CAO La Traviata Maduro (Pre-Release)

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CAO La Traviata Maduro (Pre-Release)

CAO La Traviata Maduro - 1

CAO La Traviata Maduro - 2Brand: CAO La Traviata
Vitola: Divino
Ring Gauge: 50
Length: 5.00
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Cameroon
Filler: Nicaraguan and Dominican
Origin: Nicaragua
MSRP: Unknown
Purchased From: Samples courtesy of Jon Huber


At Cigarfest 2010, Mike and I spent a little time talking to Jon Huber, Director of Lifestyle Marketing for CAO International, the day before the main festivities began. As we stood there talking, Jon offered us a cigar. He went digging around in his bag and came out holding a couple of pr-release La Traviata Maduros. After lighting up, Jon was kind enough to do an interview with us where he talked a little bit about the new cigar.

A few weeks after Cigarfest I got to talking to Jon on Facebook and he offered to send a few more La Traviata Maduro if I wanted to do a review. I got a little tied up with baby related stuff and had to delay a full blown review until now.

From what I’m told, the new La Traviata is due out around the first week of August to correspond with the annual IPCPR Trade Show. This cigar featured the same binder and filler tobaccos as the earlier release La Traviata. The big difference is the Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper.

Because we are still a little ways out from the official release date, some of the details are a bit foggy. I’m unsure what the price point is but I would imagine it is in the same ballpark as the previous release. I am also unsure which sizes this stick will be released in initially. I would imagine that after a bit of time the Maduro would become available in the same vitolas as the current release.


Looking at the photo at the head of this review, you are probably shaking your head thinking that maduro band looks terrible. You are right, it does look terrible, and it is a mistake that CAO is aware of. When I spoke with Jon he informed me that the band was placed in the wrong location on this run. Because this batch was made up of rep samples they didn’t concern themselves with it and and plan on correcting the issue when they hit standard production.

Aside from the red band in the wrong location, this cigar is beautiful. The wrapper is consistent from head to foot and exhibits a dark color and oily sheen. There are a couple of veins here and there but they and fairly small and do not create a lumpy looking cigar.

When I gave my cigar a pinch, I found it to be consistently packed with tobacco. I found a small soft-spot between the bands but it did not present a problem during smoking. When clipped, the pre-light draw was free with little resistance. The cold draw produced a raisin like flavor that I found pleasant.

First Third

CAO La Traviata Maduro - 3

After my lighting ritual was completed, my CAO La Traviata Mauro was evenly lit and producing plenty of smoke. The first couple of puffs were a blast on the sinus and produced a heavy mixture of stout and pepper. This combination gave the impression that the cigar was heavy handed and would develop into an absolute powerhouse. After just a couple of puffs things settled down tremendously and seemed rather gentle.

Throughout the first third the body steadily increased and leveled off in the medium range. The finish was creamy and easy on the palate while the dominate flavor was a simple natural tobacco taste with an added bit of sweetness. From time to time I picked up the flavors of both dark chocolate and raisins.

The draw remained free, just as I expected due to the cold draw, and produced plenty of smoke. The smoke was dense which made it very easy to manipulate through the sinus and blow smoke rings. The burn line was thin but a bit wavy from time to time. The cigar did require a quick touch-up but was not so far out of whack to cause problems.

Second Third

CAO La Traviata Maduro - 4

As I rounded on the second third, my La Traviata was undergoing a couple of small changes in the flavor department. Most notable was the disappearance of the taste of raisins and the addition of a manure and musty combination. On paper I’m sure that combo sounds dreadful but it was interesting and not nearly as disgusting as it sounds. The main favor component remained a rich, natural tobacco flavor with added sweetness.

The body climbed slightly throughout this portion of the cigar but did not cross over the medium threshold. The finish became a bit creamier and remained easy on the palate. When the smoke was passed through the sinus I was impressed with how easy-going it was.

