Cigar Review: CAO America Sinister Sam

Cigar Review: CAO America Sinister Sam

CAO Cigars / General Cigar Co.
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: USA (Connecticut Shade & Broadleaf)
Binder: Undisclosed
Filler: Columbia & Undisclosed
Size: 6 1/2″ x 52
Strength: medium to full
Price: $8.50 MSRP

Overall Rating: 7.9

Once again it’s that time of year where we celebrate the birth of our country. My plans for the 4tb include James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy, some homemade Texas barbecue with family and a CAO America Sinister Sam cigar. The Sinister Sam is a limited (2000 boxes of 14) extension of the CAO America line in the same way the Evil Snowman and Naughty Santa were extensions of the CAO La Traviata. It’s a different take on the traditional CAO America, but lacks some of the class of the original. However, what it lacks in class it makes up for in an increase in strength. When looking for a cigar for the 4th of July the CAO Sinister Sam is a good choice, and it should please most fans of the original CAO America.

Pre-Light: The CAO America Sinister Sam is an odd looking cigar. An Uncle Sam, that would not be out of place in a dark graphic novel, is on the band that takes up nearly half the cigar’s length. A classy looking foot band from the original CAO America is completely out of place on the Sinister Sam. Also, the way the blues on the two bands clash is really irksome. The cutout star on the two-tone wrapper is oddly snapped and looks like the stars from a bowl of Lucky Charms after they’re half dissolved by milk.

Handworked leather is the main scent that is noticeable from the cigar’s wrapper. A dried fruit and sweet tobacco aroma comes from the unlit foot of the Sinister Sam. The cold draw is decent and let through a good amount of raisin and sweet tobacco flavors.

Burn: From beginning to end the burn on the CAO American Sinister Sam extremely even. The draw is great and near perfect to my tastes. The Sinister Sam holds a its ash very well and is a sure fire ash contest winner. The strength begins on the mild side of medium and works its way up to the medium side of full by the end of the Sinister Sam cigar.

Flavor: The CAO Sinister Sam begins with sweet hay, honey and graham cracker flavors. There is cinnamon and nutmeg on the retrohale. As the exterior wrapper transitions from from Shade Grown to Broadleaf, the flavors become a bit bolder with coffee, hazelnut, oak and mild spice coming to the front. At this point there is more pepper and powdered cocoa to the retrohale. The halfway point sees a cherry cola favor backed up by nuts, black coffee, black pepper and cocoa. At the transition to the final third there is just a slight grassiness. Chocolate, almonds, pepper and black tea all make an appearance during the final third of the cigar.

Overall: Let’s be honest, the gimmickiness of the of the Sinister Sam is almost childish in a way and that bothers me. Maybe some people like it, but for me it is a bit off putting. If I hadn’t been looking for something special to review for the 4th of July I would never have picked this cigar up in the first place. That said, I was suppressed by the fact that the Sinister Sam was actually not such a bad cigar. There’s a lot of flavor to this cigar including graham cracker, nuts, coffee, black coffee and cola. The construction on the CAO America Sinister Sam is flawless with a great draw and an extremely even burn. Overall, this is not a bad cigar and is worth having on occassions like the July 4th, Memorial Day or Veterans Day. But, for me, this really isn’t an everyday cigar.

Pairing: A cappuccino or coffee is the best choice for pairing with the CAO American Sinister Sam. A light beer will go nicely with this cigar at a 4th of July barbaque. If you’re looking for something slightly stronger a Jura Prophesy or Bunnahabian 18 are excellent choices. The sweetness in a good sipping rum would also pair nicely.

Reviewed by Jonathan David (@JonDavid1210)