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Cigar Review: CAO Flathead V554 Camshaft

5 Mar 2014

When CAO, a family-owned cigar company based in Nashville, was purchased by the Scandanavian Tobacco Group in 2007 (and later merged with General Cigar), many were left wondering about the direction in which the brand would head.

CAO FlatheadAnswers came in the form of OSA Sol, the first new CAO line to launch under the General Cigar umbrella. The blend, introduced a few years ago, features a unique sun-grown Honduran wrapper from the San Agustin valley in Olancho (hence “OSA”) with a Connecticut broadleaf binder and filler tobaccos from Honduras and Nicaragua.

Last summer, General Cigar further expanded the CAO portfolio with another new blend: Flathead. With a marketing scheme centered on muscle cars and pinup girls, Flathead “hits on all cylinders” and includes a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, Habano Connecticut binder, and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua.

Each Flathead vitola—V554 Camshaft, V642 Piston, V770 Big Block, and V660 Carb—is sharply box-pressed and sold in boxes with lids that are easily removed and intended to be used as wall art. The V554 Camshaft (5.5 x 54) sells for $7-8 apiece. It has (not surprisingly) a noticeably flat cap, along with a dark wrapper, a firm feel, and a pungent pre-light aroma of cocoa and leather.

After setting an even light, a profile emerges that’s characterized by dark chocolate, leather, cream, and black pepper spice. The most defining attribute of the taste, however, is the texture of the smoke. Rarely have I come across a cigar with a texture so dense, moist, and chalky. While the nicotine content may not be off the charts—and while the spice is often in the background—the V554 Camshaft smokes heavy and hearty. Adjectives like meaty and savory come to mind.

As for construction, each of the four samples I smoked for this review performed well. I can safely say this cigar produces an even burn line, a smooth draw, and a solid white ash that holds firm off the foot. And the smoke production is outstanding.

When it’s all said and done, the CAO Flathead V554 Camshaft is a damn good smoke that should give the General Cigar detractors reason to rethink their position. It’s also a solid value out of the box—perhaps considerably more so with patience, as I consider it a good prospect for aging. I’m awarding it a commendable rating of four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

One Response to “Cigar Review: CAO Flathead V554 Camshaft”

  1. berkowitz Friday, April 11, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

    cmon paul tell us more