Team Cigar Review: CAO Flathead Resonator

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Cigar Details: CAO Flathead Resonator

  • Vitola: Giant Gordo
  • Length: 8″
  • Ring Gauge: 60
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Connecticut Habano
  • Filler: Dominican Republic and Nicaragua
  • Factory: STG Esteli
  • Blender: Undisclosed
  • Price: $12.79
  • Release Date: February 2024
  • Source: CAO

 Aaron Loomis

 John McTavish

Pre-light Experience

Aaron: The wrapper on the soft rectangle pressed CAO Flathead Resonator is a uniform dark brown with some lightly raised veins. The seams are a bit raised in some areas and the flat head is decently finished. The band is silver and black and carries the brand name, line and size along with an image of a muffler and exhaust pipes. The aroma from the wrapper is a mix of dark earth and wood while the aroma from the foot reminds me of Frosted Flakes. The pre-light draw brings cedar, dusty earth and some stone fruit sweetness along with a mild spiciness on my lips.
John: The CAO Flathead Resonator comes in cellophane and does not have a UPC sticker. There is a large central band in black on metallic silver. For additional artisanal complications, the cigar is box pressed. I weighed the cigar at 25.6 grams and measured the humidity at 61.8% with the HumidiMeter Pro. Aromas from the wrapper included coffee, mild wood and tobacco. Out of the foot, I could detect sweet, mild tobacco and wood.

CAO Flathead Resonator

CAO Flathead Resonator

First Third

Aaron: The cigar begins with lightly toasted oak, musty chalkiness and faint earth. At three quarters of an inch in, the earth picks up a bit. The retrohale is toasted oak and musty chalkiness. At an inch and a half in, a light black pepper joins the profile. As the third comes to a close, the toasted oak is just ahead of the musty chalkiness with some earth and black pepper in the background. The strength was right at medium.
John: My initial flavor impressions are tobacco, wood and a mildly dry wood through the finish. Some creamy earth is present as I retrohale. Not long after, as the cigar starts to settle in, some pepper has quietly moved into the post draw. Tobacco sweetness leads the profile as the second third continues. Earth joins the post draw as the cigar starts to move to the halfway point of the first third. In the bottom half, mild chocolate is present on the finish.

CAO Flathead Resonator

CAO Flathead Resonator

Second Third

Aaron: As the second third begins, the toasted oak and musty chalkiness are now even up front. At a half inch in, the earth increases a bit. The retrohale is now an even mix of toasted oak, musty chalkiness and earth. At an inch and a half in, the musty chalkiness falls back a bit. As the third comes to a close, the toasted oak is just ahead of the musty chalkiness with earth and black pepper in the background. The strength drops back a bit to just below medium.
John: Malty tobacco greets me in the second third, with wood and earth in the center of the profile as the earth lingers through the finish into the post draw at medium strength. That profile remains stable until the cigar is almost at the halfway point. By this point, dry wood is lingering on the post draw, with the earth fading to light plus.

CAO Flathead Resonator

CAO Flathead Resonator

Final Third

Aaron: As the final third begins, the musty chalkiness once again becomes even with the toasted oak up front. At an inch in, the toast level increases a bit. The retrohale is now just toasted oak and musty chalkiness. At an inch and three quarters, the musty chalkiness takes a step back once again. As the cigar wraps up, the toasted oak is just ahead of the musty chalkiness with earth and black pepper in the background. The strength bumped back up to medium.
John: The last third gets started with creamy tobacco, earth and a finish that combines mild spices, wood and earth. Earth on the post draw moves up to medium, leading the finish as the last third progresses. The earth has a loamy quality to it at times. An acrid component builds on the post draw by the bottom half.

CAO Flathead Resonator

CAO Flathead Resonator

Burn

Aaron: The burn was a bit wavy at times, but never needed any attention. The ash held on in inch and a half increments.
John: Some minor waviness was present at times in the first third. The burn self corrected and remained straight through the second third. Waviness returned through the last third.

CAO Flathead Resonator

CAO Flathead Resonator

Draw

Aaron: The draw was slightly tighter than I prefer, but didn’t cause any issues with the smoking experience.
John: The draw was at most 1/2 to 1 notch towards the resistant spectrum, which puts it in the ideal range between open and resistant for an amazing draw score.

Overall

Aaron: The cigar began with lightly toasted oak, musty chalkiness and faint earth. Some light black pepper joined in a bit later. From the second third on, the musty chalkiness would move up to be even with the toasted oak and back down a few times. The CAO Flathead Resonator had an average flavor profile with the toasted oak and musty chalkiness being the drivers and the earth and black pepper as supporting notes. Not a cigar I’d see myself coming back to, but it does provide some value with the price point and long smoking time.
John: After smoking the CAO Flathead Resonator, I have to say this was one of the more enjoyable large ring gauge offerings I’ve reviewed. The profile is certainly not going to break the bank in terms of flavor combinations, nor is it much of a stand out in terms of complexity or nuance. But it does provide a pleasant cigar for the entirety of the smoking experience. The draw was perfect and while the burn had waviness at times, no interventions were required. Big ring gauge cigars aren’t typically my go to. As a reviewer, I’m often smoking and reviewing things that don’t fall in my wheelhouse and the CAO Flathead Resonator is no different. I do appreciate that it’s a box pressed format, which makes the cigar much more comfortable to smoke. I think these would appeal to people who enjoy larger cigars, or are looking for something to smoke for a long time period. Total smoking time was 3 hours and 3 minutes.

Aaron
John
GoodPre
Light
Good
AverageFirst
Third
Average
AverageSecond
Third
Average
AverageFinal
Third
Average
Very GoodBurnAmazing
Very GoodDrawAmazing
AverageOverallAverage

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

5.50

Cost/Point

$2.33

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

5.75

Cost/Point

$2.22

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: CAO Flathead Resonator

John McTavishTeam Cigar Review: CAO Flathead Resonator

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