CAO Amazon Basin LE 2023 Extra Añejo Toro | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Ecuadoran Sumatra
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Brazilian Bragança, Colombian, Dominican
Size: 6 x 52 Toro
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $14.99

I’ve had my cigars lying nude in my humidor for 3 months.
Even though this was an extremely limited release, there are online stores that currently have them in stock.

Only a tiny handful of written reviews. Methinks this does not bode well.
Could it be that this cigar hosts “The rankest compound of villainous smell that ever offended nostril” ~ Willy S.
Or…”I think that gay marriage should be between a man and a woman.” ~ Arnie S.
Need I go further?

Regardless of the outcome of the review, I added a short story about the L.A. Dodgers and the N.Y. Yankees after the review.

Released: January 2023
Quantity released: 5,800 boxes of 18 sticks.
Factory: STG Estelí
From (4-16-2023):
“The CAO Amazon Basin line debuted in 2014 and is blended around Bragança tobacco, which General Cigar Co. says is sourced from the Amazon rainforest and harvested just once every three years and rolled into tubes for a fermentation period that lasts six months. That’s before the tobacco begins its journey out of the rainforest, a process that is said to involve canoes as well as more familiar methods of transportation.

“For the 2023 installment in the Amazon Basin series, General Cigar Co. released the cigar in a 6 x 52 toro vitola that has been resting in a Spanish cedar-lined aging room at the STG Estelí factory for two years. It’s this period of rest that gave the cigar its name, CAO Amazon Basin Extra Añejo, as añejo is the Spanish word for aged, a term that should be familiar to drinkers of tequila and other spirits.”

I read the entire Halfwheel review, and I feel a sense of doom. I more often agree with these esteemed reviewers than not. If I had any sense, I’d just shut it down…especially as there are very few reviews. I reviewed this blend in 2014 when the first one was released. I missed out on the following versions as they were so limited that if you blinked, they were sold out.

Not a hefty cigar. But solid in its construction. I’m guessing 75 minutes.

When the cigar came out, I read about a lot of guys smoking right through the twisted leaves that signify a cigar band. I tried it once. Bitter.

The wrapper oozes dark chocolate and spices.

Dark chocolate and black pepper begin with an eye boink and a “Sointenly, Moe. Nyuck, Nyuck,”

The burn is razor sharp. Hope is eternal.

Dried fruit dance The Jerk. If you were over 20, back in the day, this dance was deadly. Kept orthopedic surgeons busy.

The burn is in a rush. I burned an inch in 5 minutes.

This is what happens when a blend sees new releases over time. The manufacturer relies on your memory of how good earlier releases might have been…and then they use monkey shit and banana leaves in their latest offering hoping you won’t notice the difference. Every successful blender on the planet has done this. Sometimes I will buy a cigar I enjoyed 5 years ago, and it just doesn’t taste the same. It tastes like the gold was replaced with lead and iron.

Most smokers are savvy to this bullshit and show their disappointment with their wallets. This is why a limited blend is still for sale 8 months after its release.

Complexity is minimal. Way, way in the background are flavors of dark chocolate, raisins, black pepper, creaminess, and red pepper.

I read several comments, here and there, and some smokers like this new release. And those same smokers give me shit because of the flavors my palate picks up on a particular blend that they couldn’t find with a seeing eye dog. They think I’m making them up. It’s the old rumination of smokers not knowing what they don’t know. Time and experience count. It’s OK. Every reviewer puts himself out there and opinions are like pennies. You don’t always pick one up from the horse stall. (What?).

The Amazon Basin has no soul at 1-1/2” burned. A real bummer, Moon Doggies. I hoped this would be a bitchin’ cigar.

The cigar has aged tobacco. Supposedly. None of those good, sophisticated nuances are in play. It is a straight ahead $5 cigar.

Strength is medium+.
The burn is a bit wonky.

This stick has a $15 price tag. Ha. What balls!

Totally linear with 2” burned.

Man, CAO fucked up. But then CAO seems to always be in the lane of making forgettable cigars. There have been a few blends that were excellent but with their huge catalog of cigars, they will never consistently reach those with sophisticated palates.

Creamy spiciness. That’s it. Dots and stains of insignificant influences are below the surface, but they don’t help the flavor profile.

My guess is that upon release, a lot of smokers bought them but did not go back and buy more. Plus, the $15 price tag kept away smokers on strict budgets.

Halfwheel was spot on with their assessment. I should have paid attention. But I bought these bloody sticks and review them I will. Sam, I am.

The burn slowed down. Wonderful. Abu Ghraib.

“The Thrill is Gone.” B.B. King. That song became a classic standard, and it stood out musically because of a simple minor chord thrown in.

Zero complexity. Tinkerbell is dying.

