CAO Consigliere | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican, Colombian
Size: 6 x 54 “Soldier – Toro”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $5.35 at CI
Humidor Time: 2 months
Number of cigars smoked prior to review: 1




Photos courtesy of the CI Empire:


Today we take a look at the CAO Consigliere.
Thanks to Eric Chen for the sticks.

I reviewed the original Sopranos in May of 2015. Back then, the same size as today’s review was $12.50. It appears I didn’t think much of the blend. It also seems that other reviewers didn’t care for it either. Same complaints went around.

So now that this new blend is 1/3 the price of the original blend, I am skeptical going in. And it should piss you off a little that we all fell for the Sopranos gimmick that allowed CAO to charge 3 times what the cigar was worth. Maybe more.

A few weeks ago, my buddy Larry Rogahn, smoked one while we hung out a dive that allowed cigar smoking. Larry wasn’t impressed. But that was a month ago. Fingers crossed the extra time helped. My expectations, though, are low.

I noticed that the new and improved blend has exactly the same leaf stats as the original. So I wonder if they tweaked the blend in some manner…or they just rereleased the same cigar for the price it should have gone for from the beginning.

The CAO Consigliere is not shown on the CAO web site. Must be ashamed.

The original Sopranos came in at #25 on Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 in 2005. This is what they had to say:
“The Sopranos” is such a cigar-friendly TV show that it even has its own cigar. C.A.O. International Inc. signed a licensing deal with HBO to produce a cigar named for the gangster series. The cigars come in three shapes, each named after familiar elements of mob life. The Associate, which measures 5 by 52, is (fittingly) not a mild cigar, but a gutsy, flavorful smoke with coffee, dark berry and charred wood flavors. To truly show off the cigars in style, C.A.O. went all out with the box, which is modeled after a car trunk, right down to the glossy cherry red exterior. If you don’t capisce the association between car trunk and mob life, perhaps this isn’t the cigar for you.”

Factory: STG Estelí (Nicaragua)
Regular production.

“The CAO Sopranos, a line the company launched in 2005 to coincide with the HBO television show The Sopranos, has not been part of the company’s portfolio in recent years, but now it’s returning under a new name: Consigliere.

“Three original sizes are returning: Associate (5 x 52), Boss (6 x 54) and Soldier (7 x 56). The blend components also look the same as the original CAO Sopranos: a Brazilian mata fina wrapper, Honduran binder and fillers from Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua.

“The packaging is also very similar to the original release including the bright red boxes with dual thumb holes and similar bands.

“Consigliere is an advisor to a mob boss, that role on the television show was played by Steven Van Zandt, better known as Little Steven from the E Street Band, in his portrayal of Silvio Dante.”

The original Sopranos line first debuted in 2005. They fizzled out in 2013. Not a bad run.
The cigars were OK but it was the steel box that looked like a car’s trunk, with bullet holes, that was the real hit. There was a stampede to buy empty new boxes on eBay for more than the cigars cost.

Associate 5 x 52 $4.65
Boss 6 x 54 $5.35
Soldier 7 x 56 $6.00

The wrapper is very oily with a fair amount of tooth. A little on the rustic side as it is inundated with large veins throughout. It also tends to be a little bumpy and lumpy.
The wrapper is a coffee bean/dark cocoa color.
I like the amount of firmness allowing the right amount of depression when squeezed.
The cigar band remains the same as the original…but no footer band that says: “Sopranos.”

From the shaft, I smell lovely floral notes, chocolate, red pepper, whipped cream, espresso, butterscotch, cedar, and steak sauce.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell steak sauce and hot red pepper, molasses, chocolate, coffee, and cedar.

The cold draw presents flavors of strong cedar, red pepper, steak sauce, malt, chocolate, espresso, and Ritz crackers.

A big bugger. Absolutely disdain Gordos. To make it worse, it’s a CAO. The king of Old School blending; in other words, all CAO blends take forever to age properly in your humidor. Can’t even begin to think about smoking one before 4-5 months humi time. When are these folks going to join the 21st Century?

So what I’m saying is that I genuflect in the hopes that two months was enough time to at least taste the blender’s intent.

First flavors up: Malt, barnyard, generic sweetness, a small dose of creamed coffee, a touch of cocoa, salt…and I believe that’s it.

Gordos, especially bargain priced ones like the CAO Consigliere, can take the entire half before it warms up enough to impart some really good flavor. I doubt CAO, in its Old School method, has affected my hypothesis.
It’s OK. I have nothing else to do today except go to the pet store and buy cat food. Maybe I can talk Charlotte into doing it as I like to keep up my Howard Hughes reclusive mind set.

Actually…If I had to tell the truth (which I am totally against), there seems to be life lurking underneath the surface of Mars. Something is brewing…maybe Bitches Brew?


I was flying with Butch Patrick to NYC in the early 80’s and I saw Miles Davis and Ryan O’Neal getting on the plane together and heading straight toward the first class section. Ryan O’Neal hanging with the Man? Did not compute.

Smoked half an inch and the cigar is stuck in quick sand. I shall watch Viceland or listen to music in the meantime. Maybe a little Joe Bonamassa time? Beatles would be nice too.

Construction, so far, is good. A close enough for jazz char line. Let us continue.
Strength is medium body.

Flavor is zilch. So far, it tastes like every other cheap Torano, Perdomo, Padilla, Quorum, 5 Vegas, Arganese, and Gurkha out there. It definitely tastes like a house brand from nobody you’ve heard about. Just another generic cigar blend all dressed up and no place to go. The whole selling point is the box it came in. This time? No bullet holes. Shame. The holes gave the original box its cachet.


