Video review HERE.
The CAO Amazon Basin was one of the most discussed cigars at this year's IPCPR. It utilizes tobacco from Bragança, which is grown in the Amazon Rain Forest and harvested just once every three years.
CAO describes how this tobacco is harvested:
Unlike traditional tobacco plantations where the plants are arranged in neat rows, these seeds are planted wherever there is available sunlight. Once harvested, the leaves are rolled by hand into tubes called carottes and undergo six months of natural fermentation, a technique similar to that of Andullo tobacco. Once fermented, it takes four to six weeks to get them from forest to factory, a process that involves being hand carried to the river, put into canoes and rowed to the mainland, then driven to the port and shipped to Nicaragua where they are made.
The cigar had an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and Nicaraguan binder. 40 percent of the filler is Bragança, with the other from the Dominican Republic and Colombia.
These cigars are available in only one vitola, the toro; 6 x 52. The come in boxes of 18.
Unfortunately, when this initial batch of cigars is sold out, it is uncertain if it will be possible to produce more, as General says it were able to purchase less than 5,000 pounds of the Bragança tobacco.
The cigar has a nice feel in the hand; quite dense.
The test draw after cutting the cap was effortless. The initial flavors were a tangy cedar with a lot of brown sugar sweetness, coffee, nutmeg, and earth. The pepper was a black pepper rated at a 7 1/2. It's starting as a very dark noted cigar.
A little over an inch in the flavor notes are about like I described but now I'm getting some cocoa notes. There is an abundance of brown sugar in this cigar. The finish is one of a sweet cream with a touch of brown sugar and a lot of tingling black pepper. The finish is very long and sweet. The cigar is medium bodied at this stage. The earth notes are now a light leather but they are secondary.
As I got closer to the vine rings the flavors are about the same but I lost the nutmeg notes. The cigar is very consistent. The cigar is medium to full bodied now and I do not expect it to move upward. The finish is unchanged. I am hopeful that I can remove the vine rings without destroying the cigar!
This has been a very good cigar. For those of you who had given up on CAO cigars you might want to rethink your feelings. This cigar is unique in it's flavors. Undoubtedly the tobacco used from the Amazon region of Brazil make a big difference in the flavors. The cigar is very consistent; it finishes much like it starts. I loved the massive amounts of brown sugar that goes along with the tangy, sweet cedar. Try these for yourself and let me know what you think.