CAO Criollo Conquistador


Tonight's study smoke was the CAO Criollo Conquistador. The accompaniment was a Milburn Orchards famous apple cider donut and a mug of freshly brewed Martinson coffee, regular. The setting was my garage as it was too windy outside to smoke on the porch.

Prelight and initial stage:
The Criollo Conquistador is a handsome bellicoso that comes wrapped in tissue paper similar to El Rey del Mundo cigars. This stick had been resting in my humi for about a year and a half. Removing the paper revealed a wrapper that was a rich mocha shade, finely veined and with a light tooth. It was supple and lightly oily. Construction was first rate and the roll was firm but compliant. In a word, suggestive of a good draw and burn.

The stick lit easily and started on a straight burn. First impression was very favorable with billows of heady smoke curling from both ends of the stick. After the initial settling-in, the cigar revealed a delightfully spicy and tangy flavor. Body was no more than medium, which suited the flavor profile well. The tobacco taste was pure and supplemented with notes of wood. Spice, wood and cedar revealed itself on blowing out through the nose. Overall profile was moderately complex, aromatic and very attractive. This cigar had good balance.

Late stage and overall impression:
The cigar eventually lasted over 80 minutes with light and leisurely puffing. This was an approach that rewarded the smoker with a continued fresh, clean and spicy flavor through the first half. Development was steady with the smoke volume getting lighter in volume but denser in texture. The middle third was predominantly spicy and woody. I would not say this was an exceptionally earthy or nutty cigar, at least to my sense.

Curious observation was that taking a puff right after a sip of coffee muted the spiciness allowing the woodiness and aromatic flavors to predominate. Even more curious, taking a puff after a bite of donut (with coarse sugar topping) resulted in a very odd metallic taste that was not part of the character of the cigar at all. I think this speaks to the importance of noting what accompaniment goes with your smoke as the interaction can so drastically affect what you can perceive.

The burn was reasonably good throughout. Only a few light touch-ups with the blazer were needed. The ash was solid, pale and when it fell of, revealed only slight coning. A good burn indeed. I also tried a new technique this time. I consciously rotated the smoke maybe a quarter turn after every puff and sometimes as I was holding it. I think it helped straighten most of the little lags that developed.

The cigar warmed up in the last third getting progressively more assertive. Spiciness was now predominant supported by more of that solid tobacco flavor. The finish was never harsh, never yucky.

My overall impression was very favorable. This was a medium-bodied, spicy, tangy and friendly smoke that you could enjoy for an extended length of time. Strength is probably somewhere around 2-3 out of 5. Construction was of high quality and the wrapper was just a beauty to behold. Satisfying, flavorsome, agreeable. Highly recommended.



Here is CAO's own description to provide some reference:
A medium to full-bodied cigar with a silky Colorado-brown wrapper and a rich, pleasing aroma. This cigar is packed with big, earthy flavors and reveals complex notes of sweet spice and leather. The finish is long and remarkably clean with hints of cinnamon and peppermint.


Great Review! I am really meaning to try some of these, as I hear whether you like or don't like the CAO line, this is one that many like regardless.

I absolutely love the CAO line with the Italias been my fav, followed by the Brasilia, and then the Black.

Let me know if anyone has an extra one laying around. :p

BTW that donut and coffee look mighty tastey right about now.

Edit: Change my comment about liking the stick regardless, reading through other reviews apparently this is not true.


Thanks guys!

I think a photo adds a nice dimension to the review.

BTW, I'm going to the B&M to pick up another few Criollo's today. I found this one compelling enough to stash away another few for later smoking. :D