I saw the CAO Amazon Basin a few months back and I was super hesitant to pick one up. For me personally, CAO has been asleep at the wheel in terms of new blends and creations. They have some cigars that I enjoy but to truly say they have cigars that I just keep going back to, no. They have been in need of something new and different for some time in my opinion. Regardless, I did pick one up and had it in my humidor for probably 3 months or so now. I decided to review it today and I am regretting my previous decisions now.
Let’s take a look at the CAO Amazon Basin
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Brazilian Amazon Braganca 40% and Nicaraguan
Size: 6 x 52 Toro
This cigar is produced by CAO and General Cigar company and because this tobacco is very rare, it is only produced every 3 years. Only 5,000 lbs (roughly) of the Braganca tobacco was purchased so this is a very limited production cigar.
Appearance: This is a rugged, dark brown, oily, toothy cigar with nice veins and tight seams. It is bumpy in spots but is firm with no soft spots anywhere. There are braided strands of tobacco that form the “band” around the cigar. They are on there pretty tight so removing them may become a chore. This is a rustic looking stick with a lot of character.
Pre-Light: I pick up notes of hay, earth, pepper, sweet cedar wood and dried fruit. From the foot I pick up hay, cedar, pepper and earth. Using a V-cutter, the cold draw is smooth with a little bit of resistance. I get notes of hay, slightly floral or grassy notes, leather, and a slight citrus twist. This is a really intriguing combo. Not what I expected.
1st Third: Using matches to kick things off and we are good and toasted, I get a flavor overload and I struggle to figure out what the hell is going on. So many different things hitting my taste buds from every angle. I can definitely pick out sweet cedar, mesquite wood, leather, cocoa, and a grassy maybe basil like spice undertone. As I get into it a bit further, I pick up coffee bean, a woodsy blend of different woods (mostly oak, cedar and mesquite), some citrus notes and earth. This is a super complex blend with a overload of combos. The draw is a little resistant but not bad, the burn is a bit wavy but of no concern. Lots of smoke coming off of this cigar. I am really blown away by the flavor combinations and complexity. Not at all what I expected. I want to put it down but struggle as I try unsuccessfully to pinpoint each different flavor.
2nd Third: As I make the transition into the halfway mark, the blend changes a bit and I get more black pepper, some grassy notes, hay, earth and cedar. Still very good but not nearly as complex as it first started. It is a very intriguing blend profile and I am still trying to nail down certain things. The draw and burn remain the same. I did touch it up once mainly to straighten out the burn that got a bit out of line. It is very gusty outside today so that isn’t helping. The ash does not hold on past a half inch or so. The wind could be effecting it but twice it dropped on me pretty quickly.
Final Third: Moving into the last third, things change up a bit again. There is a bit more spice and red pepper towards the back end. It is still very woodsy and notes of cocoa blend nicely with the wood and grassy notes. As I make my way towards the end of this cigar, I am deeply regretting not picking up more of these. 3 years is a long time for a new release and I could have used a box of these to get me through. I tried with no success to remove the braided tobacco band so I used a razor blade to cut through them and extend the life of this smoke a bit.
Final Thoughts: I really had no expectations from this cigar going in. As stated, CAO has not really been on my radar over the past couple of years. I was hopefully but cautious and man was I shocked when I put flame to foot. The complexity of this cigar really blew my mind. I could not really pinpoint any one exact thing before another flavor begged for attention. I would have loved for the profile of the first third to carry through the entire cigar as it was my favorite third but the rest was solid. I was not disappointed by this cigar at all. As stated I am on the hunt for more so if anyone comes across some they want to part with or let me know, I would appreciate it greatly.
I forgot to mention in the review but this was a solid medium strength, full flavored cigar. It was smooth, flavorful, performed well and at the end I was left wanting more. You can never go wrong with that. I would certainly smoke more if I can get my hands on them. If you can find them, grab em!
Pairing and time: As always, when I try a cigar for the first time I always drink water. I would pair this cigar with a bourbon, or scotch. The woodsy profile would really compliment the wood in a bourbon like Woodford Reserve. I would be very interested in pairing this with a nice glass of Lagavulin. Total time with this stick was right over 2 hours.
So there you have it. I wish I had done this review sooner and grabbed more. Keep this one on your radar for the next release. If they keep things the same or close, I will grab a box for sure. I am always open to donations or trades if you find some. Lol.
Working on something Warped and an interview with a beautiful SOTL that will be released soon. Until next time, long ashes and full glasses friends. Peace!