Brand: CAO Country: Columbia
Size: Belicoso 6 1/8″ x 52 Wrapper: Habano
The Label Factor:
The CAO Columbia follows the same pattern as the Brazilia (and the America/Italia) here and it works. By using the colors of the Columbian flag, you get a really slick label with vibrant colors. The second band, displaying the name of the B&M where the stick is sold, does a great job of giving the whole cigar a premium look. I don’t know what it takes as a B&M to get your name printed on the label, but I would imagine CAO doesn’t do this for just anyone. For science, I will investigate as to whether they will manufacture a Cigar Nubs line of the CAO Columbia.
What We Liked:
This is the first of many reviews to come that I received as part of a “secret santa” trade. When I first saw it, I thought “What is a CAO Columbia?” Well, it is part of the “Escaparate” line of CAO cigars and, according to my secret santa:
Available only through select retailers, these “concept series” cigars have been aged for over 5 years in a special humidor room located in the heart of CAO’s HQ in Nashville, TN.
The CAO Columbia highlights an unusual tobacco that is seldom seen in premium cigars. The tobacco from Columbia gives the subtle spice component that integrates well with the earthy and nutty flavors and the additional aging gives this medium bodied cigar an elegance and complexity.
The thing that stood out most about the CAO Columbia is the silky smoothness. This surprised me because when I think “CAO”, “smooth” is far from the first thing to pop into my head. But I gotta give them credit here, the Columbia is easily one of the smoothest cigars I have had the pleasure of smoking. It’s like smoking a baby’s bottom.
Throughout the hour to hour-and-a-half smoke, you can expect to find an interesting mix of flavors, from earth to coffee and even a little bit of cocoa to round out this medium bodied stick. Certainly, none of these flavors will overpower you or blow you away. They are merely delicious notes that peak out from behind the smooth curtain.
What We Didn’t Like:
Babysitting the uneven burn. I like to think it wasn’t my fault because the burn started out even. By an inch in, things weren’t looking good. I did some minor touch-ups and thought I was in the clear. I was wrong. This would be the story for the rest of the smoke. Every inch or so I would have to do some light surgery.
The limited availability. Living in Nashville, I find it odd that I had never heard of these cigars and that I can’t get even them. I don’t understand the reasoning behind this. If the aging process is so amazing, why make it limited to (as far as I can tell) only two retailers in the United States. And why, when CAO is based out of Nashville, are they not available here? Come on!
Should You Try/Buy It:
Yes, if you happen to have access to one of the elusive retailers that carries them or have an uncle who works for CAO. The flavors and smoothness were good enough for me to overlook the horrible burn and try it again. The problem is that I may never have that opportunity. This is one of the better CAO cigars out there and it is a shame that they don’t release them more widely.