Photo via cigarsinternational.com
I’ve reviewed a flavored cigar in the past, and a CAO in the past, so why not double up and do both at the same time. CAO is of course consistently represented in the ‘Top Cigars of the Year’ reviews by Cigar Aficionado, and while the Flavours line is not really meant to participate in those competitions, they are a great introductory cigar for people who are looking to get into the stogie world. A lot of “experienced” smokers will shoot down flavor infused cigars, but they are a great way to introduce a new smoker into the varieties of cigars that exist. The sweetness of a lot of flavor-infused cigars is very pleasing to the pallet and is also a great change of pace once you start getting into more medium and full bodied cigars. The CAO Flavours line has a variety of offerings, but I had recently picked up a 5-pack of the Moontrance Robustos and finally decided to try one. Even before lighting this cigar, the aromas are very strong. You’ll get instant notes of vanilla and bourbon, and on further sniffs some hints of honey and tropical fruit. I used a punch cut and then lightly toasted the cigar with my torch lighter before fully lighting. The draw was very easy, and while it didn’t produce a very thick smoke, it did produce a very aromatic smoke.
First Third: The vanilla bourbon is the main feature of this cigar. It is very strong, but not so overpowering that you don’t enjoy it. There are some notes of honey and even coconut that blend well with the vanilla. The finish is very long, and the sweet cap of the cigar helps the sweet flavors stay on your tongue for a while.
Second Third: The vanilla and bourbon stay at the forefront, which shows the consistency of the flavor infusion in this cigar. You may notice the secondary notes of coconut and honey come out a little more as you grow accustomed to the vanilla. One other great note is that this cigar holds a very long ash, which is a great indicator of a solidly constructed cigar. And while the Flavours aren’t ‘top of the line’, CAO has still put the same construction quality into these as the rest of their products.
Final Third: Guess what? More bourbon and vanilla! A lot of cigars usually will have more of a journey to them as flavors ebb and flow as you burn down the filler. These cigars however keep it pretty simple and continue the same flavor throughout. Some might call this a flaw, but if you aren’t looking for changes as you burn down then this is the perfect cigar for you. I did notice that as you got towards the end, the only flavors left were the bourbon and vanilla, and any secondary notes were pretty much gone.
I paired this cigar with a can of Corner Point Brewing Zozobra Milk Stout, which is made with Mexican Chocolate as well as green and red chilis. The strong sweet vanilla of the Moontrance went very well with the chocolate and spiciness of the beer. I’m actually really glad I paired these together, because a straight chocolate milk stout might have been too much sweetness, but the spiciness of the chilis in the beer really blended everything together well. For other pairings, again I would probably stay away from any strong sweet flavored beers or liquors. Try something either more smoky, spicy or tart so you aren’t overwhelmed with a sugary sweetness. That said if you have a VERY strong sweet tooth, by all means indulge it.
As I stated in the opening, this is not a cigar that is going to get a 90+ rating, but that’s ok. Not every scotch needs to be aged for 30+ years, not every beer needs to be a limited release imperial. Sometimes you just want something that tastes good and isn’t going to hurt your wallet. The CAO Flavours Moontrance is for newbies or stogie veterans looking for a flavor punch in their puff. It has some amazing aromas, equally amazing flavors and pairs great with all kinds of drinks. So drink what you drink, and smoke what you smoke!
Length: 5 in
Origin: Dominican Republic