At the 2019 IPCPR Trade Show, General Cigars showed off what was a new installment to its Amazon Basin series, the CAO Orellana. The CAO Orellana is described as a “prequel” to the CAO Amazon Trilogy series, but for all practical purposes, it is the fourth blend to be released in the series. The CAO Amazon Trilogy series is known for the incorporation of rare Brazilian-grown tobaccos in the blend. Like the Trilogy, the CAO Orellana leverages a rare tobacco called Braganca. The cigar is named for Francisco de Orellana, the European explorer who was the first the navigate the Amazon River. Today, we take a closer look at the CAO Orellana.
The first three cigars of the CAO Amazon Trilogy are unique in that each blend builds on the rare tobaccos used in the previous blend. The original CAO Amazon Basin released in 2014 used Braganca tobacco and the second installment, the CAO Fuma Em Corda, not only uses the Braganca tobacco, but also a tobacco dubbed as Fuma Em Corda. The name Fuma Em Corda is Portuguese for “tobacco on a rope.” This is because the Fuma Em Corda uses an unorthodox technique of fermenting Brazilian Arapiraca tobacco in ropes. The third installment in the trilogy is the CAO Amazon Anaconda which uses both the Braganca and Fuma em Corda tobaccos as a part of the filler. This blend also adds a third rare low yield Brazilian tobacco known as Bahiano Habano.
Being a “prequel,” the CAO Orellana doesn’t build on the tobaccos used in the Amazon Trilogy, but as mentioned, it does uses the Braganca tobacco that is found across all of the Amazon Trilogy cigars.
Without further ado, let’s break down the CAO Orellana and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
In addition to the Braganca tobacco in the filler, the CAO Orellana is highlighted by a Brazilian Cubra wrapper. The binder is Nicaraguan grown and the fillers consist of Dominican, Colombian, and the Braganca tobacco.
Wrapper: Brazilian Cubra
Filler: Brazilian Braganca, Dominican, Colombian
Country of Origin: Not Disclosed
Factory: Not Disclosed
The CAO Orellana comes in one size – a 6 x 52 Toro. Each is presented in 20-count boxes.
The Brazilian Cubra wrapper of the CAO Orellana had a dark cinnamon color to it. There was plenty of mottling on the surface of this wrapper. This wrapper didn’t have much oil and had a slightly rough texture to it. There are some visible veins and some visible wrapper seams.
Like the cigars in the CAO Amazon Trilogy, the CAO Orellana used a thick stem coiled around a cigar in place of the band. These thick stems are located typically where the band of the cigar is. There is also a thinner stem coiled around the base of the cigar.
Prior to lighting the CAO Orellana, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed it was on to the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw delivered a mix of tangy-citrus, dusty-earth, and baker’s spice. Overall this was a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to light up the CAO Orellana and await what the smoking experience would have in store.
The CAO Orellana started out with notes of brown sugar, tangy citrus, earth, and slight molasses note. The brown sugar and tangy citrus moved into the forefront early on. While these may sound like “dessert” notes there was very much a “tobacco undertone” to these flavors. Meanwhile, the earth and molasses notes settled in the background. There was a layer of red pepper on the retro-hale. Later in the first third, the red pepper joined the earth and molasses notes in the background.
The second third of the CAO Orellana saw the brown sugar and citrus notes diminish. At the same time, the earth notes began to increase in intensity. During these stages the molasses notes dissipated. By the latter part of the second third, the earth notes took over as the primary note with a slight edge over the brown sugar and citrus.
During the final third, the earth notes remained grounded in the forefront. The brown sugar, citrus, and red pepper notes were secondary notes. There was a further diminishing of the brown sugar and citrus, but these notes never dissipated. This is the way the CAO Orellana came to a close. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and slightly soft to the touch.
Overall the CAO Orellana was a well-constructed cigar and this reflected on how the burn performed. The cigar maintained a straight burn path. There was a slight amount of unevenness on the burn, but this remedied with some quick touch-ups – and this didn’t prove to be a chore. The resulting ash was firm with a near-white color. The burn rate and burn temperature maintained ideal levels.
In terms of burning through the stems that adorn the CAO Orellana, the thinner stem wrapped around the base of the cigar could easily be left on the cigar. I didn’t get any adverse flavors from the stem. As for the thicker stem in place of the band, on previous Amazon Trilogy installments, I had burned through it and it imparted some bitterness. In those cases, I burned through the thicker stem because it was hard to get off. With the CAO Orellana, this was the easiest of any of the Amazon series releases to remove the stem – so that didn’t have any adverse effects in terms of harshness.
The draw to the CAO Orellana also scored very nicely. This is a cigar that had a touch of resistance to it – which I something I have been on record many times last stating that I like. This cigar also produced a nice layer of smoke.
Strength and Body
The CAO Orellana started out as a medium strength, medium to full-bodied cigar. The strength slowly builds up on the CAO Orellana, and by the last third, this cigar is in medium to full territory. For the most part, I found the body to not have much variance in the intensity levels throughout the smoking experience.
In terms of strength versus body, the body had the edge during the first half of the smoking experience. During that final third, the spike in strength gave it a slight edge over the body. The CAO Orellana is sneaky-strong during that last third. It’s not until you put down the cigar where that sneaky strength hits you.
I find the CAO Amazon Trilogy and now its prequel, the CAO Orellana, to be unique cigars. They are cigars that taste like nothing else that I have had. In a time where innovation has fallen short, this is a good thing to see something different on the market. My favorite of the Amazon releases was the CAO Fuma Em Corda. In terms of the CAO Orellana, it falls a bit short of Fuma Em Corda, but it’s still a good cigar. Because this cigar is sneaky-strong toward the end, I’m more inclined to recommend it to a seasoned cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I will buy and smoke again.
Key Flavors: Earth, Brown Sugar, Tangy Citrus, Red Pepper, Molasses
Strength: Medium (1st 2/3), Medium to Full (Last Third)
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop