Following up the successful trilogy of CAO Amazon Basin, Fuma em Corda, and Anaconda, General Cigar came back with what they are calling a prequel called the CAO Orellana. The name Orellana is a nod to the previous name of the Amazon River, which was named after explorer Francisco de Orellana. Differing from the original Amazon trilogy, the Orellana features a very well aged Brazilian Cubra wrapper and includes the featured Brazilian Braganca and Fuma Em Corda tobaccos in the filler and features of the cigar.
The band is made of a wrapping of corded tobacco leaf, and you’ll see that same thing emerging from the wrapper on the lower third of the cigar. It has a very rustic look, the wrapper is modeled, and there is a cord is coming out of the wrapper around the first third of the cigar. You can actually see how tight the cord that makes up the band is wrapped as the cigar swells around the turns of tobacco. This cigar is not perfectly straight and certainly shows some bend to it. There is some obvious glue especially around the foot of the cigar where they secured the secondary chord. The aroma is also something different. It has a very rich fermented tobacco smell, it reminds me a lot of Perique pipe tobacco. If you’re not familiar with Perique, the aromas include dried stone fruits, prunes, dried plums, and it is fairly sweet smelling. It’s one of my favorite tobaccos.
This cigar starts off fairly medium, medium plus, body. Right away it retains the stone fruit flavors and aromas that were present before lighting–dried cherries and plums. Flavors quickly mellow on turns into creamy wood blend that leans towards oak. There is a bit of kitchen spice along with it. White pepper and cinnamon seem to be the most notable but they are very mild. Smoke output is great. Each puff puts plumes of smoke into the air but it comes down quickly at rest. The ash is chunky and falls easily.
Now in the second third I find the creaminess that was part of the first go away. The CAO Orellana is now left with a strong oak flavor. There is still a bit of cinnamon accompanying that and new is a touch of vanilla. The retrohale is rather intense. The burn, while wavy to say the least, keeps on going. I was distracted for several minutes, the cigar is still burning and ready to go.
The body seems to continue to decrease going into the final third. I’m still getting flavors, mostly oak and blend of kitchen spices. Those spices are certainly not as pronounced as they were in the middle of the cigar. It is cool to watch the burn hit the cordage that makes up the band. The burn just seems to continue like there was nothing there. As the cord burns it puts off an aroma of a burned match. Unfortunately I also find that burning match translate on the palate. There is a bitterness building, as well, telling me that this cigar is done.
So, I’ll start by saying I don’t recall ever having any of the other Amazon blends from CAO. I have, though, seen people rave about these blends for several years now. What I can say is this cigar had a great beginning, that first third was great. Unfortunately the cigar seemed to fall down on itself. The flavors dwindled until the bitterness formed at the end. The body and the strength of the cigar seemed to dwindle the same. The cigar loved to burn, even it was wavy at all times. The draw was excellent with my v-cut. If you’re a fan of this line of CAO Amazon limited releases you definitely have to add it to your list; you’ve already got so much invested into it. For me, though, that first third was the highlight of the cigar. After that the cigar just started fading. Fortunately that first third burned almost as long as the last two combined, for a total of a two hour smoke.