With the infused cigars by CAO, there’s a few that I consider “go to” in that line. And in the fall, the Solfyre is a delightful smoke. I tend to enjoy this in the petite Corona size over the cigarillo size, as the wrapper for this particular cigar is nicely infused with whiskey and the cinnamon is a pleasant warming nuance and not a huge slap in the face like some of the alcoholic equivalents to this stick. The petite Corona makes for a nice after dinner smoke that doesn’t take terribly long and also isn’t something that seems over too quickly. Also, the petite Corona has something the cigarillo version does not: the fancy sleeve.
After taking the sleeve off, it’s the Cameroon wrapper shows nice color and good veins of a quality leaf. The cigar ring is still a nice golden sun on a red band, very simple but also very easy to recognize. The stick smells of cinnamon and whiskey before it is lit, with a slight sweetness. This cigar is not as saccharine as a Fireball whiskey, this is a complimenting sweetness to the cinnamon’s heat.
After it’s lit, the flavors of the whiskey infused tobacco take lead, with the cinnamon coming through more in the smoke. The draw on the petite Corona is very nice, smooth without being too easy. Developing a foot on this is a pleasure. At the midpoint, the cigar still had predominantly the whiskey infused tobacco tastes, but the cinnamon is now also in the mix on the tongue and not just in the air. The wrapper is sweet while smoking, and it’s just a lovely relaxing cigar for the upcoming fall weather.
The cigar finishes with that same whiskey infused tobacco tastiness, but I get a bit of nuttiness at the finish of the stick. The smoke from this one also lingers, so it’s like a cigar version of a cinnamon broom– not quite as assaulting on the senses from 3 feet away, but a reminder of holiday smells and flavors. For this particular evening, I had this with a spiked sparkling water, but I’ve successfully this stick in the past with coffee, Irish coffee, hot tea, Merlot, Cabernet, bourbon, whiskey, and vodka. I don’t think it would go too well with root beer or any heavily flavored beers, but I think it would be fine with a coffee stout. or a lighter ale. It might go well with some of the seasonal pumpkin ales and beers, as those tend to have cinnamon in them.
I’m going to start right off the bat and admit that the Pilon by CAO is one of my go-to cigars. Personally, I think this is a practically perfect cigar in almost every way. CAO put in the effort to bring back a traditional fermentation method of the tobacco just for this cigar and the effort to maintain a circular Pilon pays off in an amazing stick. Bonus, you can usually find this gem for under $7.
I love the cigar ring on this stick, it’s simple but still bold– which could explain everything about the Pilon in a nutshell. Before lighting, this cigar smells of chocolate, earthiness, cedar, and cafe au lait. Not a creamy and a coffee separated flavors, specifically cafe au lait aroma. A steamed milk and coffee drink, not two different smells. A tricky thing to pull off, but it’s there.
After lighting, the nuances adjust more to an earthy, chocolate, dried fruit melange of deliciousness. While I don’t feel this cigar is a sweet cigar, it only has sweet aromas and flavors that would hit the back of the tongue. They won’t overpower the peppery or earthy aromas that are the powerhouse behind this stick. The draw is clean without being too easy, so this stick does seem to take a bit longer to smoke than others of comparable size.
A nice foot can be built up, but it takes some time. You won’t mind the slower smoke though, especially if you’re a fan of the earthy, peppery flavors that show up about the midpoint of the cigar. The chocolate and dried fruit combo that started the stick slowly take a back seat to the stronger cafe au lait and earthy aromas at this point, with the pepperiness coming in just at the end of the flavor profile. Towards the end of the cigar, the pepperiness is front and center, with a leather, coffee (no more steamed milk at this point), and cedar finish. Having said that this cigar is one of my tried and true smokes, I hope you also give it a try. It goes well with coffee, dry wines of both red and white varieties, vodka, whiskey, and even just a cold soda– although I wouldn’t advise any fruity soft drinks or liquors with this one.
Some Brothers and Sisters of the Leaf may not enjoy the infused or flavored cigars, and there are some that are best left on the shelf, but I really enjoy the CAO line of infused cigars, especially in their cigarillo and petit corona sizes. Something about the smaller cigars really turns the infused cigar into a treat to enjoy. I smoked this delightful Island Life after relishing the Hyde that I had found at the Cigar Cave, as I had wanted another cigar but I didn’t want to have a full Robusto size.
The Island life is a mix of Dominican fillers with a Cameroon wrapper, and it’s been infused with a spiced rum flavor. What I like about the CAO infusions is that they don’t slap you upside the head with a cloying fake flavor. While it’s certainly not hiding the rum-ness, the infusion is well done so that it smoking this cigar feels more like an incense of rum around a cigar, as an essence that is a part of the experience of the cigar, but not the main showstopper. Like someone found a Captain Morgan Spiced Rum scented candle and it happens to be burning as you smoke this cigar.
The label is a simple affair with a nice bit of metallic blue along the edges, and the stick certainly smells of dark rum and tobacco before it’s lit. After lighting, I feel as though the spiced rum is a beautiful compliment to the lighter tobaccos in this little cigar. The Dominican Republic fillers are a brighter flavor than their African wrapper and blend well with the spiced rum flavors.
The draw is very easy, and it’s not a challenge to develop a nice foot on this petit stick. The biggest challenge is not smoking it too quickly! And while the light tobacco and dark rum were the main flavors, I am pleased to report that the last third of this stick actually gets a little peppery. Perhaps that’s why I love the CAO infused so much– it’s not a one note flavor, they layer the aromas to make the smoke a bit more complex. This is a delicious little number that nearly anyone can enjoy with a coffee, I had it with the house Merlot, and I’m sure it would be amazing with any rum drink.