Welcome to The Daily Caller’s inaugural “Cigar Hunter” column. Some weeks I’ll be hunting for taste, and others for bargains — and occasionally for rare smokes and Washington, D.C. personalities to share them with in a city that frowns on tobacco. I’ll always tell you where I shopped and what I paid, and I won’t bore you with ratings.
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True confession: This is my very first CAO cigar. I’ve stayed away from the brand until now, principally, I think, because of the Brazilian flag colors in the brand’s logo. Who thinks of gargantuan South American countries when cigars come to mind? Not me. Orange juice and coffee? Yes. Sugar? Absolutely, although you can’t get Brazilian sugarcane in America because of the idiotic protectionist tariffs built into our Farm Bill, and meant to benefit a single wealthy Florida family. (Don’t get me started.)
And with all the other big names out there — I’m talkin’ about you, Perdomo and Rocky Patel — why venture out of Central America and the Caribbean? My local cigar shop has a few shelves of CAO sticks, and they never seem to go anywhere. (RELATED: Cigar lovers, industry unite to snuff out FDA regulatory agenda)
But I got a rare deal last week, paying CigarBid.com just $43.00 for 20 robusto-size maduro cigars. They included five La Gloria Cubana Serie N sticks and five Obsidians. I would have gladly paid $43.00 just for those 10 cigars. But I also got five 5 Vegas Gold torpedos — which, frankly, I’ll probably give away — and five of these CAO “Brazilia Gol!” cigars. I set one aside to smoke on Saturday evening after dinner.
So I’m calling the price $2.15, which is pretty remarkable considering that a box of 20 retails for $136.00. (First rule of cigar smoking: Retail is for suckers. Second rule: Pay retail for a few sticks to keep your local shop in business.)
I puffed this on my patio, outdoors, in roughly 98-degree heat. Not ideal weather, but it was down from about 105 four hours earlier. The weather reports for Brazil showed that the whole country had a high of 85 degrees on Saturday. So go figure. Maybe I should start planting Cuban seeds in my back yard.
The CAO “Gol!”cigar is quite beautiful out of the cellophane. It’s a 5” stick with a 56 ring gauge. The outside felt firm. I couldn’t find a single soft spot on the oily skin, and only one small leaf vein. I cut it with a garden-variety super cheap straight cutter that I probably got at a golf tournament. Nothing fancy: I lose ’em too often.
If you’re a novice cigar smoker, one thing you should learn to do is “toast the foot” of your smokes. After you cut the smoking end, hold a lit match (or a strip of cedar if you want to look cool) under the other end and warm it up before you put the stick in your mouth. This, the old-timers have told me, helps the cigar to light uniformly when it’s time. It also gives you a nice scent of what’s to come.