Team Cigar Review: CAO Expedición TAA Exclusive 2020

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Cigar Details: CAO Expedición TAA Exclusive 2020

  • Vitola: Toro
  • Length: 6.12″
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Oscuro
  • Binder: Connecticut Shade
  • Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras and Dominican Republic
  • Factory: HATSA
  • Blender: Rick Rodriguez
  • Price: $9.50
  • Release Date: July 2020
  • Source: Developing Palates

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The wrapper around the box pressed CAO Expedición TAA Exclusive 2020 is dark brown but has some areas that are a bit lighter. There are a number of veins visible, but they are all very well pressed. The seams are smooth and really only visible due to color variation and vein placement. The head appears to be finished with a double cap. The band has a nice look to it and reminds me of a retro Disneyland attraction concept. There are a couple of shades of blue along with orange and white and the company logo. No reference to TAA. The aroma from the wrapper is a mix of wood and slightly damp earth. The foot brings wood, bread and mild baking spice. The pre-light draw brings a slightly spicy cedar along with a mild spiciness on my lips.

Pre-light Experience

Firm to touch, the CAO Expedición TAA Exclusive 2020 is finished with a firm press and has a nicely applied cap. The cigar sports few veins throughout, those present are medium in size, and it is gritty in texture. With a solid Maduro coloring, the cigar has an aroma of rich earth, spices, toast, tobacco and raisins.

Pre-light Experience

The CAO Expedición TAA Exclusive 2020 has a CAO band but nothing else indicating that this is a TAA release. The cigar has a box press shape as an added complication. Aromas from the cigar included sweet, fresh cut cedar and mild tobacco underneath that. There are sweet tobacco aromas from the foot.

Pre-light Experience

The CAO Expedición TAA Exclusive 2020 has an overall Colorado Maduro wrapper shade. Veins are well pressed, seams tight, bunch and roll even and head well wrapped. Aromas from the wrapper tell rich notes of cedar and nuts. Aromas from the foot tell the same as the wrapper with added red pepper spice. Cold draw reveals cedar, leather and faint white pepper spice.

First Third

The cigar begins with toasted wood and baking spice. At a half inch in, the wood is now more defined as oak and has a really nice depth to it. At three quarters of an inch in, a light mustiness joins the profile. The retrohale is musty oak with light baking spice. As the third comes to a close, the toasted oak and mustiness are even with the baking spice in the background. The strength in this third was right at medium.

First Third

The first third opens up by delivering rich earth notes that are paired with damp wood and spice notes. I am picking up some cocoa notes and the finish is of black pepper and mineral qualities. I would classify the cigar as being medium-full in body, and fairly close in strength.

First Third

Earth, sweet cedar and baking spices open up the first third flavor profile. Lingering baking spices begin to move into the post draw as the cigar progresses. Moments later, wood moves into the middle of the profile, eventually joining the baking spices in the post draw. Once the first third has settled, lingering cedar joins the post draw. A light bread joins the retrohale some time later.

First Third

The first third presents a profile that is in equal parts minerals, cedar and leather. Retrohaling provides more pungent/raw notes of minerals, and a touch of sour cherries. The finish is quite earthy with leather and soil. Strength and body is medium.

Second Third

As the second third begins, the musty and toasted oak along with baking spice continues on. At a half inch in, the toasted wood is becoming a bit dry on my palate. The retrohale remains musty oak with light baking spice. At an inch in, the toast transitions to a light char on the oak. As the third comes to a close, the profile is lightly charred oak up front with the mustiness right behind and faint baking spice. The profile is pretty dry at this point. Strength remained at medium.

Second Third

The second third shows some transitioning and while it still captures those rich earth, damp wood and strong spice notes, I am getting some meaty and leathery qualities pairing with the cocoa notes. Like before, the cigar smokes at a medium-full level, and that goes for strength and body.

Second Third

Mild tannic cedar, sweetness and mild baking spices lead the cigar into the second third, with dry cedar finishing. Faint bread is still present on the retrohale. By the 1 hour and 10 minute mark, earth joins the post draw.

