Disclaimer: I was provided 2 CAO CX2 Robustos from Famous Smoke. The cigars were provided in exchange for this review.
I have such fond memories of CAO. I have always enjoyed their cigars and I have had the opportunity to meet the entire family. I have also met Jon Huber and one the reps, Brian “Bigfoot” McGee, whom I got to know from the many cigar forums that were active a few years ago. One of the things I really enjoy is attending the Big Smoke, and when CAO was there they would give you a cigar, light it up for you and hand you a piece of paper. If you brought the paper and the cigar butt back later, they would give you another cigar. What a great deal! They got more people to smoke their cigar first. I always made sure I visited their booth first.
One of the things that set CAO apart was the packaging. They had some nice looking and creative ways to present the cigars. Do you remember the Sopranos trunk shaped box that you could reuse? What about the CAO Vision that came in a plastic humidor that would light up with a nice blue color.
So how does the CX2 stand up? Lets start with the facts first.
Size: 5 x 52 (Robusto)
Filler: Nicaraguan and Colombian
The CX2 or Cameroon times two, is one product in the line of the X2 series. There is also the LX2 and MX2. You can view the entire CAO line here.
Lets talk about the appearance first. The cigar is a medium brown color and has a nice looking wrapper. I did not see any visual issues, patches or stems. Overall the construction on first inspection was fantastic. Now the band, this is a bit unique. It has a black background with CAO CX2 in a gold color. This same gold color lines the band as well. On either side there are cut outs, really just holes that scream, “Please hold here”, and you really do. One thing I always hate is a band that has too much glue. I have smoked a few cigars, even higher priced ones where the band simply did not want to come off easily. I know it’s a minor gripe, but you don’t want to take the chance of ripping the wrapper leaf of. I waited until the burn line was about a quarter of an inch away and I was easily able to remove the band fully in tact. The same could be said about the wrapper. I did not try and remove it beforehand, as I tend to leave my bands on until the burn line gets close to them.
I fired up this bad boy using a butane lighter and begun my journey. A little ways in, I started to get a bit of spice on the retro hale. It wasn’t over powering, but it was enough to say, good morning. I also started picking up a bit of a creamy, slight buttery, aftertaste. Theses flavors remained fairly consistent through out the smoke. I did pick up a few earth tones, but nothing major stood out.
The burn line was fantastic and the cigar never went out. The ash was a nice white color and appeared to be fairly solid. I did ash frequently to avoid get ash on me just in case. Near the end, I noticed the spice picked up a bit more as well as the creamy aftertaste.
Now about that price, at around $5 to $6 dollars for the robusto, that’s not a bad price. Of course the price will vary depending on where you buy it and how many you buy, but I think around $6 for a good robusto is a fair price. A robusto should last around 45 minutes and this cigar fell right in that time frame. Again your mileage will vary depending on how often you draw on the cigar. Following a rough guideline of a puff or two every minute or so, this cigar should last you for what could be a good lunch smoke.
Overall I liked the cigar. I liked the spice, the cream and the earth tones. The price point is great, and yes I have purchased them in the past. I would recommend this cigar to anyone looking for a good medium body cigar that enjoys spice and creamy flavors.
You can pick up a 5 pack for $24.99, plus shipping, but going here.
I love the world of cigars and technology. I started this site a few years ago so that I would have an outlet to share my thoughts on cigars. It has been a lot of fun. This year there has not been a lot of activity, you could even say that site has flatlined. In 2013, all of that is changing. I have been working on some new cigar related things. While I am not ready to share all of the details yet, I did want to share a few things with you.
I will be launching a new site that will aim to bring a lot more information to all cigar lovers. There will be integration that has never been seen in the realm of social media or even the cigar industry. This is a very old school industry, but there are quite a few companies and people that are embracing technology. My goal is provide the industry with a resource for all things cigar related. I know it is a lofty goal, but it is an idea I have had for years. It is time to see if it will work.
