In January 2009, I attended one of the best cigar events ever but earlier in the day I was unsure whether or not I would make it. With snow falling on a cold winter day and slowly turning to rain it was quickly becoming one big slushy frozen mess. As I pulled out of my driveway I slid some 20 feet on the ice and I was thinking, maybe I should not drive. If this was not a once in a lifetime event, perhaps I would not have.
The CAO Elements Event was the deconstruction of the LX2, which is one of the greatest cigars ever produced by CAO. About 3 years ago a writer from Cigar Aficionado by the name of James Suckling was writing only about Cuban cigars. Realizing there was more to cigars then Cubans CAO President Tim Ozgener approached him to discuss how there are some great cigars being made in other places besides Cuba. He let him know how at the time they were using 41 different styles of tobacco,and Tim invited James to do a tasting.
Fast forward to the 2008 Big Smoke in Las Vegas and CAO hosted an event that broke down how the LX2 was created. The event so wildly popular that a standing ovation followed and lasted for quite some time. This was the event of a cigar connoisseurs dream, and I was lucky enough that my local B&M, Barrister Cigars was able to secure such an event, the first of it’s kind outside the convention.
Everyone in attendance was given a puro sampler box that contained 3 sample cigars each being 3.5 by 46, which according to Mr. Orzgener is ideal for tasting. We were then told about the 3 different regions that each ligero portion of the cigar came from. Dominican Piloto, Esti, and Pueblo Nueva. As we went through each puro stick we were informed about the blending process and how it leads to the tasting and creation of a new cigar. Each stick had certain characteristics and while Mr. Ozgener would not disclose the exact percentage of tobacco used to create the LX2 I had an idea in my mind by the time I was done. The final cigar in each box was a completed LX2 cigar which when smoked after the samples made it so simple to identify where each leaf was from, and how it adjusted the complexity of a cigar.
Joining the president of CAO Tim Ozgener were local CAO Rep Steve Faccenda, and Regional Sales Manager Frank Kapp, all of whom were the most gracious of people, easily accessible to any questions and gave you the in depth answer you wanted when it was possible.
The highlight of my evening came with I asked Tim Ozgener to sign the box the Puro Cigars came in. He graciously agreed, and pulled out his Sharpie. Below is the result;
While I am not sure if CAO plans to have more of these events I totally suggest you attend them if they do. It was the most informative event I ever attended, and despite considering myself knowledgeable on cigars I learned a lot from the from the seminar and loved every minute of it.
For those curious here is the break down of each puro;
Dominican Piloto: A very dry smoke, with some wood notes. I also picked up some dry coffee grounds, but I was in the minority when I shared that.
Esti: Some pepper through the nose, and notes similar to cayenne pepper started off this sample which was joined by a dark bitter bakers chocolate.
Pueblo Nueva: The wrapper of the smoke, and also used in the filler. This puro had spice to it, with a touch of saltiness.
My CAO LX2 review which I wrote in the summer of 2008 can be read here.