I’m switching things up again this week. My schedule made it difficult to set aside the time it takes to do a video, so I thought I’d borrow a page from Ben’s book do a written review. Or is that steal a page? I’m also swiping most of his format for this review as well.
I’ve spent most of my smoking time this week puffing on Caldwell’s Blind Man’s Bluff, with a review in mind. Walking through the local humidor, looking for review ideas, I spotted it in the corner. We’ve been a little light on Caldwell cigar reviews over the years, so it seemed like a likely candidate. Sure enough, none of us had posted a review.
So what do we need to know going into this review? I mean other than for some reason I keep calling the cigar Blind Man’s Puff instead of Blind Man’s Bluff? For the sake of identification, it’s the one with the band featuring what looks like an old time gangster (Al Capone era) with his his eyes wiped out. There may be some sort of social commentary implied here, something about criminals with no vision, but I’m going to stick with the facts on this one. It’s the first of Caldwell’s cigars to be produced in Central America. As for the rest of the pertinent details, I give you the Cigar Stats:
Size: 5 x 50
Source: Agroindustrias Laepe S.A., Honduras
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Habano
Binder: Honduran Criollo
Filler: Dominican San Vicente Viso, Honduran Criollo Ligero
Smoking Time: 1 3/4 hour
The Pre Light
With the cigar out of the cellophane, I noted the wrapper aroma was both a sweet and funky barnyard. The scent of the foot smelling like the sweeter, fruitier notes of fermenting tobacco you notice in a curing barn. The wrapper was oily and rustic, with medium sized veins on the surface, and what appeared to be larger veins creating some lumpiness just beneath. To the touch, the cigar was just firm enough so as not to raise concern.
The First Third
It was very syrupy to start- rich and raisiny. It wasn’t long before the initial rich sweetness was joined by earth, pepper and almond. Comparing this review smoke the others I’ve had this week, this stick seems to be less earthy but more peppery at this point.
The burn got off to a good start, the smoke volume was good and the draw was perfect. But it wasn’t long before the burn line started to stray. The ash is dark gray and solid, but looks a little less solid than some of the others I lit up this week.
Speaking of burn lines, Walt used to talk about the “mascara line” when he was discussing the burn. That term always amused me. I’m reminded of it now, because the Blind Man’s Bluff produced a larger one than average one, accentuated a bit by some burn issues. If the mascara line were any thicker, it’d be touring with KISS.
The Second Third
As I burned into the second third, I noticed a cracked formed in the wrapper a little above the burn line. It’s small, and doesn’t seem concerning from a structural standpoint. Initially I wouldn’t have noticed it at all if it weren’t for the tiny wisp of smoke that escaped from it. It never became a problem, but burn irregularities did accentuate its appearance.
Pepper backed down in the second third, and the sweetness that really popped in the first third transitioned into more of a caramel or boozy molasses. At one point, it reminded me a little of taste of tobacco that has been aged in a whiskey or rum barrel. Before the end of the third, earth and pepper started to return to the profile.
The oddity of the burn continued, I had to touch it up again. I’m surprised, this is the only one I’ve had so far that burned this rough. It’s from the same place and same box as the others. As ugly as the ash is this time around, it is holding firm.
The Final Third
An earthy, leathery cherry sweetness kicks off the final third as the body grows. Surprised and impressed by continued syrupiness of the profile, definitely the outlier in the bunch I smoked. As the curtain closes, pepper, leather and black coffee take over.
Things took a turn for the worse in the final third when I somehow burned a hole in my shirt. It happened after one of several touch ups. Apparently some burning tobacco fell on my shirt and kept right on burning. Ironic, as this cigar has been hell bent on going out the whole second half. Damn it, I liked that shirt. I’m going to have to start giving cigars numerical ratings so I can deduct half a point for unwarranted property damage.
The tragedy of my shirt aside (RIP), the cigar continued to perform poorly when it came to burning tobacco instead of fabric, requiring several touch ups. Again, completely out of character with all previous experiences. But while it was burning, the flavor was really good and not vastly different than the others, and the volume of smoke was great. And once again, even facing almost certain apparel peril, I nubbed it.
The Caldwell Blind Man’s Bluff really grew on me as I smoked it this week. As I smoked the first one, I thought it was pretty good. As I burned the second, it occurred to me that in both smokes, I never grew tired of it, and I was hesitant to let it go at the end. I looked forward to lighting up the third. Now the one I lit up today definitely had some uncharacteristic issues in the burn department, but I still enjoyed it. The touch ups and relights were an annoyance, but the flavor seemed right on. And for me, as long as the draw isn’t tight and the flavor is right I’m less concerned with those other issues. If you haven’t tried the Blind Man’s Bluff, I’d recommend it. If you have, you know what I’m talking about. This is a cigar I will definitely smoke again in the future.
tl;dr: It tastes good every time. I just picked one that burned badly. Buy one.