CAO VR Cigars
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"A Flavor Bomb."

The CAO ‘VR’ maduro cigar is CAO’s potentially greatest achievement since the CAO Black original blend set up shop in your hearts and minds several years ago. Crafted with the utmost in care and detail, 'VR' is produced in CAO’s esteemed “CAO Fabrica de Tabacos” factory in Danli, Honduras. 'The 'VR' cigar employs well-aged Nicaraguan and Mexican long-fillers which yield a robust and slightly spicy profile, while its oily Brazilian Maduro Arapiraca wrapper adds balance and a hefty dose of rich-sweet flavor. Off the bat you’re greeted with a burst of peppery goodness that smooths out almost immediately as the Brazilian wrapper throws its sweet, leathery character into the mix. With quality construction, superior raw materials, unwavering consistency, oodles of flavor, and ample complexity - CAO’s new 'VR' delivers it all in a tidy package.

Do it. Do it for God, country, Corps. Hell, do it for the shareholders, the team, coaching staff, and cigar enthusiasts everywhere. Your palate thanks you in advance.

Overall Rating5 out of 5 Based on 1 Rating

Customer Reviews of “CAO VR”

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Showing 1-36 of 36 Reviews
5 out of 5
CAO VR Mural,Put a masterpiece in your mouth!
The VR Mural is rich and satisfying,a flavorful and aromatic medium to full bodied maduro experience, painting the palate like the Sistine Chapel with notes of bittersweet chocolate and black coffee . The Mural format is perfect for a leisurely after lunch smoke with an expresso and the afternoon paper.
Customer Testimonials
What a stick. Slated at medium-full, but the mouth feel is clean and tasty. LOVE this cigar.
AE of Spruce Pine, NC
Today's review is the CAO VR. Great looking Maduro wrapper from Bazil. Pre smoke the cigar wrapper has a nice chocolate smell and the foot a very nice sweet smell. Very nice firm feel. On light up, first few puffs had a pronounced chocolate taste with a nice spicey kick and black pepper finish on the lips. Through the first 2/3 flavor stayed the same: a light cocoa, light spice like a cinnamon and medium strength through out. Last third flavors picked up a little more spice and some black pepper again on the finish. Burn and draw were perfect for the 1 hr 40 min burn time on this 6x50 smoke. This was another finger burner from CAO. This gets a 90 from me and I will be adding it to regular rotation. I'm going to have to get a humidor set up just for CAO!
AM of Niagara Falls, NY
Not bad, better than the CAO black, but it's no 5 Vegas Triple A.
BS of Moore, SC
Got two of these (CAO VR) in my Dream Team sampler. They were my favorites out of the bunch and will remain a regular in my humidor.
JB of Sun Valley, CA
This was the last stick out of my most recent sampler order from C.I. I started it last night, smoked it a little over halfway and saved the rest for this morning. Out of the 20 selections offered in that sampler, I would rate this one somewhere in the middle. Despite its rich, dark appearance it was amazingly mild. The taste, burn and aroma were very nice. Unfortunately, the draw was far too tight for my taste, at least for the first third. I resisted the urge to "spike" it and it got better as it went. Unfortunately it suffered a major wrapper malfunction--despite an extreme amount of care when clipping the cap--but this was right after I removed the band so I could smoke it to the nub. (My Rule of Thumb: Never allow the nub to become less than the width of your thumb.) Was it a good smoke? Yes it was. Would I go out of my way to buy one--or a five pack--of these at a normal/discounted price. No, I wouldn't. I'm looking forward to giving this stick another chance when the next one arrives with my next sampler order, hopefully on Wednesday. I'd give this cigar a Wow!!!! on a scale of wow to WOW!!!!!!! Obviously I'm not a seasoned cigar aficionado yet, but I do have to say that you guys at C.I. totally rock. That would be a WOW!!!!!!! =)
JC of Oklahoma City, OK
Hello, my aficionados its a great day down in South Texas where unfortunatly the cigars are super expensive... This is where my buddies at CI come in and offer a safe heaven from high prices. I wanted to let you guys and gals know that if you havn't tried the CAO VR I highly recomend you try this tasty treat. If you like maduros like I do you'll enjoy the VR...I tried it one time and i was hooked! So what are you waiting for do your palate a favor GIVE IT ONE! CAO VR! and as always my fellow stogie men and women "Keep a happy face and smoke with pride"...THANKS CI
JH of McAllen, TX
