The CAO Pilon has an interesting back story: Master Blender Rick Rodriguez uses an old and expensive process to ferment the tobaccos used in this cigar. In the 1800s, men called Piloneros would create round pilons, or stacks of fermenting tobacco leaves. Pilons are made in an 18-month fermentation process, sometimes longer, involving hemming tobacco leaves together and stacking them layer by layer. This process, though time-consuming, is known to maximize the flavors and color of the leaves. It comes across in the new CAO Pilon, now available in three sizes; Churchill 7×48, Robusto 5×52 and Corona 5.5×44.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
At first glance, you can see the beauty of the oily tan wrapper, the result of the Cuban fermentation process for which the cigar is named.
This cigar gives off nice cedar notes from the start. It’s medium bodied, so it has enough strength, no matter your preferred smoke level. Throughout the first third, the sweetness of cocoa appears, combining with cedar. There is faint spice notes to keep the cigar at a medium strength level, but it’s not overly complicated and stays balanced for the remainder.
Burn and Draw
The construction and draw are great. At times, it burns unevenly but corrects itself without the need to relight, offering a consistent amount of smoke on the palate with a nice resistance.
Strength and Body
Medium bodied. Spice notes give it an extra kick for those that prefer more full-bodied cigars. The kick is intimidating enough to ward off those that tend to smoke milder. The focus of this cigar are the flavors, not the strength and that’s what makes it so enjoyable to smoke.
The CAO Pilon comes wrapped in an extremely impressive Ecuador Habano wrapper, surrounding Nicaraguan binder and long-fillers. This cigar is medium-bodied but flavorful with gratifying notes of spice, soft cedar, and cocoa. The CAO Pilon was a surprise entry to an established line and one of their best efforts to date. I find this line is fun to smoke and pairs well with rum.
Strength: Medium (Start), Medium to Full (⅔) medium (Last Third)
Assessment: Box worthy, will get better with age
This post is written by Todd Lewis. Todd is a cigar consultant at Binny’s Lincoln Park.