbon.
Though tobacco is indigenous to Hispaniola, the tobacco industry in the Dominican Republic existed in the shadow of Cuba’s dominance through the 1960s. When the exodus of Cuban cigar makers began in the wake of the revolution, many decided the Dominican Republic would be ideal for the resumption of their livelihoods. Unrest in Nicaragua in the 1980s fueled the Dominican cigar industry further. The country now makes more than half of the premium cigars imported into the U.S.
The Cibao Valley and the nearby city of Santiago are the center of cigar production in the Dominican Republic. Three main varieties are grown here: the mild and native Olor Dominicano; the intense Piloto Cubano, brought from the Vuelta Abajo of Cuba; and San Vicente, a milder and more acidic Piloto hybrid. Dominican puros were once unheard of as it was widely thought impossible to grow quality wrapper leaf on the island, but new growing techniques are now allowing some exceptional puros to be produced.
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