CAO

C.A.O. Fuma em Corda

I love CAO and I hate CAO. I love their creativity, how everything comes together with the cigars and the packaging, the names and all but somehow their cigars aren’t for my palate. No complaints about construction, not even about the quality of the tobacco, everything is good, they are just not for my palate. Until Rick Rodriguez gave me the Amazon Basin, now that was a cigar that I did like and I rated it with a 92 score.


Now at Intertabac I met up with Stijn Elbersen and Rick Rodriguez and they handed me the rest of the trilogy, the Fuma em Corda, named after the way the farmers fermented the tobacco, rolled up like a rope and the Anaconda. The cigars are made in Nicaragua, where the arapiraca tobacco was blended with Brazilian Braganca tobacco and Honduran and Nicaraguan filler. Add a Cameroon binder and a Honduran Corojo wrapper and you have the CAO Fuma em Corda. I smoked the toro, the vitola that was exclusive to the online retailers.


The wrapper is dark brown but not evenly brown, some darker smears here and there but it fits the whole look with the piece of rolled up tobacco as a ring, with a little imagination you can see yourself smoking this cigar in the rainforest. Where the Amazon Basin had the string as a ring, the Fuma em Corda has it crossed over the front.  When you walk into a cigar shop, this is the cigar that will stand out. The cigar feels evenly filled, firm to the touch and the cap is nice, something I always look at. The cigar has a strong smell, poop and some minty freshness is what I get from sniffing the cigar.


I wanted to punch the cigar but I just sat down with a bottle of water, my preferred drink while reviewing, the latest episode of The Walking Dead was loaded and then I realized my punch was at my desk, I had a cutter in my reach so I cut the cigar instead. The cold draw is a bit loose. After lighting the cigar I taste coffee with a very spicy, peppery aftertaste. After half an inch i taste herbs and spices with a little sweetness. After a third the flavor completely changes to wood with licorice and herbs. There is still a peppery undertone with a little citrus. Halfway the licorice and pepper are the dominant flavors. Slowly the wood returns. Near the end the pepper grows in strength and overpowers the other flavors.


The draw is a little loose yet the smoke is thick, full, white and plentiful, it made my air cleaner work overtime. The pepper and salt colored ash is firm. The burn is straight. There is a lot of evolution, a lot of flavor changes in this medium full bodied, full flavored cigar. The smoke time is little over two hours.

Would I buy this cigar again? I hope there will be a new batch of these or that the trilogy will be a standard offering.

Score: 93
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Categories: 93, C.A.O. Fabricos de Tabacos Nicaragua, CAO, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CAO La Traviata Angry Santa

Yesterday I wrote a review on the CAO La Traviata Maduro Evil Snowman Limited Edition, the limited edition that CAO released in 2013 for the holiday season. But the Evil Snowman wasn’t the only limited edition as STG, the parent company of CAO, released the Angry Santa too at the same day. Where the Evil Snowman is the La Traviata Maduro the Angry Santa is a limited edition of the La Traviata but a little modified.


The modifications are not huge when it comes to the wrapper, as its the same Ecuadorian Habano but just from a higher priming, the blend however is different according to the CAO website. I wonder if this will be as good as I remember the La Traviata to be, that was by far my favorite CAO although the Amazon Basin was good too. I didn’t care for any other CAO though, so I’m hoping they didn’t screw up the blend but then again, if they did, its only a limited edition with a small number of cigars released.


Just like the Evil Snowman the Angry Santa has a huge ring, half the cigar is covered with a ring on black shiny paper and an image of an evil angry santa that makes Billy Bob Thornton looks good as Bad Santa. This santa gives children nightmares. The santa is smoking a La Traviata and the smoke is forming the letters CAO. Th wrapper is oily and shiny with a reddish brown shine. The construction feels good and the cigar is beautifully shaped. The aroma is a mixture of wood, mint and herbs and medium strong.


