When CAO set out to craft a new cigar for the Classic Series, they went straight to a fermentation technique that helped to build the mystique of old-world Cuban cigars, the round pilon. The scene was the tobacco barns of late 1800s Cuba. Skilled men called piloneros were masters of a slow, 18-month long fermentation technique using round pilons. Out of this came the CAO | Pilón Robusto. This method involved hemming tobacco leaves together and stacking them, layer by layer, in a circular pattern. While building and tending to the round pilon took as much patience as it did skill, this method of natural fermentation maximized the flavor and color of the leaves. Of course, it was of little concern that this methodical process was costly and time-consuming.
This cigar was reviewed blind (no bands) by a panel of at least 4 reviewers. They did not know what they were smoking beforehand. The scores are an average of all the reviewers' scores with outliers removed. All of our cigars reviewed are shipped to the panelists with Boveda packs to ensure optimal smoking experience.
Back then, the only bottom line that mattered was the flavor. And the tobacco didn’t lie. But time marched on, less costly fermentation methods were explored and the standard rectangular pilon was born. With CAO Pilon, they’re bringing back the round pilon from old-world Cuba. And along with it, the richer, more complex taste that’s unattainable through other methods. Crafted with an Ecuadoran Habano wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and filler and the band features the signature of Master Blender, Rick Rodriguez, along with an illustrated homage to the round pilon. CAO Pilon comes in unique 20-count boxes and three sizes: 7×48, 5.5×44 and 5×52.
Ring Gauge: 52
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Factory: General Cigar Dominicana
Blender: Rick Rodriguez and Agustin Garcia
Number of reviewers: 5—–Wes (SosaCub4Life) Alan (Eulogy) Jiunn (jliu) Steve (ThaGreatWazoo) Emmett (BMP_Emmett)
Age: 2 Months
Release Date: August 2015
Contributed by: General Cigar
“The well applied double cap, slightly oily wrapper and toothiness on this medium dark brown wrapper make it standout as a very appealing cigar.” –Alan (Eulogy)
“The wrapper smells like straight up pepper, very strong and the foot has more of a barnyard aroma and the pre-light draw is a combination of chocolate and fresh tobacco.” –Emmett (BMP_Emmett)
“During the first third there is a lot of peppery spice on the retrohale and also on the back of the throat. There is also some nice creaminess along with the spice. At times the spice fades, but then returns a few puffs later. So far it’s been enjoyable.” –Wes (SosaCub4Life)
“First thirds opening namely provides copious amount of creamy milk chocolate mixed with a slight black pepper toward the back palate. About an inch in, the black pepper’s intensity has increased as well as the introduction of cedar and creamy sweetness. The cigar stays in this flavor profile throughout the extent of the first third. Both strength and body is at a medium.” –Jiunn (jliu)
“There is a nice transition to leather, black coffee and pepper for this third. All of the flavors pair very well with each other and the pepper has differing strength levels between puffs; this adds a very pleasant dimension and keeps the cigar from getting monotonous. The retrohale is starting to develop an unsweetened heavy cream flavor with a peppery finish.” –Alan (Eulogy)
“I seemed to have burned past the part that was giving me trouble and this third is much better. The spice has faded and now we have added a dark, almost bitter espresso.” –Emmett (BMP_Emmett)
The ending to this cigar was wonderful. It was the same profile as the last third with leather, coffee and pepper, but the profile became more vibrant. All of the flavors had so much more depth than the previous third with richer notes of coffee and a stronger flavor of leather. The only real downside for me was that the strength was becoming a little overpowering for me. Still, it was a wonderful end to this great cigar.” –Alan (Eulogy)
“The flavors never altered. Very straight forward leather and pepper. The bitterness picks up as the heat gathers near the cap. The strength on the retrohale is overpowering at this point. Not a bad cigar to the finish.” –Steve (ThaGreatWazoo)
“Draw was perfect. Just the right amount of give.” –Jiunn (jliu)
“Another plus. The burn stayed on par and did not require any re-lights or touch ups. Good job.” –Steve (ThaGreatWazoo)
“Very well constructed cigar. The draw was great, burn was good and the cigar held a real nice ash the entire smoke.” –Wes (SosaCub4Life)
Overall Strength: Medium-Strong
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium
Experience Overall : 90
“Overall, this was a very nice cigar that I would smoke again. It started out with a lot of peppery spice that then faded some to let the creamy side come through later on.” –Wes (SosaCub4Life)
“Other than the strength becoming a little overpowering for me, I really like this cigar. The nice clean flavors, profile changes and wonderful construction make this a solid choice and I could easily see myself recommending this cigar to others.” –Alan (Eulogy)
“Overall, this was a run of the mill fair experience. The creamy sweetness and earthiness makes me believe there was namely Brazillian mata fina in this blend. Call me crazy but I’m calling it out! If you are in the market for a mainly creamy sweet chocolate and cedar flavor bomb, this is for you. As for me, I will pass on purchasing any of this cigar, but will not turn it down if given to me.” –Jiunn (jliu)
“Overall, this was a very good nighttime smoke that I would classify as an easy, inexpensive everyday smoke. Grab a few of these and enjoy them with some friends and some drinks. You will not be disappointed.” –Steve (ThaGreatWazoo)
“The construction on this sample really hurt it’s score. I had to force it to stay lit because of the bad draw and it got really bitter and the flavors did suffer. I would like to try it again, especially if the other reviewers had good experiences, but based on this one I can’t really recommend it. Some of the flavors in the original puffs were good but everything else was covered up by bitter.” –Emmett (BMP_Emmett)
To view the complete scores and notes, click here.
Blind Cigar Review: CAO | Pilón Robusto
General Cigar has offered Blind Man’s Puff readers an exclusive giveaway as part of this review! This giveaway is for a 5-pack of the cigar in this review, CAO Pilon Robusto.
We’ll be choosing one random winner and contacting them for shipping information, so make sure you use accurate info. Contest ends 11:59PM MST 10/12/15. You must be 18 years of age or older in order to enter. US residents only. Use the rafflecopter app below to enter the giveaway contest.