C.A.O. Fabricos de Tabacos Nicaragua

General Cigars, Esteli, Nicaragua

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

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

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: , , ,

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: , ,

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: , ,

C.A.O. Italia gondola

This ring 54 6 inch torpedo with Italian grown filler and a nice dark silky wrapper looks classy, smells classy, and has a great construction and a nice azzuri cigar band.
What I taste is a bit salty wood and tobacco but the salty flavor disappears and the cigar gets a bit sweet, sweet cedar. After about 2 inch the sweetness disappears too and it’s just one flavor: cedar. Halfway there is a period where the cigar is a bit bitter and when that disappears it is the wood again.
The rum that I drank brings out the sweetness of the cigar. The smoke is ok but it could be a little more. The ash is firm.
Would I buy this cigar again? No, like all C.A.O. cigars I tried so far, once but never again.

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

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

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