I punched the cigar and find a loose cold draw, mild spicy. After lighting I taste spices like cinnamon with cedar, lime and some sugar. After an inch I taste cedar with nutmeg. Halfway the lime is getting stronger. The final third starts with spicy cedar


The draw is a little loose but not as loose as the cold draw. The smoke is thick and white and the ash is white too. The cigar is medium bodied yet full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and fifteen minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, first of all it’s a limited edition from a few years back and secondly I remembered the La Traviata to be better.

Score: 89
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Categories: 89, CAO, Nicaraguan cigars, STG Nicaragua | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

CAO La Traviata Maduro Evil Snowman

In 2013 CAO releases two limited edition versions of their La Traviata line, one of the only CAO lines that I like. I found both of the limited editions, Angry Santa and Evil Snowman, at Corona Cigars in Orlando, at the downtown location in February 2014 and I bought one of both 6 1/2 x52 Toro sized cigars just to try, as I do with every new CAO line as I do love their creativity in lines, packaging etc although most of their lines turn out to be a disappointment for me. But La Traviata was a good one, so my expectations for this limited edition is quite high.


The Evil Snowman is based on the La Traviata Maduro line, the cigar is made at the STG factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. The wrapper is a Connecticut broadleaf, the binder is from Honduras while the filler is from both Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Only 21.000 cigars were rolled so I guess I was quite lucky that I was able to buy one of the last singles Corona had lying around in their huge humidor and that for the very reasonable price of 7 dollar even though that was little over the MSRP of $6.60


The wrapper is dark, smooth, oily but the construction is a bit wrinkly, yet evenly firmed and the head is beautiful. But lets not kid anybody, the ring catches the eye first. Donald Trump would say “it’s huge” and he’s right because the ring is over 3 inch long. Its shiny black with an image of an angry, evil snowman that could come straight out of a Tim Burton movie and the snowman is smoking a CAO La Traviata. The smoke forms the letters CAO. The aroma is medium strong and reminds me of dark chocolate and hay.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is perfect. I taste a very mild raisin flavor before lighting the cigar with my vintage Ronson. After lighting I taste a full coffee. After half an inch I taste spicy, peppery wood with a little citrus. Soon after it’s wood with a pepper on the back of my tongue and a metallic flavor. After a third I taste pepper, wood and a faint cocoa powder with a soil flavor. Slowly the cocoa gets stronger and a little more of a chocolate flavor. With an inch and a half to go I taste nuts, spices, pepper and wood with a little lime.


The draw is almost perfect. The light gray ash isn’t really firm but it sure is pretty. The smoke is medium full in volume and thickness. The burn is straight, no touch up needed. The cigar is medium bodied and medium full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and forty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? No, but I never found the CAO la traviata Maduro worth getting again so that’s no surprise.

Score: 87
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Categories: 87, CAO, Nicaraguan cigars, STG Nicaragua | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

C.A.O. Amazon Basin

Back in 2014 C.A.O. released their new special project, the Amazon Basin which is made of an Ecuadorean Sumatra wrapper, a Nicaraguan binder and filler from Nicaragua, Brazil and Colombia but the unique part of the blend is the rare Bragança tobacco that only grows in a small part of the Amazon and is only harvested every 3 years. Now I’m not a C.A.O. fan, I love their concepts, their innovative packaging and all but their cigars never did it for me, except for the La Traviata but still, as always I was intrigued.


In september of that year Rick Rodriguez from C.A.O. was one of the guests at the Dutch Big Smoke, of which I was one of the organizers. And Rick gave me one of the original release cigars, something I appreciate a lot but because of my huge stash of cigars and the C.A.O. brand the cigar got lost in my walk-in humidor. Earlier today I was talking to a friend and he was raving on about the cigar, that he has 2 boxes coming of the 2017 release, so I told him my experiences with C.A.O. but he kept on insisting I should try the cigar, so I dug it up (good thing about having your collection in stogie rate and taking the time to make different collections is that even though you have a huge stash, you can still easily find your cigars) and I’m ready to light it.


