Yesterday I took a drive out to Colmar, PA to the Cigar Cigars store for a CAO Flathead event with Ricky Rodriguez. I got there a few minutes after the event was supposed to start, so I took a look around he expansive humidor. They’ve rearranged the store since my last visit, moving the counter to the front and making a larger public lounge area. I had mixed emotions about what I saw on the buy one/get one table. On the one hand, I was sad to see cigars like the Leccia Black and White, some EPC and the Compounds, Elements and Musings, on the other hand I got a deal on some cigars I wanted to try. I picked up the H, 2, and O and a Titanium torpedo in an effort to sample the entire line. I also picked up a CAO Brazilia Gol to get my day started, I’ll get some Flatheads when they arrive.
I settled in with the CAO Brazilia Gol, I have always enjoyed this blend, especially in the 5″x 56 size. The Brazilian wrapper is dark and oily, and it has a unique, exotic spice flavor that I enjoy. The burn was perfect, which I take as a sign that this establishment maintains their humidor properly. I got nearly half way through the cigar by the time Ricky and Gary arrived. I first met Ricky when he was on Team La Gloria a few years ago (I smoked an Artsanos de Tabaqueros last week that was incredible), and had the privilege of spending time with him in the Dominican Republic on the trip in 2011. Rick runs the CAO operations now, and studied at the feet of Benji Menendez.
After catching up with Ricky for a bit, I was ready for another cigar, so I made my second purchase of the day, a handful of CAO Flatheads, including the ginormous Big Block, a square pressed 7″x70. On the other end of the spectrum is the new Spark Plug, at 4″x 50, which was my next cigar. I also picked up a Heatwave for future smoking and a Area 9 sampler. The Sparkplug has the same square press and flat cap as the rest of the line, but has a closed foot. It’s a tasty little powerhouse, and smoked much longer that it’s 4 inch length would suggest. I always thought the wrapper on these lines was maduro, but Rick explained that while it is a dark wrapper, they don’t call it maduro because it’s a lower priming Connecticut Broadleaf than can be used for maduro. It’s carefully processed to the dark color. Call it what you want, it both tasty and visually appealing!
Ricky went on to give a presentation of how cigars come to be, a seed to smoke kind of thing that wasn’t brand specific or propaganda of any sort. He covered the planting, curing, fermenting, sorting, rolling, quality control and packaging very nicely. If you can manage to catch him on this tour, you won’t regret it. He’s got some great stories (ask him about Philly cheesesteaks!) And is an all around fun guy to hang out with, and his cigars are pretty good too. I enjoyed the afternoon at Cigar Cigars (I sure wish they’d have more events at the three stores within ten miles of home as opposed to having to drive almost an hour!), it was great seeing old friends.
It’s Sunday, so it’s time to select a winner for this week’s contest. You will recall that I pulled a selection of cigars from my humidor, some I purchased, some were leftover samples, but all are tasty smokes that I’ve enjoyed. I will add a La Gloria Cubana of some sort to the mix, as well as a CAO Flathead Sparkplug, bringing the total to something like 17 cigars. According to the random number generator at Random.org, the winner is number 36, which works out to be foozer6976. Congrats! Please send your address so I can get your goodies to you.
I’ve gone contest crazy again! I ended up with some goodies from my escapades yesterday, so I’m going to have ANOTHER CONTEST (actually another series of contests! Stay tuned)! I’ve got a metal CAO Flathead sign,a pair of CAO Flathead Sparkplug cigars, and a CAO Area 9 sampler. Ricky explains the Area 9 in the video, but for those who didn’t watch, there are six cigars that are coded, and all of them are from the pre-General Cigar Co. CAO era. The cigars are anywhere from five to twenty years old. There could be original Anniversary Series from the Costa Rica days, up to La Traviatas. By the second week in June we should be able to visit CAOCigars.com, enter the code on the band and find out what the cigar is!
So leave a comment to enter and I’ll pick a winner on Wednesday. Thanks to Gary and Ricky for enabling me!
That’s all for now! Happy Memorial Day. Remember those who’ve given their lives so that we have the freedom to enjoy a fine cigar. Until the next time,