CAO Gold Nasty Nutcracker | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Undisclosed
Binder: Undisclosed
Filler: Undisclosed
Size: 6.5 X 52 “Toro”
Body: Medium
Price: $8.00 MSRP
Number of Cigars Smoked Prior to Review: 1
Accompanying Libation: Water




Today we take a look at the CAO Gold Nasty Nutcracker.

It seems that CAO is catching up with the rest of the pack in providing to the public children’s colors and art work like so many other brands these days.
Just like Camel Cigarettes brought in Joe Camel, in 1987, to lure youngsters to the deadly art of cigarette smoking, modern day boutique brands and; even the regular production ones (like the new Camacho especially), are turning their packaging and mythology on full tilt. Why? Because we cigar smokers are highly susceptible to suggestion and put out a pretty package with a pretty cigar with a pretty cigar band and we just have to buy it.

General Cigar released two of the La Traviata blends called Angry Santa and Evil Snowman. I think I just proved my point.
For the 4th of July, they released Sinister Sam and each cigar, in that series, sold like hot cakes.

The Nasty Nutcracker is merely a genetically modified CAO Gold that has been fooled around with to make it sexier than the original. The accompanying cigar, Rabid Reindeer, is merely a version of the CAO Mx2. So, basically, CAO is repackaging their old cigars and selling them in the kiddie version for our delight.
I’m late to the party as usual because this cigar came out in December of 2014. Only 28,000 cigars were released. In boxes of 14.

This is a very big cigar. And a bit sloppy in its presentation. Actually, all I can see is 2” of the foot and 1-1/4” of the cap because the giant billboard cigar band is 3-1/4” long.

From what I can see, the wrapper is an oily caramel color with tight seams, minimal veins, and a sloppy triple cap. There is a bit tooth here and there. And the cigar band is a ridiculous cartoon. I would be embarrassed to smoke this in public. It looks like a giant bubble gum cigar.

The CAO Gold Nasty Nutcracker comes in this one size only.

The wrapper comes off very easily. The CAO Gold Nasty Nutcracker is virtually devoid of aromas. Although, at the foot and clipped cap, I get some barnyard, hay, spice, chocolate, and cedar.
I dry boxed the cigar overnight but that should have nothing to do with the cigar being bereft of aroma or cold draw notes.

First puffs smack me in the puss with a bushel of spiciness. Following that is a bit of sweetness, cream, cedar, leather, nuts, and coffee.
The nuttiness quickly transitions to a roasted peanut flavor.

The cigar ring gauge is too big for me to hold in my mouth and type. I’ve learned to hold the cigar in my mouth, girly style, without chomping the cap and therefore; destroying it for the photos. I’m giving my left arm quite the work out. Too bad the cigar isn’t on my right because I have a well-developed right hand to body articulation. It took years of practice; and marriage.

The creaminess really kicks in and it is accompanied by some sweet caramel. The spiciness tamps down some. I liked it where it was but so be it.
So far, the CAO Gold Nasty Nutcracker tastes like a ramped up CAO Gold. Though the CAO folks say that the blend was tweaked to give the cigar more oomph.
1” in and the char line is doing fine.

CAO should have kept the blend name “Gold” out of the whole megillah. All I can taste is the poorly conceived Gold blend. A cigar produced for newbies and those who like their cigars mild bodied.

At the 1-1/2” point, the strength is a very weak medium body.
The spiciness is just about gone. But creaminess and caramel is its only hope.

Thankfully, these cigars are not price controlled and can be had a bit cheaper than the $8 MSRP. I think I paid $6.30 each for a 3 pack. And so far, the CAO Gold Nasty Nutcracker is just a $6 cigar. The Rabid Reindeer is the same price.

The CAO Gold Nasty Nutcracker doesn’t have much going for it. And why oh why did CAO choose to make this stick a redwood log? They may have tweaked it but the wrapper vs. filler ratio is off. Even a regular Toro size would be better.

There is a small change to the flavor profile with the addition of nuttiness that isn’t peanuts, a strong wood presence, and more potent sweetness that remains generic.

The black pepper is on its journey to become a memory. A tiny bit lingers in the back of my throat.
I have to admit that the construction has done very well.

But this cigar ain’t going nowhere baby. It is a completely static flavor profile. I check online at the Gold blend has a shit load of sizes. I would have liked to see this stick in a Corona Grande (5.5 x 46). CAO has the blending all fucked up here. It is about as close to flavorless as they come.

I’m guessing that the CAO Gold Nasty Nutcracker will find its sweet spot in the last third. Which is no big deal if not for the fact that this is a huge cigar and it’s a long way to go to get to the last third.
I also see the regular Gold blend is just about the same price.

A friend sent me a few CAO blends. I remember smoking an Mx2 and thinking how far away this cigar was from being a premium blend. Same went for the other blends.

The other thing to deal with here is that CAO remains to be an old school blender. Their sticks all need several months of humidor time; not weeks like the bright young New Breed of cigar makers.

There is absolutely no depth, or character, to the CAO Gold Nasty Nutcracker. This is close to being a rip-off.

Take the old CAO Gold, put some different filler in it that you found buried in your warehouse and give it a Joe Camel cigar band and Voila! Something you can market to 13 year olds.
Honestly, I’d have put this cigar down by now. But I want you, dear readers, to know whether or not it does have a sweet spot.

