I find Robert Caldwell’s story so rich and froth with intrigue. One could spin this review and take it down so many roads. I could conjure T.H. White from The Once and Future King, “The bravest people are the ones who don’t mind looking like cowards.” Even in the context of a compliment, I’m not a fan of even insinuating cowardice, especially for someone I hold in high regard; Helen Keller’s famous line, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much,” comes to mind. Caldwell’s well-documented trials, both good and bad, remind me how finding the right team can be a lot like Keller’s grateful words. For years, her world had given up on her, but the right team helped her realize her greatness. But still, this is a cigar review and not a biography. So, I decided to go on-the-nose, with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” That’s certainly appropriate for the comeback-Caldwell, whose journey includes several highways and byways to success.
One of these roads includes his line, Long Live the King (LLTK). Alongside the King is Dead and Eastern Standard, it was one of the three original lines introduced by Caldwell in 2014 to bring the Caldwell Cigar Company to market. At this past July’s IPCPR Trade Show, Caldwell introduced the Long Live the King MAD MF as the third generation in the LLTK line.
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Long Live the King MAD MF Corona Breakdown
- Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
- Binder: Indonesia
- Filler: USA | Dominican Republic | Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacalera William Ventura (Dominican Republic)
- Production: Limited Edition (75,000 cigars total)
- Vitola: 5¾″ × 43 (Corona)
- Price: $10.40 (MSRP)
Just on spec, this blend caught my eye. The Mad MF (Mad Mother F**ker) features a maduro (obviously) wrapper hailing from San Andrés, Mexico. While the original LLTK heavily featured Dominican tobaccos, the LLTK MAD MF features an internationally sourced blend that does include tobaccos from the Dominican Republic in the filler, along with Nicaraguan and Pennsylvania. The intriguing filler and maduro wrapper sandwich an Indonesian binder.
Unlike the original LLTK release, MAD MF is limited in nature, with roughly 75,000 cigars being released between four sizes overall. This is more in line with the previous LLTK spinoff—Savages—which debuted in 2016 in a somewhat limited nature.
The LLTK MAD MF’s label grabs my immediate attention, featuring the original caricature of the “king” with his large crown falling over his eyes. The color scheme gets a regal upgrade, sporting a gorgeous royal blue/gold combination. Included is a secondary band sporting “MAD MF” in gold, all caps, script font. It sets the tone for the near-jet-black maduro wrapper. The maduro leaf has just a bit of oil to it with no visible tooth, however, once placed in your mouth there is a noticeable gritty texture to the cigar. The corona’s wrapper has a rich, earthy smell and the foot puts off aromas of honey, scratch-made flour tortilla, and pepper.
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The initial aromas are oaky, pepper, and coffee. The initial portion of the cigar is (no pun intended) peppered with an array of spices. There is very pronounced toffee and red plum sweetness balanced with a subtle earthy note. The aroma becomes more dominated by oak and the finishing notes on the palate are short and tasting of coffee and hazelnut. There is a richness and depth to this cigar that recalls one of my favorite queries posed by Carroll’s most famous character, “’what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?” As I get deeper into this cigar, much like its creator, the journey has only begun.
As the cigar progresses, there is a sharp turn in the flavor profile at an almost unparalleled experience level for me. The richness is as prominent and vivid as it was beginning, but begins to melt away like ice cubes in the Texas sun. What develops and is left are subtle hints of coffee, but an introduction of strong leather and earthy notes. While an interesting and flavorful turn, this portion of the cigar has me yearning for the sweetness from the first portion of the cigar.
“Begin at the beginning […] and go on till you come to the end; then stop.”
Carroll’s grasp of the obvious notwithstanding, sometimes in life, wishes would come true. The balance of this cigar returns as I progress into the final portion of the smoking experience. The red plum sweetness returns, along with the toffee and pepper. The retrohale is one aspect of this cigar that remained consistent and flavorful throughout. Hazelnuts, coffee, and the peppery spice on the retro—every time. The pepper intensified slightly as the cigar progressed.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Yes, it’s one of those cigars that you enjoy smoking each time; with its heavy character, I’d love to see what some age will do to this cigar.
- Flavor: Near-full
- Strength: Medium
- Body: Medium / Full
- Red plum
- Smoke Time: 1 hour
- Pairing Recommendation: Cappuccino | Stout | Scotch ale | Añejo rum | Blackberries and blue cheese
- Purchase Recommendation: Box split
- Consistent, flavorful retrohale
- Terrific draw
- Great start/end to the experience
- Polarizing profile
- Burn problems in last third