Cigar Review: CAO Italia

Basic Information:

Name – CAO Italia

Size – Robusto – CIAO (5.5 x 56)

Wrapper – Honduran Habano

Tobacco Blend – Italy, Nicaragua, Peru

Pricing – $4.54

Body – Medium +

Construction/Appearance:

The band is decorated with the traditional colors of the Italian flag – green, white and red on a blue background with gold accents and font.

Cigar has a light reddish-brown color with a beautiful oily shine to the wrapper. There are minimal to no veins and slightly visible seams.  Double capped.

Pre-Light:

Aroma – Florals, cedar and somewhat nutty

Type of Cut – Straight cut

Cold Draw – Sweet cedar and prune – Nice smooth draw

First Third – It starts off with a vanilla and spice that combines together to almost a brown sugar mixed with pepper.  About 10 minutes into the smoke, it gets a creamy buttery flavor added to the mix.  It tastes like dessert.  Towards the end of the third, some floral components are revealed and the pepper settles down.  Burn is pristine and the ash is light gray and dense.

Second Third – There is a floral component on the transition along with brown sugar and spice.  Some black cherry emerges in this portion a few minutes into the third. Really pleasant flavor at this point, which is like preparation for a long finish.  The cigar then takes another turn with white pepper on the tip of your tongue then finishes with black pepper on the retro hale.  Toward the end of this third, the floral component and vanilla come back along with an almond note.  This burn finishes with black pepper which kicks back up and lingers.  It’s a pristine burn.  Great smoke output.  Ash fell off 2.75 inches in.

Final Third – Flavors get real rich at this moment. Toast, french vanilla and almond are the dominant flavors.  Near the final portion, the cigar has a real nice finale which reveals a slight sage and spearmint.  The finish consists of black pepper and black licorice.  Immaculate burn.

Suggested Pairing:

Wine – Unzu Rioja 2010 – The flavors of the cigar will help remove the initial strength of the wine and help reveal the red fruits in a much more defined manner.  The flavors in this wine will mellow out the brown sugar and help give you that toasted bread flavor.  It’s a really interesting mixture of these two.

Scotch – Aberfeldy Scotch

Overall Experience:

The CAO Italia is fantastic.  It is a complex smoke, which I would not recommend for beginners for the simple reason that they would not fully appreciate the beauty of this smoke.  It is a truly unique stick that for me is perfect to be used for a night that is inclusive of an intellectual conversation with someone else who can appreciate a good cigar.

Ratings:

Cigar Aficionado – 85 pts.

About CAO Cigars: http://caocigars.com