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Cigar Review: CAO OSA Sol Lot 50

27 Feb 2012

CAO entered a new chapter in its history in 2007 when the family-owned company was purchased by the Scandanavian Tobacco Group (STG).

But bigger changes were still on the horizon. In early 2010, STG merged its premium tobacco division with General Cigar. Then a number of CAO stalwarts left the company—including President Tim Ozgener, Chairman Gary Hyams, and Lifestyle Director Jon Huber—and CAO left Nashville to join General Cigar at its headquarters in Richmond. All these changes left many wondering how CAO’s cigars would be impacted, as well as what direction the brand would head in for new releases. Some of these questions were answered in the interview we did with Ed McKenna, senior brand manager for CAO.

As for new releases, though, the proof is in the pudding. And the first batch of pudding—the first new CAO blend since the General Cigar acquisition—is the OSA Sol. The distinguishing characteristic of the line is its unique sun-grown Honduran wrapper from the San Agustin valley in Olancho (hence “OSA”). This remote area is northeast of Danlí, the epicenter of cigar production in the country. The remainder of the blend is comprised of a Connecticut broadleaf binder and filler tobaccos from Honduras and Nicaragua.

OSA Sol is available in three sizes: Lot 54 (6 x 54), Lot 58 (6.5 x 58), and Lot 50 (5 x 50). The latter retails for $4-6 apiece, depending on where you get it and if you buy in bulk. Its caramel-colored wrapper is a roadmap of veins—some fine, others thick—and there’s a rugged wrinkle to this robusto. While the cap is no work of art, the cigar clips cleanly to reveal a smooth draw.

The Lot 50 starts with a woodsy spice that hits the salty and sour parts of the palate. Individual flavors include cedar, sour cream, black pepper, and some tannins. The finish is long and zesty with a bit of sweetness that adds balance. Smoking slowly keeps the cigar from becoming too bitter. As the spice in the cigar settles at the midway point and beyond, I take note of the physical properties. I have come to expect good construction from both General Cigar and CAO, and the first new CAO line under the General umbrella does not disappoint. The burn is straight, the gray ash holds well off the foot, and the draw is consistent throughout.

So what are my overall impressions of the OSA Sol Lot 50? This cigar has a fair amount to offer if you’re looking for a medium-bodied smoke with a woodsy core. It’s a good buy for around $4 and kind of a stretch at $6. I’ll be interested to see what else comes from the CAO brand under General. For now, the Lot 50 is worthy of three and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

2 Responses to “Cigar Review: CAO OSA Sol Lot 50”

  1. Rogers71 Monday, February 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    Decent cigar, but not terribly memorable. Wonder how much time and money General is investing in new CAO blends versus keeping the old CAO blends up to par. Most of the CAOs I still smoke (Brazilian, Black, Gold, Lx2) are from before the STG takeover. Can't say I've tried many that have been made since.

  2. Erik Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    Not a bad cigar, buy obviously far from being a great cigar