Cigar Review: CAO Brazilia Select (2019 TAA Exclusive)
In 2019, General Cigar would release its second exclusive release for the Tobacconist Association of America (TAA) under its CAO brand known as the CAO Brazilia Select. The CAO Brazilia line is one of the iconic lines of the CAO brand, highlighted by its Brazilian Araparica wrapper. With CAO Brazilia Select, this would be a different release. Instead of using Brazilian tobacco for the binder, it would be a cigar that would utilize Brazilian tobacco as the binder. It’s not the first time CAO would do this, as back in 2013 the company would do the same thing on a limited edition cigar known as the CAO Brazilia Carnivale. Today we take a closer look at the CAO Brazilian Select in more detail.
TAA Exclusive Series consists of cigars made by leading manufacturers that are exclusively sold at TAA member retailers. The TAA is a small group of retailers. At press time the number of retailers is approximately 80. The TAA has defined itself as:
The Tobacconists’ Association of America, Ltd. is a trade organization established in 1968 by visionary retail tobacconists. By providing education, communication, research, advocacy, and member discount programs, The TAA works with our members and the industry they support to offer the tools and relationship building opportunities needed to maximize professionalism and success.
There are 14 cigars released for 2019 as a part of the TAA Exclusive Series:
- AJ Fernandez New World Redondo
- Brick House Ciento Por Ciento TAA Exclusive by J.C. Newman Cigar Company
- CAO Brazilia Select
- Crowned Heads The Angel’s Anvil 2019
- Don Pepin Garcia Original TAA Exclusive Limited Edition 2019 by My Father Cigars
- E.P. Carrillo La Historia 656
- Eiroa Jamastran 11/18
- Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Presidente
- Joya de Nicaragua Selección de Torcedor 2019
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 50th Segunda Edición Natural
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 50th Segunda Edición Maduro
- La Palina Silver Label Toro
- Timeless 2019 Limited Edition for Nat Sherman
- Tatuaje TAA 51th
While CAO Brazilia Select was the second release by CAO for the TAA, General Cigar has already announced a third cigar that will be a part of the 2020 TAA Exclusive Series, the CAO Expedición.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Joya de Nicaragua Selección de Torcedor 2019 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
In addition to the Brazilian binder, the blend for the CAO Brazilia Select utilizes Honduran, Dominican, and Nicaraguan fillers. The cigar is finished with a Connecticut-grown Habano Gueso wrapper. “Gueso” is Spanish for “thick.”
Wrapper: Connecticut Habano Gueso
Filler: Honduran, Dominican, and Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Not Disclosed
Factory: Not Disclosed
The CAO Brazilia Select was made available in one size – a 6 1/2 x 60 Gordo. The cigar was made available in 12-count boxes with a total production of 1,000 boxes.
The Connecticut Habano Gueso wrapper of CAO Brazilia Select certainly lives up to its “thick” reputation in terms of texture. The wrapper has a medium brown color with a Colorado tint. Upon closer examination there is some mottling on the surface. The wrapper also has a light coating of oil on it. The surface is slightly bumpy with some visible veins and visible wrapper seams.
The band of the CAO Brazilia Select features the Brazilian flag colors of blue, yellow, and green. On the upper portion of the band is the text “CAO” in a white font in the brand’s logo font. Below that is the text “BRAZILIA SELECT” in white font. On the lower portion is the text “TAA Exclusive – 2019” in gold font. The left and right side of the band features The TAA logo – also in gold font.
Prior to lighting up the CAO Brazilia Select, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. From that point, it was on to the pre-light draw ritual. The dry draw delivered a mix of natural tobacco, earth, and an occasional touch of cherry sweetness. This wasn’t a very exciting pre-light draw to me. However, since the pre-light draw is not factored into the merit or value ratings, there was no loss of points here. At this point, it was time to light up the CAO Brazilia Select and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The CAO Brazilia Select kicked off with a mix of natural tobacco, sourdough bread, white pepper, and cherry sweetness. During the early stages of the first third, the natural tobacco notes moved into the forefront. There was an inherent sweetness to the natural tobacco notes during these early phases. The sourdough bread and white pepper notes became secondary notes and the cherry sweetness was in the more distant background. Meanwhile there was an extra layer of white pepper on the retro-hale.
Later in the first third and up until the midway point, there were times the sourdough bread notes made their way into the forefront with the natural tobacco. During this stage of the cigar experience, a bitter component surfaced with the natural tobacco notes. As the smoking experience progressed throughout, the bitterness became much more pronounced. Meanwhile, the white pepper notes remained in the background and the cherry sweetness had dissipated.
By the last third, the natural tobacco notes were exhibiting a good deal of bitterness. The sourdough and white pepper notes still remained in the background. This is the way the CAO Brazilia Select came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The burn of the CAO Brazilia Select had a jagged burn line. While the cigar maintained a straight burn path, it did take frequent touch-ups to keep it on track. The resulting ash was a silvery-gray color with some dark spots in it. This was an ash that was on the firmer side. Meanwhile the burn rate and burn temperature both maintained ideal levels.
The draw to the CAO Brazilia Select performed well – especially for a large ring gauge cigar. The cigars had a touch of resistance to them – which is something that I like. At the same time, this was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
In terms of strength and body, the CAO Brazilia Select started out medium. Both attributes increased in intensity with the body increasing at a slightly more rapid rate. By the second half, the body was in medium to full territory. At the same time, the strength never got out of the medium range of the spectrum.The body maintained an edge over the strength throughout the entire smoking experience.
There is no way to sugarcoat this. The CAO Brazilia Select is a miss. It’s certainly not a TAA-caliber cigar, and it’s not something I would expect from CAO Cigars. CAO Cigars is better than this. There were some promising notes as the CAO Brazilia came out of the gate. As the cigar built up in intensity, so did the bitterness – and this caused the balance of this cigar to deteriorate. Some cigars are going to miss the mark – and this is one of them. This is not a cigar I could recommend.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Sourdough Bread, White Pepper, Cherry
Burn: Very Good
Complexity: Low to Medium
Body: Medium to Full (1st 1/2), Full (Second Half)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Not Recommended
News: CAO Brazilia Select Announced as 2019 TAA Exclusive
Brand Reference: CAO
TAA Exclusive Series 2019 Reference: 2019 TAA Exclusive Series
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop