The Hype – “One of the cigar world’s highest ranked and most difficult to find cigars, C.A.O. Italia (when it can be found at all) is always limited to the purchase of one or two sticks at a time. Only because we have been begging for them, buying all we could get, hoarding the minuscule number we were allotted for the last twelve months, we have a very modest amount for sale. We’re now making the C.A.O. Italia available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The incredible secret to the C.A.O. Italia is the Habano seed brought to Italy forty years ago and carefully nurtured in the Benevento region of southern Italy. The result of this is the production of a unique earthy-sweetness in the seed. It is this remarkable seed that is transported to Honduras where it is meticulously cultivated. With its New World-Old World origins, this wrapper is perhaps the most unique in any cigar today. Certainly it produces a cigar that the renowned Robb Report includes among the “Best of the Best” for 2005.
Few cigars have burst on the scene with as much fanfare as the C.A.O. Italia, and few have garnered the attention of the cigar cognoscenti, captivating their highly cultured palates. Now it is your turn to experience the cosmopolitan flair of the C.A.O. Italia with its Italian, Nicaraguan, and Peruvian blend of long fillers.”
The review – I bought a box of these from Thompson Cigar last year and they’ve been maturing nicely in my large humidor. I figured today was as good a day as any to try one…The cigar is truly beautiful, with a dark wrapper that shows minimal veinage. The stick is solid and a little heavy in the hand. Prelight aroma is decidedly strong alfalfa with hints of ammonia. The cigar was a little difficult to light, even though storage humidity was carefully controlled. Once lit though, it maintained a good burn with uniform gray ash at about 1″.
The smoke on this cigar is a billowing white/gray that smells like my grandfather’s study…cedar and oak. The cigar is definitely full-bodied, and I was glad that I was drinking Sprite with this one to keep the palate clean. Others have mentioned a stiff draw, but I found this one to be quite pleasant. I smoked this cigar for almost an hour and a half without even realizing it. The first third of the cigar was strong and woodsy, but still quite enjoyable. I noticed a slight nicotine buzz after the first hour and saw changes in the flavor profile at that point also. The flavor started to mellow into a peppery creaminess that was a great finish to this fine cigar. CAO has again delivered on their promise of premium cigars. I’ll be ordering another box…