While I didn’t track the time it took me to smoke any of my samples, they all felt as though they were keeping pace with other sticks of this size. The loose draw produced a little warming on the fingers but that was easily addressed by slowing down between puffs.

Final Third

CAO La Traviata Maduro - 5

When I reached the final third of my La Traviata Maduro, the cigar was in full stride. The body peaked in the medium range and the creaminess of the finish increased a bit more. Through the sinus I was getting a little bit of spice but more of an aroma that you would find in a stout style beer.

The core flavor remained a rich, natural tobacco taste with little variation. In fact, that was the primary flavor throughout the entire cigar. Surprisingly, I didn’t find it boring and was kept interested by the changing background flavors. The musty and manure combination passed and I was left with a woody (still reminded me of oak) and roasted peanut combination.

As the cigar grew shorter, it continued to get warmer. Slowing down my puffs helped considerably but it did not prevent the cigar from becoming a little mushy. The smoke volume remained heavy and coated the palate with each puff. The ash was light in color, for the most part, and held a tight compacted shape.

Final Thoughts

CAO La Traviata Maduro - 6

Without a shadow of a doubt, if the La Traviata Maduro is priced the same as the original La Traviata, then it is a slam dunk. Dollar for dollar, there are very few cigars on the market that can compete with this wallet friendly stick. As long as the Connecticut Broadleaf Mauro wrapper doesn’t drive the price up and out of the sweet spot, I think that this release is going to be just as popular, if not more so, than he original.

The wrapper adds a pleasant sweetness to the cigar that I didn’t realize was missing until I smoked the maduro. The only unpleasantness that I experienced was a touch of harshness as the cigar grew short and warm. I’m looking forward to trying these cigars again in the coming months and would urge you to check out the line when it becomes available.

enjoying cigars since 2005

23 thoughts on “CAO La Traviata Maduro (Pre-Release)

  1. Good review, Walt. I look forward to getting my hands on more of these as well. The pre-release I had was very good, but I thought it could benefit for a little more time to finish. The problem with La Traviata, as I see it, is this: it has pretty much ruined the market for all other $5-range cigars. Whenever I smoke something in the $4.50 to $6.00 range now, I find myself thinking, “Pretty good, but La Traviata is better for the same price.” Cigars that I might have found really enjoyable a year ago tend to suffer by comparison. That being said, however…”Thank you” again to everyone at CAO for providing such a wonderful cigar at such a reasonable price point.

  2. Good review Walt, can’t wait to try these as the La Traviata has become my favorite CAO stick.

    I also agree with DMJONES that this line has really upped the ante on the $5 smoke market. I also like the new Nestor Miranda 1989 line in this price range.

  3. Oh baby, me likes the look of this maduro. Can’t wait. Excellent value, very solid smoke. Really enjoy the Divino and Animados. I think this cigar in the Animados size would be excellent.

    Really looking forward to it! Excellent review!

  4. La Traviata plus candy? Yes, please! A maduro-wrapped La Traviata sounds like heaven. I gotta go with the beave on this one, and predict it will be a very box-worthy smoke… I can’t wait!

    Nicely done, as always.

  5. Nice review, as always, Walt…I know you’re a big fan of the original La Traviata line (as you mentioned in the cigar fest video). So, having smoked a couple of these maduros, do you think they’re better than the original line on account of the added flavors?

    1. Ernie,
      I’ve only had 6 of the La Traviata Maduro versus 50+ of the regular La Traviata, but I give the edge to the Maduro.

  6. I guess my main question is “is this cigar it’s own thing or is it just a La Traviata with a maduro wrapper slapped on it? In my experience with the latter, the cigar lacks true character and the natural version is always a lot better. The CAO aniversary maduro is an excellent cigar, i can’t see at this point why I wouldn’t just buy those instead. your thoughts?

    1. JT,
      This cigar is essentially a La Traviata with a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro slapped on it, from what I understand.

