CAO Session | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Dominican Vega Especial
Filler: Nicaraguan Estelí, Dominican Piloto Cubano
Size: 5.25 x 54
Strength: Full
Price: $8.59

Today we take a look at the CAO Session.
Samples provided by General Cigar.
OK. So, I’m the last guy on earth to review this cigar. They have only been out a short time. And this is not one of those rare CAO blends that gets a ton of aging before it is mummified in its cello. Nope. It’s all on you to properly age most CAO blends. You get them raw because CAO needs to feed the bank. I’ve waited a total of 6 weeks or so before I pulled the trigger on my decision to start the week with this blend’s review.

According to Cigar Aficionado:
“There’s a new CAO line shipping to retailers next week, and unlike most CAO cigars, it’s made in the Dominican Republic, rather than Central America. Dubbed CAO Session, the new line is a collaboration between brand ambassador and blender Rick Rodriguez and Yuri Guillen, factory manager of General Cigar Dominicana.

“Shipping to retailers on July 2, CAO Session is composed of a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, Dominican binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. It’s packaged in 20-count boxes and comes in three sizes: Garage (5 1/4 inches by 54 ring gauge, $8.59), Bar (6 by 49, $8.99) and Shop (6 by 60, $9.59).

“Although Rodriguez and Guillen worked together in the Dominican Republic 15 years ago, Rodriguez eventually went to Estelí, Nicaragua, to oversee the CAO brand while Guillen remained in the Dominican Republic. According to General, CAO Session marks a reunion of sorts, and is also the first CAO to be made in the Dominican Republic in more than 10 years.”

I know it’s bullshit; but when I see a cigar wrapper this dark and oily, my sociopathic brain says the wrapper has been dyed. I have zero proof of that and I’m very sure I’m wrong. But damn…this is one black cigar.
Seams are all visible. Lots of veinage. Bumpy and lumpy. It doesn’t feel as though the filler is evenly distributed as there are a plethora of hard and soft spots from stem to stern.
I picked the stick with the best-looking cap as the others I have look like hell. And lastly, the cigar band looks like a candy wrapper.

Aromas are redolent with bittersweet chocolate, malt, some floral touches, sweet notes of caramel and cherry cream…strong black pepper, barnyard, cedar, and bitter almonds.
The cold draw presents flavors of barnyard, cedar, black pepper, espresso, zero sweetness, and old wood shavings.

Despite the unevenness of the filler, the draw is good; although a bit on the loose side for my tastes…no need for my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool.
The top half is sorely underfilled…while the bottom half is hard as a rock. Now I do need my PerfecDraw…big difference.

First up are notes of incognito sweet things, then some chocolate, espresso, malt, cedar, black pepper (lots of it), some slow smoked hickory, and bitter almond.
Strength is immediately medium/full. Uh-oh.

The poorly applied triple cap is beginning to disintegrate under the strain of my lips.
I recently reviewed the CAO Flathead V19. What a phenomenal blend. And here we are with its polar opposite.
The burn starts off uneven and requires the occasional touch up.
I can’t keep the damn thing lit.

I dry boxed the cigar for 48 hours and with our current low humidity should have solved any ‘wet’ issues.

No hints of complexity. Transitions consist of black pepper and harshness. The finish is just high levels of spiciness.

Clearly, like most CAO blends, this cigar needs 9-12 months of humidor time to make up for slap dash approach CAO takes with so many of its cigars in terms of not using nicely aged tobacco. And even then, there is no guarantee that time will cure its ills.
So, for the moment, the Sessions is just a pepper bomb.

The burn is terrible and the choice of rollers is shameful. After all, this is still a nearly $9 stick. Imagine the list of great blends you can choose from for that amount of dough.

It sort of pisses me off to constantly need to torch the foot so as not to get an unredeemable burn line. The flame burning the wrapper over and over again does not do any favors to the taste of the cigar.

I read a couple reviews of this cigar and the writers were kind and conciliatory. None of us wants to piss off General Cigar. But still, it was noted by most that this is probably a good cigar to hand off to your mooch friends while you smoke your Casdagli.

It goes out again. Damn. It should knock this shit off once it gets to the bottom half of the cigar that is over filled compared to the upper half which is woefully under filled.

