JC Newman

January 22, 2023

CAO Amazon Basin Extra Añejo (6 x 52)

Video review HERE.

(Description provided by General Cigar)

Named for the rare, Amazonian Rainforest-grown tobacco in its blend, CAO Amazon Basin is a small batch, limited edition expression that debuted in 2014 and remains one of the premium cigar category’s most memorable smokes. In January 2023, Amazon Basin will be taken to the next level with the release of CAO Amazon Basin Extra Añejo.

As the name suggests, Extra Añejo speaks to additional aging given to the Amazon Basin blend. The cigars were crafted in 2021 and left to mature in a room lined with fragrant Spanish cedar where, for two years, the tobaccos aged, mellowing some of the blend’s nuances, while making others more pronounced.

Ed Lahmann, senior brand manager of CAO said, “When we launched Amazon Basin, we were the first in the world to use tobacco from the Amazon. Today, CAO Amazon Basin still stands out as one of the most important blends we have ever developed. Since we never rest on our laurels, we decided to take a page from the whisky world and age the finished Amazon Basin cigars. The result is a smoke that is refined and rounded, and an absolute pleasure to smoke.”

CAO Amazon Basin Extra Añejo is centered on a tobacco varietal called “Bragança,” which is organically grown in an Amazonian rainforest and harvested just once every three years. Native farmers transplant the seedlings directly into the soil a full yard apart from each other, resulting in less than half the yield of other tobacco plants.

After harvest, artisans roll the leaves by hand into tubes called “carottes” where they undergo six months of natural fermentation. They are then transported out of the rainforest by canoe, taken to the mainland, and ultimately brought to the CAO factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.

There, CAO’s blenders bring the aromatic Brazilian Bragança leaf to life, surrounding it with tobaccos curated from four different countries. Sheathed in a hearty Ecuadoran Sumatra wrapper from the highest primings, with a Nicaraguan binder and a touch of Dominican and Colombian leaf in the filler, CAO Amazon Basin Extra Añejo is as exotic as the rainforest from which it originated.

Handcrafted at STG Esteli in Nicaragua, this medium-bodied blend is warm and earthy, with notes of wood and salted caramel.

CAO Amazon Basin Extra Añejo will be available starting in mid-January in 18-count rustic wooden boxes. For the 2023 release, 5,800 boxes have been made exclusively for the US market.

CAO Amazon Basin Extra Añejo (6” x 52) -- SRP per cigar $14.99


I first reviewed the Amazon Basin when it was released in 2014. It wound up making my number 17 cigar for 2014. Then, it was re-released in 2016 and I reviewed it again. This time it hit my Number 1 cigar for 2016.

The cigar looks like the original Amazon Basin; dark brown and it has a nice feel in the hand.

the The test draw after cutting the cap was pretty good but after I lit the cigar I used the PerfecDraw tool to open the draw a little. The initial flavors at light up were citrus peel, lemon, apple, brown sugar, and a leathery black coffee. There was black pepper rated at 7 1/2. Nice start.

At the first third (36 minutes) the flavors settled down into a citrus, apple, a lot of brown sugar, richness, fig, and leathery black coffee. The finish is fig and brown sugar with very good lingering black pepper. The cigar is medium bodied. The cigar checks a lot of boxes for me. It's very sweet with various sweet notes and there is just the right amount of lower level notes. I rated the first third 96.

As I moved through the second third (1 hour 12 minutes) the cigar is not quite as rich. I had the same notes but the leathery black coffee is up a little. The finish is fig, brown sugar, and a little black coffee with very good lingering black pepper. The cigar is now medium to full bodied. I rated the second third 95 due to the decrease in richness and elevated coffee.

The cigar lasted an impressive 1 hour 36 minutes. The richness didn't return and when you encounter the vine band there is some bitterness but it's short lived. I still had a lot of brown sugar and basically the same notes. The finish is unchanged. The cigar is now full bodied. The cigar was a tick off primarily due to the vines so I rated the final third 94. Still, this is an excellent cigar and you should move quick to find them!

Overall Score: 95

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cigars international has 150+ boxes!!!