Origin : Nicaragua
Format : Toro Gordo
Size : 6 x 60
Wrapper : Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler : Nicaragua, Dominican Republic
Binder : Ecuador Connecticut
Price : ~$8-9 each
More info about purchasing CAO Flathead...
Usually when you think about cigars, you think about Central and South America, where premium cigars usually are made. If cigars are going to have a regional theme, usually it is going to reflect some aspect of South or Central American culture.
CAO Flathead V660 cigars are made in Nicaragua, but they are an exception to the rule. Thematically, they are designed with a box-press shape which is intended to hearken to the engine blocks in classic American hot rods. You will notice the same theme reflected in the stylish retro design of the red and white bands as well as in the packaging (which even includes a cool vintage-style pinup). It is the kind of clever branding you might mistake as a gimmick, but these are definitely not just “novelty” cigars.
From the vintage appeal of the packaging and band to the actual appearance of the cigar itself, the presentation for the CAO Flathead V660 Carb gets a solid 5/5. The Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is very dark brown with a few prominent veins but a generally very smooth look about it. The 60-ring gauge and the box-pressed shape are very eye-catching.
The cigar is very tightly packed, and this results in a somewhat tight draw. It was by no means unbearable, but it was tighter than I like. This detracted a little bit from the experience. What was worse was the burn, which was uneven throughout the experience. Sometimes it corrected itself; other times, I had to do it. But it never stayed even for long before a repeat of the issue.
The initial burst of flavors includes vanilla, coffee, and fruit. There is a bit of cedar and some natural tobacco accompanied by something floral with an earthy undertone. I also am picking up something that reminds me of bread or cake with nuts. The nutty flavor drops away during the second third, and now I pick up molasses and leather along with a little sweet hay. Coffee remains prominent along with the pastry flavors. The final third is creamy as the vanilla drops off, the coffee remains strong, and the other flavors do a gentle fade. There is a hint of pepper to balance things out.
The cost for these cigars isn’t all that high, but I still expect better construction at this price point. I have paid a lot less for cigars and had a better experience in that respect.
Overall Rating :
As a fan of retro American things like muscle cars and milkshake diners, I really wanted to love these. I do have to say that the visual design of the packaging is great, and the flavors were actually really great—so these are indeed more than just a novelty. But the construction problems were abundant, and at this price point I demand better. So overall I can only give these 3.5 out of 5 stars. If not for the construction problems, they could easily have been a 4 out of 5 or even a bit higher.