|CAO Last Stick Standing – Blend A|
In this assessment, we take a look at a second cigar from CAO’s Last Stick Standing collection – the CAO Last Stick Standing (LSS) “A”. The Last Stick Standing Collection is a concept from CAO’ that gives consumers a chance to sample three potential blends and then vote on what which blend they think should be the next CAO cigar. In the case of the Last Stick Standing “A”, I found this to be another solid cigar in the series. At the same time, I found this to be an interesting cigar. I felt this cigar was more of a niche cigar – meaning it’s a cigar that will appeal to a particular segment of cigar enthusiasts.
A short time ago, I assessed the CAO Last Stick Standing (LSS) “C” blend. Here is some information I recently provided (when I assessed the “C”) on the concept and how I approached it for doing an assessment:
The three finalist blends in the “Last Stick Standing” collection are
packaged in a special tin. These have been made available to
retailers. There are three blends inside the tin: Blend “C”, blend
“A”, and blend “O”. Consumers may receive the “Last Stick Standing” tin
with the three cigars if they purchase six CAO cigars from a brick and
mortar retailer. Consumers are then able to go on line to a special Last Stick Standing web-site and provide their scores and input on the cigars.
|Tin containing the CAO Last Stick Standing cigars|
While we do not know if the Last Stick Standing “A” will be the CAO
blend or not, we’ve opted to provide a full assessment complete with an
assessment rating and score. The decision to do this is that this has
been made since the Last Stick Standing cigar has been made available to
the general marketplace as opposed to being a pre-release cigar.
Normally in the cases of “pre-release” we do a “pre-review” and hold off
on a final assessment rating and score.
Like with the Last Stick
Standing “C” blend, there are no specifics provided with the “A” blend.
Currently, each of the three cigars in the Last Stick Standing package are a 5 1/4 x 54 sized cigar. I like to refer to this size as a “Super Robusto”.
The Last Stick Standing “A” has what I categorize as a “toffee colored wrapper”. The wrapper itself is more silky than oily. It has some visible wrapper seams, and some visible veins. There is an aroma from the foot that is a classic tobacco farm-like aroma.
The color scheme for the band of the “A’ is black, dark gray, and silver. Prominently in the center is a silver chevron-like “A” on a black background. There is also a thin silver
circle that surrounds surrounds the “A”. The remainder of the band has a
black background and dark gray design going around it.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my Last Stick Standing “A”, I went with a straight cut and immediately started a pre-light draw. The dry draw notes yielded notes of wood, hay, and some background pepper. It almost had a Dominican tobacco taste, but I cannot say whether or not this was Dominican tobacco or not. I did feel this had an interesting pre-light draw, so it was time to fire up the “A” and see what the smoking experience would bring to the table.
I mentioned at the beginning that the CAO Last Stick Standing “A” seems to fit a niche when it comes to flavor profile. This comes back to the point I made during the pre-light draw that this cigar had a Dominican-taste to it. This was also the case during the smoking experience. Again, I have no knowledge of the tobaccos in this blend, but from a pure taste perspective, I tasted something similar to a Dominican cigar. Therefore, I think this is a cigar that can be aimed to cigar enthusiasts who love a good Dominican tobacco cigar.
The flavor profile to the Last Stick Standing “A” started out with a flavor profile of wood, grass, and pepper. The flavor notes started out pretty evenly. The pepper notes moved to the background and were more prominent on the after-draw. This left the grass and wood notes in the forefront.
Around the ten percent mark, a creamy undertone joined the flavor profile. This was more of a tertiary-like note, but it created a nice smoothness on this cigar. When the Last Stick Standing “A” reached the 20 percent mark, the pepper on the after-draw came up a notch. It is also worth noting the pepper was pretty strong through the nostrils.
By the midway point of the Last Stick Standing “A”, sweet natural tobacco notes and nut flavors were introduced. These eventually moved up and eclipsed the grass and wood notes. Meanwhile the pepper and cream continued in the background roles. The profile held until the end. The finish was very good. The cigar finished smooth and cleanly. It had a nub that was cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
As far as the construction attributes go, the Last Stick Standing “A” did very well. When I smoked the Last Stick Standing “C” required more in the way of touch-ups, but no such case with the Last Stick Standing “A”. The “A” had a razor sharp burn – requiring very little in the way of touch-ups. The burn temperature was ideal. The burn rate seemed a little fast for a 5 1/2 x 54 cigar, but it had no adverse effects in the long run. As for the draw, the Last Stick Standing “A” scores perfect – making this cigar a joy to puff on.
Strength and Body
While the Last Stick Standing “C” was both medium to full in terms of strength and body, the Last Stick Standing “A” was more dialed back. The “A” actually starts out more on the mild to medium side in terms of strength. By the, it increased into the medium area of the strength spectrum. The depth of the flavor notes are not overly bold, but still effective. I assessed the “A” as being medium in terms of body. For the most part, the strength and body balance each other well. Toward the end, I did think the strength (while still a medium) had a slight edge over the body (also a medium).
I will re-emphasize that I do not know the origins of this blend. I can say that those who like a Dominican puro or a heavy Dominican tobacco profile will like the CAO Last Stick Standing “A”. When I submitted my score to the Last Stick Standing web-site, I scored the “A” a 7.5 out of 10 points. At the time of this assessment, the average score for the “A” was a 7.3, so I was a little higher here.
I scored both the “C” and the “A” an 89. I would say I would give the “C” an edge on flavor, and the “A” an edge on construction and finish. In the end, these are two different cigars and in my opinion both are worthy of being regular releases by CAO. As I mentioned, I would probably steer this cigar to someone who prefers something along the flavor profile of a Dominican. I’d also encourage novice enthusiasts to give this a try. While the “C” was more of my flavor profile, from time to time I can see myself going for this cigar on occasion.
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st Half), Medium (2nd Half)
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: This was received as a promotional item from Casa de Montecristo in Countryside, Illinois when I purchased six CAO cigars.