By email request, this week I’m taking a look at the CAO Sopranos Soldier. (And you thought we didn’t read your email!) As luck would have it, I just happened to have a few of these guys kicking around in my collection of RTDA/IPCPR booty.
Normally I’m good for some friendly banter just before the review, but I spent the day in jury duty, so I’m a little beat. That’s my official excuse. (Wait, does this count as friendly banter?) But hey, I think I just earned $25 from the state of Georgia for my service. Minus the buck fifty they made me pay for hot brown water (coffee?), that leaves me with $23.50 free and clear to spend on a cigar or two. What cigar should I buy with my new-found riches? Should it be another Sopranos? Well, let’s have a look at the cigar and find out!
Size: 6 x 54 (Toro)
Wrapper: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Columbia, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua
Smoking Time: 1 3/4 hours
As with many of the CAO cigars, the Sopranos line has a striking visual appearance. Like the America I reviewed earlier, it boasts of two bands, a bright red one at the foot bearing the name of the line, and a black band at the head with CAO name in red.
Spots of varying sizes near the head
The wrapper was very dark with a nice sheen and full of prominent veins. The surface was somewhat lumpy to the touch seeming to indicate additional significant veins under the wrapper. In testing the construction of the cigar I found it to be very solid, with virtually no give whatsoever. There was definitely no skimping on the tobacco for this cigar. However, I did notice an unusually large number of small wrapper imperfections (i.e. water spots).
A big discoloration near the foot
Before clipping the cap of the cigar with my flamboyantly-red Xicar (which I suspect felt a bit inadequate in the presence of the even redder, more flamboyant foot band) I examined the scent of the unlit cigar. As soon as I took one sniff of the wrapper, I was immediately inspired with a delightfully unusual description of the scent: beef jerky. I tried the scent several more times to be sure, and I’ve gotta go with that. (It’s more exact than campfire-smell-on-your-clothes, my second choice.)
The scent at the foot was more conventional. I got sweet barnyard aroma there, and that was also present in the cold taste, as was molasses and maybe a bit of black licorice.
Overall this cigar burned pretty well and I had no draw issues. There were points when this cigar burned a little uneven, but generally the burn line corrected itself. The one exception to this occurred toward the end of the second third where an unburned portion of the wrapper formed a what looked like a puzzle piece tab. Shortly before I finished with the cigar, it also required relighting.
The ash was was solid and white, and held on for nearly two inches before dropping like a rock into the ashtray.
The first third of the cigar opened with a promising array of flavors, including chocolate and coffee notes before settling into a flavor that would dominate the cigar: leather. Aside from the occasional pockets of saltiness in the second third and some toastiness at the beginning of the final third, this cigar is consistently leathery.
In terms of strength, this this cigar was solidly medium and maybe a little more than medium for the body.
For the price I paid, I have no complaints. But then, I picked these cigars up the Escape With CAO party at RTDA/IPCPR. Outside of the fantasy world of RTDA, mere mortals can expect to pay at least $12.50 for singles at your local smoke shop. And at that price I can tell you that I for one will bypass this spendy wise guy for a Gold or a Gold Maduro.
Ignoring the price tag for a minute, I think the Soldier suffers from too much of good thing. By then end of the cigar, I was simply bored. Leather is a fine cigar flavor in moderation, but an hour and a half of leather is just too much. As you’ll notice in the pictures below, the butt in the ashtray is a bit longer than usual.
Though I had mixed results with my earlier adventures with the CAO Sopranos Associate, I think if I were to recommend a cigar in this line to try, that would be the one. Of the two sizes, the Associate was clearly the superior smoke in my book, and it’s easier to fit into a busy schedule. And it’s a buck or two cheaper to boot.
Liked It: About the 1st half
Buy It Again: No
Recommend It: No (try the Associate instead)
The Cigar In Action
11 thoughts on “CAO Sopranos Soldier”
great review Brian…for a NOOB! just kidding
thought you did rather nice job. I haven’t tried this line yet, your review isn’t really getting me hot for it either. but everything in it’s due time.
B, I animated your time lapse cigar pictures – http://img170.imageshack.us/img170/8229/caorg5.gif
If you like, you could it instead of 14 or so different pictures, you could use use one animated gif. it’s pretty easy to do. all you need is a program that’ll allow you to animate .gif image files. don’t buy anything expense. you could find them for free or maybe less then 20 bucks.
no biggie though, just wanted to run that option by ya
That animated gif is great! I think I might have a tool at my disposal someplace that will help me make those. I’ll see if I can track it, or another down for the next review! (You know what else I could do? Go out an get a decent video camera! LOL!)
I did treat the cigar a little nicer than I might have any other cigar I didn’t enjoy, simply because I remember that first Sopranos Associate I smoked. It was delicious, smooth, chocolaty and thoroughly enjoyable. The problem is, I have yet to have a repeat performance!
I just can’t see spending the money they want for these cigars. Especially when I think there are better sticks for the money.
I think that was my email!
I just go one of these this weekend and tried it, I really liked it but man they are expensive. They were out of the associate size at my cigar shop.
I would imagine HBO gets a nice cut … even still, way too pricey for my budget.
@CigarJack: Agreed. There are just too many consistently good cigars you can buy for that price (or less) to keep coming back to it!
@Chris: Yes, I think that was you! I’m glad you experience was better than mine. I did smoke an Associate size back in April that I really liked. And this one smoked nothing like it.
@Jabba: Oh yeah, I’ll bet. I’m sure some of the costs are due to licensing the name.
I agree that these cigars are overpriced. Sales have been steady due to the popularity of the series. Otherwise I think these may struggle.
I was equallly unimpress with this smoke, at this pricepoint there are many other cigars I would perchase….
As a novice smoker, i thought the CAO soprano was just right. Yes it was a bit pricey, but I got a great smoke. You Basicallly pay for the name of course….but compared to the camacho triple manduro i smoked, like a dumbass 2 nights ago, which put me on my ASS, this was very enjoyable…tasted great and lasted the entire half of the green bay minnesota sunday night game! 🙂