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CAO Colombia Vallenato

Punch and Draw push through the jungle of smokes to discover a beginner stick with afficianado flavor in the CAO Colombia Vallenato (5x56)…CAO Columbia cigar

Wrapper: Jamastran
Binder: Cameroon
Filler: Brazilian, Colombian

Draw: Ah, fresh from the cellophane, this CAO Colombia is smelling like fresh cow pie! …at least along the wrapper. At the foot, more clover gives a green sweetness, and a light wheat aroma. It has a smooth wrap over a rough binding, slight give but otherwise a very firm stick. The seam of the wrapper is in this case truly invisible: I cannot see the seams in any fashion, and I’m wearing my glasses. The rough underbody and occasional veins in the wrapper hide the seams to the eye, and almost hide it from the fingertip.

Punch: Medium-tight draw.

D: Agreed. A cold draw of jasmine tea? …and clover hay. A light toasting brings out – maybe – a little more tea or seaweed. 

P: After warming up, this guy is producing mild-medium intensity of a blend of sulfur, charcoal and potassium nitrate along with Triscuit. I’m also getting some melon rind.

D: For me it is more like gunpowder and wheat toast. Sweet and gunpowedery on the attack, toast in the middle, and GSR and steel on the finish, turning to just a light graphity aftertaste.

P: Yes. I’m also getting Girl Scout Rutabaga.

D: Gun Shot Residue! 

P: OH, like when you lick your hand after a day on the pistol range?

D: Exactly. Who else would lick my hand? The first third is more of the same, with a slightly astringent aftertaste. 

P: In the second third, I haven’t detected much difference: mild-medium intensity, delicate/limited complexity, and a pleasant flavor.

D: Around the middle of this CAO Colombia, I’m getting a little more skunkiness. Not a bad flavor, it seems to be an intensification of the powder residue. Burn has been great, with ash retention at about an inch. I’ve had a bit of challenge keeping the wrapper lit, but the problem is me, I’m sure. But, I can use that to say that the filler has the chlorophyll flavor, and a tang akin to nettles. Savory sweet. Stoking brings in the toast and caramelization. Also some pepper heat, and the leather base.

P: At the last third, this cigar is still sticking to the previous profile for me.

D: Last third – about three fingers – there’s a greater coating of ash, or more like liquid smoke, in my mouth. It’s a mellowing of the earlier flavors: a kind of a sunset. There is some roast coffee and menthol coming on. 

P: At the nub I’m getting some roast coffee and menthol coming on. Jinx! You owe me a mint coffee!! Anyway, it’s a nice finishing note.


Punch: This CAO Colombia had great construction and pleasant flavor, everything you would expect or want in a $5 cigar. Mine held at a good steady mild-medium intensity tobacco flavor with melon rind all the way through, with dark roast coffee and menthol near the nub. This goes on my beginners recommendation list and is a great casual, budget stick for anyone.

Draw: I couldn’t have said it better. So let me say something worse: baddadbiblely grok woodenshoe! I hope these words inspire you to give this cigar a try. It is a milder version of an intense flavor – if you don’t know what I mean, then you should go back to Punch’s summary. Seriously, an open-to-dusky smoke that has the flavor-components of a more over-the-top cigar, but a milder version that doesn’t knock your hat in a crick. Strength is slightly mild in so far as you’ll know you smoked it, but you’ll walk away feeling good. Complexity is in the middle with a gradual transition from beginning to end. Wow, now why didn’t I say that?!

This review was based on smoking a single 19-month-old stick each, which was given to us by the manufacturer at the 2014 IPCPR.

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