Some creaminess appears that feels like it is saving the day for this peppery onslaught.

It dearly needs a serious touch of sweetness. It is harsh from the black pepper. The back of my throat is parched. My first sip of water absolves the cigar of its wrongdoing but doesn’t flash any flavor potential.

This is a regular production cigar so expect to see this baby on sale on your favorite discount online stores in the next few months. I predict the price will be lowered to around $5 instead of almost $9.
There are background flavor components struggling to be heard…and tasted. The maltiness in conjunction with the chocolaty element gives it some heart but no soul.

At some point during the second third, the cap will peel off. Right now, it’s as loose as your Aunt Helen’s pussy.

I think I shall stop correcting the burn line as nothing I do seems to be able to fix it. Let the dice fly.

Halle-fucking-leujah. A touch of complexity kicks in. But it is so offset by the overpowering black pepper that it cannot be enjoyed. Months and months of humi time are needed. But like everyone else with paper and quill, we must review the latest cigars on the market, or our readers won’t love us. So, here I am…reviewing a cigar that I should have waited 6 months to review. I’m such a schmuck.

And the cap disengages.
This would almost be funny if it weren’t for the fact that I could be reviewing a worthy cigar or just eating a couple of bran muffins.

Strength is full tilt and the nicotine hits hard. Newbies….RUN! Let other schnorrers smoke this thing.

“Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd is playing. I wish I was somewhere else.

The thing is that even with only 6 weeks of humi time, I should taste potential. Instead, I taste a blend that somehow made it through the quality control process unscathed. Off with its head!
And it goes out again…Lol.

This cigar is going to taste like burnt ochre.

I use an acetylene torch to relight. I have an oxyfuel torch but that might set off the smoke alarms.
There is no perceivable improvement.

The harshness is now really annoying. The back of my throat feels like I’ve crawled out of a burning building.

C’mon CAO. You don’t release a cigar with all the hype expecting smokers to enjoy it only to see smokers telling themselves, never again.

If we put a fiver of the CAO Session in a new space exploring satellite that is out there to discover the far reaches of the universe, whomever finds it and tries this cigar will think one of two things: First, we need to put this group of beings out of their misery and destroy their planet…or second, they will feel sorry for us and leave us alone.

I’m on my last brain cell from the nicotine.

It goes out again….shit, fuck, cunt, cock, piss, crap.
At least it’s consistent.

I now believe I’d be having more fun getting a colonoscopy…with no anesthesia.

The flavor profile is about as non-existent as sightings of Sasquatch taking a dump.

Thank God…”Crosstown Traffic” by Jimi. A burst of sunlight in this post-apocalyptic cigar review.
I feel like I’m Malcolm McDowell in that scene from “Clockwork Orange.” My eyelids are pinned back forced to watch repeats of The Partridge Family interspersed with The Waltons.

I’ve gone through a bottle of water…next!

Maybe if I injected a cocktail of fentanyl and propofol directly into my optic nerve, I’d have a different attitude.

The cat walks into the room and presents its ass and leaves. Perfect. My feelings exactly.

The cap begins to unravel forcing me to use my PerfecRepair cigar glue so that I don’t have an excuse to cut this review short.

A dog turd would get its feelings hurt if I used that analogy for this blend.

Even with the inconsistency of the filler, this cigar is taking forever to get through. Time has stopped and I’m seeing a gremlin on the wing of the plane.

The CAO Session has no redeeming value. (There goes my partnership with General Cigar).
And for the 43rd time, the cigar goes out. Maybe it will explode in the last third.

At this point, I’ve probably burned away 1/3 of the cigar trying to keep it lit.
I’ve now been smoking it for 32 hours.

No complexity. No transitions. No finish other than intense black pepper. A real winner.
I cannot believe I’m allowing myself to hallucinate from the nicotine for this blend.

This is possibly the worst CAO blend I’ve smoked.
Short of a baby Jesus miracle, this cigar is dead. I’d cremate it but it wouldn’t successfully burn. Maybe a nice burial at sea in my toilet?
Sorry dear readers, but I can only take so much punishment.


