Barn Work Sessions: Caldwell Cigar Co The King is Dead Escape Plan Autopilot

Today I have some work in and around the barn to do, as well as tidying up the chicken coop. I figure I’ll be out here for a bit, so I grabbed something that should be on the longer side. I went with the Caldwell Cigar Co King is Dead Escape Plan. There was a time that I was very into Caldwell Cigar Co. I was always drawn to the artwork and the “boutiqueness” of the company. I also did, for the most part, enjoy the cigars. There were a few of the blends that I smoked a ton of. In fact, maybe even too many that I got a bit burnt out on them. 

I then went on a Caldwell hiatus for several years as, at that time, I was more drawn towards bigger, bolder, stronger cigars, as opposed to the nuance and complexity of more medium cigars. The King is Dead was one of the original Caldwell Collection cigars that I remember enjoying, but for whatever reason, it didn’t click for me and I didn’t return to it. Now, I am beginning to rekindle that old flame with Caldwell Cigars and this King is Dead Escape Plan has gotten my attention.

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic

Factory: Tabacalera William Ventura

Wrapper: Dominican Republic Negrito Mejorado

Binder: Dominican Republic

Filler: Dominican Republic, Peru, & Nicaragua

Vitola: 7 x 48 Autopilot (Churchill)

Price: $15.00 MSRP

Release Date: February 2022

Company Website: 

I like the band color scheme for this cigar. I love all of Caldwell’s band art. It definitely gets my attention. This Churchill has a slightly blotchy, medium brown wrapper. The cigar is firmly packed and sharply pressed. The cold draw is very mild and hard to distinguish. It smells kind of soapy with some cedar. First light brings medium bodied smoke with medium-full flavors of very sweet, slightly earthy coffee, some dry woodiness, and a bit of tannins and spice into the finish. About an inch in the tannins have dropped out. The sweetness is more like a syrup. The retrohale has some baking spices and wood. The cigar has settled to medium flavor and has an incredibly clean, and relatively short finish. Coming to the end of the first third there’s a bit of a saltiness joining the draw. The retrohale brings out a nuttiness and the finish is dark chocolate. Into this second third the finish is beginning to hold a bit longer between puffs. Hitting halfway it’s really leaning into the coffee, nuts, and dark chocolate. The finish shows some more wood and baking spices. The performance has been flawless as I near the end of the second third. The retrohale here is beginning to show a bit of citrus and spice, but it is still quite easy on the nose. The final third starts off with the flavor and body going up to full. There’s some tannins coming back in. Hitting the primary band point, some black pepper flavor and heat is becoming more prominent. There’s a vegetal component on the draw as well. Coming to an end at an hour and 33 minutes the pepper has continued to increase and some earth has joined the vegetal note. The performance remained perfect through to the end.

Overall Experience

Overall I enjoyed this cigar throughout.The first third had such a clean finish that although I really enjoyed the profile, it didn’t stick with me and really hold my attention between puffs. However, the finish began to lengthen once I got into the second third, which was nice. The middle of this cigar was an absolute treat. It was like eating a dark chocolate Hershey’s bar with almonds while drinking a cup of coffee. The final third saw an interesting transition with the profile turning towards pepper and earth. The construction and performance were flawless throughout the smoke, making for an enjoyable, easy going experience that I would recommend to mostly anyone, unless they only smoke strong, earthy, peppery cigars. 

Feel free to reach out to me with questions, concerns, criticisms, or just to talk at @guitarsandcigarsfarm on Instagram, or visit my website

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