It was during the Han dynasty that we saw the emergence of the Silk Road. This series of routes, roughly 4,000 miles in distance, connected East and West, and from 200BC to 1200AD this was a well traveled set of roads. Obviously more than silk was traded and items from all over the world made their way along the road, connecting and promoting different societies. It is a set of roads that is rich in history and when you name a cigar after it, you are really setting the standard high for the cigar in my opinion. With the length of the lancero and the silky Connecticut wrapper it possesses, you can see the connection that Robert Caldwell had in mind when he named this cigar The Silk Road. I have always been a fan of lanceros and loved when a manufacturer takes on making one with a Connecticut wrapper. It is a hard endeavor, but if you succeed you will have a great cigar. But enough of that, let's look at The Silk Road and see how it does.
Like the other smokes in the Eastern Standard line, the wrapper is classified as a Connecticut Hybrid from Ecuador, and was grown in 2006. The binder is Dominican Habano from 2005 and underneath that is a combination of aged tobacco from the Nicaragua and DR. He utilizes some Dominican Criollo '98 Viso from 2008, Dominican Corojo Ligero from 2006 and Nicaraguan Habano Seco from 2007. This lancero, The Silk Road, is a little bit bigger than your standard lanceros and it measures 7.5" with a 40 ring gauge. The lancero sports a dark Connecticut wrapper and it has a coloring that is closer to Colorado while staying in touch with those Natural qualities that you get with a Connecticut. There are some veins throughout the cigar and it is relatively smooth to touch while silky in texture. It is firm in hand and the aroma on the wrapper is that of fruit, tobacco, cedar and soft spices. The foot is showing an aroma of hay, leather and cedar, and the cold draw is producing similar notes while producing an easy cool draw.
The first third opens up by showing some really unique flavors and flavors that I typically pick up with one other cigar. I am getting some noticeable pepper notes, black pepper mostly, and it has this lemongrass flavor to it as well. It is followed by some cedar and cream notes, and it has a finish that is showing some additional wood and aged tobacco notes. It is a complex flavor profile and very unique when looking at the other Eastern Standard flavors. In terms of body, the cigar is smoking at a level between medium and medium full, and the strength is right there as well. It is like no other Connecticut lancero and it is something revolutionary in my opinion. The burn line is a little uneven though and it is slightly wavy with a charcoal ash on the end that is slightly flaky at times. The draw is cool though and producing a nice concentrated bit of smoke.
I am in the second third of the cigar now and the flavors are becoming more intense and showing some terrific qualities to that. The peppery flavors are very prominent in this third, much more so than before, and with that is a strong lemongrass flavor. I am getting those cedar notes as well, and it has a finish that shows some earthy qualities with that aged Dominican tobacco. I really dig the flavors and it is an elegant lancero. The body and strength are now at a medium full level and this may be classified as a Connecticut, but it is something more than that. It really is a Dark Connecticut cigar. The construction remains similar in this third to the first third and it is showing a slightly wavy burn line with that dark charcoal ash on the end of the cigar. The ash is holding on well and the draw is cool and producing a nice bit of concentrated smoke. I really love where this cigar has gone and look forward to the final third.
When I get into the final third, the cigar shows some transitioning and I am beginning to pick up some herbal notes on the front end. It is pairing with some creamy qualities, and there are some cedar notes present after that which are very enjoyable. The spice notes have really faded, but the lemongrass notes are still there on the finish, making for a great one at that. I really enjoyed the transitioning in this third, and it showed those great qualities throughout. The body has lessened some in this third and I am finding it to be more at a level between medium and medium-full. Along with that, the strength has faded some too and it is now smoking with a medium strength level on the finish. The construction really picks up in the final third and I begin to get a razor sharp burn line with that solid charcoal ash on the finish. The draw is cool and effortless, and it has a flavorful and softer finish.
The more I smoke this cigar, the more I love it. It is probably the best vitola in the Eastern Standard line, and I love that this limited edition is unique when looking at the other smokes. With the 40 ring gauge, this cigar shows a flavor profile that the core line did not show and it is a great one at that. Construction was not perfect, it wasn't bad, but it was not perfect, but the flavors were simply terrific. I could smoke this cigar all the time and it is a great afternoon and evening cigar. This particular smoke reminded me of a Cuban brand which I typically don't go for, because it takes a while for them to mature, but this cigar showed all those great qualities while being relatively young as a cigar. The Silk Road will age wonderfully and I think in two plus years it will be simply amazing. I really am loving this stick and it is becoming one of my favorites by Caldwell Cigar Company. I am giving this smoke a solid 95 rating, and I know that is high, but it is simply amazing.
Seth's Humidor Rating: 95