The next cigar I will be trying as part of my cigar challenge is from the brand CAO.
I will be smoking the Flathead 770 Big Block. I was inspired to pick this cigar after watching YouTuber Jed Hassell of Cigars of London try it out.
Ring Gauge: 70
The CAO Flathead is a box-pressed cigar that is comprised of a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, an Ecuadorian Connecticut binder and a core of solid Nicaraguan aged long filler tobaccos.
What does CAO stand for? Cano Aret Ozgener – a longtime cigar and pipe enthusiast, who launched the cigar brand in 1993. He was a man of many talents, in his later life he took to creating his own works of art see: http://canoozgener.com
CAO, the brand was known for staying at the top of the ratings of the finest cigars in the world and is seen as one of the hottest cigar brands. The Ozgener family (Cano, Aylin and Tim), founders and owners of CAO, have made the CAO name world-renowned.
Unfortunately the official CAO website is not available for U.K./EU citizens http://caocigars.com/405.
The CAO Flathead made its first appearance at the 2013 IPCPR tradeshow in Las Vegas. This was the first time CAO had developed a 7 x 70 sized smoke and the industries first box-pressed Lancero.
The inspiration behind this… cigars, cars and girls with a retro “hot rod” theme. The cigar box lids were made using the same machines used to make auto parts and painted with real engine paint, which allows them to be removed and hung up as art.
This is a huge cigar, 7 inches long with a ring gauge of 70. It is box pressed with a fantastic chunky cigar band – it looks like a proper beast!
Immediately the most striking thing about this cigar is the dark brown (like dark coffee) oily wrapper. Looking through my Cigar Companion book at colour ranges, it suggests this is a Maduro.
The cap is a flat top and because of its size all of my cigar cutters appear to be too small for this cigar, so I have to punch cut it. There is a strong ‘chocolate’ like smell at the base of the cigar, which I’m obsessed with, and can’t stop smelling – and that’s before I even light the cigar!
The construction of this cigar is absolutely epic, you can tell it’s been well made, and holding it feels easy, I think due to the box press edges. Upon lighting up, I feel like I’m going to become addicted to this type of cigar. It has a pretty good draw to it and produces some nice thick creamy smoke.
I do like a large ring gauge, and have smoked a few in my time like the Asylum 13 (80×8) and the Flor de Oliva Giant (10×66) – but those were definitely style over substance. This cigar is completely different, it has the style and the substance!
Again I struggled to taste any flavour until the end, where it starts to feel quite spicy.
A few readers got in touch from my previous blog posts and recommended I watch a couple of cigar reviews, of the cigar I am smoking to get some tips. There were a couple of reviews that I felt were better than others, this one being my favourite from CGars Ltd…
Another reader recommended I try Cigar Sense – which looks like some kind of training course, teaching folk how to taste cigar flavours. The prices of that seem quite steep… so may hold off on that for now.
I did also start watching videos on how to ‘retrohale’… have any of you tried that? Is it common knowledge? Or is it just nonsense? Tim Swanson talks about this on his Cigars Daily channel…
Inevitably I spent the last part of the Flathead 770 attempting to ‘retrohale’. Woah – that made me have proper tears in my eyes. It’s strange as I think I usually only exhale through my mouth, as opposed to my nose – something I will keep practicing. If any of you have any other recommendations on tasting flavour notes – do get in touch and let me know your tips!
It took me about 2 hours to smoke the Flathead 770, but I must say it was a really enjoyable experience – one I think I will return to again.
My rating: 8 out of 10 – I absolutely recommend giving this a smoke! I also feel like I am leaning towards becoming a big fan of a box pressed cigar – especially after the Avo Syncro Nicaragua Toro Tubos I smoked recently too which I also scored highly.
Next up… the Casa Blanca cigar.