Wrapper: Brazilia Bahia
Country of Origin: Honduras
Flavor characteristics summary: Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Nutty, Espresso, Mild Spices, Licorice, Cinnamon, Malty, Sweet Tobacco,Well-Balanced, Full Flavored, Complex.
I play bass. And when I'm in a working blues band, I smoke cigars the entire night. I have to use a holder when I'm playing otherwise I start drooling on myself during a long song...can't take the stick out of my mouth. And I generally smoke so-so cigars because I really don't have the opportunity to enjoy it because I'm focused on playing.
Last Summer Fest, in Milwaukee, we had two sets to play and that's it. We got there early to unload our gear. When that was done, we could relax and get something to eat, people watch and light up a good cigar.
Everyone brought their faves to herf. I brought some CAO's. I insisted that I go first. I handed out my CAO Brazilias. A stick made of Nicaraguan filler and binder with a wrapper made of Brazilian Bahia. It's manufactured in Honduras. Dark with a gorgeous oily sheen. The GOL is a 5 x 56 stick. It's firm in the hand without a single soft spot. All 4 of us bring the vitola to our shnozolas and breathe in the cocoa and espresso aroma. Lawdy, it's like an intoxicating perfume for men.
I pull out my Xikar back stop cutter and snip the cap. I toast the foot, breathing in the cocoa aroma. I bring the stick to my mouth and immediately get the taste of a nutty, woody, earthy flavor profile. Huge billows of smoke emit from the end. Soon, our little table is causing so much smoke, it looks like we're on fire.
The cigar has an easy draw. The construction is excellent. It's so dark, it's almost impossible to see the moderate amount of veins. It's advertised as a full bodied, full flavored cigar.
We all settle back with the Brazilias and a libation from the beer vendor. The festival attracts a lot of people (This is the largest summer festival in the country.) and soon guys are stopping and asking what we're smoking? A few even offer to buy cigars from us. We smile and pretend to fall asleep. One of us always stays awake, points at us, and just says “Narcolepsy.” The inquirers walk away quickly.
A peppery spicy taste joins the profile. I'm not quite a third into it and what I've been waiting for, happens: cocoa and coffee. It's very dark chocolate and very dark coffee. It's immensely satisfying. The cocoa brings with it some malty flavor. And the natural sweetness oozes like oil.
A couple guys walk by and show us their CAO Sopranos that are in their pockets. We tip our hats.
The tribute band that's performing is playing the worst Doors music I've ever heard. The guy doing Jim Morrison keeps losing his wig and his attempts to mimic the sensual moves that Morrison was famous for, completely falls flat. He looks more like he's constipated.
I'm into the second third of the Brazilia. The cocoa and coffee falls a little into the background. There's a slight wisp of anise and cherry. The ash hasn't fallen and we are competing to see who can keep it on the longest. The ash is pretty solid so at this point, it's not much of a competition.
As bold as this cigar is, it never gets harsh or bitter. A bit of cinnamon shows up in the last third. And the cocoa and expresso are really ramping up again...with some sweetness.
I run over to a vendor and grab a Pepsi Max. I do this every time I smoke a Brazilia. The cocoa is such a dominant flavor that I like to take a few puffs and then a swig of Pepsi. It tastes exactly like the old fashioned Chocolate Pepsi we would get at Bob's Big Boy restaurant in high school. When I explain what I'm doing, everyone runs over to get a soda. It's like dessert. It's just an unbelievable taste. Some people have their druthers about what they drink while smoking; whether its alcoholic of just bottled water. Try this and tell me I'm wrong.
We are all smoking this cigar to the nub because we can. It doesn't get hot or harsh. A creaminess settles in to add a broad flavor profile. I have to get another soda. This combination should be illegal.
As the cigar comes to an end, we are holding a nub between our fingers. Skip asks if I brought any more. I nod. Everyone smiles.
We hear a voice. “The old farts that play blues....you're up next.”
We struggle out of the wood chairs, groaning as we do so, and wobble up to the stage.