woowhee...What a great cigar...just finished my night time coffee and cigar, and I was so impressed with this VR Mobey that I couldnt go to bed without commenting...I have smoked plenty of cigars, and many CAOs, including these VRs...And I guess I wasnt paying attention before...But I am now...and this had a perfect draw, a super straight burn, great construction...And that wonderful and unique CAO tobacco...These guys are innovators in a traditional market place... and boy did they every nail it...Smoke 'em if ya got 'em...get some if ya don't...
DC of Beverly, MA
I am "very" new to cigars. I have only smoked 18 cigars from the Backyard Boogey sampler that I purchased from CI. With that being said, the CAO VR is the most well constructed, even burning and the best tasting cigar I've had. I smoke cigarettes as well as cigars so my taste buds aren't that great but even I could taste the spicy choclaty hints in this stick. My first finger burner. I was very disappointed when this one was gone. Well done CAO, well done.
TP of Walker, LA
Smoked enough of these cigars to know the write ups are not accurate! it's more along the lines of semi bitter espresso bean flavor. It's not sophisticated at all nor is it sweet it's a semi lack luster one dimensional smoke....
PT of Maple Shade, NJ
I was extremely disappointed with these cigars. Granted $80 for a box of good cigars is a good deal but only if they are smokable. The draw on these was terrible, the taste acidic and not one could be smoked completely. Truely bummed out about this smoke. CAO cigars are usually very good. AVOID THIS SELECTION
SB of Hedgesville, WV
I've always felt that you can't go wrong with CAO. Got a 5 pack of the Full Fathom 5. I always give one to my son as he is my trading partner. Gives us both a chance to experience a larger variety. I have to admit, I expected the wrapper to be smoother and oily. Looked rather dull and dry. The first two I smoked were very nice. Good draw, nice burn and interesting changes in flavor through out. The third one I smoked was a disaster as the wrapper was falling apart from the beginning all the way to the end. I battled through it as best I could. I think I may try a different size next time. Sometimes you just end up with a bad one.
Very nice. Good draw with a strong leather taste and a subtle spice that stays on your tongue throughout the smoke. Produced thick clouds of gray smoke. Again very nice cigar.
DM of Washington, DC
Got a 10 pack of the Full Fathom cigars on the cheap. Great cigar, would re-order as long as it'd also be box pressed. Reminds me of the Bueso Genesis, and that's not idle praise.
CL of Wyoming, PA
This may be my favorite cigar ever and I've smoked a LOT of cigars.
DW of West Jordan, UT
1st review of a cigar on this site, had to do it!! What an awesome cigar, smooth taste and burn....truly memorable.
MB of Kingsland, GA
If this cigar isn't in your "Top 5" list, you don't know how to smoke a cigar!
EJ of Pittsburgh, PA
10 pack on sale .. took a chance bad weather here ... smoked too soon this soldier held its own ... with the wrapper in shreds .. still kicked it .. solid construction .. awsome presentation ... excellent taste ( lil harsh due to its condition upon arrival ) this was my first VR but I can tell this stick is awesome ... even under the worst of circumstances .. I look forward to seein how the rest fare after resting ... to the nub ... even in the badlands ... nuff said... fine is fine ... even under the worst conditions .. ;) ... will report later if the rest of them are bad ... but I can tell they wont be ... they will be 20 times awesome ...
TM of Reynoldsville, PA
This is an excellent smoke. It ranks right up at the top with the big dogs!!
CS of Rock Springs, WY
Don’t let the comparatively diminutive size fool you: the CAO VR Mural packs a punch! This cigar has it all: fine hold of ash, solid construction, lots of thick white smoke and a flavor that will keep you coming back for more. This is a nice “smoke snack” for those 15-30 minute breaks in the day. You’ll take it down to the nub, for sure!
FS of Orlando, FL
CAO-what can't be said about this brand. I love the spicy taste of this cigar. It was a great smoke. The only thing I have to disagree with about CI is this wrapper is in no way have an oily wrapper. It looks like it has been spray painted but all in all it is a good cigar.
AG of Portsmouth, VA
DM of Monaca, PA
This is not just a cigar, it's an experience!The reviews and feedbacks are dead on. This is a leather sandwich with a hefty dose of pepper and marinated in many flvors that are wonderful but hard to describe!Excellent!!
RK of College Park, MD
