CAO Italia Novella

CAO Italia Novella

CAO ItaliaOrigin : Honduras
Format : Corona Extra
Size : 114 x 18 mm
Ring : 46
Wrapper : Honduras
Filler : Italy, Nicaragua, Peru
Binder : Honduras
Hand-Made
Price : ~$5 each
More info about purchasing CAO Italia cigars...

It was a long-awaited smoke. When checking search statistics here at CigarInspector.com, one of the terms that would get most searches is 'CAO'. This obviously means that this brand is highly popular in the United States and I finally managed to get hold of a couple of sticks. I'll begin with a CAO Italia Novella and the Brazilia blend will follow.

CAO Italia is manufactured in Honduras from a Habano seed Italian tobacco mixed with Nicaraguan and Peruvian tobacco. The wrapper and the binder of this medium-bodied stick are from Honduras.

Appearance : ★★★★½
The wrapper is very dark brown (can easily call it maduro), it's pleasantly coarse with a very strong tobacco smell emanating from the stick. The award-winning band looks impressive.

CAO Italia Novella 
Construction : ★★★★☆
The pre-draw is dusty tobacco and I found it quite tight. CAO Italia Novella has a razor-straight burn but the draw was really too tight for me. The stick produced moderate amounts of smoke. Please note that this review is based on one stick only (I am truly sorry about that).

CAO Italia Novella

Flavor : ★★★½☆
The first puffs were peppery sweet with an undeniable sugary taste. In the middle of the first third, the main flavor settles in - it is definitely herbal and quite complex. In the second third, I distinguished some black cherry. It was getting more and more earthy as I smoked and I let it rest when it was an inch and a half long. I guess these are just not my favorite flavors, I'm sure a lot of people like this blend but this is not for me, I'm looking for something more straightforward.

CAO Italia Novella

Value : ★★★☆☆
As far as I remember, I paid $5 for it. I don't think that I will be reaching for this cigar again.

CAO Italia Novella

Overall Rating : ★★★★☆
Again, it's just not for me. Try it out, after all it was the #13 in the Cigar Aficionado's top picks of 2006.

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10 Comments on “CAO Italia Novella”

  1. I was also un-impressed with the Italia. Well constructed and looks good. Underwhelmed in the taste department. A little too peppery/harsh with aftertaste in the first third, smoothed out the last two thirds. Ok cigar, just not what everyone raves about but that’s just me. I like them a little more creamy-leather.

  2. I found that this stick offers spicy / herb flavors (one reviewer described hints of thyme which I agree with) and earthy flavors with hints of grass at a few particular moments. But I found an intermittent bitterness in the second half of the second third which came more frequently towards the end — this despite the fact that it didn’t seem to get overly hot. The taste was complex and interesting up until the bitterness kicked in. Anyone else have similar experience?

  3. I smoked this cigar after the Brazilia and liked it less. Not saying it’s a bad cigar. It just didn’t hit me like the Brazilia did.

  4. Saint Jimbob says:

    The Italia has some of the hallmarks of a typical maduro, but there’s another, zesty or savory, flavor that is noticeable, and a little surprising. Arkstorm, above, described it as herbal.

    I didn’t know what to really think about the first Italia I smoked, but the flavor eventually grew on me. It’s definitely a change of pace, for sure.

  5. This little sucker is a very tasty cigar–some of my favorites–very good quick smoke–

  6. I had one of these for my twenty-first birthday, and was a bit of a bad choice. Found it one dimensional, struggled to get that black cherry taste i love out of it, and gave up feeling overwhelmed with a spicy nightmare!

  7. Wilmington NC says:

    I AM GLAD TO SEE I AM NOT ALONE WITH NOT LIKING THE CAO ITALIA. THE CAO MADURO HAS BEEN THE BEST SO FAR ALBEIT, THE Mx2 WAS NOT THAT IMPRESSIVE EITHER.

  8. mlamphear says:

    I loved the Brazilia, but was suprised when I wanted to throw the 4 remaining Italias away after I got a third into my first. Strangely enough, I let it go out and smoked another stick out of my humi. Later I came back and relit the same stick as before and finished it off. Good thing otherwise I would have wated 4 other cigars. After resting for an hour, it seemd the smoke mellowed and developed better flavor. I guess I can give it a few more tries before I write it off completely.

  9. I definitely preferred the Brazilia, but I would still pick up the Italia at the right price.

  10. The CAO Italia is a surprisingly good cigar. I was a little put off by it having Italian tobacco – I had never heard of Italy being a big tobacco producer. But after trying a few sticks, I’m a believer. These are great cigars!

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