Cigar Aficionado’s review: In its February 2009 issue, Cigar Aficionado rated this cigar a 90 out of 100 with the following comments: Dark and severely box-pressed. It draws a bit firm but shows a nutty, toasty flavor profile rounded out by earth and floral notes. Medium bodied.
My review begins with a story behind the story. When I left my duty station in Italy for a six-month deployment to Djibouti, my wife bought me a beautiful humidor. Not just any humidor from a cigar store, mind you, but a one-of-a-kind work of art that was hand-crafted by an Italian woodworker throughout the course of my deployment. I came back from my deployment and was floored by this present. I promptly bought approximately 125 cigars from a mail-order catalog, put them in the humidor, and it looked no fuller than when it was empty (a testament to its size). The C.A.O. Italia Box-Press cigar was one of the first cigars that I smoked from this order.
Shortly after my return from deployment, another of my friends returned from his deployment to Kuwait. There was a dinner between our families and a couple of other friends at a Sicilian monastery-turned-restaurant. The dinner itself was beautiful, and I had brought some CAO Italia cigars to cap the evening events. Our wives were making small talk over the after-dinner drinks, while we excused ourselves to indulge.
As we sat just outside the restaurant and started cutting our cigars, I noticed an Italian family walking to dinner. It was about 10:00 at night, and there was nothing abnormal about an Italian family starting dinner this late. However, I took my first puff and was blown away. I can’t describe the cigar’s taste or flavor in better words than the review. However, my first thought was, “this is the beauty of Italy.”
It sounds corny that I cannot find anything better to say about a cigar that is mostly Honduran, and is marketed as “Italia,” but I will say that every time I smoke this cigar, I think of two things. First, it is a very good cigar. It has all of the components I associate with a 90-rated cigar—feel, draw, texture, taste, consistency. However, the second, and probably more important thing is that every time I smoke one of these, I will always recall that night in Sicily, with a great dinner, good friends, and a knock-out smoke.