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Stogie Reviews: CAO L’Anniversaire Cameroon Robusto

28 Jul 2008

On the heels of my colleague’s thoughtful commentary that encouraged us to “not consider ourselves too macho, too old, too cool, or too proud to smoke mild or medium sticks,” I bring you this light-bodied creation from CAO.

Introduced in 1999 to celebrate the company’s first 30 years of business (1968-1998), the Cameroon blend sports a Cameroon wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. The series was preceded by a L’Anniversaire Maduro version in 1998. Both have received high ratings from Cigar Aficionado and Cigar Insider—with several vitolas over 90 points—and both are considered to be box-pressed pioneers.

The Cameroon blend is touted as a mild to medium-bodied experience with “unique and distinctive notes of caramel, nuts, and sweetened coffee.” I was surprised to see several websites claim the series is one of the “most sought-after” premium cigars on the market.

The 5 inch by 50 ring gauge Robusto is characterized by a handsome, sepia-colored wrapper that often includes one prominent vein. It has a pseudo-spongy feel and an easy pre-light draw, but a cross-section reveals tightly packed leaves.

After toasting the foot and establishing an even light, the stick gets off to a worrisome start with a bland, paper-like taste and just a hint of the sweetness you’d expect from other Cameroons. The flavor thankfully builds over the next few inches to include notes of almond, graham, and honey.

While the overall effect is still pretty light and airy, there’s certainly plenty to taste, especially when a cedar spice adds into the mix down the stretch. The physical properties are admirable and in line with what I’ve come to expect from CAO. My take is this cigar’s smooth creaminess is well-suited to accompany a morning cup of coffee.

My only complaint is the price. Two of my favorite Cameroons, one from Cuban Crafters and the other from H. Upmann, sell in the $4-5 range; this Robusto goes for about $7.50 apiece or $115-130 per box of 20. Still, if you’re looking for something mild—as you probably should from time to time—this isn’t a bad investment. I give the CAO L’Anniversaire Cameroon Robusto three out of five stogies.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

3 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: CAO L’Anniversaire Cameroon Robusto”

  1. Jon N. Monday, July 28, 2008 at 4:56 pm #

    This is a good, fair assessment of the L'Anniversaire. I enjoyed it a bit more than you did, but I think you made the right call re: value. At $7.50 a pop (more, in my neck of the woods), these sticks are a bit overpriced. Still, I'm a big fan of 'em.

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