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.