CAO Amazon Basin

Drew Estate

The popular CAO Amazon Basin has returned after a hiatus of several years, and I made a point not to miss it this time around. According to CAO, the supply of the blend’s key component, Amazon-grown Braganca tobacco is only harvested once every three years. As you can imagine, that makes it pretty difficult to produce the Amazon Basin on a regular basis.

Here’s the full scoop right from the source:

After a long wait, the Amazon has given us its unique Braganca tobacco once again. For those who need a refresher on our one-of-a-kind Amazon Basin cigar, here it is.

Shaped By the Rainforest: The Braganca leaf is unique to its core. From its taste to the unconventional way it grows in the Amazon. Typically, our tobacco is planted in rows, but in this case, the forest dictates how it’s planted by wherever sunlight is available.

A Cigar Worth Waiting For: Once the Braganca leaves are harvested, they are put through a unique fermentation process. Hand rolled into tubes, the leaves are wrapped in a thick rope where they then spend six months naturally fermenting.

A CAO Cigar is Born: Once finished aging, Amazon Basin is born. Creating a smoking experience like none other, this cigar is truly one worthy of any humidor.

Available in 6 x 52 – The perfect size to take you on a journey through the Amazon.

But enough of the exotic tale of tobacco intrigue, what does it taste like when you set it on fire? I try to answer that question in about seven minutes in the video below.

UPDATE: A few questions came to mind about Braganca tobacco as I was working on posting this review last night, but it was too late to get them answered before the review went live. As luck would have it, Ed McKenna from General Cigar emailed me today about the review. (Yeah, he gave me some ribbing about my terrible pronunciation of “Braganca”. I had that coming.) I took the opportunity to ask him about the tobacco, why it’s so infrequently harvested, how it’s different from other black tobaccos, and whether or not General Cigar has attempted to grow it in other regions to up the yield. This is what he told me:

You’re getting into areas of agronomy that I’m no expert in, but from what I’ve been told, we discovered it several years ago on a trip to buy other Brazilian tobacco, we got some to experiment with, and Amazon Basin was born. It’s literally grown almost ad-hoc in the deepest regions of the jungle by local farmers, so there was/is no steady supply. It takes a while to grow tobacco, so hence the timeframe on getting more. Would it be able to be grown elsewhere? Perhaps, but as you know the soil/climate/etc. has everything to do with tobacco flavor and taste variation. It’s very similar to andullo tobacco that you’ve seen in other products out there in terms of processing, fermentation, etc. But obviously this has a totally different taste characteristic than typical DR andullo. We have been experimenting with some other newer varietals of tobacco from Brazil over the last several years as well, and we’re pretty confident we have some other winners in the mix in terms of blends we can roll out in the future. I guess it’s also ironic that we’ve been doing all of this with CAO as well – given its’ history with CAO Brazilia and being one of the first to utilize Arapiraca so prominently. Just worked out that way.

Also, he had nice things to say about my beard. So obviously he knows what he’s talking about.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatra
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Amazon Braganca
Smoking Time: 2 hours
Price: MSRP $10.25