Cigar Ratings & Reviews

#nowsmoking: CAO La Traviata Divino Maduro

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#nowsmoking Classic Edition: CAO La Traviata Divino Maduro Cigar Review

CAO La Traviata Maduro Cigar Review – Divino (Robusto)

Factory: STG Estelí, Nicaragua
Size: 5″ x 50
Strength: Medium-Full
Wrapper: U.S. Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Cameroon
Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua (including a Dominican ligero leaf, and a Nicaraguan Pueblo Nuevo ligero leaf)

#nowsmoking CAO La Traviata Maduro cigar review at Famous Smoke Shop

Where It’s At

First, give me the back story. . .

“Perhaps the finest cigar ever made by C.A.O. International Inc., the robusto-sized C.A.O. La Traviata Divino represents a departure from the traditional type of cigar release for C.A.O,” said Aficionado in 2010 – just one year after its release. It also ranked at #15 in their Top 25 Cigars of 2010 with a 93-rating. It’s also been ranked as one of the “Best Value” cigars for its modest price. 

The original La Traviata brand debuted at the turn of the 20th Century in Cuba, where it was made in the Tabacalera Cubana, home to some of the world’s best Cuban cigars.

#nowsmoking CAO La Traviata Maduro cigar review smoking a cigar
#nowsmoking @famoussmokeshop: Medium-full in body & strength, the CAO La Traviata Divino Maduro greets the palate with a remarkably consistent mix of cedar, dark chocolate, sweet tobacco, and peppery spice flavors.

When CAO resurrected the La Traviata brand, they paid close attention to its original Cuban roots in both presentation and taste. (Note the original La Traviata vista and neoclassical artwork circa 1901-1904 on the box.) Advertised as a full-bodied, full-flavored cigar, the blend combines an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper with a Cameroon binder over Nicaraguan and Dominican long-fillers including two different ligero filler tobaccos: one from the Pueblo Nuevo farm in Nicaragua and the other from the Dominican Republic.

At the time of its release, then CAO President, Tim Ozgener, said: “The inspiration for La Traviata came from smoking numerous classic Cuban cigars…We wanted to create a cigar that appealed to sight, smell, and taste. The oily sheen of the wrapper compels you to pick it up. The pre-light has a distinct pepper and leather nose. The flavor bombards the palate with intense, rich notes of cedar, anise, and leather, evolving along the way into a lush and creamy finish.”

#nowsmoking CAO La Traviata Maduro cigar review by Gary Korb

Packaged in 24-count boxes, CAO La Traviata is available in three shapes, and a choice of two wrappers: Ecuadorian Habano or U.S. Connecticut Broadleaf.

Let’s talk construction. How well is it made?

Excellently. The Broadleaf wrapper bares a dark chocolate color which is even throughout and has a slight toothiness to the touch. Finished with a seamless triple cap, the cigar is firmly rolled but offers a good draw which, before lighting, offers cedar and sweet tobacco notes.

So, how does it smoke?

Divinely. The first few puffs greet you with a creamy combination of sweet tobacco, a lot of cedar, and bittersweet chocolate on a peppery spice finish. It was mostly medium in body during the first act as the three aforementioned flavors clung tightly together, issuing a long, spicy finish.

#nowsmoking CAO La Traviata Maduro cigar review by John Pullo

By the midsection, the smoke transitioned to medium-full and the flavors began to layer-up and round-out. Cedar dominated, with sweet tobacco in tow, followed by dark chocolate, while a slight note of peppery spice remained present. John picked up some roasted notes in his Divino. At this juncture, the Divino was touching all the bases.

In Act III the Divino remained creamy, well-balanced and medium-full in body. The cedary element continued to command the spotlight while the peppery spice sidled-up next to it, and the sweetness faded, leaving a trace of bittersweet chocolate in the mix.

#nowsmoking CAO La Traviata Maduro cigar review single cigar burning

The Divino also displayed a very even and slow burn revealing firm, light grey ashes that tapped-off in one-inch nuggets.

Retrohales were peppery in the first half, more creamy and less peppery in the second half.

What are the primary flavor notes?

#nowsmoking CAO La Traviata Maduro cigar review in third act

Cedar, leather, sweet tobacco, bittersweet chocolate, roasted nuts, peppery spice.

So, is it complex?

Nope. . . But it was far from one-dimensional. Led by the Divino’s predominantly woody character, the supporting cast of flavors were consistent until the final third when the sweetness dropped-out.

What drinks can I pair with it besides coffee?

Bourbon, Dark Añejo Rum, Añejo Tequila (sipping, not shots); and for wine fans, a good Malbec.

(Find more cigar and drink pairing combinations here.)

Tell me who this cigar is for. 

#nowsmoking CAO La Traviata Maduro cigar review by Gary Korb and John Pullo

Based on the Divino’s hearty flavor profile, it’s logical that more experienced smokers would take to this cigar. But I wouldn’t dissuade new smokers from giving the Divino a shot for its superb balance, rich flavor, and first-rate smokeability. It will also help develop their palate.

Bottom line: Is it humidor worthy?

Most definitely. John called it a good “throwback cigar.” And take a look at the price. Considering the quality, flavor, and cost, the Divino, not to mention the entire CAO La Traviata line, is one of the best values you’ll find anywhere.

 (_[GK}___[[[[

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Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

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