Group Review: CAO Flathead Steel Horse

Apparently, CAO got a LOT of comments about the fact that their Flathead line (released in 2014) did not have a motorcycle themed option. Well, CAO obviously heard that complaint and they have made that option for those CAO smoking bikers out there. The Steel Horse still has the signature Flathead cap, but the cigar itself is round, instead of the box-press that the rest of the line has. Blended to be full of flavor, but not so heavy on strength, so as to make it easier to smoke on the go.

CAO Flathead Steel Horse
Size: 5.5 x 58
Vitola: Apehanger (Gordo)
Wrapper: Connecticut Habano
Binder: Brazilian Arapiraca
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican & Honduran
Factory: Scandinavian Tobacco, Estelí factory
MSRP: $8.99
Cigars smoked for review: 1
Cigars for review provided by General Cigars
Note: For this review we used Cigar Federation's rating system.

Rating: 83 AKA “If I Had Them"

Pre-light: The aromas from the wrapper are mainly leathery, but there is the smell of fermented tobacco as well. The cold draw is smooth, with lots of deep, dark tobacco flavors and a hint of dark, dried fruits.

Beginning: I’m having a hard time pinpointing any distinct flavors in the beginning of the Steel Horse. It’s not bad, its just a melding of relatively tame flavors. Eventually, I start to detect the subtleties though. The main body is a “rough” creaminess, which seems like a great compliment considering the theme of this cigar. There are also notes of leather and dark tobacco from the cold draw that linger on the finish. The burn got off one time, but was easily corrected.

Middle: Transitioning into the second third, the Steel Horse adds a deep woody note and a dry spice works it’s way into the finish. This spice is also much more prevalent on the retrohale. The burn has stayed nicely in line and the ash holds on well. I would consider it to be a medium cigar in strength and body.

End: The medium strength and body continues all the way to the end. The wood and leather flavors continue, along with the addition of some more vegetal and herb notes. Towards the end I get a few chocolate notes here and there, but they are faint and intermittent. There was also another note, that I know I should be able to identify, but just could not at this time.

Final Thoughts: Not as strong as I expected it to be, but that is what CAO was going for with this blend. It smoked well and was enjoyable, even given it's size, but... I think maybe they turned it down too much here. It wasn't a bad cigar, but there just was not enough flavor here for me to want to go out and buy some more. Except for the awesome packaging & presentation, which might get me to grab a couple more, I'd smoke this again, just wouldn't hunt them down.

"The CAO Flathead Steel Horse is going to be a huge hit for new cigar smokers, and aficionados who enjoy cigars in the light plus to medium range."

Surgeon's Rating: 87 AKA "A 5-Pack"

The nose on the CAO Flathead Steel Horse is hay, and spices in the foor and barnyard, and leather on the wrapper.

I wanted to use my trust v-cutter here, but unfortunately a combination of the ring gauge and the flat cap meant I had to resort to the 'perfect cut' guillotine cutter. The draw was right in the ideal zone.
The first third has a spice and peppery retrohale, creamy cedar on the draw, and a sweet lingering after taste. At the 10 minute mark the pepper which I would have rated as full strength, has backed right off to a medium minus. The draw is elegant and creamy here. Cedar starts to come through as the first third winds down. My initial impressions is that the cigar is very approachable.
The middle third starts with a sweet, dry cedar on the draw. Some light spices with a lighter pepper come through on the finish. As the middle third establishes itself some slight earth starts to break into the mix. I start to get some vegetal notes on the retrohale with a bit of a bitter finish. Some leather as the middle third winds down.

A dry cedar draw on the last third. The previous sweetness is almost undetectable here. Some slight barberque and savory meat comes into the retrohale. The vegetal note from the middle retrohale is still here but quite light. Each draw finishes on the earthy side.

The CAO Flathead Steel Horse 'Ape Hanger' caught me off guard. I think I was expecting a bold in your face cigar, and what I got instead was something that I would describe as quite approachable. The CAO Flathead Steel Horse is going to be a huge hit for new cigar smokers, and aficionados who enjoy cigars in the light plus to medium range.

I don't gravitate towards the larger ring gauge cigars but the CAO Flathead Steel Horse easily earns a 5-Pack rating from me.

Cigar Federation Group Rating: 85 AKA "A Couple"

Views: 365

Comment by Stefan Lindblad on September 18, 2015 at 9:28am
Video review! Nicely done.

Comment by 007MI6 on September 18, 2015 at 9:32am

John makes a good point too. This is a great cigar for new/newer smokers. Very approachable, nice profile and easy to handle.

Comment by Trippopolis on September 18, 2015 at 10:19am

John, ape hangers are handle bars that swoop up so your grips are around your shoulder or higher.

Comment by Charlie on September 18, 2015 at 4:18pm

Hate the sizes but I love the flat head ;-)


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