When it comes to short runs and limited rare finds, Robert Caldwell, from Caldwell Cigars is certainly one of the names that come to mind with his Lost & Found Collection. The collection, when originally introduced, was based on Robert Caldwell, Tony Bellatto and Jaclyn Sears searching for cigars in factories that were lying around or were never paid for by a brand. They would Find these Lost cigars and try them, if they were good the trio would brand them as Lost & Found. That model worked well for them but then others got into the same hunting game and suddenly there were no more lost cigars out there in the wilderness.
Wanting to keep the brand alive, Caldwell and Bellatto decided they would contract for their own, limited production cigars and age them for at least two years before shipping them out to the market. The first of these hit shelves in late 2022 and are known as the Lost & Found 22 Minutes to Midnight. If you are wondering where the name “22 Minutes to Midnight” came from, Robert explained the meaning to me:
“Tony and I were smoking the test blends but we were in different places. I received a text message from Tony late at night saying these blends were good enough for the project. The text was time stamped 11:38PM or “”22 Minutes to Midnight”. So that is where the name came from. If you look at the band you will see two of the blends state “11:38” and the other two state “23:38”. The 11:38 are Tony’s blends and the 23:38 are my blends.“
The four blends in the line are:
- Connecticut Radiante (Caldwell)
- Habano de Oro (Caldwell)
- Criollo (Bellatto)
- San Andres Maduro (Bellatto)
Other than the wrapper defined in the name, the rest of the blend is Proprietary.
Each blend is expressed in three vitolas and come packaged in 20-count boxes. It should be noted that the Coronas vary in size based on who came up with the blend:
- Robusto (5 x 50) – MSRP $18.25
- Toro (6 x 52) – MSRP – $19.61
- Corona Deluxe (5.5 x 46) – MSRP $16.96 (Caldwell)
- Corona Extra (6 x 46) – MSRP $16.96 (Bellatto)
For this review, I sampled two of the Lost & Found 22 Minutes to Midnight Connecticut Radiante Corona Deluxe cigars, which I got from attending Destination Herf earlier this year that Caldwell Cigars is a premium sponsor of.
The Blend is described as:
- Wrapper – Connecticut Shade
- Binder – Proprietary
- Filler – Proprietary
The whole line was handcrafted back in 2020 at the William Ventura El Maestro factory in the Dominican Republic.
The Lost & Found 22 Minutes to Midnight Connecticut Radiante is a beautifully crafted silky-smooth cigar. The wrapper has a an even light tan hue with a slight oiliness. The cigar fells well packed and exhibits minimal veins. An expertly applied triple cap finishes the construction.
A single, thin, white and gold band adorns the cigar that simply states 23:38, displays the Lost & Found logo, and includes Robert Caldwell’s signature.
Running the cigar along the nose, I picked a fruit (pear) note off the foot but very little along the barrel.
Using my CigarMedics Baller cutter, I opened the cap perfectly and gave it some cold draw puffs that I found to be spot with restriction and offered notes of butter, pepper, and fruit.
Using a lit cedar spill, I warmed the foot to an even orange glow and drew in the first puffs of a pepper and tangy fruit notes to start the journey. Follow along as I burn this one to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Full volume of smoke right off the first puff
- Pepper and tangy fruit begin the experience
- Mild wave forms in the burn
- A solid light grey ash develops
- A touch of dryness builds in the profile
- Nut aromas waft off the foot
- Ash fell revealing a slightly off centered burn cone
- Mild sweetness develops in the second third with an added buttery cream sensation
- Spice notes join the mix midway through
- Slight earthiness is noted deep in the second third adding a bit of dimension
- Dry fruit notes and a floral aroma enter moving into the final with an increased spiciness
- Medium in Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 35 minutes
The Lost & Found 22 Minutes to Midnight Connecticut Radiante Corona Deluxe awakens the palate with a lively combination of peppery and tangy fruit flavors. As the smoke progresses, a subtle dryness gradually takes hold within the flavor profile. Meanwhile, an aroma of a delightful hint of nuttiness tantalizes the senses. In the second third, a mild sweetness emerges, accompanied by a luxurious, buttery creaminess that adds a rich layer to the experience. Midway through the journey, spice notes make an entrance, adding an exciting twist to the flavor medley. Deep within the second third, a subtle earthiness surfaces, injecting a new dimension to the overall profile. As the smoke transitions into its final stages, notes of dry fruit come to the forefront, accompanied by a delicate floral aroma along with an increased spiciness, rounding out the experience. This is worth grabbing a fiver of. I rate this a 93.
Point Deductions: (-1) Mild Wave in Burn; (-1) Off-Centered Burn Cone
Bonus Points: (+1) Consistent and Pleasurable across Multiple Samples