After a boatload of hype, I finally got my hands on one of the Caldwell All Out Kings cigars.
All out Kings is a cigar that's a collaborative effort between Robert Caldwell (Caldwell Cigar Company) and Willy Herrera (Drew Estate). There has been a ton of buzz about these cigars as you have two of the hotter names in the industry getting together on this one.
All Out Kings Corona "Give Me Your Lunch Money" Specs
Size: Corona (5.75" x 46)
Wrapper: Habano Connecticut
Filler Tobacco: Dominican, Nicaraguan, American
Smoking Conditions: Outdoors; 60 degrees and Sunny, calm winds
Pairing: Bottled Water
Price: $11.99 - $13.99 depending upon the retailer
I was immediately struck by how dry the cigar felt and having smoked it now - maybe that was a sign of some things to come. These cigars probably could have used a week or two of rest, I believe.
In terms of weight, it feels fairly heavy for a corona. I know a lot of guys claim this is a sign of a well-packed cigar. This "Give Me Your Lunch" named vitola is one of four in the Caldwell All Out Kings line-up.
Like a lot of the Caldwell line-up, the art is distinctive on the band - even if not appealing to my taste. In this case, you'll see a king's crown with a number of hands on it - almost as if there is some sort of a battle for the throne. Sometimes smoking Caldwell is like being in a Game of Thrones episode. :)
Using a Xikar guillotine cutter, I cut the cap and had my first real issue with the cigar. Some serious cracking along the cap and into the first inch or so of the cigar. I'll have to take a bit more of the cigar in than I typically would to ensure decent draws because of either my flub cutting, poor construction, or poor storage.
The wrapper is mostly a dark-cocoa hue with some splotches of more of a milk chocolate colored finish. Overall, it's an attractive cigar, in my opinion.
All Out Kings Smoking Experience - First Third
Upon lighting, I was immediately impressed by the smoke output on the All Out Kings. For just a little 46-ring gauge cigar, there was quite a bit of bright white smoke that pillowed from the cap and foot with my first draw.
It's funny, I'd heard the term "velvety" used to describe this cigar by other early reviewers. That's a great word to use --- this cigar isn't exactly silky or totally smooth. There are some rough patches on the palate that sort of remind me of the "fur" that you might feel when touching velvet.
There's an immediate hit of cocoa from the cigar along with what I can best describe as an earthy-musky overtone. There's a certain drying impact on the mouth with each draw.
The retrohale offers something a little different from All Out Kigs. The cocoa is more prounounced on the front-end and then there is a certain citrus and/or mineral that makes its way in. My first thought was lemon but it's not quite that tart. Upon further review, I'm willing to call it grapefruit but certain couldn't make a strong case to argue with anyone's palate that calls it "orange" or "lemon".
Working along the cigar, there's a certain meatiness that comes into play as well. To me, the savory sensation mimics that of a pot roast.
At this point, I'm not working my way through any other trouble in terms of construction and the burn line is razor thin.
Second Third of the All Out Kings Corona
As I work my way into the second or third inch of the cigar, the clean finish strikes me. There's something to this that has a certain crispness to it. While the body is a solid medium or medium-to-full, it doesn't leave a mess on your palate. That's something I appreciate.
Coming into the second third there is in fact a transition of sorts in the works. I can't pinpoint it via traditional draws so I move into a retrohale and it's even more pronounced there.
Still, I can't place this new predominant note. I'm going to call it "doughy" but I'm not convinced it's accurate. It's sort of a yeast-feeling that's potentially consistent with a really dark, black bread. In any case it wasn't nearly so present in the first portion of the cigar.
The cigar beings to produce some notes reminiscent of leather as well. This ties in nicely with the dry-mouth I'm feeling. Time for more water.
Working my way through the second-third, I begin to note a sweeter feeling of citrus on the retrohale. At this stage, I'm willing to call it "orange".
Can you see it? There on the right-hand side of the photo. It's a stem that seems to be the cause of the cutting problem I encountered on the front-end of the All Out Kings cigar. At this stage, I'm running into some significant construction issues with the cigar.
There is also now a crack in the wrapper about an inch above where the foot now resides. The cigar doesn't appear to be producing anything new at this stage of the game than what it did in the second-third. The construction and overall dryness is certainly cause for concern, however.
Overall, I enjoyed this cigar while the construction was holding up. Now that I'm dealing with a stem in the mouth and a tear near the foot - I'm a little frustrated. I have a few more in my humidor at home and will give them some more rest before revisiting. It's possible these cigars haven't had time to settle in.