V642 Piston 6.5" x 42 ring gauge/ approx. $6.75
For my last detailed review of the year, I would like to present to you CAO's newest line, the Flathead. I'm sure you've heard of this line before, especially if you're a follower of the Tiki Bar, as David did a review of the V554 Camshaft . I actually had picked the V554 out for a review, smoked it and made my notes, but before I was due to write my review David had published his. No big deal. I would just wait to try a different size and then review that one.
As you can see from the photos, the Flathead is box-pressed with a flat "head" which lends itself to the Ford flathead engine themed marketing strategy developed by CAO. It has a dark Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper with a natural oily sheen that is reminiscent of oil since the theme here is early century engines. The binder, and most of the filler is Nicaraguan with a touch of Dominican.
The dark chocolate-y wrapper looked really nice and seemed to be well constructed. In my pre-light, I mostly had a scent of sweet hay and tobacco. I then clipped and took a couple of draws. It was a little bit loose for my tastes, but at least it wasn't too tight.
Torching the foot to get this stick lit was a breeze. Immediately, I had notes of cocoa and hay hit my mouth and every time I puffed, the smoke was adequate and not over-powering. Knowing what the V554 was like, I was starting to think that this was going to be the same experience in a different size. Not true.
Heading into the 2nd third, things became a bit flat for me. The sweetness that enticed me earlier had now left, exit stage left even. Leather and pepper walked on stage, and pretty much was the headliner for the rest of the show. Not that those flavors are bad, but they just didn't evolve the flavour of the cigar as I had hoped and prefer when smoking. And even though the burn was even for the most part, I did need to do a touch up once in a while as well.
Wrapping up the cigar, leather and pepper finished the last song without even an encore. Elvis had left the building. I was left hanging on to the last notes wanting more. But some artists are like that. The Rolling Stones still encore with "Sympathy for the Devil". The V642 had nothing.
Having had the V554, I was very pleased and rather enjoyed that a great deal. It is a great offering by CAO this year. Yet when I had the V642, I felt a bit underwhelmed. Maybe it was because I had a great experience with it's sibling, or maybe because I just wanted more evolution and complexity. For those who enjoy a more simple cigar, this should be your choice. For me personally, I think it's a solid cigar, but I would pick the V554 over this one probably every time.