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CAO Flathead V554 Camshaft Cigar Review

by Bryan Glynn, September 9, 2013
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CAO Flathead V554 Camshaft Cigar Review

This 5.5×54 stick features a box-pressed very dark almost black mottled wrapper with an oily satin finish, soft squishy pack, minimal veins, tight invisible seams, large double cap and light pepper and hay aroma. First light reveals a very good draw with plentiful medium-full bodied smoke showing flavors of a very bitter almost chemical taste with a bit of pepper through the finish. The first third doesn’t show much improvement, just upping the smoke output. 30 minutes in at the 1/2 way point the ash falls in a solid chunk, burn is perfect as is draw and smoke output. The bitterness finally subsided replaced by a very deep substantial earth that stays through the long finish. The wrapper has come completely undone, I have to hold it together with my finger since removing the huge band. Strength is up to a medium, just below the body making me a bit dizzy. Ending 45 minutes in where it got very hot and squishy, the draw went very loose and the strength increased matching the medium-full body. Thank you to CAO for providing this sample for review!

  • Jason Isbaner

    I’m not a fan of cao cigars so ill pass on this one!

  • Raz Amzaleg

    naaaah!, bad luck with the CAO’s, but i do love CAO America.. realy love those cigars!

    thanks for the helpful review Bryan!

  • geekfish


    I was wondering if this stick was representative of the two others you said you smoked prior to review?
    Especially construction and chemical taste?

    Thank you for the review as always.

    • Yes, I’m pretty sure I specifically mentioned that in the vid too…maybe I only mentioned it about the cap. I had three, that was enough. I have one left, it’ll go out in a sampler 🙂

      • geekfish

        Thanks for clarifying and for taking 1, em I mean 3 for the team.

  • yosef5

    Good review.I am not that impressed by some Cao cigars

  • Robert

    Sounds like a real dog rocket. Kudos to you Bryan for taking one for the team.

  • PAG

    CAO has been very hit and miss for me too. I like the Italia, the Brazilia, and the Potomac. Not at all a fan of the Gold, Gold Maduro, Black, or OSA Sol. Anybody have a good experience with any of the others?

    • lefty177

      I really liked the CAO Concert

  • Justin

    Being a wanna-be gear head, I will have to try one. I may look for it locally or tack a single onto my next cbid order. I love the band and the naming scheme…all the right reasons for smoking a cigar right?

    I’ve been around here for at least a couple of years but don’t comment too often. With that said, Brian, keep doing what your doing, I love the site and your reviews!

  • smokethis

    Thanks for the review B.

  • davidr

    I had one of these tonight. I didn’t have the bitter taste like Bryan did, but the shoulder did come loose after cutting. I use the perfect cutter as well, so must just be an issue with the stick. Flavors started out ok. I noticed some chocolate notes as well as cocoa. I found that after the first inch it wasn’t burning well and getting crispy at the foot. Draw was very loose too. I also found that it had a tendency to start to go out and when lit was a bit hot with nasty flavors, in my opinion. I know that Seth’s Humidor spoke highly of the cigar. I was not impressed. I have found that a number of CAO cigars have burn and/or construction issues. I live in CA, so this stick cost me $9 +tax at my B&M.

  • casey

    I am halfway through a 554 camshaft as this is written. I have found that the secret to a steadfast cap is to use a punch not a cutter. The “flathead” cap is too short to cut. So far a great smoke. Thanks for all you do!

  • Ivo Zanette

    Bryan I agree with using a punch with this one
    Flavours were a medium to full f
    or me
    Really enjiyed the espresso and dark chocolate throughout
    CAO are among my favorite brands
    Another hit fir ne
    Thanks for all the excellent reviews you pist

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