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Cigar Review: CAO Consigliere Associate

29 Mar 2017

CAO-consigliere- - 1

When The Sopranos debuted on HBO in 1999, the series ushered in a new era of television, one where the most exciting and edgy viewing wasn’t available from the networks or even in the theater, but on cable, especially premium channels (and, later, on streaming services). By 2006, when its sixth and final season began, The Sopranos was a cultural icon, complete with its own licensed cigar.

CAOconsigliere - 1If you watched The Sopranos, you probably noticed how frequently Tony lights up a cigar: in his car (in the opening credits), by the pool, at the Bing, at Vesuvio, outside Satriale’s Pork Store, and on and on. With that as the backdrop, CAO partnered with the show in 2005 to create the CAO The Sopranos Edition line of cigars.

The line featured three sizes: Associate (5 x 52), Soldier (6 x 54), and a belicoso called Boss (7 x 56). Later, a Tony Soprano Signature (6.5 x 60) was added. All were packaged in boxes that looked like the trunk of of an old Cadillac. For what it’s worth, I thought this presentation was extremely unique and creative.

In 2013, six years after the show finale, CAO (now under the STG/General Cigar umbrella) announced CAO Sopranos was being discontinued. But that wasn’t to be the blend’s final act. Last year, the cigar was resurrected as Consigliere. The primary band remained the same, but the red trunk-style box and Sopranos-branded secondary foot band now sleep with the fishes.

The blend, however, remains unchanged with a Brazilian Mata Fina wrapper and Honduran binder around filler from Nicaragua, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic. The three original sizes and names all returned, with prices slashed almost in half (presumably, some of the savings came from no longer having to pay a licensing fee to The Sopranos and/or HBO).

I smoked three of the robusto-sized Associates for this review. Out of the gate, each is dominated by heavy leather notes along with charred oak and light pepper. Bread and rich espresso notes have an extended cameo. The full-bodied smokes featured excellent construction. The flavors don’t change much until the end where the spice and leather ramps up even more, joined by a savory meatiness.

I never smoked the original CAO Sopranos much, perhaps because for $10+ the line was in some pretty elite company price-wise at the time. With the Associate selling for $7 now, it is definitely worth another look.

I often find cigars that were full-bodied a decade ago seem more medium-bodied today. That isn’t the case with this blend, which remains a heavy, leathery (if not exactly balanced) smoke. It’s enough to earn the CAO Consigliere Associate a rating of three and a half stogies out of five.

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

–Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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