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Italian cuisine, Italian shoes, Italian cars, and now an Italian cigar: only CAO could develop a smoking experience utilizing an Italian-grown tobacco in the filler of these excellent cigars.
The Italian-grown Habano leaves are blended with fine Peruvian and Nicaraguan tobaccos to create a medium-bodied cigar notable for its sweet smoothness. The Peruvian tobacco imparts this unique sweetness that is very tasty without being cloying or merely gimmicky. All this rich goodness is presented in a premium Honduran-grown Connecticut wrapper and binder. As you would expect, they are hand rolled in Honduras as well. CAO Italia are well-constructed with few if any soft spots.
The taste itself is of coffee and cocoa, sometimes with a hint of caramel toward the end of the smoke. If you are very observant and experienced, you will detect a note of something subtly green and herbal in the first third of the cigar.
These nicely aromatic CAO cigars are redolent of damp earthiness, somewhat akin to poppy-seed filling. It is simply a unique aroma that is not encountered in any other cigar. The CAO Italia produces a good, solid ash that clings to the end of the cigar for a good inch before it drops.
While the CAO Italia doesn’t present the easiest draw ever met in a cigar, neither does it present a spectacular challenge to keep lit. You won’t be wreathed in clouds of smoke while smoking the Italia, which is a good thing. This tasty smoke is best rolled across one’s palate, not allowed to escape unappreciated.
The quietly elegant CAO Italia Novella presents itself in a 4.5 X 45 size that is just right for a quiet hour after dinner, perhaps in place of a dessert course, given this cigar’s overall sweetness. The larger 50, 54, 56, and 60 rings require a bit more of a commitment. Indeed, a rather heroic 6.10 X 54 CAO Italia Gondola would make an excellent evening-long companion.