The 4×40 CAO Criollo Pampas is a Nicaraguan puro with a Cuban-seed Criollo 1998 wrapper. This particular cigar had a very rustic looking wrapper that was obviously rather small given the number of turns it made around this short cigar, all capped off with a very nice looking pigtail. It had a very rich and pleasant aroma right out of the cellophane. The cap cut cleanly revealing a very easy draw.
With the foot toasted it lit quickly and the first few draws were full of pepper and spice, not harsh but definitely grabbing my attention. Around the one inch mark the spice began to subside, but with the easy draw it had to be smoked carefully to avoid heating up and giving off a harsh somewhat metallic taste. The body was on the full side of medium and the light grey ash was as firm as they come.
At the beginning of the second third, the spice yielded to a pleasant bready flavor with hints of nuts. The spice was still occasionally apparent but no where near as prevalent as it was at the beginning of the first third. There were a couple of minor burn problems, but a purge at about the half way mark straightened it up and it burned well through the end. Near the end of the second third the spice and pepper began to show back up and the nutty profile disappeared.
The body began to build slightly from here and as I got into the last third the pepper returned with a vengeance. The throat spice began to build and the bready taste returned but much more intense. While I enjoyed the strong bready flavor the spice began to be a bit harsh and I sat it down at about this point. I know, I’m still a bit of a wuss when it comes to spicy cigars. 🙂
I really enjoyed the changes in flavors, and even enjoyed the spiciness to a certain extent. None of the flavors really wowed me though, and while I certainly wouldn’t turn down another of these I can’t really see myself seeking out a box. Maybe I’ll watch CBid and see if I can get a deal on a five-pack.
15 thoughts on “CAO Criollo Pampas”
Timely review as I just got 4 of these in a sampler. I smoked one of these the other night and have to say, it’s got some pep. I was drinking some Brandy with it and they really complemented eachother. The sweetness of the Brandy mellowed out some of the spices and made for a really nice smoke.
I’ll have to see if the second was as memorable or a fluke but based upon your review, think it will be just as good.
I may have got a bad one… and I’ve only smoked the one but it was probably the worst cigar I’ve ever smoked. I love the CAO Italias though.
i 100% agree with your review and cigar family guy. i’ve had a few, and let me preface this by saying i love spicey cigars, but these were harsh. the burn was pretty bad. alot of times i will dislike a cigar or find it harsh then put them away for a few weeks, months, maybe even years, only to find that the meal or drink may have influenced initial tastes. or that it will mellow with age. this cigar was the exception to this rule. i thought it was just as rough with age. this was one of the first cigars i wrote off as just disliking. DITTO’s on the Italias! keep up the good work!
Sounds like I enjoyed it a little more than you guys did, but then again I’m not that big a fan of the Italias. I did like the changes in flavors, but none of them were enough to keep my attention on their own.
As always, thanks for chiming in guys. I always love to hear other people’s opinions on cigars I’ve smoked.
I remember Bob from DWSC ripped the Criollo too. He had nothing good to say about it. I have one in my humi but I’m afraid to try it now. 🙂
Nice review. Patrick S and I were also impressed with the Criollo line’s many changes in flavor. You can read his review of the Pato here: http://www.stogieguys.com/2006/08/stogie-reviews-cao-criollo-pato.html
For me, this is a great every-once-in-awhile stick.
I agree Patrick, a good change-of-pace cigar. Just not sure I can see it in my regular rotation.
I smoked my second one recently and enjoyed it even more then the first one. This is a very nice cigar for my pallet. I heard though that CAO will probably discontinue it. It’s a love/hate cigar and probably not very profitable for them.
I’ve had about 6 or 7 of these and enjoyed each one, but i seem to love anything CAO, especially Italia. I’m a big fan of packaging and this one is one of the better ones. Its a good smoke for me but i always remember criollo as having a distinctively pleasing prelight aroma.
After being disapointed at taste of the last two cigars that I have had (patel edge maduro, and cao brazilla) for being too lite for my palette it was nice to try a cao criollo.
I would call the Cao criollo a med strength cigar at the strongest, but it has enough flavor to satisfy me, it kept me interested. I had to relight about 4 times which was annoying, but I smoked it down to the tinest nub to where I was burning my fingers and wanting more.
I would definately be interested in getting more of these.
I smoked a couple of these in the “Conquistador” size, and I liked them.
I am a fairly new smoker but this spice of this cigar was a little aggresive for my palette. The burn was nice and even but I could not get away from the tongue numbing spice. My first CAO hopefully some of the others will interest me more.
I like this cigar and is a good change from what I normaly smoke…