|CAO Angry Santa|
Last month we reported on two limited edition Christmas-themed seasonal releases by CAO Cigars – the CAO Angry Santa and the CAO Evil Snowman. The Angry Santa is described as a twist on the CAO La Traviata blend while the Evil Snowman is described as a twist on CAO La Traviata Maduro. Today, we are going to take a closer look at the Angry Santa. This is a cigar that intrigued me because in 2009, I named the blend it was based on, the La Traviata as my #2 Cigar of the Year. After smoking the Angry Santa, I found this offshoot blend to be a very nice addition to the CAO family.
The CAO Web-site published a little more information about the Angry Santa and Evil Snowman project:
“Angry Santa and Evil Snowman were inspired by what happened to Rick Rodriguez on Christmas 1969. (At press time), We’re not going to tell you the story now, but we will be posting it in the coming weeks. So come back to check it out.
“The cigars themselves are tweaks on our award winning La Traviata. We used the same wrappers as La Traviata (Angry Santa is the Natural, Evil Snowman the Maduro), but we selected leaves from higher primings. And we modified the blends too, choosing tobacco from different origins to create slightly spicier, more complex flavors.”
Both the Angry Santa and Evil Snowman are part of what has been a very busy year for limited releases for the CAO Brand. The limited releases have included the CAO Hurricane Limited Edition 2013, Cigar Review: CAO Brazilia Carnivale, CAO Left Coast, and CAO Right Coast. The company also launched a new core line called CAO Flathead. Both the Angry Santa and Evil Snowman are being targeted to brick and mortar shops.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the CAO Angry Santa and see what this cigar brings to the table:
The following is the blend for the Angry Santa. As mentioned it uses the same wrapper, but it does use some different components (and primings) from the original La Traviata blend.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan
Both the Angry Santa and Evil Snowman are each packaged in boxes of 14 with a total of 1500 boxes produced. A single vitola 6 1/2 x 52 vitola will be produced for both of these blends.
The Angry Santa’s Ecuadorian Habano wrapper has a dark caramel color. There is a decent amount of oil on the surface of this wrapper. I found the wrapper seams to be quite well-hidden, but there were some visible veins.
The band to the Angry Santa is quite large – taking up about half of the length of the cigar. The band itself is black. It has a somewhat modern looking Santa Claus character smoking a cigar. Coming from the smoke of the cigar are the letters of “CAO”.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoking experience of the CAO Angry Santa, I went with my usual selection of a straight cut to start things off. Once the cap was removed, I proceeded with the pre-light draw ritual. The dry draw of the Angry Santa provided a mix of natural tobacco and grapefruit citrus flavor. Overall I considered the pre-light of the Angry Santa to be positive. At this point, I was ready to light up this cigar and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The start to the CAO Angry Santa picked up where the pre-light draw left off. In addition to getting flavors of natural tobacco and grapefruit citrus flavors, I also picked up some pepper spice. The grapefruit citrus had a combination of sweetness and sour notes. By the five percent mark, the natural tobacco and grapefruit notes were in the forefront. At the same point, the pepper moved to the background where it was joined by some nut flavors. The retro-hale produced more of a sweet-spice throughout the smoking experience.
As the Angry Santa moved to the second third, the nut flavors joined the natural tobacco and citrus notes in the forefront. The citrus notes changed from a grapefruit taste to more of an orange juice-like flavor. The significance of this is the sour component to the citrus became much more sweet – and when balanced against the other notes made for a very interesting flavor profile. Meanwhile the pepper was a close secondary note.
In the last third, much of the citrus and natural tobacco dissipated. The end of the Angry Santa became a combination of nut and pepper notes. There was some spice at the end, but no harshness. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
From both a burn and draw perspective, the CAO Angry Santa scored very nicely. The burn line remained relatively straight from start to finish – requiring only some occasional touch-ups. The resulting ash was firm with a classic salt and pepper color. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
|Burn of the CAO Angry Santa|
The draw was excellent as well. It provided a tiny bit of resistance – which is something that I consider ideal when smoking a cigar. This made the Angry Santa an enjoyable cigar to smoke from start to finish.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, the CAO Angry Santa is not going to overwhelm you with nicotine. It still has enough strength to qualify as a medium to full strength cigar in my book. As for the flavors, I found them to have some nice depth. I also assessed these flavors as being medium to full-bodied. The strength and body of this cigar balance each other very nicely. Neither attribute overpowers the other one.
From reading the information CAO released, when it came to the Angry Santa I can infer that they wanted to start out with the classic La Traviata blend and go from there. The nice thing is the Angry Santa does share a lot of the nutty flavors that made the original La Traviata a great smoke. At the same time, the Angry Santa does tell its own story – namely it delivers a lot of sweetness up front and spice toward the “back nine”. I also think that this cigar delivers a nice amount of complexity in terms of flavor nuances and transitions. I do wish the sweetness did not have that sour-like component up-front, and I’m hoping age takes care of that. However, I still was impressed by this cigar.
While it’s not an overpowering cigar in terms of strength and body, it still is a cigar I’d probably steer a more experienced cigar enthusiast toward as opposed to a novice. As for myself, this was a nice release by CAO. It’s definitely worth a five pack and one to certainly keep an eye on in terms of age.
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
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