The first thing that I notice, and I think everybody notices, is the ring, or the lack of it. The cigar doesn’t have a ring but 4 tobacco leaves rolled into 4 separate wires and then wrapped around the cigar like a ring. It’s this kind of ingenuity that always makes me want to try new C.A.O. cigars anyway. The wrapper is nice, dark and shiny without a lot of veins. The construction feels good and the cap is placed nicely. And then the aroma, that makes my mouth water, dark chocolate and the smell is strong too.


I punched the cigar, my preferred way of decapping and with a 6×52 vitola it’s easy to punch. The cold draw is perfect and I taste some raisin, pepper and a mild minty flavor with a drop of lemon, and that all before lighting it. After lighting it with my Ronson varaflame I taste coffee, chocolate, toast and cinnamon. After half an inch i taste cinnamon, nutmeg, toast, lemon and some pepper. After an inch I taste lime with cocoa and toast. After a third it’s spicy cinnamon with pepper and cacao, the evolution is great. Halfway I taste pepper with cocoa and a little lime and mint in the aftertaste. Every other puff I taste cinnamon too, nice and spicy.  After two thirds the toast returns with the flavors mentioned before. I wonder if the ring is smokable since it’s tobacco and what it will do for the flavor profile of the cigar and the answer is yes and mint, more mint but also some bitterness.


The draw is fantastic, nothing less than perfect. The smoke is thick and full. The ash is light gray and firm, with nice layers. The burn is straight and slow. The evolution is great. This cigar is full flavored and medium full bodied. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? To my surprise: yes!

Score: 92
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Your reviewer with Rick Rodriguez (CAO cigars)

Categories: 92, CAO, Nicaraguan cigars, STG Nicaragua | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

CAO Brazilia Corcovado

This cigar was part of a contest on the Dutch cigar website Sigarenliefhebber, and part of the contest is to write a review, so here it is. Good to know one forehand that I’m not the biggest fan of Brazilian tobacco, although used in the right way it can work in a cigar, and I found CAO one of those brands that seems to have a talent for making cigars I don’t like, but plenty of people do so why should they care about my opinion?
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The first thing I notice is the size, a nub size and as a fan of the classic sizes this doesn’t attract me at all. Anything over ring 54 is a waste of good tobacco in my opinion. This cigar contains Nicaraguan filler and a Brazilian wrapper. The looks are okay, the cigar feels tight and the predraw gives quite some resistance. I taste pepper and smell a nice earthy aroma.
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I taste coffee, not surprisingly with some sweetness as sweetness is the characteristic of Brazilian tobacco. It’s not unpleasant, but there’s no development in the first centimeter, after that the sweetness slowly gains strength.
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After a third I still taste the sweetness with a little bit of coffee and some pepper. The sweetness is overpowering with white pepper on the background. The coffee is only noticeable in the aftertaste. After two thirds the cigar gets more character with more pepper and even some wood at the end.
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During the hour and twenty minutes that I smoked this cigar I found that the draw was good but the smoke was thin. The white ash is dense and firm. I can’t complain about the burn.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Maybe in a smaller ring gauge, this jawbreaker has no dynamics at all.

Appearance: 7
Construction: 8
Draw: 8
Burn: 9
Smoke & ash: 8
Aroma first part: 7
Aroma second part: 7
Aroma third part: 7

Categories: C.A.O. Fabrica de Tabacos Honduras, CAO, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

