2015 has been a huge year for the team over at CAO. While it’s a huge accomplishment for any cigar company to launch a successful cigar, it’s an even bigger deal to launch three starkly different ones around the same time and they all be a hit.
At the 2015 International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers (IPCPR) Trade Show in New Orleans, the focal points of the CAO booth were the new CAO Pilón and the Steel Horse (the much anticipated addition to the international award-winning Flathead line), but lurching in the background was also the Margaritaville line inspired by the 1977 Jimmy Buffett song by the same name.
Wrapper: Cuban-seed Ecuadoran
Vitola for Eval: 7 x 48 Churchill
The Pilón is inspired by an “old school” fermenting technique. Instead of using the widely used method of large rectangular pilóns, this method entails using smaller, circular pilóns which help bring out deeper flavors in the tobacco.
The Pilón has caramel color wrapper with minimal veins. It’s a smooth and sturdy cigar with a extremely cool large band complete with a drawing of the circular pilón on the back. The words “Loté Pequeño” are written on the top which is translated to “Small Batch” and comes complete with the blender’s (Rick Rodriguez) signature on the bottom.
Starting off with hints of sweetness, nutty and tea notes, the Pilón is an extremely consistent cigar that doesn’t change much as you smoke through it. The lack of transition is pleasant as the flavors you enjoy up front remain through the end. This is a great medium bodied, flavorful smoke that can be enjoyed any time of the day and is easily a go-to no matter the occasion.
Flathead Steel Horse
Wrapper: Connecticut Habano Grueso
Binder: Brazillian Arapiraca
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan
Vitola for Eval: 5.5 x 58 Apehanger
The Flathead cigar is a blend that is dear to CAO Master Blender Rick Rodriguez’s heart. Inspired by his love of cars and old pin-up girls, the Flathead took the industry by storm back in 2013. According to Rodriguez, during his travels promoting and sharing the Flathead, bikers would ask him “Why just the focus on cars? What about the bike culture?” Always valuing the opinions of the folks he meets around the country, Rodriguez was determined to create a cigar that bikers would not only love, but one that would represent them and make them proud.
While deviating from the Flathead box-pressed vitola, the Flathead Steel Horse is a parejo (traditionally round) that still sports the signature “flat head” or flat cap. The 58″ diameter and flat head is perfect for a double-punch. The oily, dark chocolate wrapper is honestly one of most beautiful I’ve seen on a cigar. Like a Harley revin’ up, I expected a huge kick but the Apehanger was extremely smooth and pleasant. I could feel the body creeping up after a few minutes and notes of leather, oak and cream picked up. It transitioned slightly going into the 2nd third with an interesting sweetness that I found hard to put my finger on. The round shape actually helped with my experience as I think a box-pressed cigar of this size would have felt a little awkward to smoke. On a fun note, this is a great cigar to smoke if you are in an “Ashing” contest because that thing REFUSED to fall off!
Havana Daydreamin’…from the Margaritaville Line
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Vitola for Eval: 5 x 50 Robusto
Where is Margaritaville? It’s in the tropics somewhere between the Port of Indecision and Southeast of Disorder, but no parallels of latitude or longitude mark the spot exactly. Passports are not required. Island music rules. No waiting lines for anything. There is a beach and a thatched roof bar perched on the edge of the turquoise sea where you can always find a bar stool. There are lots of lies and loads of stories. It’s a comical concoction that blends together like tequila, salt, and limes.
If that doesn’t make you want to smoke a cigar, I don’t know what will! The name of the stick alone implies that this cigar is one that can and should be enjoyed in that beach space while spacing out. If you’re not able to day dream on one in Havana with this cigar, create your own, kick back and light it up.
The Havana Daydreamin’ cigar is light in color and bumpy in texture. Its draws is incredibly smooth and offers mild woodsy and creamy notes. As you imagine the sand in your toes and the sun on your brow, the cigar flavors open up gradually into notes of nutmeg, wheat and tea. This cigar is one that anyone can smoke, from the seasoned aficionado to the casual smoker…the party goer to the person that just wants to enjoy a pleasant cigar and chill.
The 2015 releases for CAO definitely hit every segment of the market, offering a line up with something mild, medium and fuller in body…while giving great history lessons in cigar making, the biking lifestyle and pop culture. Give the newest editions a try and be on the lookout for more innovative releases from CAO in the coming months.