I recently had the time to sit down with Rick Rodriguez who spearheads product development for CAO, at Club Macanudo. It was here that I got the feeling that CAO was in good hands even without the cigar being released at that time. According to Rick Rodriguez he worked with a group of in-house cigar experts to put together the first new release for CAO under new ownership. He knew that all eyes would be on them when the new cigar came out.
He began the process with Olancho San Agustin wrapper tobacco from the proprietary 2008 crop. Ideal climatic conditions that year led to the expression of essential oils on the leaf. When processed, the natural oils contribute to the cigar’s uniquely robust, earthy flavor and full-bodied aroma.
To achieve its uniquely balanced, medium-bodied taste, Rick and his team have punctuated the flavorful OSA wrapper with a hearty Connecticut Broadleaf binder, and a blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran filler. The result is a provocative taste that celebrates the nuances of Olancho San Agustin tobacco.
The cigar will be available in 25 count boxes in 3 sizes.
- Lot 50 (5 x 50/$5.75 MSRP)
- Lot 54 (6 x 54/$6.25 MSRP)
- Lot 58 (6.5 x 58/$6.75 MSRP)
So the question remains, how do these smoke?
Cigar: CAO OSA Sol
Size: 5 x 50 (Lot 50/Robusto)
Wrapper: Olancho San Agustin (Honduras)
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras
Cigars Smoked For Review: 5
Appearance and Construction: The wrapper of the CAO OSA Sol has a brindle like appearance with some symmetrical variations of color on the leaf. There are some oils present on this cigar that has it’s fair share of ultra thin veins. In the hand the CAO OSA Sol has the feeling of rawhide between the fingers as we search for sport spots in the bunching of tobacco and roll of the cigar. The result was none to be found and the foot is well packed. The band of the cigar means nothing in the smoking of the cigar, but it can play a part in the first time a consumer picks up a smoke. With that said and done, I love the band of the cigar, specifically the wavy lime green storm symbol.
Flavor & Notes: The foot of the cigar reminds me of the sweetness from a marshmallow and some wood, in fact it takes me back to camping and roasting marshmallows over an open fire. The draw of the cigar is primarily earthy with some wood added to the mix. Once the cigar is lit a slight sweetness mixed in with some distinct notes of wood. In the second third of the cigar there are some notes of citrus that join the mix which is mostly earth and wood. The last third becomes heavy on the earth with some pepper and wood through the nose. The finish was just light being not too short nor too long.
Smoking Characteristics: When smoking the CAO OSA Sol the one thing I noticed the most was how dense the smoke was and the cigar became. The cigar seemed to get heavier as it went on. Thankfully it didn’t become wet. The smoking time was 90 minutes and the burn of the cigar was ideal. The salt and pepper ash on the review stick didn’t hold more than an inch at the time, but i was in a pretty intense phone call at the time waving my hands all over the place. The aroma of the cigar was woody and enjoyable.
Conclusion: It’s funny how the loyalty of a brand can really alter the opinion of a cigar. I know a few retailers who were trashing this cigar before samples were even available out of loyalty to the brand under its old owners. The most important thing when trying a new cigar is to keep an open mind. The CAO OSA Sol reminds me of nothing in the current portfolio, which I think is a good thing. Is it the best cigar in the CAO catalog, no. Is it the worst, definitely not. The result is a cigar that was very enjoyable at the right price that I will smoke again.