Cigar Review: CAO L’Anniversarie Cameroon

Cigar Review: CAO L’Anniversarie Cameroon

Size: 5×50 (Robusto)

Wrapper: West African Cameroon

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan

Strength: Medium

Price: Box of 20, $112.99

Grade: 9.3

Today’s review is one I’ve wanted to make a formal review of for quite a while – the CAO Cameroon for today’s review has several years age on it. The Cameroon was first introduced in 1999, at the 30 year anniversary of CAO, and has received some low 90s ratings over the years – it is a part of the L’Anniversarie series, which also features a Maduro wrapper. The Cameroon was blended by Nick Perdomo of Tabacalera Perdomo, and was included in Cigar Aficionado’s “Top 50” cigars list.

The Cameroon wrapper covers a Nicaraguan binder and filler and is available in a handful of sizes: Belicoso (6×54), Churchill (6 7/8×48), Corona, (5.5×42), Napoleon (4.5×46/40, Perfecto), Petites (4×30), Robusto (5×50), 10/5 (4×38), and Toro (5.5×55). The retail price for these are around $6-8.

Now, finally, on to the toast!

Pre-light, 1.8:
With a milk chocolate wrapper and a beautiful box press, the CAO Cameroon is a fine looking cigar. The cap appears to be double wrapped and the foot is very well formed and constructed. Along the seams, the roll moves perfectly along the sharp edges of the box press and there are no tears or pulls. As with most boxed cigars, it is quite firm and reveals no soft spots from cap to foot. The veins are almost undetectable and sit flush with the wrapper. The aroma on the Cameroon is excellent – rich and creamy chocolate with touches of caramel and espresso. The aroma becomes sweeter as it moves toward the foot. The draw is surprisingly loose and pleasant despite the firm roll. The flavor on the pull is the same as the aroma – sweet chocolate with the slightest bit of musty cedar.

Burn, 1.9:
I’ve had problems in the past with the burn on CAO’s, but the Cameroon is burning right on – the ash is stacking well, the burn is slow, and the ash is evenly colored. The draw is just right with a slight bit of resistance and the temperature is cool throughout. The Cameroon never burns harsh and is steady from first light to the end.

Flavor, 2.8:
The initial burst of flavor offers a very creamy texture and profile with sweet chocolate and espresso notes. There is a hint of pepper that may battle for presence. Moving through the first third, the flavors smooth into a velvety profile that is very smooth and clean. In the second third, the flavor intensifies a bit and is fuller; the flavors of chocolate and espresso remain, but they take on a burnt or roasted character. Any bit of harshness that bordered in the middle third goes away as I approach the final stretch. The last third offers a return to the smooth and creamy texture and profile evident up front. Though the transitions are subtle, they are enjoyable and create a very pleasant and enjoyable smoke.

Overall, 2.8:
The CAO Cameroon was surprisingly smooth and delicate with a very tasty, medium to full flavor profile, while remaining medium in strength. When I finished up this review, I was surprised by how well it scored. The construction was excellent, as was the burn, and this cigar gives me a renewed satisfaction with CAO cigars. These have been around for some time, so if you can find some with a bit of age on them, I’d jump at it. I will say these smoked much better with the added age. I was very impressed by this cigar and will be on the lookout for a box purchase before too many changes occur in the hands of CAO’s new ownership.

(Total: 9.3)