My second review is of the CAO Italia. These cigars are described as Ciao Natural with a hefty, 56-ring Robusto handmade with Italian grown Habano tobacco, plus Nicaraguan and Peruvian long filler encased in a tawny, sweet smelling Honduran grown wrapper. The result is a rich, earthy, and remarkably smooth, medium to full bodied cigar with a marvelous aroma.
The rating for the CAO Italia per Famous Smoke is:
Burn 84 rated
Consistency 85 rated
Draw 86 rated
Appearance 91 rated
Taste 90 rated
Construction 89 rated
Smoking Seth's Take
When I first unwrapped the cigar and ran it below my nose there was a definite aroma that honestly smelled like fresh cut hay. When I was younger I used to work on a farm with my grandfather over the summers, and with the first whiff I was taken right back to the old farm house. It aroused the memory of how the mornings smelt right after we had cut and raked the fields and were just letting hay dry out before we bailed it up. Needless to say the cigar gained a few cool points for that. The look of the cigar was very pleasing as well. It was a rich deep color that was dark and had a slight gloss to it that I can only assume came from the natural oils of the tobacco.
I again used a wooden match to start things off. This cigar was well constructed and had that nice firmness to it. The Italia took to the flame well and was lit after just a few pulls. I blew the foot a bit and let the cigar self correct. After just a few seconds it seemed to have a nice even burn and after a minute or so had a decent ash. The first few drags from the cigar were FULL of flavor. The hay like aroma I smelt earlier came through a touch, but now was more of nutty wheat grass flavor. The smoke was rich, thick, and had a pleasant aromatic appeal. It was also easy to the tongue which is important to me. One thing I hate is when a cigar leave that "fuzzy" feeling film that coats your tongue. I will say that after the first third of this cigar I was thinking I had found a really good smoke.
About midway through the cigar started to lose that sweet nutty flavor that I had grown to truly enjoy. It didn't turn into a funky nasty mess it really just went a little bland. The cigar maintained its firm construction throughout and each draw seems consistent in smoke content and heat (or lack of) from the next. It was very nice to be revisited by that unique flavor toward the last third of the cigar. However it was very faint and compared to the 7 to 12 minutes that I felt I was just taking drags on a large cigarette I am not sure it was quite enough. I really wanted to be a fan of this cigar and fall head over heels for it as I do like the CAO line, but that just wasn't the case. I am not saying I wouldn't be pleased if I was offered this at a buddy's house as I would know he wasn't just pawning off a stogie he didn't want to smoke on me. I am just not sure I would spend the $7.15 for one again. Show me a sale and we might be talking.
Here's how I size it up.
Burn 93 (good throughout)
Consistency 82 (just lost flavor in the middle)
Draw 90 (good smoke and heat)
Appearance 92 (a good looking cigar)
Taste 84 (man did it start out GOOD)
Construction 91 (good firmness and really held together)
Overall Rating 88
You won't fall in love with this cigar, but you will appreciate the craftsmanship and for the first third of the smoke you will have a GREAT flavor. So don't run to buy it, but don't run from it either. Medium bodied cigar.