Finally got around to trying the last in line "O" blend in the last stick standing series yesterday as part of my 4th of July entertainment. C was "meh," C was pretty good, and like most other reviewers I found the O to be the best of the bunch.
But I get ahead of myself.
Paired the cigar with a decent merlot after a meal of longaniza, elk, and mussels. The food doesn't really have much to do with the cigar - I'm just gloating a little. Damn that was good.
The "O" is wrapped in a darker wrapper with a few veins and a LOT of toothiness. Sniff test gives up leather, hay, cocoa, and a bit of a mineral note. Pre-light draw was the same, with perhaps more emphasis on the cocoa.
Lit 'er up and got to it straightaway along with two of my brothers in law who I tossed a Gurkha (Efrain loves them) and a Black Pearl Cobre (nice guest-gar for casual cigars smokers, IMO). The O in the LSS line gives up clouds of creamy smoke upon lighting, with flavors ranging from the expected cocoa sitting in there a bit to cedar, leather, hay, and a very light touch of pepper. On the retrohale I found much the same, with the pepper moving forward, much as one would expect. The burn was straight but slightly wavy and never needed correcting.
Construction was spot on as far as the wrapper and cap go, but there were a couple of soft spots near the band. The ash was very white and looked very fragile, but held a lot longer than it looked like it might. I ended out ashing the cigar before it gave up the ghost (hah!) since I was in close company.
The hay note left the room after the first 2/3 of the stick, and the cocoa moved forward. Leather stuck around the entire time, and the cedar played peek-a-boo throughout. The retrohale stayed stable throughout, with a bit of pepper and a lot of cocoa. All in all a fairly complex smoke of medium-strong body. I did get a bit of a nic-hit from this cigar, but not overly much.
Of the three smokes in the LSS line, I can see the A and the O fitting in my humi. That said, this is very much not an AF or higher-end stick. I would have a hard time picking up any of the line instead of an AF, AB, or Torano, all of which offer similar quality smokes at a decent price-point. Cao would have to sell these pretty cheap for me to really grab a lot of them. That doesn't reflect a lack in quality of the smokes, just that there are a lot out there that are at least as good. I would say that particularly in the case of the "O," these represent a high mark in the Cao line, at least IMO.
If you've not been paying attention (and care to), my other reviews of the line may be found here:
CAO "Last Stick Standing" review - stick "C"
CAO "Last Stick Standing" review - stick "A"