      How close is the blend in the CAO Anniversary Maduro to that of the La Traviata? Unless they are close, its comparing apples and oranges. I haven’t had the CAO Anniversary Maduro but my guess at the appeal to the La Traviata is that it isn’t a discounted brand to be sold at Famous, Cigars International, and JR Cigars. It is a wallet friend cigar geared towards the local B&M market. At least that is the way I view the line.

  7. I’m a big fan of CAO’s cigars, and love almost all their brands! I’ve had a few of the La Traviata’s, and the body / strength does build, as you noted. So I am looking forward to trying the La Traviata Maduro to taste what a touch of maduro sweetness will do to the overall experience. Great review!


    Special La Traviata Maduro Pre Release Sampling for 150 people ….

    Here is your chance to try the most anticipated releases before it hits the store shelves.

    Please email me for details about the CAO Special event at Cioppino on August 16th, 2010 between 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM. We have a lot of great things planned looking forward to seeing you there!

    * NO CC thru site yet buy you can still pay by Credit Card Email for details….

  9. I was a bit disappointed after smoking right out of the celophane wrapper but this cigar has really improved since I removed the wrappers and have aged the cigars for about 6 more weeks. Tasting the creamy, chocolate flavors you wrote about and I’m now very pleased!

  10. Ever since I read this review, I was very eager to try one of these…I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t want a poop flavored cigar (j/k, except that I was indeed eager to try it)

    Well, I finally got my chance at a La Traviata Maduro Robusto last night. I think I got a bad stick, the draw was terrible. The stick was way over-firm starting about halfway and on up to the head. I tried rubbing and pressing on it and rolling it to open it up, but all I managed to do was crack the wrapper. I was able to get some draw, and if I double or triple puffed, I could get a small mouthful of smoke. Eventually the cigar put itself out, of course, and I cut it, and used my pipe tool to drive a hole through the length of the filler. I still had draw issues even then, plus, I’ve never thought a re-lit cigar tastes nearly as good as a first lit cigar, and all the heavy pulling to get a draw made me feel like I was on the verge of getting cigar sickness, so I put the stick out sooner than I would’ve liked, but it was worth it, since I did manage to avoid getting sick (cigar sickness is horrible for any of you who have not experienced it!)

    So needless to say, I got a bad stick. Is this a negative review, then, of the CAO La Traviata Maduro? Hardly! Keep reading!

    Even with the bad draw in the beginning and the hot relight that almost made me sick, I could still very clearly tell that the L.T.M., properly packed, is a fantastic smoke! It had a wonderful flavor on the wrapper, sweet, but with perhaps just the faintest hint of saltiness somewhere in the way background (unlike the CAO Brazilia which I thought was just awful w/ a very salty wrapper) This cigar is probably the “creamiest” maduro I’ve ever smoked, I detected some chocolate, and maybe some stout. I definitely detected the mustiness, but it was a pleasant mustiness, and the mustiness/earthiness stuck with me throughout the stick. I did not detect any pepper or raisins as Walt did, but (and this may just be psychosomatic from reading the article,) I do think I caught the occasional hint of manure and the most shocking thing about it, is that it was pleasant!!! Mmmmm…..poop! (it was more like being out in the country driving on the highway with the windows down a half-mile or so from a field with cows in it, so, very faint…not intrusive or offensive like I just stepped in it, or anything) I did not detect any hints of manure in the smell of the smoke, though, in fact, just in terms of smell, I think this was the best smelling cigar smoke I’ve ever been around. And the thing was gorgeous, nice dark wrapper!

    In the final analysis, I got a bum specimen of a cigar brand that was so wonderful, I could even heartily admire it despite the circumstantial issues that prevented me from full enjoyment. I not only plan on picking me up another asap, but I heartily recommend it to any curious readers…only make sure you inspect the cigar well before you buy it!

    So, to borrow a page from Katy Perry (I hate Katy Perry, btw): I smoked a cigar that had a hint of poop to it…and I liked it. What do you think? Catchy?



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