If you go back to the days when Tim Ozgener was at the helm of the CAO brand, there was a series of cigars that were (unofficially) called the “X2” series. Each of these cigars incorporated a blend that included two components of a particular tobacco. There was CX2 (Cameroon wrapper and binder), MX2 (Maduro wrapper and binder), and LX2 (Ligero times two). Since CAO has been formally absorbed into the General Cigar portfolio, the X2 trilogy has seen much activity. In fac,t both the CX2 and LX2 were phased out, leaving the MX2. In 2022, General Cigar decided to revisit the concept. This time instead of an X2, General opted to do an X3 release called CAO BX3. On this release, the “B” was for Brazilian and the BX3 would deliver with Brazilian tobacco used three times. Today we take a closer look at the CAO BX3 in the Robusto size.
The use of Brazilian tobacco by CAO is nothing new. Back when the Ozgener family owned CAO, the CAO Brazilia was first released. This cigar incorporated a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper. Over the past nine years, the CAO Amazon Basin series of cigars was created. These cigars were released while Rick Rodriguez was at the helm and became some of the most popular limited releases. The four Amazon Basin cigars incorporated rare Brazilian tobaccos. Now comes BX3, which ironically was the first CAO release following the departure of Rick Rodriguez.
Without further ado, let’s break down the CAO BX3 Robusto and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The Brazilian tobacco incorporated in the blend is used on all three components of the CAO BX3 blend – including the two most popular Brazilian tobacco leaves: Brazilian Mata Fina and Brazilian Arapiraca. The Mata Fina is used on the wrapper and is incorporated into the filler. The Arapiraca leaf is used for the binder. While the blend is Brazilian-forward, there are Honduran, Mexican, and Nicaraguan tobaccos also incorporated into the filler. Production comes from the STG Estelí factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
Binder: Brazlian Arapiraca
Filler: Brazilian Mata Fina, Honduran, Mexican, Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: STG Estelí
The CAO BX3 is offered in three sizes. Each is presented in 20-count boxes.
Robusto: 5 x 52
Toro: 6 x 54
Gordo: 6 x 60
The Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper of the CAO BX3 Robusto had a medium brown color with a strong Colorado tint to it. The surface of the wrapper had an oily complexion. There was also some mottling on the surface of the wrapper. There were some visible veins, and the wrapper seams were visible. This was a wrapper that also had a slightly rugged look to it.
Prior to lighting up the CAO BX3 Robusto, a straight cut was used to remove the cap of the cigar. Once the cap was removed, it was time to progress with the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw had notes of wood and earth. There was also a citrus note that had a slight astringent component to it. This wasn’t the most exciting pre-light draw experience, but since the pre-light draw is not factored into the numerical merit score or value rating, there was no loss of points here. At this point, it was time to light up the CAO BX3 Robusto and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The CAO BX3 Robusto opened up with notes of wood, earth, citrus, white pepper, and hay. During the early phases, there was no dominant note. As the cigar moved through the first third, the earth notes settled in the forefront. The wood, pepper, hay, and citrus settled in the background. Like the pre-light draw, the citrus had an astringent component to it. Meanwhile, on the retro-hale, there were additional layers of hay and mixed pepper.
During the second third of the CAO BX3 Robusto, the earth notes remained grounded in the forefront. During this stage, both the pepper and citrus increased. Meanwhile, there were still notes of wood and hay that rounded out the flavor profile.
By the final third, the citrus and pepper eclipsed the earth notes. The earth notes settled with the wood and hay notes in the background. Something seemed off in terms of the balance of the flavors in this cigar. As the smoking experience of the CAO BX3 came to a close, the cigar finished with a soft and cool nub.
While each of the samples of the CAO BX3 Robusto started out with a straight burn, there were points in each of the samples where the burn started to meander and/or the burn line got uneven. This required frequent touch-ups. While the touch-ups did the trick, there were more touch-ups than I prefer. The cigar had a firm ash with a salt and pepper complexion. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both maintained ideal levels.
The draw to the CAO BX3 Robusto performed well. This was a cigar that had a touch of resistance to it. If you have followed many of my assessments, you will know this is considered the sweet spot for me when it comes to a draw. At the same time, this still was a low-maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The CAO BX3 Robusto started out with mild to medium strength and medium-bodied flavors. As the cigar experience progressed, both the strength and body increased in intensity. By the midway point, the strength was at a medium level. The body came closer to medium to full, but did not reach it. For the remainder of the smoking experience, the cigar maintained medium strength and just under medium to full body.
In terms of strength versus body, the body maintained a significant edge through the smoking experience.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
The band to the CAO BX3 has a multi-colored, water-color design it. It is worth noting that Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG) and Arturo Fuente are embroiled in a dispute over the use of the “X” on the CAO BX3 (Arturo Fuente says the use of the ‘X’ infringes on its Opus X Trademark). Given this is a cigar review site and not a legal blog, we will leave it to the lawyers to figure this out.
While I’ve always been disappointed with Brazilian puros, I had high hopes with the CAO BX3 because it incorporated non-Brazilian tobaccos into the blend. On top of that, I also had high hopes because the CX2, MX2, and LX2 were some of the better CAO releases over the year. That being said, the CAO BX3 Robusto was a disappointment. It simply fell short in the flavor category. The flavors had no wow factor, and as mentioned above, during the last third the balance was off. The CAO BX3 carries an attractive price point of $8.99, so perhaps you want to try a sample for yourself and see what you think.
Key Flavors: Earth, Citrus, Wood, Hay, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st Half), Medium (2nd Half)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Try a Sample
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted
Originally posted on April 16, 2023 @ 11:17 am