There will be a new brand to this adventure and Las VegASH TV will remain the video portion of this new brand. I plan to have a beta of the new brand up in the first quarter of 2013. I will be looking for people to test, write and contribute. If you are interested, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope everyone enjoys it. I also want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Size: Double Robusto 5.5×56
Procurement: Sent to me from Cuban Stock
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Corojo
Smoking Time: 90 minutes
Price: A box of 20 is under $100
Released: IPCPR 2012
Other Sizes: Double Toro 6.5×56, Torpedo 6.5×52
The first thing you notice about this cigar is the shine that the wrapper has, it would make a shoe shiner very proud. This particular one is slightly larger than a traditional robust size of 5 X 50, but luckily it is not uncomfortable at 5.5 X 56. Lets talk about the band on this cigar. In the center is the 231 mark, although the 1 looks more like an elongated J. On both sides are these lion looking creatures that act as bookends. The paper is a sandy brown that has an aged effect to it and lastly around the top and bottom is 231 Rockhill repeated as a border. Overall the band is decent. It is not too flashy, nor it is plain and basic. Although, the bands on cigars can be miniature works of art, at the end of your smoke, who cares. They might help draw your eye to it, but what is important is the flavor of the cigar.
Lets talk about the price point for a moment. Cuban Stock’s President, Yaniv Levy, wanted this cigar to sell for under $5.00 each, the idea of this celebratory blend is to provide simply the best for less. No really, its on their website. The trouble with this, I only found one place that sells it, and their price is close to $6.20, and thats online prices! I know of a few other cigars that sell for the $5 range from some well known, and long time, cigar companies. These are decent sticks, so I am not put off by the lower price.
Alright, time to talk about the most important part, the flavor! I normally smoke a medium to full bodeed cigar. This great cigar had some spice and earth tones to it that lasted the entire smoke
When judging the burn of a cigar, to me the most important things are, does it stay lit, how flaky is the ash, how evenly does it burn. I don’t expect a cigar to have a perfect burn, after all we are talking about a leaf and fire here. I don’t expect it to canoe or have a burn that leans to one side. I also expect an easy draw. I have smoke cigars that were tough to draw and others that were like smoking air. Thankfully, this cigar has a near perfect burn line, fantastic draw and an ash that holds on. Lets talk about that ash. I do love a nice looking ash, and this cigar does not disappoint in that category either. The color of the ash can be best described as a smokey white color. The volume of smoke produced is excellent.
Even at a $6 price point, this was a fantastic smoke. Great look to the cigar, consistent burn, great volume of smoke and high quality construction make this cigar a bargain. I have the other two sizes and I look forward to smoking them. I certainly recommend this cigar.
Another year and another Vegas Big Smoke wrapped up. For the past few years, I have been fortunate enough to get a pass to get in, often times I help a company at their booth, which is a blast. This years festivities started on Thursday night when I meet a friend who came into town for a cigar and dinner.
We started at the Rhumbar, but after 10 minutes and no cocktail service, we opted for Casa Fuente. Once there, we had mojitos and an Opus X before dinner. Dinner was a great feast at Joes Steak and Crab. What an awesome meal! After that, back to Casa for another cigar, but I opted out since it was getting late and I had to work the next day.
I attended the Saturday Big Smoke night this year, instead of both like i normally do. I always like the calm before the storm inside of the convention center. Everyone is getting ready for the massive swarm of people that will be piling through to get their cigars, food and libations. I was very excited to see Guinness Black Lager and enjoyed a few bottles. There is always great food by some local strip properties and plenty of libations from wine, vodka, rum, beer and whiskey.
Once the doors open, the real fun begins. I worked the Studio Tobac Nub booth, which was located in the back. We had two booth slots and were around a corner. In about 20 minutes, we were packed with people. I ended up taking handfuls of cigars and collecting tickets outside of the booth to help the congestion, and people seemed to like that, it certainly helped the booth.
Overall, most people say thank you and/or a few kind words about the cigar they are given. I remember when CAO would give you one to smoke and if you brought back the butt, they gave you a second one. I would always go there first The Rocky Patel booth has a huge line as people wanted a picture and/or autograph from the man himself. Carlito Fuente showed up as usual and is always happy to see you and pose for a picture. CRA represented and from what I hear, had quite a few new people sing up.
I have been asked if the event is worth the price. If you base it on the cigars give, probably not, however if you factor in the food, drink, the change to meet many of the people behind your favorite line and the chance to smoke with over 3000 fellow cigar enthusiasts, then yes, it is worth it. I have only attended the Chicago and Las Vegas events, and the Vegas is by far the biggest. For me, I prefer to work a booth and hand out cigars and interact with people. This was my second year being able to do that, and if you get a chance to, I highly recommend it.
