Agile Cigar Reviews are cigar assessments where we use a lightweight, shorter format. These will never take the place of our comprehensive reviews. They are only used on blends we have previously assessed. This might be a blend we are re-scoring or giving a score for the first time. It might be a blend we are looking at in a different size. Today, we look at the Agile Cigar Review. This is a cigar blend previously assessed back in May 2016 with the original CAO Amazon Basin release.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Dominican Republic, Colombian, Brazilian Braganca
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: STG Estelí
Toro: 6 x 52
In 2014, CAO Cigars released a limited edition cigar known as the CAO Amazon Basin. The cigar incorporated a rare low-yield tobacco from Brazil known as Bragança. Since then, the Amazon Basin has seen some subsequent releases and several off-shoot projects. Late last year, General Cigar announced a different interpretation of the Amazon Basin blend known as the CAO Amazon Basin Extra Añejo. This features Amazon Basin cigars that were rolled in 2021 and aged for an additional two years. Extra Añejo means “extra aged.” The Amazon Basin Extra Añejo was aged in a room lined with Spanish cedar. According to General, as the tobaccos aged, some of the cigar’s nuances mellowed and other notes became more pronounced. Today we take a closer look at the CAO Amazon Basin Extra Añejo.
As mentioned, there have been several installments to the Amazon Basin series. The CAO Amazon Basin Extra Añejo is the fifth installment. The first four installments are distinct blends. The CAO Amazon Basin Extra Añejo is based on the original CAO Amazon Basin blend, but is aged differently. While all of the cigars incorporate Bragança tobacco, the other three releases also incorporate other rare Brazilian tobaccos.
Because the Bragança leaf used in the CAO Amazon tobacco is low yield, this is not something CAO can offer on a regular basis. Back when we previewed the original CAO Amazon Basin, we recapped why the Bragança tobacco is rare tobacco:
This cigar incorporates rare tobacco from a remote region of the Amazon rainforest known as Bragança. This tobacco is organically grown on unspoiled tropical land and harvested only once every three years. The seedlings are transplanted directly into the soil a full yard apart. As a result, this results in a small yield which is half of other tobacco plants. All of these factors lead to Bragança being a rare tobacco.
The harvested Bragança leaves are then rolled into tubes known as “carottes” where they undergo six months of fermentation. The tobacco is transported out of the Amazon via canoe. Eventually they are brought to the CAO factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.
In addition to Bragança tobacco, the filler of the CAO Amazon Basin Extra Añejo also contains Colombian and Dominican tobacco. The cigar also incorporates an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and Nicaraguan binder. The cigar is made in one size – a 6 x 52 Toro.
The CAO Amazon Basin Extra Añejo opened with notes of coffee, natural tobacco, earth, white pepper and cedar. During the first third, the coffee and natural tobacco notes were in the forefront, with the earth, pepper, and cedar in the background. There was an extra layer of white pepper on the retro-hale. The pepper and cedar increased in intensity along the way, and by the midway point, the cedar joined the coffee and natural tobacco in the forefront. Toward the end of the second third, the coffee notes fell into the background yielding to the natural tobacco and cedar notes.
The CAO Amazon Basin Extra Añejo delivered a medium-strength, medium-bodied smoke with the body having a slight edge over the strength. The cigar’s draw varied from sample to sample. Some had a little resistance (which I like), and some were more open (which I don’t prefer). The burn did require frequent touch-ups to maintain a straight burn line and straight burn path.
Scandinavian Tobacco Group has several “extra añejo” projects in its portfolio. I’m always intrigued by aging cigars. I’ve seen different results from “extra añejo” releases – some work and some do not. In the case of the CAO Amazon Basin Extra Añejo, this works. I really enjoyed the flavors. The CAO Amazon Basin Extra Añejo scores a respectable 89 score. While it seems lower than the original CAO Amazon Basin releases, it is important to know we have made changes to our scoring algorithm since our last assessment of the original CAO Amazon Basin. This is a cigar I would buy again.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Natural Tobacco, Cedar, Earth, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
Previous Assessment: CAO Amazon Basin
News: General Cigar Announces CAO Amazon Basin Extra Añejo
Source: General Cigar Company
Brand Reference: CAO
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted
Originally posted on October 1, 2023 @ 2:19 pm