I have to say that this cigar and the 5Vegas A started changing me from a natural fan to a maduro fan. This cigar is beautiful! Great wrapper that my 3 year old at the time thought was chocolate and asked for a bite! The draw was effortless and it had copious amounts of smoke with each draw. The flavor was medium in strength to me but very smooth with some complexity. It burned slow cool and even until the nub. Great cigar that is strong in aesthetics, flavor, construction, and price!
DM of Ridgecrest, CA
I really enjoy these cigars (CAO VR). I recently ordered a box of the totem size and they will continue to be a regular for me. Very smooth with a consistent burn i always seem to smoke them to the nub.
EC of monroe, LA
This was my first(CAO VR). I was lucky enough to get 4 cathedrals in a sampler. First, I noticed how dog gone well these babies are made (flawless execution). Burned straighter than a razors edge, slowly down to a inch long nub. The flavor is remarkable, this cigar stands alone from all the other maduros that I've had in the past. This one has quickly moved into my top five, and now I must try the rest of what CAO has to offer.
RT of Norwood, OH
Wow! CAO VR is the first cigar I have ever reviewed ... and here's why: This cigar exceeded my expectations by such magnitude that it's asounding! I'm a fan of the regular CAO Black - good cigar - but it's not even close to the complexity of the VR! This is a smooth, full-bodied, yet spicy cigar. I grabbed 10 of the Convergence's on a Joe's Daily Deal, and they are suberb! Highly reccomended! My personal score: 93.
CT of Brooklyn, NY
CAO Black VR: Excellent cigar. Plenty of strength without a single harsh moment. The flavour is as good as any Costa Rican maduro and the burn is absolutely even throughout. At a retail price of over $7, it isn't cheap (but who pays retail at CI, eh?) but it's worth every farthing. Excellent construction, perfect draw and ash. This is one to keep handy.
MC of MLeesburg, VA
I bought a 5 pack of these beauties knowing only that every other CAO I have smoked has been outstanding. Well, I think CAO outdid themselves on this one (CAO Black VR). What an incredible, smooth smoke all the way to my burnt fingertips. I just couldn't put it down. Now to save up for a box of them.
DM of Westminster, VT
I smoked the CAO Black first, followed by the VR and I was highly impressed with the VR. I was in a cigar lounge with people coming in and out when I smelled something similar to perfume. After a while I asked if they were burning a candle or incense but it was the cigar. An excellent smoke and it smells great as well. TRY THIS TODAY!!!
r of kchicago, IL
This is one of the smoothest maduro smokes I've ever had (CAO VR). It never bites throughout the entire burn. Leathery, sweet and a hint of spice (though very slight). Even burn all the way down, great ash, perfect draw that never requires a relight - and it didn't burn fast either. My other favorites are El Rey Del Mundo Robusto Larga (though the draw is a bit hard), Hoyo de Monterrey Excalibur 1066 Dark Knight II, and CAO Brazilia - this one ranks right up there with all my favorites - if not at the TOP. If you enjoy a full flavored, smooth, sweet maduro cigar you will love this one.
JC of Orlando, FL
I was offered my first "CAO Black VR", and man was i impressed. The maduro was as sweet as one from Costa Rica. The construction was flawless and the burn was even. Big booming clouds of smoke. Peppery, slightly spicy some charcoal (or was that the steak?) and a sweetness that lingered. I thoroughly enjoyed this cigar. You will to. My taste rates it a solid 92. A truly excellent stick. Enjoy, happy holidays to all.
VB of San Francisco, CA
Excuse me while I climb a mountain to sing the praises of this cigar... CAO has done it again, how many times have we heard that? So many it almost lost it's meaning. Well, you're going to hear it again, and then say it again the second you try this cigar. Every review you read is true. It's that great. At first I was doubtful, 'Why change the black?' I thought, but after seeing pictures of that sexy looking wrapper, I had no choice, buy buy buy. After the delivery, It was the hardest 3 Day wait of my life, nothing has ever felt like it's taken so long. But it was worth it, from the first puff, to the very last bit of the nub when your fingers and lips are burning, putting it out at any stage is a shame. From the start an ever increasing spice and warmth greet you, and stay with you, building and building until it peaks with about 2 inches to go and then it introduces you to a sweetness that seriously escapes all words. A week ago, if you would have asked me my favorite CAO cigar, The Odyssey would have shot right out of my mouth with no hesitation... Not any more.
AG of Fairfield, CA
Yes, the CAO Black 'VR' came into my office today and I couldn't wait to smoke it tonight. The hand painted box held the black beauties nicely and when I did the smell test of the unlit cigar at work I was even more excited. This cigar follows the trend that alot of makers are doing these days taking an established blend and cloaking a maduro wrapper around it. This stick happens to be the Black line which is normally a natural light wrapper and putting the wrapper that houses the CAO Brazilia on it. Now I did the same thing on a box of the first CAO Blacks I ever got the Man O War which only came 10 to a box. Bought them site unseen. The normal black line is much zippier than you would expect looking at the natural wrapper and has a pronounced pepper taste in the back of your throat so I guess I just naturally expected this cigar to be an amped up version of that since it had the Brazilian wrapper and it was maduro. I sat down after a very hectic day and pulled the plastic sleeve off. The cigar has the normal CAO band on it but the foot is wrapped in a cool little band as well displaying the spider web like paint drizzle that's on the box. You gotta hand it to these CAO guys they really know how to present. The wrapper was noticable shiny and dark chocolatey brown, but not as black as the CAO Brazilia I thought. I will have to compare later. It was a torpedo shape, 6W52 and looks a little smaller that what I had pictured in my head. The unlit smell was some serious leather going on. I don't think I've ever gotten that pronounced new shoe smell before. I lit it up with a long wooden match and got it going right away. I noticed the firey glow around the edge in almost a perfect circle. Usually the center of the cigar burns first and you have to wait for the edges to catch up so this was a good sign. There wasn't much of a taste the first 1/4 inch and then it hit me hard. The pepper was really smacking my in the face. My throat was almost burning. The finish was unbelievable long. I took two long puffs and my throat held that black pepper taste for a good two minutes right into the next puff. Do not smoke this cigar if you are having any heartburn that day. It really hangs there and starts to creep down into your esophagus. I was starting to think this was not ready to smoke yet and needed to mellow a bit. If the whole thing was going to be like this I was not going to be happy with my purchase. Thankfully this went away after about 1.5 inches or so. At that point I got hints of almost a Rocky Patel 92 Vintage flavor which I've never run across in another stick before. A real wooden, cedary taste. This didn't last more than an inch. Then the cigar came into its own with a unique flavor which I can only describe strangely as plastic tasting. Not burning plastic..that would be hideous just kind of new toy smell or something. If you can remember opening your Hoth Han Solo as a kid right out of the bubble card, it was kind of like that. That taste also went away and at the middle of the cigar it finally mellowed in flavor, but picked up a bit in strength. It tastes a bit like a CAO Braziliaa bit like the Sopranos CAO but really has its own unique heartiness and aroma. This cigar is all over the place giving you hints of different spice and wood and the regular strong maduro taste nearly every other puff. Wow. It ended with that pepper flavor again which I really enjoyed..this time more on the tongue than the throat. You've got to try this thing, it's maybe crazy like this because it's so new. Maybe in a 3 or 4 months it will be more consistent, but I kind of like all the variations. And to be honest, I don't see myself having any of these left in 3 months time. My only wonder is why these aren't flying off the shelves like CAO Gold Maduro? And I wonder if the VR's will go global or is this just a CI exclusive?
JH of Blane, MN
Okay so I'm the third reviewer to go at this purchase blind; yet now I see the light! This cigar (CAO Black 'VR') is gorgeous asthetically with a thick silky black wrapper that taunts you to take a bite. I'm not a hint of this notes of that guy, but very balanced with good complexity with mostly medium character getting fuller without any bite past the mid-point. A flavor bomb and the aroma is incense for the herfers nose. CAO truly out did themselves with this one...amazing.
RM of Las Vegas, NV
Only a few times have I ever bought a box of cigars having never smoked them, but I'm glad I did with these (CAO Black VR). I was already a CAO fan, so I let their brand reputation convince me that at the very least these would be decent cigars. Even after the build up that CI's description and Steve-o's review gave them, these proved to be impressive smokes. Smooth, rich, but not overwhelming. I've already picked up a second box.
PJ of Palm Coast, FL