The biggest mistake HBO made in its career was to not make a major motion picture of the Sopranos. They hemmed and hawed about if forever and the door was slammed shut after James Gandolfini died. A blown opportunity.

I’m stalling.

I get the feeling the cigar is trying to jump start itself and blow chunks full of flavor. But it is just not a self-starter.

I much prefer ranting and raving about a great blend than tearing apart a shitty one. But then I get to say “fuck” a lot more with the bad stick.
“Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.” Thank you George Carlin.

I’m half an inch from the end of the CAO Consigliere’s first third and it is a total waste of time.

Please Cosmic Muffin…look down at me and smile and don’t make me waste 3 hours of my time over this piece of shit. Mysteriously make the flavors kick in by the start of the second half. I promise to get Bar Mitzvahed all over again.

I can be in a minyan. Can you? (Gotta have a real Bar Mitzvah under your belt to be a part of a quorum of ten Jewish adults required for certain religious obligations. Mostly seen to happen after a funeral.)

Smoke time is 35 minutes. All of which I wasted as the cigar is totally devoid of anything resembling a decent cigar.
I’ve spent approximately 1200 words saying nothing.

Piece of fucking dog shit crap. Shame on you CI Conglomerate! Prey on idiots who buy because of the packaging! This really stinks.
At least I’ve got the music rocking my cave.

They took the pains to make the CAO Consigliere a gorgeous cigar but the insides? No different than the $20 bundle of Throwaways…that by the way, if you ever read the warning sticker, it says that other material other than tobacco may have been used in production…meaning bits of paper.


Still no flavor. C’mon. Two fucking months! I should at least taste the blender’s intent. All I taste is incompetence and “I don’t give a shit.”
I woke up in a good mood too. That’s out the window.

Filthy piece of rat bastard burro shit.

Honest to God, it hasn’t accumulated a single flavor; nor expounded on them, since the first puff. I’ve labored 2-1/2” and all I get is a giant Quorum.

Strength is barely hanging on to medium body. The strength seems to be slipping away and turning into a 5 Vegas Connie. Chock full of flavors like barnyard, saw dust, dirt, earthwoodleather, cow patty, and fertilizer.

Fucking great. Some bitterness shows up. Fucking Murphy’s Law.

All of the earlier described flavors have just disappeared. All that is left is some weak tobacco flavor. Not even the beloved earthwoodleather is available for the palate.

This is the worst tasting fucking shitty dog turd I’ve smoked in…I have no idea. Oh wait…since the last MoyaRuiz blends. They were dogs too. I think those boys let loose of Erik Espinosa’s coattails way too soon. I believe their Pickle Juice claims the Guinness record of worst tasting Candela…ever!

I’ve begun cobbling together my top 25 cigars of 2016. I’m still a few cigars short but I have time. I lost some months with being so ill and that sort of bums me out that I lost that time. But I have some real winners in that list…so far. Good choices on my part.

OK. Back to the most bland cigar on the planet: CAO Consigliere.

It is now only mild in strength. What the fuck?
I can’t get rid of that awful barnyard taste in my mouth.

Bowie is on the music channel. Love that guy.

Halfway point.
Smoke time is one hour.

I’m going to bypass my halfway point photo. Not worth the effort. If I knew then what I know now…I would have just stolen someone else’s photo, from the start, and used that. Using a camera with lighting equipment is a lot tougher than using your smart phone. A lot of work.

Sweetness appears. Could this be Armageddon? The rising of the Phoenix? Dionysus? Osiris? Persephone? Krishna? Quetzalcoatl?

I had a story written for after the review. Fuck that. I’m not attaching a piece of work with a piece of shit. If I had inserted it, you could be the judge of which is which.

Unbelievable. Absolutely no changes since the start of the cigar. What the fuck is the CI Conglomerate doing? Did they get Perdomo or Torano to make this piece of shit? All I can say is that 2 of the 3 sizes are huge. This blend won’t last 6 months before it shows up on Cbid with a 5 pack going for $7.00. Then a clearance sale. They’d be better off just selling the cigar boxes.

I can’t remember smoking a cigar totally devoid of any flavor. This just may be a first.
If I don’t see something in the last third, the CAO Consigliere ends up in the trash bin unfinished.

Smoke time is one hour 25 minutes.

Strangely…the construction has been excellent. Not a single touch up of the burn line. I do believe this is the first time that a manufacturer spent more efforts on its construction than its flavor and character.

The CAO Consigliere is way worse than the original $12 blend. And it was terrible.

Wishful thinking makes me think flavors are beginning to emerge. A little creaminess appears along with some malt, chocolate, and generic sweetness. Not exactly a banner of excellence.


Goddamit! Flavors begin to emerge. Just think. If I allowed the CAO Consigliere another 6 months of humidor time it would still taste like shit. And of course, like all Old School blends, any humi time over a year depletes all the flavor out of the blend. That should occur in a blink of an eye with the CAO Consigliere.

OK. My twisted mind can taste something. Trying to find some complexity is like trying to find Waldo.


Strength remains at mild/medium body. Un-fucking-believable.
Sorry Eric. Nice gesture on your part but it is what it is.
Stick a fork in me. I’m done.

RATING: -4 (Try a Rum Crook cigar for only $1.50…much better)

rum Protection Status


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3 replies

  1. Bummer Katman..time to follow it up with something great (after thoroughly cleansing palate first). Thanks for the heads up though.


  2. So they are rum soaked and dipped in wine?

  3. Taste like shit rum and shittier wine. Will make you go blind.

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