The CAO Odyssey is made from a complex blend of 6 different tobaccos, including a Nicaraguan filler, and an Ecuadorian binder and wrapper. With tobacco that has been aging since 1999, i think i was in for a treat — a 5 year old cigar, well aged and cared for.

I’ve always been a fan of the CAO brand of cigars — i’ve yet to have a bad stick of CAO, and that speaks volumes of the quality each CAO stick represents. Doc Kartik gifted me a CAO Odyssey recently, and i lighted it up one recent night with great anticipation.

The shape was something i appreciated greatly — a hard-to-roll double figurado, just about 6 inches long, with a thick 52-54 ring gauge at its widest point. This was going to be an interesting cgar to smoke, if its shape was anything to go by.

The beginning of the power stick

A very, very dark rosado wrapper surrounded this very pretty cigar — it felt slightly grainy under the touch, but it definitely exuded some pleasant oils that made my fingers more than a little slick. Some apparent veining (to be expected with such a dark wrapper) criss crossed the surface, but otherwise it looked like a very healthy speciment.

Very dark grey ash

The unlit tobacco scent was startlingly fresh and powerful. A strong, heavy-handed bouquet of mature, dark, rich tobacco that had an interesting twinge to it that reminded me of the smell of freshly picked chilli peppers. This was when i started getting worried — this cigar smelled like it was going to pack a tremendous whallop.

Its always fun snipping a figurado head, and so it was with the Odyssey. A quick light later, and the cigar was away. The draw was just right, huge amounts of copious thick smoke swirled around the room with each draw; that was just simply delightful. Love my cigars that aren’t stingy with their smoke volume.

In the yummy zone

Almost immediately, the flavour kicked me the head, i fell to the ground and stayed there. Very full, very dark, very rich, very powerful — a tremendous cache of dark bitter-sweet flavours like a thick, thick cup of triple espresso with just a hint of sugar. The flavours were very pleasantly laced with a very pronounced spicy touch that came and went as it pleased. Very, very nice. The cigar itself lacks a bit of complexity — it stays in this “i’ll-kick-your-ass” mode throughout its length, not a moment less. Some people may not like this, i find this intimidation fun to have once in a while.

Good to the last

Verdict: Perhaps one of the fullest bodied cigars i’ve had in a long time — incredibly rich dark bitter flavours that does a great job of never being harsh or nasty. Not a cigar for everybody or the uninitiated, certainly. Incredible that the cigar maintains so much power even after 5 years, at least, maturing with age. Can’t imagine how powerful it would be young. Would age very well, i suspect. If you have it, let it rest another 3-4 years before you torch it. It might be a real gem by then.