Brandon S

Well folks, another Thanksgiving is in the books! I hope you all enjoyed your time with friends and family and I certainly hope you found time to enjoy that all-important Thanksgiving Day cigar! I know I did…3 in fact. Funny though, of the cigars I had selected for my Thanksgiving enjoyment the one that stood out head and shoulders above the others was none other than the CAO ‘VR’. I packed my humi with a few select personal favorites and grabbed a few of my VR’s for that inevitable request from my wife’s cousin, “hey man, did you bring any extras?” (you know how that story goes, right?) and off we headed to the in-laws for a day of gorging, imbibing and stories about family members I’ve never met. When said conversation ensued I was only too happy to volunteer to head outside and operate the old turkey fryer for an hour knowing this would be a prime opportunity to light up a cigar and enjoy the peace and quiet of a beautiful fall day. I left my smokes inside but had a spare humi packed in the car and after managing to the get the turkey-fryer fired up I snuck off to the car and grabbed me a CAO ‘VR’ Moby, clipped the foot and lit’er up.

Truly a cigar that can be described as pretty, the ‘VR’ is as oily as it is dark and oh so toothy. I’ve had this box since we received our first shipment back in June of ’07 and the additional aging has done wonders to the tobacco within. Off the start the first few draws are creamy and rich with distinct chocolaty undertones and a sweet finish. I should mention that the ‘VR’ is manufactured by the famed Torano family whose attention to detail and focus on producing a quality product is second to none. So it came as no surprise that after two inches in the burn was as straight as could be with an ash as solid as concrete. Reaching the 1/3 mark some peppery “tinglies” are noticeable on the front and sides of my mouth as the Moby begins to change a bit and pick up some strength. The fryer finally reached 350 so I grabbed the bird and dropped it in. If you’ve never fried a turkey I highly recommend trying it at least once. It’s surprisingly violent and rather amusing to watch the entire pot shake. As I continued smoking my Moby I began thinking of what else I could chuck into the old fryer just for grins… When I finally refocused my attention back on the ‘VR’ I realized that it had mellowed tremendously. The spice and tinglies were gone. In their place rich, leathery notes of chocolate and coffee coated my palate leaving me wanting more but alas, the end was near.

