In 2014, CAO Cigars launched a limited edition cigar known as the CAO Amazon Basin. The CAO Amazon Basin was a cigar that incorporated a rare tobacco from Brazil known as Braganca, a tobacco grown in a remote area of the Amazon Rainforest. It was right around this time that CAO was really starting to turn a corner as a brand within the General portfolio. The year earlier CAO had a hit with the CAO Flathead; but with the CAO Amazon Basin, CAO really seemed to strike a connection with its fans. The cigar became a huge success and achieved somewhat of a cult status. Because it was limited due to the availability of the Braganca tobacco, it would be two years until the CAO Amazon Basin returned – and once again, it was a huge success. This year, CAO decided to expand this into a three-blend limited edition line known as The Amazon Trilogy. Each of these cigars contains a different rare Brazilian tobacco. Today we take a look at the second instance in the Amazon Trilogy, the CAO Fuma Em Corda in the Robusto size. This cigar not only uses Braganca tobacco, but a uniquely fermented tobacco that also goes by the name Fuma Em Corda.
Fuma Em Corda is Brazilian Arapiraca tobacco that is fermented in ropes (the name Fuma Em Corda is Portuguese for tobacco on a rope). Ernest Gocaj, Director of Tobacco Procurement for General Cigar observed this technique on a trip to the Alagoas region of Brazil in 2015. After sampling the tobacco, he offered to buy all of the tobacco from the farmers who were fermenting the tobacco (which still was a finite amount). Once the tobacco was obtained, the tobacco ropes were shipped to Honduras where Rick Rodriguez and the blending team started working with it. It would be combined with some of the rare Braganca tobacco, and a blend was created named after the rope fermented tobacco, Fuma Em Corda. Like the Amazon Basin, the CAO Fuma Em Gorda would be a limited production run.
The CAO Fuma Em Corda hit the market in June of 2017, just before the IPCPR Trade Show. A third installment of the Amazon Trilogy series, the CAO Amazon Anaconda, was unveiled at the 2017 IPCPR Trade Show. Some of the Fuma Em Corda tobacco (along with some additional Braganca tobacco) was also set aside for Anaconda release.
Now let’s break down the CAO Fuma Em Gorda.
Each of the three blends of the CAO Amazon Trilogy is distinct from the others.
As we noted for the Fuma Em Gorda, the Brazilian Arapiraca Fuma En Corda tobacco was combined with the Brazilian Braganca tobacco. This was used in the filler with some Honduran and Nicaraguan tobacco. The cigar was finished with a Cameroon binder and Honduran Colorado wrapper.
Wrapper: Honduran Colorado
Filler: Nicaraguan, Honduran, Brazilian Braganca, Brazilian Arapiraca Fuma En Corda
Country of Origin: Honduras
The CAO Fuma Em Corda is available in two sizes. This is the only release of the Amazon Trilogy that was produced in two vitolas. Each of these two sizes is available in 20-count boxes and a total production of 3,000 boxes per size was produced.
The Robusto size was made available exclusively to brick-and-mortar retailers while the Toro size was made available exclusively to internet and catalog retailers.
Robusto: 5 x 50 Brick and Mortar)
Toro: 6 x 58 ( Internet/Catalog)
The CAO Fuma Em Corda Robusto’s Honduran Colorado wrapper has strong colorado red hue to it. There was also some darker mottling on the surface of the wrapper. I didn’t find this wrapper to have much in the way of oil. The wrapper itself was rugged looking. There were some visible wrapper seams. There also were some visible veins – and in some cases it had a slightly toothy look to it.
Like the other cigars in the CAO Amazon Trilogy, this one uses a tobacco stem in place of a paper band. With the Duma Em Corda, a tobacco stem is tied around the cigar in a cross pattern. This tobacco stem is affixed to the cigar, and I advise not trying to remove it early on. In fact, it is something that (if need be) can be smoked through.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting the CAO Fuma Em Corda Robusto, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap of the cigar. From that point, it was on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered a mix of dusty earth, classic wood, cedar, and a slight amount of natural tobacco sweetness. Overall I found this to be a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point, I was ready to light up the CAO Fuma Em Corda and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The CAO Fuma Em Corda Robusto started off with notes of mixed fruit, dusty earth, red pepper, and cedar. Early on the cedar and earth notes settled in the forefront. The red pepper and fruit notes became secondary. Throughout the first third, I found the earth notes remained constant, but the sweetness from the fruit notes varied in intensity. Meanwhile, the retro-hale delivered an additional layer of red pepper and cedar.
During the second third of the CAO Fuma Em Corda Robusto, the earth notes remained grounded in the forefront. Toward the midway point, I found the sweetness diminished while the cedar notes increased in intensity. There still was some red pepper on the tongue way in the background.
The final third of the CAO Fuma Em Corda Robusto saw the cedar notes join the earth in the forefront. There still was some red pepper present on the tongue. By this stage, I found much of the sweetness of this cigar had dissipated. This is the way the cigar experience of the Fuma Em Corda Robusto closed out. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Overall I found the CAO Fuma Em Gorda Robusto maintained a straight burn path, and a relatively straight burn line. The resulting ash was gray in color with some darker speckling. This wasn’t an overly firm ash, nor was it a loose flaky ash. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
When I smoked the CAO Amazon Basin, one problem I consistently had was that the tobacco stem that was affixed to the cigar would not come off without damaging the wrapper. As a result, I was pretty much forced to burn through it and I found it imparted a pungent flavor on the cigar when that happened. With the Fuma Em Corda Robusto, I had no such problem. The heat from the cigar’s combustion eventually loosened ups the tobacco stem – and in each case, I was able to easily remove the stem and not damage the wrapper. My advice is here to only remove the stem if it easily comes off – otherwise, I would burn through it.
As for the draw of the Fuma Em Corda Robusto, it also performed well. It was not too loose, nor was it too tight. It seemed to maintain a sweet spot for deriving flavor from the cigar.
Strength and Body
I found the CAO Fuma Em Corda Robusto started out as a medium to full strength, medium to full-bodied cigar. Somewhere in the middle of the first third, both the strength and body actually diminished, resulting in the cigar moving into medium territory. The Fuma Em Corda Robusto remained medium for the duration of the smoking experience.
As for strength versus body, throughout the smoking experience, both attributes balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
While the CAO Amazon Basin wasn’t my favorite cigar, I still thought it was a good cigar. At the same time, while the cigar was enjoyable, I always was surprised by the cult status the Amazon Basin achieved. Usually, when it comes to a sequel, it’s tough to top the original. As a result, while I wasn’t expecting a negative cigar experience; my expectations with the CAO Fuma Em Corda were still not high.
In terms of the overall cigar experience. I found the CAO Fuma Em Corda to be even better than the Amazon Basin. At the same time, I’m not ready to say this cigar should have cult status. Time will tell from the market if that is indeed the case. This is still a cigar I’d recommend to an experienced cigar enthusiast and certainly would not discourage a novice from trying. As for myself, it’s a cigar I’d smoke again and its worthy of a box split.
Key Flavors: Dusty Earth, Fruit, Cedar, Classic Wood, Red Pepper
Strength: Medium to Full (At Start), Medium (Remainder)
Body: Medium to Full (At Start), Medium (Remainder)
Assessment: 3.5-Box Split
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted