Video review HERE.
(Description taken from Cigar-coop.com website and CAO)
CAO is a brand long known for a reputation of innovation. With the CAO Pilon, it incorporates innovation a little differently – namely it uses an old Cuban fermentation technique that had been popular in the 19th century, but has not been used much in the past fifty years. Most tobacco is fermented by arranging tobacco in large rectangular stacks called pilons. The CAO Pilon is different in that it uses tobacco that is fermented in circular shaped pilons. This technique was eventually abandoned due to being a costly process. CAO Master Blender Rick Rodriguez began experimenting with this fermentation technique about five years ago and was pleased with the results, so he went forward to create a blend which has become the CAO Pilon.
CAO explained that using the rounded pilons resulted in creating tobacco with better tobacco flavor and aethestics of the tobacco compared to other techniques. As a part of this process, the tobacco is fermented at a lower temperature, thus increasing the fermentation cycle. It is this longer fermentation process combined with the labor needed to arrange the pilons that led to this technique falling out of favor.
An example of how the circular pilons look is shown on the band.
Earlier this year CAO Pilón was named “Cigar of the Year” by celebrated international cigar magazine L’Amateur de Cigare.
The magazine’s prestigious tasting panel rated a total of 450 cigars, with Pilón ultimately winning out against the finest cigars available in France, one of the world’s leading markets for handmade cigars.
Regis Broersma, president of General Cigar said, “We are extremely proud that CAO Pilón received this honor from such a distinguished and respected international publication. When we created Pilón, we developed the brand according to a 19th-century Cuban fermentation technique, so it is ironic that Pilón beat out the best of the best cigars from Cuba, as well as other top cigar-producing countries.”
L’Amateur de Cigare described Pilón as “elegant” and hails its “great complexity and agreeable persistence,” while praising Pilón’s “satisfying finish” and “excellent value.”
CAO Pilón was introduced in the U.S. in 2015 and launched in France in 2018 at an exclusive event in Paris at the DuPont headquarters.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Scandinavian Tobacco Esteli)
Available in these sizes:
Churchill 7x 48 – SRP per cigar $8.49
Robusto Extra 5 x 52 – SRP per cigar $7.49 REVIEWED TODAY
Corona 5.5 x 44 – SRP per cigar $7.09
Toro 6 x 58 – SRP per cigar $8.49
Torpedo – 7 x 54 - SRP per cigar $8.89
The cigar is medium brown and has a nice feel in the hand.
The test draw after cutting the cap was good with a touch of firmness. The initial flavors at light up were a pink grapefruit sweetness, sweet cream, citrus peel, brown sugar, light leather, and light black coffee. There was a light white pepper rated at 7.
At the first third (36 minutes) the flavors are just like initially described. There is a distinctive pink grapefruit sweetness combined with a lot of sweet cream. The brown sugar adds more sweetness. There is light black coffee and leather but you will really notice the pink grapefruit and cream combination. The cigar is medium bodied. The finish is citrus, cream, and light nutmeg with a modest amount of lingering white pepper. There is light nutmeg at best on the front end and not really noticeable at this point. I rated the first third 93.
Moving through the second third (1 hour 16 minutes) the flavors seem to be improving. The leather and nutmeg are coming out a little more and that's good because the cigar needed some more lower level notes. The cigar is medium to full bodied. The finish has a little leather on it now to go along with the citrus, cream, and nutmeg. I raised the score to 94 for the second third.
The cigar lasted an very impressive 1 hour 43 minutes. An incredible amount of time for a 5 inch cigar. The flavors actually continued to improve. There is more sweetness now; more brown sugar. And now there are also cedar notes. The leather, nutmeg, and black coffee are now more pronounced, which is good. The cigar hit full bodied, which surprised me a little. The finish is unchanged. I raised the score to 95 for the final third. This is a surprisingly good cigar that should not be missed.