I will the flavor profile to become more interesting. It seems to work.
The creaminess and caramel and much stronger now. The spiciness has returned. The roasted peanuts are upfront. The coffee element shows itself for the first time. I can even taste some white chocolate. The sweetness returns. But alas, all these flavors are very subtle. If I were distracted, I’d probably miss them.

The strength is just barely medium body.

The construction deserves a nice compliment. The char line has not required a single touch up. The wrapper is thick and intact.
I can sense the sweet spot is nigh.

As a newbie into the world of premium cigars, CAO was one of my favorites. Around 2000, I bought a box of CAO Black for $88 and got this magnificent Jackson Pollack type 100 count humidor for zip. Now that’s a cool giveaway.


I was right. Here is the sweet spot. By no means is it a stunning blend, but it does have some oomph to it now.
The flavors: Creamy, caramel, sweetness, white chocolate, cedar, peanuts, wood, leather, and spice.
The CAO Gold Nasty Nutcracker finally makes it to solid medium body.

I am going to actually say that now I like the blend. If it only started this way I could recommend it.
The CAO Gold Nasty Nutcracker is kicking out flavors like mad. I am surprised when nicotine joins the group.
The black pepper is ramping up with each puff. I’m a pepper junkie. My name is Phil.

I do believe I’ve made my point earlier on this subject.
$8 is too much. I paid $6.30 and that is the correct price. A few weeks are just not enough time of the old school blends of CAO. They need months. But here is the problem…CAO blends just aren’t that great. Sure, they have a couple that are very good and I believe I’ve reviewed them: Amazon Basin, Brazilia, Flathead, and La Traviata Maduro.

They are all $4-$6 cigars. Rightfully priced. The Basin is $9.25 and out of proportion for its quality. Shouldn’t be more than $7 regardless of all the PR stating how rare the blend is. Look at Foundry Cigars. All gazillion blends are in the $5-$7 range without providing the rare leaf stats and most are very good.

This is your standard bait and switch scheme. Take the already basic Gold blend, tweak it (whatever that means), give it a silly cigar band, and now you have a hip and happening new cigar.

I believe the size has a lot to do with why I’m not crazy about it. During the tweaking process, they should have paid more attention to the wrapper vs. filler ratio. It’s out of whack.

I am in a quandary as to why they don’t divulge the leaf stats. After smoking the thing, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the exact same stats as the regular production Gold.

The tweaking may have been “How do we re-package this cigar and convince the smoking public that this is a new blend?”
The last third has a few construction issues with cracks in the wrapper and touch ups required on the foot.

The last third was very pleasant. But spending $8? I don’t think so. You want some good cigars? “The Katman’s Best 163 Boutique Brands/Blends in the $6-$9.50+ Range.” Or “The Katman’s List of 132 Great Cigars in the $5.00-$6.50 Range.”

Here is the Real Reason You Read Me Cause it Ain’t for the Reviews My Little Voo Doo Chile:

The Moorgate Disaster of 1975

We were on the road when it happened. We had a gig that night. And the typical radio show to do prior to the concert.
London has a huge underground subway system called the Tube. And on this day, the worst tube disaster in the history of the subway system occurred.

From Wikipedia:
“The Moorgate tube crash occurred on Friday 28 February 1975 at 08:46 on the Northern City Line, then operated by London Underground as the Northern Line (Highbury Branch).

“A southbound train failed to stop at the Moorgate terminus and crashed into the wall at end of the tunnel. Forty-three people died as a result of the crash, the greatest loss of life during peacetime in the London Underground… and a further seventy-four were injured.

“With no fault being found with the train equipment, the Department of the Environment report found that the driver had failed to slow the train and stop at the station and there was insufficient evidence to determine the cause.”

The train was going 30-40mph when it slammed into the end of the tunnel. Because of the damage caused to the car, a definitive cause was never determined.
A subway car is 54’-0 long. The front car was reduced to 8’-0 from the crash. All of the people in that first car were killed outright.

After the rescue mission had halted, they began to remove the first car. They literally had to peel layers of people off of each other. The driver of the car was paper thin.

The band was at our hotel when we heard the news at breakfast. We were all horrified. Just like NYC, and other big cities with subways, it was a common way to get around. Even after the bucks rolled in, I found it more efficient to use the tube to get around until I was able to buy a car. We all used the tube in our private lives outside of touring.

For months afterwards, people waiting on the dock for the next train refused to get into the first couple of cars; no matter how crowded the other cars were. Those first two cars were ghostly.

So back to that day. Our road manager called management and asked if they could get us out of the radio show. They said no.

Normally, doing a radio interview was lots of fun and full of hijinks. Not this one.

It was very solemn. And all the interviewer would talk to us about was the crash. We didn’t know what to say. How many times can you say what a tragedy it was?
And as the interview closed out, the DJ asked us what song should he play in memoriam to the tube crash?
We all looked at each other with blank stares. What bloody song would be appropriate?

I believe it was either Darryl or Sonja that suggested he play “It Happened Today.” It seemed like a lame choice but “Back Street Luv” seemed to be out of the question.

We did our best to put on a good face during the concert and made several references to the accident. But we were there to entertain and that’s what we did. We made an announcement after the third or fourth song that we would not make any more comments. And that we should all be grateful for our lives and hug the person next to you.

Then we rolled into the next song.
Terrible day.



Moorgate tube station disaster, 1975




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