Lastly, I have to say the number of women at the event seems to be growing. Some you see enjoying a cigar and others I think come because their significant other is attending and they want to be there with them. Whatever the reason, its always nice to see more women at a cigar event.
I look forward to next year and one of these years, I want to attend the seminars.
A trip to your local cigar lounge is always an exciting trip. Whether you are there for the company or the cigars, you never know what to expect. Owner Michael Abdoulah, a cigar enthusiast himself, recently opened En Fuego Cigars and Lounge. This lounge has a great layout and offers some of your favorite brands as well as his own line of cigars.
A great way to get current and new customers into your shop is by having cigar events. Most events center around a particular brand and offer food, raffles and cigar specials.
The Las Vegas Market is a unique one. Known for the strip and strippers, the event tonight celebrates the latter. Title “Models in Lingerie”, tonight we are enjoying fine cigars, the Slidin’ Thru food truck and of course the lovely ladies in lingerie.
While it may be a bit if a gimmick, lets face it gentlemen love cigars and beautiful women.
Last week, I decided to venture online to find some deals on cigars. I ended up browsing one of the more popular cigar sites. There were offers galore and more variety than I had expected. By the time it was all said and done I spent one-hundred forty dollars and felt pretty proud of myself. A few days later, my cigars were waiting for me and I ripped open that box like a kid opening a Christmas present.
Total number of cigars in the order: 63. Average cost per cigar: $2.22. State of my humidor: full.
I was a happy man, or so I thought. As I started to sample my purchase the more disappointed I became. For example- The Honduran sampler looked great, but many of the smokes were unbearable and I had to put them out.
The biggest disappointment was some of the brand names; names that are normally known for excellence. Cursed with working retail far too many years of my life it occurred to me that this was a case an “entry level” product. Companies know that money is tight with consumers and many shoppers go with the generic brand. Brand name companies want your money, so they compromise by coming up with a “basic” product at a competitive price. Better to sell something than nothing at all.
This is what I think happened to some cigars in my order. Brand names that sound great only to find that the quality isn’t there and the cigar label itself is printed on very low-grade thin stock. I had a Padron that wasn’t a Padron. I had a Rocky Patel which wasn’t a typical Rocky Patel.
None of these issues happen when I visit my local cigar shop. In fact, if I’m looking for something specific or similar to something I enjoyed I can ask for opinions or recommendations. The guys at the shop know their stuff and love to help you enjoy your time with the all-mighty stogie. They want to see you happy and satisfied. And in the six months I’ve gone to my new cigar shop, I haven’t had a bum steer or felt like being tricked.
It has been quite some time since we have posted anything, so does that mean we are gone? Not at all. Life has been very busy for me since the beginning of this year. I changed jobs and my wife and I welcomed our son into our life. My smoking in the house days have ended, so I have to plan my reviews for outside.
So what do we have planned?
Sean and I will be returning with some new discussions and reviews. My college roommate, and the man responsible for introducing me to cigars will be having a monthly show via Skype. Weekly reviews will be returning in a week or so.
I have also been slowly working on a, what I think, is a really cool cigar project. I will share details about that soon.
Be sure to catch me on Kiss My Ash radio on Saturday, June 9th on the bloggers corner segment. I assure you there will be some cool stuff this year.
On Sunday, March 18th, the cigar world lost a true legend. Rolando Reyes Sr, master cuban tobacconist and founder of Puros Indios/Cuba Aliados passed away in Miami. Mr. Reyes has been working with tobacco for 80 years. Think about that, 80 years doing what he loved. I only met him briefly a few years ago at the IPCPR show in Vegas, but I could see the respect that everyone had for him. This man knew his tobacco, and he knew what he wanted his cigars to be. He did not believe in the how strong can we make them trend that some other companies jump on. He stayed true to his cuban roots and believed that cigars are something that you can enjoy in quantity and not have that buzzed feeling. For many years, Puros Indios was the go to brand of many long term cigar smokers. You could also tell the Puros Indios line by its bright green band. Puros Indios also produces the Chief, a monster of a cigar that has been known to last over 5 hours.
A few years back, Mr. Reyes turned over control of the company to his grandson Carlos Diez. Talking to Carlos over the years, you can tell the respect and love he has for his grandfather. Carlos took every opportunity to learn as much as he could from him. Mr. Reyes was still heavily involved in the company from working on the newer blends to making sure the packing was pure Puros Indios.