And now for something completely different:

L-R Me on bass, Sonja, Florian on drums, and Francis on guitar..Darryl is hidden.

We played a lot of universities in the mid-70’s in England. There weren’t many arenas to play like now. Schools had huge auditoriums that could seat thousands of people…with no shortage of SRO.
At one of these, the student body president, a woman, gave us her personal office to use as a dressing room.

All the food accoutrement was there but no bottle opener. The prez put her head in and asked if we were OK? We asked for a bottle opener and she grabbed her own personal one from her desk and presented it to us. She wagged her finger and said she must get it back.

After the gig, we were chilling out. Exhausted, sweating, and flopping on the furniture.
The roadies stood guard at the door and one said that there was a persistent groupie who wanted to meet the band. Darryl gave him the OK. I looked at him with a WTF attitude. I didn’t realize he had a devious plan.

In walked this pretty chick wearing a paisley muu muu and earth shoes. And not looking particularly clean.

She sat between Darryl and I on a couch. Darryl leaned into me and whispered that he could have her humping a small orange juice bottle within 5 minutes. I laughed and shook my head. I’d seen a lot on the road but this was fucking nuts. I bet him a fiver he would not, and could not, accomplish this.

Sonja was stretched out on a couch across from us watching everything. Sonja was not shy about her bisexuality. After the original Curved Air broke up in 1972, she became a Playboy bunny at the London Playboy club. While I was in the band, her bunny friends (with the same sexual leanings) would show up at the London gigs and she would always leave arm in arm with several of them; looking at us over her shoulder with a shit eatin’ grin on her face. The next day, she tortured us with details.

Darryl started laying BS on Ms. Earth Mama telling her that people should be free to do what they want, etc. She just nodded.

Darryl grabbed the empty orange juice bottle and played submarine pushing the bottle up her arms and thighs. Then in a quick motion, he lifted her muu muu and put the bottle next to bare skin.
She made insincere comments asking him to stop, meanwhile; her moaning was loud and passionate.

Sonja’s eyes lit up. She was now having a good time.

And with a swoosh, the bottle was inserted into her quedgie. She wore no panties…unless they were standing in a corner outside the dressing room.

Francis Monkman, who was very prim and proper, did no drugs, did not drink, and meditated; jumped over to us and grabbed the last 1/8” end of the bottle so as not to touch much of anything and proceeded to jack hammer the empty bottle.

Apparently, neither Darryl nor Francis were doing a good enough job, so the chick grabbed the bottle away. She leaped off the couch and laid on her back in the middle of the floor. Her dress was up around her waist. Her legs were high above her head in the Y position.

She began using the bottle how she wanted to use it.
We all just sat and watched. Rock n roll was good.

The door of the office flung open and the student body school president came back to get her bottle opener. We told her it was on her desk.

Her eyes were like saucers when she saw the chick on the floor and what she was doing.

Rather than run screaming out of the office, she crossed the room to her desk. She gingerly stepped over the girl with one giant step; got her bottle opener, stepped back over the girl and left in a huff.

It all came to an end in minutes and the roadies escorted her back to the hotel where she willingly gave it up as they all took turns making her a happy woman. Although it was reported to us in the morning that she kept asking if the band was going to join in?

We wanted nothing to do with her. I was 24 and enjoying big time rock n roll but this was just yucky. Luckily, there were other opportunities for debauchery on the road that were a lot more pleasant.

A year later, same university…and there she was again. We told the roadies that once was enough. Once again, she returned to the hotel with the roadies.


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2 replies

  1. Thanks for taking one for the team once again, Katman. If it’s any consolation, this review was every bit as entertaining and informative as your positive reviews. Also, you just saved me nine bucks. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery to that keen palette of yours.

  2. Thanks Darryl…
    Unfortunately, upon completion of that review, my wife had me admitted against my will to the Cigar Snob Rehab Center in Chicago. I will be kept there until I learn to appreciate a good $4 Gurkha paired with Walmart booze that is just a clear bottle with a white label that says: VODKA.
    I may take my own life by drinking 64oz of PerfecRepair cigar glue.
    But I plan on returning as my family hail from a small village in the Transylvanian area of Hungary…Just gotta remember to wear shades as my future is so bright…and give up garlic.

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