CAO Italia Positano Cigar
By Hayward Tenney
On the docket today is a CAO Italia, which has been described as a unique, aromatic, must-try type of cigar. Skeptic that I am, I guess I’ll have to find out the old-fashioned way. Boy, is my job tough….Will it live up to its reputation? Or will my Friday afternoon suffer from un Rocket di Doggi? Will Superman reach Lois Lane in time? Read on to find out.
The Toro is visually impressive. Its smooth Honduran Connecticut wrapper is a rich, reddish-brown, with minimal veins. I find no soft spots, and the head and foot seem to be in order. It clips easily, revealing a round patch of sweet-smelling longfillers.
While the cold draw is tight, its unique sweet tobacco flavor echoes the aroma from the head and foot. The cigar lights up nicely, producing a steady, if slightly anemic, stream of smoke. By no means are my neck’s blood vessels bursting, but neither am I bathing in a stinky, creamy cloud (my personal preference).
A couple puffs in, its aroma is unlike anything I’ve smelled from a cigar, and for once in my life I’m at a loss for words. The best comparison I can muster is sweet, damp earthiness…think poppy seed filling. Maybe there’s something to be said for Italian tobacco – this cigar’s aroma is absolutely intoxicating. As the tightly rolled tobacco fades into evenly mottled white and grey ash of about an inch, I’d call the cigar medium-bodied. While its well-balanced flavors mirror its aroma, I’m left wishing I could draw more smoke.
But by the beginning of the second third, things are really getting interesting. The flavors have caramelized, and in addition to this enhanced complexity, an easier draw rewards me with more smoke. The burn line has improved to a razor-sharp ring, working its way down nice and slow (another personal preference). Just before the final third, I’m greeted by notes of coffee, a perfect complement to an already dynamite flavor profile.
At the last 2 ½ – 3″, the smoke has settled in the medium to full-body range. Its unique sweetness has deferred to the caramelized coffee flavors accenting its baseline earthiness. The cigar burns perfectly right down to the nub.
If nothing else, I find the cigar an accurate portrait of the Italian lifestyle: aesthetically pleasing, deliberately indulgent and down-to-earth, yet free-spirited. I will likely pick up a box of these. If you haven’t gotten the chance to try one yet, I highly suggest you do so soon.
Final Score: 8.8