I have no doubt that with Mr. Reyes no longer with us, the wisdom and love for cigars that he has instilled not only in Carlos, but in the rest of the cigar world will be felt for many generations.
The next time you are looking for something different, grab a Puros Indios or a Cuba Aliados. Now sit back, light up and just relax and enjoy the 80 years of love and dedication that went into producing that cigar. I started smoking the brand a few years back and it is still one of my go to brands. Tonight I enjoyed the new Puros Indios 2012 and I am thankful that Mr. Reyes was apart of this wonderful industry.
All of us at Las VegASH TV send our condolences to the Reyes, Diez and Puros Indios families during this sad time. To quote Knight Rider, “One man can make a difference”, and Mr. Reyes surely did.
Rest in Peace Mr. Reyes.
Justin is joined by Sean and Doug to talk about some of the crap surrounding cigar smoking.
This episode we talk about moving ratings, the CRA, the Big Smoke, the Oliva vs Sam Leccia lawsuit and much more.
Warning this does contain ample uses of the “f” word.
By: Doug Wilgar
For CAO International, makers of cigars such as the Brazilia, the Italia, the La Traviata and the famous Sopranos line, the last 12 months have been quite a ride. They dropped Carlos Torano from their brand and were themselves taken over by General Cigars. This connection could be as magical and enduring as Disney/Pixar or as destructive as Enron. The first release from this new collaboration was unveiled at this year’s IPCPR convention: The CAO OSA Sol. OSA is an acronym for the Olancho and San Agustin Valley in Honduras, where the tobacco blends for this cigar were grown. The blend is an OSA wrapper, Connecticut broadleaf binder and a blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos for the filler. This cigar blend is considered to be medium to full-bodied. There are three sizes in the initial offer of this cigar, which will be available in retail shops in September: The Lot 50 (5 x 50), the Lot 54 (6 x 54) and the Lot 58 (6 1/2 x 58). For this review, I smoked the Lot 50.
The Look and Light:
The cigar’s appearance is very appealing, despite the lime-green cigar ring. The cigar had a nice dark and oily appearance and felt well rolled. With a standard straight cut, I lit the cigar and found the foot to be very earthy and woody. I also found the draw to be very tight, which I hoped would loosen as the cigar burned. The aromas from the smoke were very nice, and there was a decent amount of smoke coming off of the stick. Throughout the first third of the cigar, I experienced the same earthy, wood flavor that never seemed to develop any complexity. The burn was very even and smooth.
The cigar did begin to develop some nicer coffee flavors, but did maintain the earthiness on the back of the palate. The burn continued to be even, however the draw is the true concern. It could be due to the fact that this is the first batch of the cigar and perhaps there was a push to get the cigars ready for the show so not as much care was taken in the rolling process as would normally be given. Whatever the reason, the draw of this cigar started tight and seemed to only degrade from there. Despite the draw issue, the cigar itself had a much fuller, bolder flavor than what CAO generally (pardon the pun) puts out.
The last third of this cigar became peppery, but continued the earthiness throughout. The draw did finally loosen a bit, but never developed into any consistency or ease. The cigar maintained a very even burn and remained so even at the end of the smoke. I am always impressed with the burn consistency of CAO cigars, and it is good to see that tradition continue after the General Cigar takeover. Even if this was a cigar that I wanted to nub, however, I wouldn’t have been able to due to the extreme heat coming from the interior of the cigar even at the point where the band was located. The second picture shown below was taken just before putting it down for fear of setting fire to my fingers. Commonly, if a cigar has a hard draw, the cigar will tend to burn much hotter due to the amount of force used to draw. This is most likely the reason for the heat and possibly the lack of true flavor development of this cigar.
The CAO OSA Sol is an interesting cigar that I would like to try again once it is released to the public to see if some of the draw issues are improved. If it does not improve, I would not recommend this cigar. The work it takes to maintain the smoke is not worth it when there are many other fine cigars out there to enjoy. If the draw issues are just an anomaly, this cigar could be quite nice with a little time in the humidor. If this is an indication of the types of cigars that General will be releasing under the CAO banner, this could be a disastrous marriage, likened to taking vows with Snookie.
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