A few years back, while I was still working for The Longfiller Company, the largest independent cigar importer in The Netherlands, I walked into the office one day and my employer said “Stijn Elbersen was here and he left a box of CAO Pilon Churchill, I love them, try one”. I was surprised for two reasons, first that Stijn visited our office, Stijn is an important manager at STG, a company that we didn’t do much business with at the time, and that my employer, who’s very loyal to what he likes, only a few brands that he enjoys a lot, liked a CAO. I grabbed a cigar, lit it and I was under impressed.
At the last Intertabac trade show I ran into Stijn and Rick Rodriguez, we spend some time chatting and they gave me the Fuma em Gorda, Anaconda and this CAO Pilon Robusto. The Pilon is quite unique as a very old method of fermenting the tobacco has been used for the Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. Nowadays fermentation is done in huge, rectangle stacks, creating more heat than the Pilon style, which is done in smaller, round, stacks. Due to the smaller stacks the temperature is lower, so it takes longer for the leafs to fully ferment but it also leads to a bigger reduction of ammonia and sugar. Add some Nicaraguan filler and binder from Esteli and Ometepe to the wrapper and there you have the CAO Pilon.
The wrapper feels lacquered, its coffee colored with a nice shine and a long thin vein. The beige ring is big and simple, stylish with black letters pilon in the centre and the CAO logo. The size 5×52 is mentioned as well as Rick Rodriguez’s signature. The triple capped head is beautifully rounded and the cigar feels evenly firm everywhere. The aroma is lacking though, I don’t smell a lot when I sniff the cigar.
I punched the cigar. The cold draw is good, I taste a mild sweet raisin flavor. After lighting I taste a nice smooth coffee. Slowly the flavor changes to smooth cedar with floral notes. Halfway I still taste the cedar, with the floral notes, a little vanilla and pepper. The pepper fades, the floral and vanilla notes are getting stronger. Near the end I taste some toast and pepper.
The draw is great and the white ash is very dense. The smoke is thick and full. The burn is decent. This cigar is medium bodied and medium flavored. The smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? It’s better than I remembered but nah.