The Cain F 550 is part of the 2013 Studio Tobac sampler, which is how I obtained mine today. The 2013 Studio Tobac Sampler also includes a Padilla Studio Tobac Figurado, a Cain Daytona NUb 460, a CPT-013 Toro, a SPG -013 Toro, and a Cain FF Lancero. The 2013 World Tour Studio Tobac Sampler is available at Studio Tobac World Tour events during the summer of 2013, you can get one for free when you purchase a box of Studio Tobac cigars. Today I am reviewing the Cain F 550, lets see how it performs.
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Strength: Medium to Full (Full in final third)
Cigars Smoked For Review: 1
Construction and Appearance: The Cain F 550 has two bands, both on the foot of the cigar. The first band is the typical Cain F band which is gold and red with Cain F and straight ligero written on the front, and Habano Nicaragua written on the back. The second band is placed right above, and is the typical Studio Tobac band which is black, with a gold trim, and Studio Tobac written in white.
The wrapper of the Cain F 550 is a fairly dark brown with a deep rich reddish hue. The veins on the wrapper are extremely fine, and there is a nice rich oil to the wrapper as well. The cap is a bit generous, the seams somewhat visible, and there are no soft spots that I can detect.
Flavor and Notes: The wrapper of the Cain F 550 has a scent which is very clean, there is a bit of wood and leather that I can detect. The foot has notes of pepper, spice, leather, wood, and a little oak. To prepare for smoking the Cain F 550 I use a straight cut, and on the cold draw there are flavors of oak, pepper, spice, leather, and a little bit of coffee.
Smoking Characteristics: The Cain F 550 fires up with a rich mix of white pepper and spice, and also a nice subtle berry finish with notes of leather and wood. As the first third develops, there is a nice rich coffee bean flavor which has a slight bitterness to it. A light salty mineral tone joins the blend as well, and the spice and pepper remain as strong notes. The berry has faded already by the half inch point. The strength in this first third is in the medium to full range, and I’m glad I ate lunch before smoking this.
Into the second third of the Cain F 550, the white pepper completely fades from the flavor profile. The blend has become very smooth, the dominant notes are of a slightly bitter coffee bean, a salty mineral tone, and a rich spice. A bit of leather also joins the blend during this third. The first ash holds firmly well past the inch point, but the second ash drops off around the quarter inch mark. The draw is excellent with a sharp burn that has not required a single correction. The strength in this third enters the lower end of the full spectrum.
During the final third of the Cain F 550, I’m not experiencing a lot of evolution. The blend remains smooth with notes of coffee, a salty mineral tone, a rich spice, and a bit of leather. The blend is a bit toastier now than it was in the previous two thirds. The strength definitely kicks up to full now, which is the biggest change in this part of the smoking experience. The ash is holding firm once more, easily past the inch point, and the burn still hasn’t required any corrections. The Cain F 550 smokes cool to the nub, but does become slightly spongey towards the end.
Conclusion: Out of the Cain line, the F and the Daytona have always been the two I’ve been most standoffish about. I love the straight ligero maduro and habano and I pick them up quite often. I’ve never considered the F or the Daytona bad cigars, they just aren’t quite my profile. While the Daytona nub made a strong case for the Daytona line with me, the F 550 hasn’t done the same. If you like a smoke that is more of a open powerhouse the F 550 will be fantastic for you, I prefer my stronger smokes to have a more subtle power that sneaks up on you a bit. Overall I’d say this is worth trying, but if they ever made it for general release this one wouldn’t be for me.
MSRP: Currently only found in the Studio Tobac 2013 World Tour sampler