For the faint of heart (and gums), cigars were just a fad to be tried in the 1990’s. For the rest of us, who don’t care what people think of our breath or enamel color, there’s reason to rejoice. Okay, so you can’t really smoke anywhere anymore, except your car or perhaps your tool shed, but if you can steal away with your buddies to Vegas or find solitude in your backyard after the kiddies see the Sandman, you will want to try the recently released C.A.O. La Traviata Divino cigar. A lot of stogies out there have a flashy presentation but tend to lack complexity. La Traviata shouts its myriad flavors from the mountaintop. With its Ecuadorian habano wrapper, tightly rolled construction, and distinct notes of leather and molasses, La Traviata is a throwback to, well, LaTraviata, a brand launched in Cuba over a century ago at the Tabacalera Cubana, Agramonte no. 106, in Havana. CAO resurrected the name with the intention of “focusing on the cigar itself,” meaning no flashy, overly adorned box, no cellophane sleeves, just rich flavor and the resurrection of the original LaTraviata band design.
A medium to full-bodied smoke (which means it’s rich, not necessarily strong), it includes a Cameroon binder, which adds subtle sweetness, and two different ligero filler tobaccos from the Pueblo Nuevo farm in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. The Divino has a gorgeous oily sheen and upon first smoke, gives off hints of leather, cedar and a bit of spicy black pepper. Once you work past the first inch or so, you’ll find that the Divino makes the tasty transition to a creamy and nutty flavor which delights the palate. This pinnacle of flavor lasts the rest of the smoke. With an even and slow burn, this is a cigar not to be rushed.
So, on a summer evening in July, when there’s hint of coolness outside, finish off your perfectly grilled New York Strip with a side of fried plantains have yourself that slice of key lime pie and then plant your tookus in a comfy chair on the deck… then put Bebel Gilberto on the stereo and light up one of these bad boys, along with your Manhattan or Old Fashioned. You’ll be in your own unique version of Cuba, courtesy of CAO.
Buy Now: $105 (box of 24)