Agile Cigar Reviews are cigar assessments where we use a lightweight, shorter format. These will never take the place of our comprehensive reviews. They are only used on blends we have previously assessed. This might be a blend we are rescoring or giving a score for the first time. It might be a blend we are looking at in a different size. Today we look at the CAO Orellana. This is a cigar we previously assessed back in April, 2020.

CAO Orellana

Wrapper: Brazilian Cubra
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Brazilian Braganca, Dominican, Colombian
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: STG Estelí
Toro: 6 x 52

The CAO Orellana is a cigar that was introduced as the fourth installment of the CAO Amazon Basin series. General Cigar has positioned Orellana as a prequel to the Amazon Basin Series. The Amazon Basin Series is a limited edition series in the CAO brand that incorporates rare Brazilian tobaccos into the blend. One tobacco that is a common denominator with each of the Amazon Basin releases is Braganca. As for the name Orellana, it pays homage to 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.

For all practical purposes, the first installment of the CAO Amazon Basin Series, the original 2014 release of CAO Amazon Basin introduced the world to Braganca tobacco. Because Braganca is a low yield tobacco, this is not something CAO can offer on a regular basis. When the CAO Amazon Basin was first announced, we provided some more context on this tobacco.

This cigar incorporates rare tobacco from a remote region of the Amazon rainforest known as Bragança. This tobacco is organically grown on unspoiled tropical land and harvested only once every three years. The seedlings are transplanted directly into the soil a full yard apart. As a result, this results in a small yield which is half of other tobacco plants. All of these factors lead to Bragança being a rare tobacco.

The harvested Bragança leaves are then rolled into tubes known as “carottes” where they undergo six months of fermentation. The tobacco is transported out of the Amazon via canoe. Eventually they are brought to the CAO factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.

In addition to the Amazon Basin (first installment) and Orellana (fourth installment), the Braganca tobacco was used in the CAO Fuma Em Corda and CAO Amazon Anaconda (third installment). Fuma En Corda and Anaconda also incorporate other rare Brazilian tobaccos.

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. The CAO Orellana comes in one size – a 6 x 52 Toro. Each is presented in 20-count boxes.

The CAO Orellana started out with a mix of brown sugar, tangy citrus, earth, black and red pepper, and a slight amount molasses. While several of these notes sound like dessert, this is a cigar that very much had a tobacco taste. The earth notes had an edge early on. The earth notes built up more of an edge in the second third. By the time the Orellana was in the second third, the black pepper increased. The pepper closed in on the earth in the final third, but did not overtake the flavor profile.

The flavors of the CAO Orellana were medium-bodied countered by medium strength. Both the burn and draw were excellent.


Final Thoughts

The CAO Orellana follows the path of the other installments of the CAO Amazon Basin Series in that the rare tobaccos result in a unique flavor profile. My previous assessment of the CAO Orellana had a spike in strength at the end, but this round of smokes didn’t deliver that. Still, the flavors were satisfying and kept me interested throughout the smoking experience. In the end, this is a cigar I could recommend to any cigar enthusiast – especially one that is looking to try something different. As for myself, this is a cigar I would buy and smoke again.


Key Flavors: Earth, Brown Sugar, Citrus, Pepper, Molasses
Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium
Body: Medium
Finish: Very Good


Value: Buy One
Score: 89


Previous Assessment: CAO Orellana
News: CAO Orellana Arrives at Stores
Price: $10.99
Source: General
Brand Reference: CAO

Photo Credits: Cigar Coop