As the evening wore on I smoked the remaining two Moby’s that I had brought along with me enjoying the same experience each time. Ironically I readily gave up some much pricier smokes to friends and family just so I could keep the CAO’s for myself. Just goes to show you that you don’t have to spend a bundle to get a damn fine smoke!

CAO Black 'VR'


We've been pushing for this blend for years, 4 years to be exact. Ever since the CAO Black was released, the gang here at CI has clamored and lobbied CAO for a juicy maduro like this to complement the original Black. The long wait has been well worth it, as the 'VR' has arrived....and they're fabulous. These beauties glisten with an oily sheen. I'm a sucker for a box-pressed finish, so I tend gravitate to the Full Fathom Five size (although this size is a one-time addition to the line). It looks like a candy bar, with its chocolate brown wrapper....and a pre-light sniff of the foot delivers a highly pleasurable blast of spice that awakens the senses - ahhhhh - making me thank the heavens above for all that's good and holy. Everone agrees, upon lighting and right on down to the nub the aroma is distinctly leathery while the slight but pronounced spice through the nose is undeniable. CAO Black 'VR' offers ample complexity. As it burns its merry way down the barrel of the cigar it consistently delivers a steady dose of cedar. It gets progressively heavier in body yet manages to retain its smooth and creamy core. The wrapper feels a bit wet, so a few days in a dry-box prior to smoking does it wonders, and if you can be patient a few months of additional box-aging will turn a highly enjoyable smoke into a supremely pleasurable one. I love it - and there's little doubt that 'VR' is going to be a major horse in the CI stable.

CAO Black 'VR'

Steve R

Discovering a precious new handmade can go one of two ways:

Yet another cigar is added to your ever-growing list of favorites.

The cigar itself increases your appreciation for something as simple and ordinary as a tobacco leaf, and how lucky we are to have cigar makers born with the uncanny talent of creating something extraordinary.

Looking back, I can probably count on one hand the number of cigars that resulted in the latter. Gurkha Centurian Double-X, 5 Vegas Series ‘A’, Edicion de Silvio and now CAO Black ‘VR’. Yes, this is a bold statement and many of you will probably call BS. Fine by me, I rarely lose a drinking game.

For nearly 2 years, Tim Ozgener has been teasing us with his idea of the CAO Black ‘VR’, an extension of CAO’s original masterpiece wrapped in their beloved Brazilian maduro leaf. Pictures of the product were sent as teasers, whetting our palates before an unexpected box made its way to Bethlehem just last week. After the backyard brawl on the loading docks, I managed to slip away with 6 sticks and hastily ran back to my desk to light up.

CAO sent a box of 20 Full Fathom Five, the only box-pressed vitola in the line measuring 5.5” x 55. Heavy in the hand with one of the oiliest maduro wrappers I’ve ever seen, cutting this beauty practically hurt. The wrapper is Brazilian Maduro Arapiraca. I’m not quite sure what that means but, based on the pre-light flavor and aroma, I don’t think I’ll care much once we get going. Inside, a mixture of Nicaraguan and Mexican tobaccos resides and the foot of the cigar shows dark hints of ligero...nice.

Instantly upon lighting, definitive coffee notes rush the palate with a rich, creamy blast. The exhale is milky smooth, even through the nose. Allow the cigar to burn a half an inch and the coffee flavor mellows, giving way to a delicious, leathery core. (If you’ve ever wanted to know what ‘leather’ tastes like in a cigar, this here ‘VR’ is a great example.) Despite the thickness and oily texture, the wrapper burns extremely even, producing a strong, white ash with little to no flaking. A rich sweetness smacks the front of the palate and lingers just long enough to keep you satisfied while this slow-burning beauty rests in your ashtray. All this, and we haven’t even reached the midway point. Remember that ligero? If not, you will when there’s just 3 inches left, at which point the smoke becomes notably stronger and a peppery layer of flavor enters the fold. The spice hardly dominates, but you’ll notice it and hopefully agree, it pairs perfectly with the rich, coffee flavors and leathery backbone. The finale is bold and satisfying, bringing all of these wonderful nuances together in a well-balanced manner. What a ride.

