|CAO Hurricane Limited Edition 2013|
It was about a month ago when CAO Cigar launched the CAO Hurricane Limited Edition 2013. For many CAO fans, this cigar was a loing time in the making. The genesis of this cigar can be traced back to a promotion conducted by the brand last year called Last Stick Standing. Cigar enthusiasts were given an opportunity to smoke three distinct blends “C”, “A”, and“O” and score them on attributes. It turned out the cigar dubbed “O” blend would be the highest scoring of the three blends. It was first reported by the Stogie Guys that this blend would be tweaked and would become the CAO Hurricane Limited Edition 2013. I recently have had an opportunity to sample the new Hurricane. Overall, I found this to be a very good cigar, and a solid release by CAO.
While the CAO Hurricane has been on a lot of folks’ radar, what did come as somewhat of a surprise is that this is being positioned as a limited release. Currently the plan is for 3,000 boxes of ten (30,000 boxes to be produced).
Without further ado, let’s break down the CAO Hurricane Limited Edition 2013 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
While we don’t know much about the specific tobacco of the CAO Hurricane, we do know that the cigar uses a combination of Nicaraguan and Honduran tobacco. We also do not know what the original CAO Last Stick Standing “O” blend was, so we do not know what the variation is.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Jalapa Ligero
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran Ligero
The CAO Hurricane Limited Edition 2013 is available in one size a 6 x 54 toro. The length of the CAO Hurricane is slightly longer than the CAO Last Stick Standing “O”.
The wrapper to the CAO Hurricane is a coffee bean color with some colorado red blended into the color. The wrapper was extremely oily on this particular cigar. There are some visible veins on the wrapper. The wrapper seams are well hidden.
It is worth noting that the CAO Hurricane’s wrapper is a different shade than the Last Stick Standing “O”. This does not imply that the wrapper is different or not. Wrapper variation color is common in tobacco wrappers.
|CAO Last Stick Standing “O” (Top),
CAO Hurricane Limited Edition 2013 (Bottom)
The CAO Hurricane features two bands. The first band has a red hurricane symbol on a black circular background. The circular background is surrounded with gold. To the left and right side of the band is a hurricane flag logo consisting of black square on a red square background. The back of the band has a vertical black stripe. The band also has gold trim along the top and bottom.
There is a secondary band just below the main band. It is red in color. On that band in black font, it says CAO in the brand’s traditional style.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the CAO Hurricane, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was clipped I moved on to the pre-light draw. The pre-light draw was excellent as it provided me a mix of cedar, natural tobacco, and coffee notes. With a solid pre-light draw, I was ready to light up my Hurricane and see what the overall smoking experience would deliver.
Overall I did find the Hurricane delivered a different cigar experience than its predecessor prototype, the Last Stick Standing “O”.
The start to CAO Hurricane brought out some notes of leather, coffee, natural tobacco, and coffee. The leather notes quickly dissipated and the coffee notes moved into the forefront. The pepper and natural tobacco notes were secondary, but occasionally surfaced as a primary flavor in the early stages.
By the five percent mark, a tangy citrus sweetness emerged in the background joining the pepper and natural tobacco notes. The coffee remained a primary note with the natural tobacco continuing to float between the background and forefront. As the cigar experience moved through the first half, the coffee remained a key flavor while the citrus became more prominent on the after-draw. The retro-hale took a little while to develop. I best categorized the retro-hale as an exotic spice flavor.
As the Hurricane entered the second half, the coffee notes receded to the background. The natural tobacco notes now became primary. The citrus notes became a close secondary note and the pepper was a little further behind.
In the last third, the pepper ramped up. The last stages of the cigar have more of a natural tobacco and pepper flavor. The end of the cigar was spicy, and did have some harshness. The resulting nub was a little on the warmer side, and was also soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
From a burn perspective, the CAO Hurricane burned relatively straight requiring minimal touch-ups along the way. The resulting ash had a salt and pepper color. There was a little bit of looseness to the ash, but this only resulted in some minor flaking along the way. The burn rate was ideal. The burn temperature was ideal for the first 2/3, but it seemed to give me a warmer burn in the last third each time I smoked the Hurricane.
The draw was a little tight on the opening puffs, then opened up just enough to be ideal. Overall, after those opening puffs, the draw scored very well.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I did find the CAO Hurricane to have a nice kick to it. I assessed this cigar as being a medium to full strength smoke for the majority of the smoking experience. Toward the end, I did find the strength kicked into full range. I could infer the warmer burn could have had something to do with this.
From a depth of flavor perspective, I found the flavors of the CAO Hurricane had just enough depth to qualify as a full-bodied smoke. Overall, when looking at strength vs. body, I give a slight edge to the body on this cigar.
The past 12 months has been incredibly busy for the CAO brand. This included the CAO Concert (our #12 Cigar for 2012). two regional limited release trapezoid-shaped cigars (CAO Left Coast and CAO Right Coast), and the recent launch of the limited release Brazilian Carnivale. The Hurricane has perhaps been the most anticipated given it was the Last Sticking Standing winner. Overall I found that the CAO Hurricane delivered a very nice smoking experience. While the way the cigar finished up wasn’t ideal, I still think the blend has come a long way since the CAO Last Stick Standing “O”. This is a cigar that probably has enough strength and body where I would recommend this to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast and opposed to a novice. As for myself, there was enough to keep me interested with this particular cigar, and its one that I would revisit and smoke again.
Strength: Medium to Full (Full at the end)
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Corona Cigar Company in Orlando, FL.
Update 6/27/13: Corrected blend information.