CAO had to have known that this cigar was a stinker and yet they threw it out there like throwing shit on a wall. It makes it hard to respect a cigar manufacturer when they toil, the blend goes wrong…no matter, the cigar is released anyway. But now they must face ridicule and lagging sales. This is their punishment. The sad thing is that CAO just don’t care.

If the price tag was $5-$6, I’d say this ain’t a bad yard ‘gar.

Etta James. “I’d Rather Go Blind.” The woman was a marvel. Charlotte loves her music. But then she grew up in Germany and the only good music she heard was Armed Forces Radio. She has a passion for American R&B. She also loves Tupac.

The halfway point arrives at 34 minutes.

Strength hits full tilt. My testicles tingle and my vision is blurry. That would have been a great song title for Country Joe & The Fish.

The cigar makes no progress. It sits on the toilet like a constipated 300lb man.

I hope the second half shows that there is life on Mars. I expect to be disappointed.

The creaminess creeps away.
It’s all black pepper and blackened ferret liver.

It is very clear why I found only two written reviews.

When I get to the faux cigar band, I will toss it.

Look up one dimensional in the dictionary and you’ll see a photo of this cigar.

I’m not as nice or as kind as Halfwheel.

I give cigars to Milwaukee PD. All types of sticks that they might enjoy…but they also like ordinary unremarkable sticks because if something becomes urgent, they can just toss them. I’m donating the rest of my Amazon Basins.


And now for something completely different:

My beloved L.A. Dodgers were in the World Series playing the Yankees. I had a solid, but crazy, group of friends and we watched every game together.

From Wikipedia:
“This Series had two memorable confrontations between Dodger rookie pitcher Bob Welch and the Yankees’ Reggie Jackson. In Game 2, Welch struck Jackson out in the top of the ninth with two outs and the tying and go-ahead runs on base to end the game. Jackson would get his revenge in Game 6 by smashing a two-run homer off Welch in the seventh to increase the Yankees’ lead from 5–2 to 7–2 and put a final “exclamation point” on the Yankees’ victory.”

That evening was the night that Welch had struck out Jackson. And SoCal was jubilant. We were at Richie’s apartment in the Belmont Shore area of Long Beach. Belmont Shore was like a cross between the Sunset Strip and Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. But with the beach only feet away.

Attending the revelatory party was my girlfriend and I…another couple I can’t remember. Doug Page was there. An original human being…The living embodiment of the Big Lebowski. He always had a cocktail in his hands whether he was driving his old Volvo or sitting on the couch. My other solo buddy was an old high school friend, John Turner.

Doug became a good buddy that I met from playing volleyball at the beach every weekend. Back in our late 20’s, we were sleek, tanned, and good looking. Now we all look like raisins.

The game had ended, and we were celebrating, drinking tequila, and smoking doobs. John announced he was making a booze run and off he went into the streets where a massive celebration was in full gear.

He returned with Dodgers’ pitcher Bob Welch in tow. We fell out of our chairs.

John had found a drunken Welch in a bar next to the liquor store on 2nd Street where the action was.

He convinced Welch that a hip and happening party was going on and he dragged him over to us. Hip and Happening? We were 8 people and literally sedated from weed and booze.

There were three couples, (And John and Doug) listening to music and getting sloshed.

Welch plopped himself down in a chair opposite the couch, leaned back in the chair until it rested on its back two legs and propped his feet up on the coffee table. Delores did not like this one bit.

Welch was completely shit faced and began telling us gossip about the Dodgers. Then he started complaining about how they didn’t treat him right. He bitched about Dodgers’ manager Tommy Lasorda….and how someone else got a snazzier sports car than he got, etc, etc, etc. Poor Welch.

Then he started bitching about John’s description of our hip and happening party. He became fucking rude. He called our wives and girlfriends skanky bitches. Richie, who was from Philly, was a tough dude and got up and knocked Welch’s chair out from under him.

Welch was a big guy. And he shook the apartment with the thud his body made.

He got up and was ready to fight. He was in shape and 21. We were all nearing our 30th birthdays and not in shape like this athlete. This guy was bad news. But one does have to consider he was only a kid…at the top of his game…and had no idea how to cope.

We later learned that Welch was a full-blown alcoholic which got him traded to the Oakland Athletics in 1988.

John held Welch back and I held back Richie. Welch kicked over the coffee table spewing drinks and bowls of chips and dip everywhere.
And then he sat down again.

We all looked at each other in wonderment. This can’t be happening. Here was the star of the L.A. Dodgers, on the night they beat the NY Yankees, and all we wanted was for him to leave.

My very timid 5’-2 girlfriend spoke up first and told him to “Get lost!” That woman had the greatest ass on earth. Astronauts took photos from space. Had to add that…

Welch went into a tirade and cursed at us in a nonstop blue streak. It took John, Richie, Doug, and I to move his body to the door where we could still hear him swearing at us as he stumbled down the street.

If we only had iPhones back then…we could have made a fortune selling the festivities to “Entertainment Tonight.”


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