Cigar Reviews

CAO – Flathead V554 Camshaft

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In two weeks, Tony and I will be making our way to Gilbert, AZ for Foxtoberfest at Fox Cigar Bar. If you are within driving distance, I HIGHLY encourage you to make the trek to Fox Cigar Bar on October 19th. Last year’s event was unbelievable and I have no doubt this year’s event is going to blow the 2012 Foxtoberfest out of the water. You can find details of the event, as well as the available packages, here.   Now, without further ado, onto the review of this week’s cigar, CAO Flathead V554 Camshaft!CAO Flathead (

General Cigar Company’s website has this to say about the CAO Flathead:

Inspired by hot rods and pin-up girls, CAO Flathead is a box pressed collection that hits on all cylinders. Hand-shaped to deliver a striking flat top, the cigar features a brawny Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and a blend that’s heavy on Nicaraguan leaf. Its frontmarks are named for engine parts, but the tribute to muscle cars doesn’t end there. Flathead gives a nod to the muscle car engine, with a lid that’s easily removed and used as wall art. There’s also a collectible, pin-up girl flysheet that’s enclosed in the box.

The Flathead is available in four vitolas: V642 Piston(6½ by 42), V554 Camshaft (5½ by 54), V660 Carb (6 by 60), and V770 Big Block (7 by 70). If this cigar goes well, I will definitely by hunting down the V642 Piston. Such an awesome size.

CAO Flathead (

The Casas Fumando crew has reviewed several CAO cigars. You can find the reviews below:

The Facts

Samples Provided by General Cigar Company
MSRP: $7.25
Vitola: V554 Camshaft
Size: 5 ½ by 54
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Ecuadorian Connecticut
Filler: Nicaraguan Ligero and Piloto Cubana Ligero
Drink: Water
Smoke Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Pre-light

The extremely dark, oscuro Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is covered in small veins, a fine tooth,  and a nice amount of oils. One medium-sized vein runs the entire length of the cigar. The Camshaft is evenly and firmly packed. As I bring the cigar to my nose, I pick up on a lot of pungency, with notes of vinegar and mustard. If I was a novice to cigars, I may be slightly turned off by the wrapper aroma. However, I have come to learn that great things come in stinky packages (is that how the saying goes?). The foot shows off dark, rich, sweet notes with lots of chocolate and earth.

CAO Flathead (

The  flat head on the V554 Camshaft makes it ideal for punching. Punching the cap with my Screwpop Cigar Punch opens up a great draw. The flavors on the cold draw reveals similar sweet chocolate notes that I got off the foot aroma, but with some unique spices. The spice reminds me of chai tea.

CAO Flathead (

First Third

After taking my time roasting the foot of the cigar, the CAO Flathead is underway. As I have come to expect as of late, the cold draw does not necessarily reflect the flavor profile of the smoke. The cigar is starting out with lots of gritty earth notes. At the half inch point, the familiar Nicaraguan spice has showed up with a bang, with black pepper lingering at the back of my throat. The retrohale brings out some woodsy notes and sharp pepper, while the finish is of  musty cedar. The thin burn line is leaving behind a white, layered ash that is somewhat flaky but holding to a least an inch.

CAO Flathead (First)

Middle Third

As the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper heats up, I can see the oils coming to the surface of the leaf. I love how oily the wrapper leaf is. While the flavors remain mostly consistent with the first third, some cocoa has joined the mix. I would love to see a sweet chocolate show up to compliment the dark earthiness. Putting a close to the second third, rich spice notes are beginning to peak through, along with a bright, white pepper flavor.

CAO Flathead (

Final Third

There is not much to add about the Flathead V554 at this point. From performance to flavors, all are remaining rather consistent with the previous thirds.  The cigar continues to produce a great amount of smoke with each puff. While I have the cigar resting between each draw, I am memorized by the amount of smoke pouring out it. This is something I have seen with Liga Privadas but not too many others. I believe the oily wrapper may play a part in the resting smoke production.

CAO Flathead (

Wrap-up

The CAO Flathead V554 Camshaft delivered dark, earthy flavors from start to finish. The Nicaraguan spice and pepper shined through and it was nice seeing some change ups in the pepper flavor from a black pepper to a white pepper, along with some exotic spices. However, the deepness of the earthy flavors overwhelmed the subtleties of the other notes in the smoke. The construction and performance of the Camshaft were both great with a thin burn line, ash that held past an inch, and a good amount of smoke produced. While I would have preferred the earthyness to be toned down a bit, I think this cigar is a great choice for people who love earthy, spicy cigars.

CAO Flathead (

Jeremy Hensley is a bean counter for a non-profit in El Paso, Texas. He is married to the most understanding wife (he still can’t figure out how she puts up with his cigar smoking hobby), and blessed with two beautiful children. When he is not acting like a kid, he enjoys everything outdoors, especially fishing with his dad in the Great Lakes. Also, he meets the criteria of being a Casa Fumando reviewer: being a hockey fan. Feel free to contact Jeremy anytime via email (jmhensley13[at]gmail[dot]com). And make sure to follow him on twitter http://twitter.com/pdn_jdog

5 Comments

  1. jjo

    October 4, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Hey Jeremy, Cigar Craig sent me one of these, and I really did enjoy it. Not particularly complex, but the flavors were good. That flat cap, however, is definitely not my favortite part of the cigar. I punched mine as well, but the cap still popped off as I smoked it.. Fortunately, unraveling was not an issue, but it was still annoying. I would certainly smoke it again, and plan to, but I would rather have a roundhead.

    • Jeremy Hensley

      October 5, 2013 at 11:28 am

      I smoked a total of three Flathead cigars. 2 punched, 1 clipped. I didn’t have any issue with either cigar I punched but the one I clipped began to unravel. I would have preferred a round head as well…. but would they have to call the cigar “Roundhead”. It just doesn’t evoke the same kind of hot rod emotions that “Flathead” does. lol. Not complex but an enjoyable smoke. Really want to try the Piston. Which size did you smoke?

      • jjo

        October 5, 2013 at 12:05 pm

        I smoked the same one as you, and I do like that the box-press made it a lot easier to smoke than a round 54rg. I agree, I’d like to try the Piston.

  2. ThomasD

    October 5, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Autocorrect Alert!

    Mesmerized, not memorized.

    • Jeremy Hensley

      October 5, 2013 at 11:23 am

      Thomas,

      Haha!! You are most certainly correct. I must have read this review 10 plus times before publishing and never caught it.

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