Origin : Honduras
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 50
Wrapper : Honduran Olancho San Augustin Sun Grown
Filler : Nicaraguan and Honduran
Binder : Connecticut Broadleaf
Price : ~$5 each
More info about purchasing CAO Osa Sol cigars...
This is the first blend and cigar made under the CAO label since the brand was taken over by General Cigar. It is currently being manufactured in Honduras.
The CAO Osa Sol has a Colorado shade wrapper with veins and an overall rustic look but it has tight seams and a nice sheen. As noted in the photos though, there were some construction issues that affected the overall appearance of the cigar. The colourful band is nice and refreshing but I could not take my eyes off the manufacturing flaws that were clearly visible.
It did not hold up to my straight cut. The wrapper cracked when I snipped the cap off. Moistening it between my lips and pressing back down on it kept it from unravelling. Pre-light draw was nice, just enough resistance. The cigar was firm to the touch but a couple soft spots were noted. Thankfully they did not affect the burn which for the most part was good however it did require a couple minor touch-ups but thankfully no re-lights. Smoke output was good. The draw was easy with just enough resistance but felt a tad more open near the end. You can see why I made the deductions in the photos.
Lighting this cigar greets you with some mild pepper and very noticeable woodsy and earthy nuttiness.
Most of the first third was one dimensional, not much change in flavor but the flavors were for the most part enjoyable. There were some infrequent bursts of unsweetened coffee and toasted nuts with predominantly earthy undertone. The smoke output was exceptional at the start. A nice thick white cloud after every puff. The finish was medium in duration and pleasant, with just a lingering hint of mild spice. The strength was mild to medium.
I noted some pleasant sweetness enter the profile as I started the second third and the cigar left a nice touch of salt on the lips. There were some very mild hints of citrus, dried fruits and semi-sweet chocolate. The pepper was still there but remained mild and actually decreased from the first third. There was a decent balance between semi-sweet cocoa-bitter dark chocolate with very slight peppery finish. Again, aside from the hints of the aforementioned flavors, the cigar remained primarily earthy and woodsy although the wood notes were a tad sweeter.
Approaching the halfway point offered much of the same for flavor, smoke output and burn. At this point the cigar needed its first minor touch-up as the burn wavered. I did pick up a few more intense bursts of roasted nuts, unsweetened coffee and dark chocolate with the latter offering the occasional bitterness. There was a minor increase in the amount of spice but the overall spicy remained subdued. The finish was short to medium and offered some very mild hints of citrus and sweet woodsy tones.
The brownish ash held firm and there was no flaking. The draw remained good. As the cigar approached the halfway mark some strength started to come through making it more medium in strength. Overall though, I would still consider this stick a mild-medium strength cigar with the nicotine noticeable but not problematic. A good cigar for those looking for a milder smoke. At the halfway point I also noted some pleasant sweetness to the smoke’s texture, with the smoke leaving a nice sweet residue on the palette.
There was only one more burn issue to report beyond the halfway mark when the cigar needed another minor touch-up. I did find that the cigar started to get “dryer” after the second half. The pepper notes were pretty much gone only to come back on occasion the rest of the way, albeit very mild. The primary flavors remained woodsy, earthy but accompanied by occasional hints of leather and roasted nuts. The smoke remained thick but as I approached the final third the sweetness noted earlier had left the smoke and it became dry on the palate.
More earthy notes were picked up on the front of my palate with some nuttiness at the back end. It still remained woodsy and earthy but did surprise with the occasional burst of dried fruit and sweetness. Some bitterness started to make its way into the profile as I approached the final third.
As I started that final third of the cigar I picked up a very pleasant albeit brief sweetness at the front of the palate, resembling some semi-sweet chocolate/caramel but unfortunately this didn’t last long (I wish it did because the remainder of the smoke started to get more bitter). By the time I removed the band, the smoke lost most of its flavor and while there were infrequent notes of toasted caramel and nuts, the rest of the cigar remained on the bitter earthy side.
This smoke can be had for between $4.75 to $5.25 depending on where you look and perhaps even a tad lower if you buy by the box. Considering some of the price increases we are seeing lately for more popular cigars in this vitola, this cigar is considered great value. I’ve had worse robustos that sell for much more than this and while price should not be the determining factor in what makes a good cigar great, the fact that this cigar is offered at an excellent price point is to be commended. While not overly complex, it does offer a fairly enjoyable experience and is priced at a level where it could be a daily or regular smoke.
Overall Rating :
Admittedly I have not been a fan of CAO cigars in the past. In fact, the only one I recall actually quasi-enjoying was the Brazilia. However, this cigar was a pleasant surprise and was indeed enjoyable for the most part. It wasn’t a “great” smoke but it wasn’t terrible either. It was an above average experience and I would have no problems handing them out to my friends for an evening get together on the porch with a drink or two. They are also great for the golf course or as a daily smoke given their attractive price point.
If it is significant complexity or ‘strength’ you are after then you will be disappointed. However, for a medium strength/medium bodied cigar it wasn’t bad at all. Most of the flavors that greet you on lighting the Osa Sol stay with you the rest of the way in varying degrees of intensity with the occasional hints of varying sweetness. While it is mainly a woodsy and earthy smoke, there were some satisfying areas of sweetness, dried fruit, toasted caramel and nuttiness to the flavor profile along with the occasional hint of mild citrus. The cigar gets bitter fast near the band and that bitterness never leaves so keep that in mind when smoking yours. Best to put it out as soon as that bitterness appears so as not to ruin the experience. To that end, it is not a cigar I would nub. It is definitely worth a try.
There weren’t enough lasting changes in the flavor profile to classify this as an overly complex smoke. Instead, it remained one dimensional most of the way. One dimensional cigars are not necessarily a bad thing so long as the flavors are pleasing.