CAO Colombia Robusto

If i would have seen this cigar in a cigarshop i would not have bought it for two reasons, it’s a CAO, a brand that somehow never seems to hit my palate with exception of the La Traviata although I like the creativity of the brand and the color of the wrapper that looks like a Connecticut shade. But Rick Rodriguez personally handed me this cigar at the Dutch Big Smoke of 2014 so I’ll give it a try.
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The cigars are made by Scandinavian Tobacco Group in Esteli, Nicaragua with a Nicaraguan wrapper, a Cameroon binder and filler from Brazil and of course Colombia, cultivated in an coastal area of this unusual tobacco country. The pale yet shiny wrapper ain’t that attractive and the band doesn’t add to it, although it’s clearly a CAO band and uses the colors of Colombia so that’s cool. The construction feels good and the cigar has a pretty strong and sour aroma, I’ve had it for a year so it can’t be too young. The predraw is fine, a little peppery and harsh.
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I taste coffee with some pepper in the aftertaste. After a few puffs the cigar gets bad, a nasty soapy flavor with herbs. When the soap disappears my worst cigar fear comes through, that typical musty Connecticut shade flavor.
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After a third the worst part is over, I taste a mild wooden flavor although the Connecticut shade mustiness is still noticeable. Halfway it’s just a mild wood, just a little harsh on the background. The final third loses the harshness too and the burn corrects itself. But still, it’s not my kind of cigar, even when a little pepper shows up.
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The draw is fine, but I only get a small amount of thin smoke. Allang the way gets acceptable though. The draw is fine but the burn is crooked. The ash is salt and pepper colored and firm. The cigar is mild to medium bodied and mild flavored. The smoke time is little over an hour and a half.
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Would i buy this cigar again? Sorry Rick, I’m grateful that you gave me this cigar but it’s not for me.
Appearance: 7
Construction: 8
Draw: 8
Burn: 7
Smoke & ash: 6
Aroma first part: 5
Aroma second part: 6
Aroma third part: 6

Categories: C.A.O. Fabricos de Tabacos Nicaragua, CAO, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

C.A.O. America potomac

This cigar is a looker and lives up to the America name because both wrappers are American. The dark wrapper is a broadleaf Connecticut while the lighter wrapper is Connecticut and both are grown in the United States. The binder is Brazilian and the filler, all ligero, comes from Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Italy and the United States. I smoked the Potomac, a 5×56 cigars that I got a few years ago from Eric from Kioki Cigars as a welcome gift when I signed up for Club Stogie (lowland louie, rest in peace)
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The wrapper is beautiful, and instead of making a straight forward barberpole the people at C.A.O. created an unusual pattern with the two different wrappers, it is more like a lighter colored pinstripe on a dark cigar. The cigar has a mild smell of wood. The construction feels good. The bands support the whole America theme of the cigar. The predraw is on the loose side and tastes like spicy raisin.
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I taste a bitter and musty coffee flavor with something sweet and that sweetness becomes dominant after a few puffs. After half an inch I taste some wood, some herbs, lots of sweetness and those flavors are mild spicy.
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After an inch and a half the flavors are sweet with herbs, burned wood and a hint of chocolate. Halfway the sweetness disappears and now I taste burned and mild spicy herbs. After two thirds I taste a mild salty licorice flavor with burned herbs and wood.
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This cigar has a smoke time of an hour and ten minutes. I got a lot of thick white smoked. The light colored as is firm. The burn is crooked. This cigar is full flavored and medium to full bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? No, this cigar reminds me of an old girlfriend. Both looked good but both left a bad taste in my mouth.

Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 6 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 5 / 10
Aroma second part: 6 / 10
Aroma third part: 5 / 10

Categories: C.A.O. Fabrica de Tabacos Honduras, CAO, Honduran cigars | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

C.A.O. La Traviata radiante

I never liked any C.A.O. cigar until I smoked my first C.A.O. La Traviata. That was a Divino and I liked it a lot. A friend gave me this cellophane wrapped Radiante, 6 inch long with a ring of 52. The cigar has a filler from Nicaraguan and Dominican filler, a Cameroon binder with an Ecuadorian habano wrapper.
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The Ecuadorian habano wrapper has a leathery look and is dark, shiny and oily with a few veins. The band is simple yet tasteful. The construction feels good. The cigar has a strong barnyard smell. The predraw is good and I taste a spicy and full raisin flavor.
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I get a strong coffee flavor, mild spicy and peppery. The coffee slowly changes into wood with a little bit of chocolate. After an inch the wood is dominant with a herbal spice and the chocolate disappeared. Halfway the structure of the flavors is mild creamy and the chocolate returns, the wood and herbs are still there.
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After two thirds I still taste the wood and herbs, but now with a sweetness and some pepper on the back of my throat. The wood slowly fades away, just like the sweetness. All I taste are herbs, spicy but not peppery anymore.
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This cigar lasted me for a long time, an hour and fifty minutes. I got a lot of medium thick smoke. The draw and the burn are good. The light colored ash is firm. The cigar is full flavored and medium to full bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Without a doubt

Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: C.A.O. Fabricos de Tabacos Nicaragua, CAO, Honduran cigars | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

C.A.O. Tony Soprano

When I joined the late Club Stogie I got a private message from Eric, owner of Kioki Cigars, asking me for my address for a welcome package. I didn’t know anything about bombs and gave my address. Eric bombed the shit out of me and included in his bomb was this limited edition CAO Tony Soprano. Now I am not a CAO fan, but I am a Soprano fan so I was looking forward to this 6½x60 monster. And I read comments from other CAO haters that they liked both this and the La Traviata. I like the La Traviata too, so I hoped I would like this puppy too.
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The cigar looks great, a dark oily wrapper with just a few veins and three stylish band. The CAO band is nice with two thin bands on the big logo, then there is a band with the signature of Tony Soprano and the foot is protected by another big band which says “limited edition”. The construction feels good. The predraw doesn’t give me any problems and tastes like raisin. I smell a barnyard aroma on the cigar.
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I taste a mild to medium coffee flavor and after an inch and a half the flavor changes to earth.
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Halfway the cigar gets a bit sweet and after ⅔ I can also taste some wood. Such a big cigar, so little taste and development in flavors :(
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I wasted two good hours of my life on this very flat cigar. The draw is good but I only got a poor amount of thin smoke. The ash is light colored and firm. The burn of this mild to medium bodied and mild to medium flavored cigar is good.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Hell no. I loved the series, I hate the cigars

Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 5 / 10
Aroma first part: 5 / 10
Aroma second part: 5 / 10
Aroma third part: 6 / 10

Categories: C.A.O. Fabrica de Tabacos Honduras, CAO, Honduran cigars | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

C.A.O. La Traviata divino

At the first day of the most recent Amsterdam herf, the owner of the B&M that hosted the herf, Hartman Cigars, handed me two C.A.O. La Traviata divinos that she got from a representative to try. The La Traviata isn’t for sale in The Netherlands yet, but will be soon.
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This 5 x 50 robusto comes wrapped in cellophane and looks quite nice, the band is tasteful with warm colors. The Ecuadorian habano wrapper is smooth, oily and shiny with a lot of small veins. The other tobaccos used to create this cigar are a Cameroon binder and a filler from Nicaraguan and Dominican tobacco.
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The construction feels good and the cigar has a pretty strong aroma. The aroma reminds me of a barnyard. I punched the cigar and got a predraw that was to my liking, not too loose, not too hard. I could taste raisin which was a little spicy.
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I can taste a spicy but muddy coffee flavor and after about a quarter of an inch I can also taste some wood while the muddy flavor fades away. The cigar gets better by the puff. The coffee fades away too, wood becomes the dominant flavor and the texture of the smoke in my mouth is a bit creamy.

The flavors don’t really progress a lot, but I like what I taste. Once I passed the middle point of the cigar a mild nut flavor joins the wood for a while but it disappears near the end. At the end I can taste some pepper through the wood.
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The cigar produces a lot of thick white smoke and very light colored ash, almost white. The draw and burn on this stick are great. I got a full flavor but strength wise I would rate it medium bodied. It lasted 75 minutes before I burned my fingers on the nub.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Yes. I never had a C.A.O. I liked before and even though I heard good stuff about the La Traviata I was skeptic, but the cigar surprised me pleasantly.

Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

Categories: C.A.O. Fabricos de Tabacos Nicaragua, CAO, Nicaraguan cigars | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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