After smoking all 6 samples in 2 days, I can truly say this is an amazing cigar. Everything about it is high-class, right down to the packaging and presentation. Well done, CAO.

CAO 'VR' Full Fathom Five

Steve R

I have to be honest with you. I haven’t burned a CAO ‘VR’ Full Fathom Five in a long time. Actually, it might have been since its initial release 2 years ago – this cigar was initially produced in a limited production run of just 500 boxes (each hand signed by Tim Ozgener), and they sold very quickly. Fortunately, I secured 2 boxes before it sold out. Well, this 5.5”x55 box-pressed cigar has returned to the CAO ‘VR’ lineup, much to the delight of the hundreds that sent in emails asking for more. Today, the reason why I am burning this cigar is because it is part of September’s Cigar of the Month selection. That right there is some insider info for all the members – scary part is, this cigar ain’t even the ‘best’ in the bunch! So, I thought I’d double-dip on this cigar and bang out a Staff Review and the newsletter write-up. Efficiency. Cutting costs on cigars and saving time....please tell my boss!

The Full Fathom Five was the first of CAO’s 5.5”x55 box-pressed vitolas. The cigar was a huge success, which quickly spawned the same vitola in CAO’s Brazilia, Italia, and Mx2 lines. However, it is the original that still maintains the limelight due to the rich, amplified flavors it brings to the table.

As I said before, CAO ‘VR’ Full Fathom Five is a 5.5”x55 cigar finished with a soft, “Spanish” box-press format. The thicker ring creates room for more of the bold Nicaraguan and Honduran long-fillers utilized by this blend, promoting more complexity and a slower, cooler burn. Despite the additional tobaccos, the dark Brazilian Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper hardly plays second fiddle....which makes me happy because I love this leaf.

The cigar opens with a dense blast of toast and pepper, but the finish is surprisingly smooth and clean. This smooth aftertaste hints of a mellow bouquet to come. Would you know it....the cigar mellows almost instantly. The spice is all but gone, allowing the palate to detect subtle complexities with each puff. The toastiness remains, but I am picking up a rich, leathery element, dark tobacco flavors, and a touch of cedar. After the first inch the spice returns as I exhale, tickling the back of my palate. This spice is delayed though, allowing me to fully appreciate the other flavors at play. The leathery influence grows more intense as I approach the halfway point.

Note: if you’ve ever wanted to know what people mean by ‘leather,’ CAO ‘VR’ is a great way to discover this flavor. It’s almost unmistakable.

I’d like to touch on the wrapper a bit. In my opinion, the Brazilian Arapiraca leaf produces one of the finest maduros out there. The flavor and smoke texture it creates is genuine maduro. The smoke hits your palate in a heavy, chewy fashion. The flavor is dark and toasty, showcases optimum balance between sweetness and spice. The aroma is dense with a deep charcoal-like scent. The leaf itself is thick and juicy....something you can really chew on without it breaking. To me, that’s a maduro wrapper....and that’s a part of the reason why I enjoy CAO ‘VR’.

So....we have a lot going on here. The smoke is chewy and thick. The flavor starts out peppery, only to mellow into a smooth, leathery core with rich notes of dark tobacco, cedar, sweet notes, and a touch of pepper on the finish. The aroma is charcoal-like goodness. Through the nose I pick up heavy spices and cedar. All this and I still have the final third to go. By this time my head is spinning a little bit. I think I am puffing on this chunkster too often – it burns far too slow for this.

People often ask me for CAO’s best maduro. I always say ‘VR.’ Don’t get me wrong, I love the Brazilia, but the Arapiraca wrapper on this ‘VR’ offers a level of flavor not found in most maduros. It’s just plain unique and I love it. If you want smooth and chocolatey....go with the Brazilia. Otherwise, take the ‘VR’ for a test drive. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.