Monday, November 17, 2008

The Sopranos from CAO

Each time we turn into The Sopranos we get to see Tony Soprano in his car, lighting up a cigar as the opening credits roll. So it is fitting that HBO should extend a meaty palm to CAO and license the Sopranos edition of cigars. In 2005 they did just that, and at the RTDA that year CAO unleashed three sizes of pricey Sopranos smokes.

The smallest of the three sizes, the Associate, a standard robusto at 5 x 52. Also available are the Soldier (toro) the Boss (double corona) and the just released “Tony Soprano Signature,” an extra-large toro with a 60 ring gauge.

The wrapper used for the Sopranos series is Brazilian mata fina. I was interested for this reason to see how it would compare to CAO’s Brazilia line, which uses a Brazilian arapiraca leaf rather than mata fina. The cigar is completed with a Honduran binder and an interesting combination of Nicaraguan, Dominican and Columbian filler. Columbian leaf is a rarity as well, but CAO has used it before in their CX2 double-cameroon sticks.

I was frankly quite surprised by the Associate. I was expecting something along the same lines as the Brazilia Gol! — something rich and spicy. Instead, the Associate turns out to be a sweetheart.

The wrapper on this cigar is an attractive shiny maduro, and the roll is flawless. It fired up without a hitch and burned straight all the way. It forms a solid white ash that wants to spend some time with you before hitting the ashtray.

The first flavor is a delicate sweetness, a smoky maple syrup. The smoke is surprisingly light and smooth, and at no point did it develop any kind of bite. There is a hint of licorice, but that’s it from the spice cabinet. The base flavor is earthy, but even this is fairly muted. Mostly this is just a very relaxing easy-going cigar. Toward the end it turns up the chocolate. After removing the band and nearly burning my fingertips I laid this one to rest.

The Sopranos “Associate” is a refined and relaxing cigar that took me by surprise. It’s not the powerhouse I expected, but considering the fact that my expectations were based on a fictional family of mobsters on television, perhaps I get what I deserve.


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