Visitors to Tampa or Miami usually notice that when it comes to cigars, the game of dominos often goes along with smoking a cigar. In 2020, CAO Cigars decided to incorporate the theme of dominos into a new regular production release known as CAO Bones. The name “Bones” actually is another name for the domino tiles that are used in the game. In fact, each of the four vitolas (Chicken Foot, Blind Hughie, Matador, and Maltese cross) in the line are named for a particular type of dominoes game. To complete the package, there are two standard 16mm dice that come packaged with each box. The inside lid is felt-covered, making it suitable for playing dice. Today, we take a closer look at the CAO Bones in the Chicken Foot (Robusto) size.
There are four pillars in the CAO portfolio: Classic, World, New Age, and Flavors. The CAO Bones falls under the New Age line. The cigar itself is highlighted by a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. It’s the second consecutive year CAO has released a Broadleaf wrapper (following 2019’s CAO Session) and a third regular Broadleaf release in the New Age pillar (along with CAO Flathead and CAO Session).
Without further ado, let’s break down the CAO Session Chicken Foot and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
While the CAO Bones is highlighted by a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, the blend is a four-country multinational blend. This includes a Connecticut Shade binder leaf and fillers from Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. Production is handled out of the STG Estelí factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Four-year-old Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Connecticut Shade
Filler: Honduran (Jamastran, La Entrada), Nicaraguan (Estelí), and Dominican Piloto Cubano
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: STG Estelí
CAO Bones is offered in four sizes. Three of the four sizes are 54 ring gauge with the fourth being a 60. Each size is presented in 20-count boxes.
Chicken Foot (Robusto): 5 x 54
Blind Hughie (Toro): 6 x 54
Matador (Churchill): 7 1/4 x 54
Maltese Cross (Gigante): 6 x 60
The Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper of the CAO Bones Chicken Foot had a roasted espresso bean color. Upon closer examination, there was some mottling on the surface. The wrapper also had a light coating of oil on it. There were some visible veins and the dark coloring of the wrapper did a good job at hiding the wrapper seams.
The band of the CAO Bones is black with silver font and trim. The front of the band has the shape of a domino tile complete with black domino dots. At the top of the “domino tile” is the text “CAO” in the brand’s logo font. Below that text is the text “BONES” in a large font. To the far right of the band is the CAO New Age logo.
The cigar experience of the CAO Bones Chicken Foot commenced with a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was detached, it was on to the pre-light draw phase. The cold draw was most earthy. Since it was one-dimensional, it wasn’t the most exciting pre-light draw. Because the pre-light draw is not scored, there was no loss of points here. At this point, it was time to light up the CAO Bones Chicken Foot and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The good news is that, while the pre-light draw was relatively one-dimensional, the smoking stage of the CAO Bones Chicken Foot did not start out like that. Notes of coffee, cedar, earth, white pepper, and maduro sweetness came out of the gate. The “maduro sweetness” is a fusion between natural tobacco notes and dried fruit. Early on the coffee notes emerged in the forefront. The earth, cedar, and white pepper notes settled in the background. The maduro sweetness floated between the forefront and background. Meanwhile, the retro-hale produced a mix of white and black pepper.
There was an increase in the maduro sweetness in the second third of the CAO Bones Chicken Foot. By the midway point, the maduro sweetness displaced the coffee notes in the forefront. The coffee settled in the background with earth, cedar, and white pepper notes.
Later in the second third, the pepper and cedar notes increased and closed in on the maduro sweetness in the forefront. There still were touches of coffee and earth present as well. This continued into the final third, and this essentially was the way the CAO Bones Chicken Foot finished up. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The burn of the CAO Bones Chicken Foot maintained a relatively straight line and path. As the cigar experience progressed, some more frequent touch-ups were needed. The touch-ups did the trick but by the second half, the touch-ups were more frequent than I prefer. The resulting ash was on the firm side. This was an ash that had a very light gray color to it. There was some occasional minor flaking. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both were ideal.
The draw to the CAO Bones Chicken Foot had a touch of resistance to it. As many know this is a sweet spot for my draw on a cigar. At the same time, this was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength and body, the CAO Bones Chicken Foot was a solid medium from start to finish. There wasn’t much in the way of variance of the intensity level of both the strength and body. At the same time, the strength and body balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
While this doesn’t get into the final score or rating, normally I like when a company comes up with unique vitola names as opposed to the traditional one. I really like that CAO was playing with the dominos theme, but when it comes to the CAO Bones – the vitola names are simply terrible. There just wasn’t anything regal about calling this cigar CAO Bones Chicken Foot.
As for the cigar, the CAO Bones Chicken Foot provided a nice smoking experience. I’d say the first half was better than the second half. While the flavors weren’t revolutionary, they certainly were satisfying. This is the type of cigar one can enjoy and not put too much analysis on it – making it a perfect cigar while playing any type of game. At $7.49, the CAO Bones Chicken Foot is priced lower than its nearly $1.00 less expensive cousin, the CAO Session Garage – and the Bones was a better cigar. This is a cigar I’d recommend to any cigar enthusiast. As for myself, it’s a cigar I would smoke and buy again.
Key Flavors: Coffee, “Maduro Sweetness” (Dried Fruit/Natural Tobacco), Cedar, Earth, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop