Team Cigar Review: CAO Session Garage

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Cigar Details: CAO Session Garage

  • Vitola: Robusto Extra
  • Length: 5.25″
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Nicaragua and Dominican Republic
  • Factory: General Cigar Dominicana
  • Blender: Rick Rodriguez
  • Price: $8.59
  • Release Date: July 2019
  • Source: CAO

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

John-McTavish

 John McTavish

Pre-light Experience

The wrapper on the CAO Session Garage is very dark brown, almost black with some lighter marbling. There are a couple of slightly raised veins and the seams are smooth and well hidden by the darkness of the wrapper. The head is finished off with a well applied set of caps. The cigar has a bit of weight for its size. There are two bands with the primary being metallic reddish-orange, blue and white and denoting the brand and line. The secondary strip band has the same color combination and denotes some adjectives as well as the blenders signature on the back. The aroma from the wrapper is damp wood and light stone fruit sweetness. The foot brings a light mix of wood and stone fruit sweetness. The pre-light draw brings cedar and a lingering sweetness.

Pre-light Experience

The CAO Session Garage is doubled banded with a white on red-orange background. The wrapper itself is a very dark chocolate color, certainly identifying it as Broadleaf. Nosing the wrapper, I was able to pick up aromas of sweet leather and cedar. There is mild sweet tobacco aromas from the foot.

First Third

The cigar begins with dark wood, light mustiness and faint sweetness. At a quarter inch in, a light chalkiness joins the profile. The retrohale begins with a black pepper kick and then fades into musty dark wood. At an inch in, the mustiness has dropped out and the profile is dark wood, light chalkiness and faint sweetness. The retrohale is now just dark wood and light chalkiness. The strength in this third was mild-medium.

First Third

Sweet leather opened the first third, with earth and cedar present on the post draw. Pepper and sweetness takes up the middle, with that pepper carrying into the post draw at a mild strength level. Some time later, leather joins the post draw as well. As the first third progresses, leather steps up to medium and begins to push into the middle of the profile. By the 1.5 inch mark, the profile has largely harmonized with some creaminess coming through the retrohale.

Second Third

The second third sees the chalkiness increase to be just behind the dark wood while the faint sweetness remains. At a half inch in, the dark wood and chalkiness are even. The retrohale has the chalkiness slightly ahead of the dark wood. At an inch in, the mustiness returns while the chalkiness is light and the faint sweetness has left. As the third comes to a close, the profile has all of the components even, the dark wood, mustiness and chalkiness. The strength in this third bumped up to slightly below medium.

Second Third

Cedar and leather take the profile into the second third. Some creaminess comes through on the retrohale moments later. By the halfway point, leather is driving the profile, with cedar in the post draw along with some dryness.

Final Third

As the final third begins, it’s a continuation of the previous third with the addition of a faint char with the dark wood. At a half inch in, the char has increased a bit. The retrohale now consists of a barbecue smokiness along with mustiness and light chalkiness. At an inch in, the profile is now just charred dark wood and mustiness as the chalkiness has dropped out. As the cigar finishes up, the char drops out and the profile is just musty dark wood. The strength in this third remained at slightly below medium.

Final Third

Earth and leather are the primary flavors moving into the last third. On the post draw, leather and cedar combine. There is no other evolution through the final third.

Burn

The burn was slightly wavy but never needed any attention. The ash held on in inch and a quarter increments.

Burn

The burn is very straight through the first half, with up to a 2 inch ash. The burn struggled at times in the bottom half, but never required correction.

Draw

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

Overall

The cigar began with dark wood, light mustiness and faint sweetness. Some chalkiness joined in fairly quickly and the mustiness dropped out before the third wrapped up. The second third saw the mustiness return at the halfway point and the sweetness left the profile. The final third saw some char join in and then leave while the chalkiness left as well. It also had a nice barbecue smokiness on the retrohale. The construction was great and strength was slightly below medium most of the way. The CAO Session Garage started with a nice profile and very low strength. The second third saw a drop in enjoyment as the sweetness left and maintained the average level through to the end. The retrohale is a nice bright spot for this cigar. Having smoked this blend a few times after initial release, I wasn’t too high on it, but it has improved over time. I would actually recommend people giving this a try and I would smoke this on occasion as the flavor profile it provides with the low strength level does have some appeal.

Aaron
John
GoodPre
Light
Good
GoodFirst
Third
Average
AverageSecond ThirdAverage
AverageFinal
Third
Average
Very GoodBurnAmazing
AmazingDrawAmazing
AverageOverallAverage

Draw

The draw is slightly towards the open spectrum roughly 1/2 to 1 notch.

Overall

The CAO Session Garage had a fairly consistently average flavor profile through the entire smoking experience. Flavors present included sweetness, leather, earth, cedar and some creaminess. Since the cigar has a Broadleaf wrapper, my immediate comparison is with the CAO Flathead line. For me, the Flathead series represents Broadleaf better than the Session Garage. Total smoking time was a brisk 1 hour and 39 minutes.

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

6.00

Cost/Point

$1.43

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

5.75

Cost/Point

$1.49

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: CAO Session Garage
Aaron LoomisTeam Cigar Review: CAO Session Garage

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