CAO La Traviata Maduro Intrepido
The La Traviata Maduro Intrépido is one big cigar and I suddenly feel very relieved that I’m about to smoke this stogie on a full stomach. The Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is dark and oily with some long veins pushing through. Overall this isn’t the best construction I’ve seen in a cigar, but I’ve definitely seen worse. This particular stick has a few minor soft spots mostly near the head. Since this is a larger cigar, I’m going to go with about three and a half fingers of bourbon.
Despite its somewhat questionable construction, the body has a lot to offer in rich mocha and tobacco aromas. The pre-light draw is fairly open offering up leather and sweet raisins on the front with a little pepper on the finish. After a rough showing in the previous pairing I’ve decided to give the Russell’s Reserve a second chance. However, this time instead of using regular ice cubes, I’m going with a large ice ball roughly 1.5 inches in diameter. Let’s light this stogie up.
The first draw is remarkably smooth for such a big gauge cigar. Right away this medium-full bodied cigar has a lot of sweet molasses on the front with pepper hitting the middle of the palate. Unlike the last pairing with the Russell’s Reserve, this cigar stands up well to the bourbon’s bold flavors. So far the pairing is quite nice and offers up a nice woody sweetness on the palate.
Smoothness continues into the second third as sweet tobacco becomes the dominant flavor. Around the halfway point this cigar definitely hits its stride. Subtle notes of chocolate and coffee begin to emerge which meshes quite well with the bourbon, and a nice caramel taste is now introduced to the palate. I haven’t had to correct any burn issues and the ash has held together pretty well, but I’m having a little trouble keeping the wrapper from falling apart.
This is definitely a two hour smoke as I’m right around the hour and twenty mark when I get to the final third. I actually had to pour another finger of Russell’s Reserve to make it down the home stretch. The flavors remain pretty consistent, but I’m beginning to lose the wrapper and am therefore missing some of that nice chocolate that I was getting in the second third. Heat definitely intensifies toward the end which is not uncommon in a cigar this size.
It’s tough to beat a nice long smoke and a glass (and a half) of bourbon out on the back deck on a warm Nashville summer night. As far as taste goes, this is a wonderful cigar. My only complaint is with the construction. If you’ve read some of my previous reviews, then you know I’m partial to the straight cut as opposed to the V cut or punch. I don’t usually have problems with the wrapper coming apart using a straight cut, but I really struggled to keep this cigar together. The pairing worked out surprisingly well as I think it takes a medium-full bodied cigar to stand up to a bourbon like this. Also, the sweetness from the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper helped round out the bold flavors of the Russell’s Reserve. I definitely recommend trying the ice ball if you can find a mold for one. We will have more on this in another posting if you’re interested. Notable pairing flavors: Sweet Raisins, Caramel, Subtle Dark Chocolate.