Published on January 30th, 2013 | by Frank Cuden7
CAO Left Coast Trapezoid
There’s a new monster out there. Lurking in the shadows. It’s dark. It’s somewhat frightening. It draws you in and begs for your attention. It is: the Left Coast Trapezoid from CAO! Some of you may have heard of this cigar. It’s relatively new and only made in a limited quantity. Only 400 boxes were made (14 per box) for a total of only 5,600 cigars. It has a very unique shape, almost like a pyramid, and with a ring gauge of 72, it truly is the new bigfoot of cigars!
- Made By:CAO
- Wrapper:Connecticut Broadleaf
- Filler:Honduras/ Colombia
- Average Price:$8
- Ring Gauge:72
- Length:6 3/4"
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I have a few friends who work with General Cigar and I received this cigar from one of them to try. I believe that was back in early October. I put it in my humidor and honestly forgot about it until Siz was talking about it the other day. I thought, ‘I’ve got to smoke it and review it!’
I haven’t heard too much about this cigar, only that it took just a few months from idea to product. It shipped in early December to a number of west coast shops and then a few in Oklahoma and in Texas. I’m not even sure there are any left out there. I feel lucky to have this one, for sure.
At first glance, the cigar is a beast! It actually reminds me of a submarine with its shape. I’m almost afraid of it. It’s intimidating with its size as well as it being packed full of (what looks like) ligero. Can’t wait for this one!
The wrapper is beautiful. The foot half has a dark, espresso brown color to it and then fades up the stick to a leathery brown. It’s oily and girthy. Back to my submarine analogy, I feel like I’m looking up at a battleship destroyer, in aw of the monstrosity it entails!
This particular CAO Left Coast Trapezoid didn’t have a band on it (I think I got this before the bands were completed) so the wrapper looked even denser without a band.
There are a few visible veins, two of which are pretty large and they run the entire length of the cigar. I also noticed a few soft spots but this thing is packed full. Not much of any smell detected on the wrapper, just a faint hint of sweet tobacco. I really had to work to get a scent on the foot as well. A faint hint of barnyard finally came out.
There was one spot, close to the head, where the wrapper had started to come undone but it looked like it wasn’t going anywhere so I really didn’t worry about it.
I’m curious to see how this cigar smokes. It’s somewhat awkward in my hand due to its size (that’s what she said). With the ring gauge being 72, I decided to see if it would be comfortable in my mouth before cutting it. I found a sweet spot that actually was perfect. Ok, I’m feeling better about this now.
I had a vintage, guillotine cutter I wanted to use but realized quickly that the cutter was no match for this massive stick! I had to go with my scissor snips I got from the Coppola vineyard (see my review on the Joya de Nicaragua / Cabinetta for an
explanation on that!). After cutting, I got a nice, 45 degree angle, which now (I’m pretty sure) made this Trapezoid a parallelogram with all its different angles.
Wow! Lots of spice on the cold draw and surprisingly, the draw was incredibly easy and loose. I thought for sure it would be tighter due to the size and the amount of tobacco packed in. I hope this won’t affect the burn at all.
I used my Zippo lighter with this one and lighting was fairly simple except it was a little more difficult to go in the direction of a pyramid instead of a regular circle.
The cigar produced a medium amount of gray smoke. Holding it at a 45 degree angle seemed to work pretty well but about halfway through I found that by holding it upside down (with the flat part of the cigar facing up towards the sky and the stick being parallel to the ground) it felt much more natural.
I had some burn issues as I’d feared. About halfway through the first third, it caught one of the veins and followed it pretty close through to the half of the second third. I thought at first it might correct itself but ultimately, I had to touch up and correct it.
Overall, the ash was heavy but a little flakey.
After the CAO Left Coast Trapezoid was fully lit, I got a rush of strong pepper and spice and a strong tobacco taste. It tasted like it was gonna be a powerhouse but soon after, it mellowed to more of a cocoa mixed with spice flavor. That paired with my wine made for a nice experience.
A ways into the first third, the draw tightened, making it much more enjoyable from the very loose, cold draw. I also noticed an ammonia smell from the smoke, which filtered in and out of the flavor in my mouth as well throughout the cigar.
Upon entering the second third, I got a bonfire, smoky leaf aftertaste. Not too much change in flavor from the first third up to this point in the smoke, but if anything, it’s mellowing in strength the further I go into it.
I was able to look past the burn issues but at the halfway point I noticed some tar coming out of the head. This is an unpleasant taste, but natural, nonetheless. It’s very easy to fix this; all you have to do is cut off a bit of the head to get past the tar and you’ll be back in business.
With the re-cut, the burn evened up a lot and the spice heated up some too. I was getting a spicy cocoa and tobacco taste at this point.
Into the final third of this CAO Left Coast Trapezoid, I feel like the balance of flavor was at its best. There was just enough spice, sweetness and tobacco. Still getting a little ammonia taste but not enough to bother me.
Is It an Every Day Smoke?
Not for me. It was fun to try but the burn issues made it hard to really enjoy. It also took over 2 hours to get down to the nub so unless I had a lot of extra time each day, it’d be hard to set aside the time.
Would I Buy a Box?
Probably not. I could see myself getting a box and giving some away to friends to try but I don’t think I’d get a box for myself (and it’s probably hard to find a box of these).
I always love trying something new, especially if it’s a limited edition cigar. I was very curious to try this cigar, though it was somewhat awkward to smoke a pyramid/Trapezoid shape. The burn issues were easy to touch up but I think the overall taste was affected because of it.
If you can find a CAO Left Coast Trapezoid I’d say check it out. If nothing else, it’d be a cool thing to list on your smoking resume.