While it is never good to assume things - I am hopeful that most if not all of us have heard of the famous HBO show, The Sopranos and their produced for tv-movie series that showed the life of a mafia family and a mob boss. CAO worked with HBO to create and brand a line of cigars in 4 different vitolas, or sizes, ranging from Associate, Soldier and Boss, all the way up to the Tony Soprano Special Edition release. The Associate, coming in as the lowest rank and the smallest sized cigar at 5 x 52, a little fatter version of a robusto that has a much more imposing appearance than one may expect.
Eventhough the CAO brand decided to pick these up, for some reason they have not hit the masses with the excitement I thought it may have. Price, rarity and the 'it was made for a show' stigmas may run a little deep - the advertising schpeal is quotes as "a wrapper that is as dark as a hit-mans soul" and while I do agree the Brazilian Maduro wrapper is DARK, I wonder if playing on the success of the show inhibited the reception from the consumers. That being said, they are selling out in huge numbers and have a large and devoted fan base. Lets see if this cigar is hype or delivery!
I am a huge fan of CAO and the quality control they have in place in their factories. The first thing I have to comment - is how incredibly dark and oily the wrapper is. These cigars are well packed with tobacco, almost at that overfilled spot but just shy of that category. The evenness from head to foot as well as when inspecting the foot, its easy to tell they really worked to put a lot of leaves in there. The biggest thing to note with the CAO Sopranos Associate is consistency, each and every one I smoked was a mirror image of the other. Exceptional to say the least.
Nuts, Caramel, mild spice all mixed together with the maduro's light yet sweet cocoa notes driving the ship, the Sopranos Associate started out taking names and kicking butt. Even though the cigar ran cool almost the entire time, I never got the tar build up at the end that I was fearful of experiencing. The middle portion of this cigar saw a slight transition towards more nuts and caramel, the spice subsiding to only the occasional occurrence on the retrohale.
This is a cigar you need to buy - period. The price may be a little higher than a day to day cigar, but if you are looking for a great medium to full body smoke with amazing flavors and an excellent burn - then you have found the cigar you are looking for. This is not a 'wow' cigar, but if someone came over to play poker or if they were looking for a recommendation, the blood red Sopranos band would be first on the list. A little unusual, specially made to honnor the Sopranos show and priced to be a special cigar, not an every day smoke. As I said before, I really enjoyed the Associate and cannot recommend it enough and then to find them at $137.99 for a box of 20 at BuyDiscountCigars.com ?! Its a done deal.