Second Third

The second third shows greater concentration of the same notes (minerals, cedar, leather). The only real difference is the minerals showing up on the finish, joining the existing leather and soil notes. Strength and body remains medium.

Final Third

As the final third begins, some dry earth joins the profile. At a half inch in, the char has picked up a fair amount and the baking spice has departed. The retrohale is now musty charred wood and dry earth. The cigar wraps up with heavily charred wood and mustiness with dry earth right behind. The profile overall is quite dry. The strength in this third bumped up to slightly above medium.

Final Third

The final third delivers a profile that is right in line with the second third. I am picking up notes of cocoa, rich earth and damp wood. There are some leather aspects as well, and the finish is that of tobacco and black pepper. Like before, the cigar is smoking at a medium-full level for strength and body.

Final Third

Sweet earth defines the retrohale, with earth to finish, joined by cedar in the post draw. There was no other flavor evolution through the last third.

Final Third

The final third is the same as the second third. Greater influences in the same minerals, cedar and leather. The finish especially shows these notes, being quite long and drawn out. Strength and body finishes medium.

Burn

The burn line was straight the entire way and the ash held on in inch and a half increments.

Burn

The burn was very good throughout. There were times I had to touch-up the cigar, but the burn was spot on and produced a solid charcoal ash.

Burn

The burn was consistently straight through the review experience, with the ash holding on up to 2 inches.

Burn

Nothing but the best. Even burn, solid ashes, cool burning temperature and ample smoke production.

Draw

The draw was perfect, with just the right amount of resistance that I prefer.

Overall

The cigar began with toasted wood and baking spice. The wood became more defined as oak and a light mustiness joined in. The second third saw the toast transition to char and the profile became a bit drying. The final third saw some dry earth join in and the baking spice depart. Construction was perfect and strength was medium most of the way. The CAO Expedición TAA Exclusive 2020 had a good start but dropped down a notch in each of the following thirds as the char joined and built up and the profile became quite dry. I liked how things started, but unfortunately, the profile just fell off as the cigar went along. I love the packaging on this cigar, but that’s just not enough to make me want to come back to this one.

Draw

Great level of resistance on the CAO from beginning to end. Amazing draw.

Overall

The CAO Expedición TAA Exclusive 2020 showed promise in the first third, but as I progressed into the second and final third, I found the flavor profile to remain stagnant and somewhat flat. There was a nice little bit of complexity, but I was hoping for more throughout. I liked the body and strength, it went well with the flavors, and the same goes for the construction. Overall, if there was more complexity and depth, and some transitioning into the second and final third, this cigar would have done well.

Draw

The draw had some significant resistance to it, roughly 3 to 3-1/2 notches.

Overall

I found the CAO Expedición TAA Exclusive 2020 to be an average flavor experience, with interesting components that never harmonized together to get my attention. If these were available in a different vitola I might smoke one to see how it performed comparatively, but I couldn’t see myself smoking this again. Burn performance was great, but the draw had some significant resistance to it. Total smoking time was 1 hour and 43 minutes.

Draw

The draw was also perfect, providing the ideal air flow.

Overall

Just like the last few years of CAO releases, the CAO Expedición TAA Exclusive 2020 is yet another mediocre experience. Mundane and consistent flavors of minerals, cedar and leather. Because of this mediocrity and having nothing technically wrong and off-putting about the cigar, I classify it as an average flavor rating.

Aaron
Seth
John
Jiunn
GoodPre
Light
Very GoodPre
Light
GoodPre
Light
Good
GoodFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
AverageFirst
Third
Average
AverageSecond
Third
AverageSecond
Third
AverageSecond
Third
Average
SubparFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
Average
AmazingBurnVery GoodBurnAmazingBurnAmazing
AmazingDrawAmazingDrawAverageDrawAmazing
AverageOverallAverageOverallAverageOverallAverage

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

5.75

Cost/Point

$1.65

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

6.00

Cost/Point

$1.58

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

5.30

Cost/Point

$1.79

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

5.75

Cost/Point

$1.65

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: CAO Expedición TAA Exclusive 2020
Seth GeiseTeam Cigar Review: CAO Expedición TAA Exclusive 2020

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