Good Drink And Good Cigars: C.a.o. Italia Box Press

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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: 

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. 

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