Remember that time that Indiana Jones went to the Amazon Jungle and discovered a rare, mythical breed of tobacco? And then he spent several years learning how to become a level 9 cigar roller? Then he used his new cigars to obtain super powers, helping him to defeat the Nazis and woo the ladies and deliver the precious artifact to its rightful home of the museum? No? Hmm. Well, I’ll pitch that to Spielberg and keep you updated. But as far as CAO’s Amazon Anaconda is concerned, here’s the rundown:
“Known as the Indiana Jones of the cigar business, Ernest Gocaj traveled to Brazil in 2012. There, in the Amazon, he met natives who cultivated a rare variety of tobacco. The tobacco Ernest discovered was Brazilian Bragança tobacco, the foundation of CAO’s Amazon Basin.”
So there you’ve got your Raiders of the Lost Ark.
“Ernest returned to Brazil, this time to the Alagoas region in the center of the country. There he was witness to an ancestral fermentation method that produced tobacco with flavor like nothing else. In the Alagoas, the natives fermented Arapiraca tobacco in ropes and call the tobacco Fuma Em Corda. Ernest put the fermented tobacco in his mouth and chewed it to experience the aroma and flavor. He instantly knew he was on to something. To get his hands on as much of this tobacco as he could, Ernest told the farmers he would take all of that year’s harvest, right then and there.”
And now your Temple of Doom, which incorporated the Bragança tobacco with the new Fuma Em Corda. Finally, it’s time for the triumphant return: the Last Crusade… I mean the Amazon Anaconda.
“It started with CAO Amazon Basin, continued with Fuma Em Corda and now, the CAO Amazon trilogy reaches a crescendo with Amazon Anaconda, a new limited edition cigar made with the rarest tobaccos known to man. Ernest Gocaj, the Indiana Jones of the cigar world, took his final trip to the wilds of Brazil in 2013. This time, the natives presented him with a hearty wrapper leaf they call Bahiano Habano which is used for the first and only time in CAO Amazon Anaconda. Grown in the fertile Bahia region of eastern Brazil, the Bahiano Habano wrapper yielded a leaf that was dense, compact, and extremely flavorful.”
So we have here a cigar with the Bragança tobacco from the first release, the Fuma Em Corda from the second release, and now incorporating the third tobacco, Bahiano Habano, in the final chapter—the Amazon Anaconda. That’s two unique filler tobaccos and a new wrapper to wrap it all up.
Amazon Anaconda Breakdown
- Wrapper: Brazilian Bahiano Habano
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Brazilian (Bragança | Fuma Em Corda) | Colombian | Dominican
- Factory: Honduran American Tabaco S.A. (Honduras)
- Production: Limited Edition (10,000 boxes of 20 cigars)
- Vitola: 6″ × 52 Toro
- Price: $10.49 (MSRP)
Amazon Anaconda was introduced at IPCPR 2017, roughly one month after the second cigar in the series—Fuma Em Corda. The cigars sold out to retailers on the second day of the show (quoted at 9,500 – 10,000 boxes) and were later released in the fall of 2017. As with the other blends in the Amazon Trilogy, Amazon Anaconda is aimed at brick and mortar locations, although they have since made their way to online retail.
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Of course the first thing you will notice about this cigar is the “band,” which incorporates twisted tobaccos that snake (see what I did there?) their way down roughly one-third of the cigar. It’s applied tightly, and the cigar is indented beneath it, like a wild boar getting squeezed by an anaconda before being devoured (I’ve got to stop with these). These indentations add to the cigar’s overall lumpy and rustic appearance… the kind you might expect to have handed to you by the natives when you visit the rainforest. The double caps are sloppily applied on each sample smoked. The Anaconda sports a very oily sheen on the mottled, dark, reddish/brown, veiny wrapper. There is a very fine tooth to the wrapper, and the seams are tight but visible due to the color gradient. The cigars are firm, with a couple of soft spots, but nothing to give me cause to worry. This cigar isn’t attractive in the conventional sense, but it is definitely selling itself as something exotic and therefore I feel the look is fitting.
The scent from the wrapper presents a heady mixture of baker’s chocolate and barnyard, with the main feature being overripe bananas. The foot gives impressions of sweet tobacco and cold-brewed coffee. After clipping the cap, the first thing I notice are the thick black curls of the rare tobaccos in the bunch; they certainly stand out visibly. The mouth-piece smells of a Mexican caffè mocha—sweet cream, coffee, chocolate, spicy chiles, and cinnamon. The cold draw knocks my socks off—heavy banana, mango, and cream.
The first few puffs are about 50/50 tropical fruitiness and earth as the standout components, with some cinnamon candy spiciness developing on the retrohale after the first 1/4” is burned. Chocolate dances across my tongue, which has warmed from an unidentifiable spice. Interestingly, this cigar audibly pops occasionally while resting, like a big Rice Krispie. This thing tastes like a spicy caramelized banana. The draw is slightly tighter than ideal on some samples, with others being even tighter, requiring the use of a draw poker. The finish is very long and I find myself thinking of the lushness of the jungle, the very fertility that is sweet decay and overly rich soil, and the sweet, ripe tropical fruits born of that richness. This cigar is taking me places. The building spice is so intriguing. After a solid medium start, this ramps up to a strength and body of medium-plus with the flavor a hefty medium/full.
Moving into the second third, a nearly two-inch chunk of perfectly stacked ash drops to the floor with a thud. The sweet and tropical fruitiness from before has mostly gone. A unique concoction of dried banana chips, nuttiness, and tangy mesquite lingers across the palate. The spice from the cigar’s beginnings has drifted far into the background, adding a cohesiveness to the flavors but not really standing out on its own. Further along, savory notes begin to appear, like a sweet, smoky barbecue sauce. Chocolate has changed its clothes and is now dressed in a mole costume… And the combination of mole/bbq gives me an idea: after I pitch my movie to Spielberg, I’ll invent a new type of sauce that tastes like this cigar. I’m going to be rich.
Heading into the final third, I swear I taste delicious Argentinian chimichurri sauce rubbed over a black and blue hanger steak. Construction had been perfect up to this point, but now we have a vein that won’t burn, and a touchup is required just as we approach the “band.” The smoothness of the blend has evaporated, and a little harshness begins to creep in. We’re in solid “full flavor” territory here with smokey wood and fresh garlic notes being predominant. Burning into the band brings a pungency and some fleeting coffee notes. The burn issues get pretty bad once at the band and another touchup is required, causing the formerly beautiful ash to turn flakey and chunky. The flavor profile at this point seems to be growing very discordant, sort of unraveling and loud. There’s a bitter citrus mustiness that might be coming from the “band,” so I (very carefully) remove it. The overall impression in the cigar’s final moments is very intense, with strength up to the medium-full range and the smoke being heavy and oily.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Yes, although I’d probably put it down a little sooner. I don’t think this is a cigar I’d want to smoke while doing something very active; it’s definitely a “sit and savor” kind of experience for me. Anaconda is definitely good enough to warrant having more than one to smoke in the near future, and might really improve with age if you purchase a box and can let them rest for a while.
- Smoke Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Brazilian Batida “milkshake” cocktail
- Purchase Recommendation: 5-pack
Images without Cigar Dojo watermark were provided by General Cigar Co.
- Really unique, one-of-a-kind profile
- Stellar through the first two-thirds
- Small quantity produced
- The final third was a mess
- A little on the pricey side considering the performance in the final third