Origin : Esteli, Nicaragua
Format : Toro
Size : 6 x 52
Wrapper : Ecuadorian Connecticut Seed
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Honduras (Jamastran), Nicaragua (Esteli)
Price : ~$8.25 each
More info about purchasing CAO Gold Vintage cigars...
Before beginning my review I'd like to thank my friend Scott, @caosmoker on twitter, for graciously giving me this cigar. He was able to attend IPCPR this year and was fortunate enough to pickup a few extra sticks to share with me.
A local talk radio personality and newspaper columnist, Mike Rosen, has a poignant phrase. "Let me tell you where I sit before I tell you where I stand." Essentially this is an effort at full disclosure so listeners and readers will know of any personal biases he may have about a topic of discussion. This statement has been on my mind since late last week when I was approached by Cigar Inspector to do a series of CAO reviews for his site. Being a fan of CAO, I jumped at the opportunity to toot the horn of my personal favorite cigar manufacturer. Although I have a personal bias towards CAO, I do take cigar reviews very seriously. It's of no benefit to anyone for me to rate a cigar higher just because I want it to have a better rating. In the end the cigars will speak for themselves, your tastes will differ from mine and I'm not trying to persuade you to my side of the street. I only hope this series of reviews will remind you of some of your favorite (or soon to become favorite) CAO cigars, will inspire you to try a new blend you haven't yet or revisit one that may have disappointed you in the past.
So now that you know where I sit (I love CAO cigars), here's where I stand on one of the newest lines from CAO, the Gold Vintage Crémant:
The Gold Vintage Crémant has an elegant and creamy light tan Ecuadorian Connecticut Seed wrapper from the "banner harvest" of 2004. The wrapper is velvety smooth to the touch, with minimal veining. The wrapper color is very consistent as it is difficult to locate the wrapper lines. The band is an oversized CAO Gold band which includes Gold Vintage below the CAO logo and a more pinkish-red background vs. the familiar red background.
The Gold Vintage Crémant was fairly well constructed. It was spongy-firm from head to foot with a little more firmness at the foot. The well placed cap came off easily with my double-blade guillotine cutter. The prelight draw was medium-tight but quickly turned to a full medium/ideal draw. The burn wasn't really the sharpest and required a lot a maintainance. Although I never touched it up I had to manage one particular side of the cigar, which after ashing, revealed the ligero packed to that side of the cigar rather than the center. This also caused the white solid ash to pull to that side of the cigar and form premature cracks before falling into my ashtray.
The Gold Vintage Crémant had delightful and inviting flavors. There was a subtle, very subtle, sweetness to the draw. I enjoyed smooth nutty and creamy flavors. The delicious aroma was more vanilla and carmel. After the first third, the finish was so nice that it was difficult to rest between draws. I kept wanting that flavor again and again. The body starts out a little mild but develops into a wonder medium range that is very pleasant. Although the draw flavors are more in the mild range, the spicy retrohale reminds you that this cigar uses fantastic Habano fillers that help round out the overall flavor profile.
I may be a little harsh with this rating, but I know value is defined by quality in relation to price. At $8.25/ea, I do not want to have to be constantly addressing the burn. I have smoked enough cigars to know that slight variations will exist and and the next 99 Gold Vintage Crémants that I smoke will probably not have any burn issue. This one did and it affected the rating in the review.
Overall Rating :
I'm thankful I had an opportunity to smoke one of these cigars prior to the mass release (Thanks again Scott). Being a fan of the CAO Gold and Gold Maduro, the Gold Vintage will be sure to have a place in my humidor and will be enjoyed time and time again. I would recommend trying one as soon as you have the opportunity.
Next up in the series will be one of my favorite blends, the CAO Brazilia, I will be reviewing the Anaconda which is the large 8x58 Perfecto.