CAO "Pilón Añejo" Review: Dried Dates & Dark Earthen Desire

First released in limited amounts in 2022, then released again (in slightly less restricted quantities) in 2023, the CAO Pilón Añejo has gone on to be extremely well received by damn near everyone.

So much so, that just a few short months after its second annual release, CAO announced that it would be making the cigar a permanent part of its full-time portfolio. 

But that's not to say that this blend is available at any given time. Due to the cigars being subjected to an additional two years of aging post-production, the CAO product line is only receiving 5,000 boxes per run. 

This additional aging is where that Añejo portion of the product title comes into play, for this Sumatran-wrapped, habano-bound, and ligero-filled smoke is one rowdy bastard of a blend. So much so, that it's hard to imagine what it would be like without those added two years of mellowing on top. 

Hell, this premium cigar blend is so robust that even I found it to be a little too intense when I first fired it upon arrival last year. So I did what any responsible cigar smoker with an extensive collection of Klaro humidors does when confronted with such a situation: I let the CAO Pilón Añejo simmer down a bit in a bed of Spanish Cedar.

Then, a full eight months later, I decided it was time to fire one up and see how it behaved after a little more añejo action. Here is how it turned out...

[Buy 5-Pack]

Unlit Impressions  

CAO "Pilón Añejo" Review

I love almost everything about the way this cigar looks. The band is slick and bold, with a clever tobacco "pull-tab" on the back for easy removal, the Sumatran wrapper is smooth to the touch and shines with oil, and the sturdiness of the stick itself is undeniable. 

Smells and tastes pre-light are outstanding as well. Not so much from the wrapper, which is more seasoned exotic spice and cedar scent, but from the foot and cold pulls once the cap is cut. Molasses and spiced herb tea, dank topsoil, and leather, as well as some spicy bitterness from the ligero leaf inside, are perfectly implemented.  

Drawbacks here are slight, with an unevenly finished foot and a lopsided, creased cap being the primary problems.

Initial Smoke

CAO "Pilón Añejo" Review

Tough, toothy, murky, and rather unrefined, this blend literally stumbles over its own foot on its first step. Muddy earth tastes and touches of tobacco spice are anything but impressive, and you can tell that the wheels are just spinning as the cigar tries to gain some form of traction.

1st Half     

CAO "Pilón Añejo" Review

But it doesn't take long before the CAO Pilón Añejo hooks up and starts to gain momentum. Muddy tastes turn slightly dry and chalky, earthy tobacco pepperiness shifts to smooth Sumatran spice, and that sweet molasses note starts to form a permanent foothold.

As things progress, more darkness and depth flood the senses, with retrohales picking up on more cedar and sweetness than ever before. The smoke is medium in mouthfeel, as is strength, with flavor outpacing both by a good a bit with its bold progression.

2nd Half    

CAO "Pilón Añejo" Review

Hit the halfway mark, and out comes that Honduran habano earthen tobacco field flavor, which due to the additional age I placed upon the cigar, is not nearly as overpowering as what I remembered. Behind it sits some strength, as well as a bit of body, both of which are becoming more than just medium status.

Secondary flavors are a chewy malted milk taste, along with loads of lively leatheriness. This is all underlined by increasingly prolonged flavors of Sumatran wrapper spice and the taste of candied dates, which goes wonderfully with the sweet molasses touch and really helps tie the whole experience together.

Parting Puffs    

CAO "Pilón Añejo" Review

What was once the least pleasant portion of this cigar, has evolved into one of its highlights, as parting puffs push your palate deeper into dark and delicious territory. 

Strong but not overpowering, each puff turns chewier, as that molasses note from the first half makes a comeback and kicks you with a tangy finish. This is accented by leather, granola bars, and those dried date flavors that have continued to gradually build throughout the second half.

Ash / Burn / Smoke / Draw 

CAO "Pilón Añejo" Review

Besides a slight wave in the burn line here and there, the robusto vitola I smoked both times burned brilliantly. It may take you a dozen puffs or so to get that draw to open up, but once it does you'll receive the perfect balance between resistance and pull.

The ash is tremendous and outright photogenic, and the burn is cool and clean from light to parting puffs. Thus, a solid score is rightly owed for this category. 

Final Thoughts   

CAO "Pilón Añejo" Review

So, what did I not like about this stick? The start is still rough and unrefined, even after nearly a year of extra aging. So that definitely deducted some points. I also was not too keen on the second third, where the Sumatran wrapper seemed to struggle to maintain control over the far more earthy and intense internals.

Luckily, the wrapper on the CAO Pilón Añejo rallied in the final third and well into parting puffs, and pushed this cigar into a wonderful closing. I also thoroughly enjoyed the first third, which was a bit lighter in body and strength, and an absolute badass when it came to dolling out smoothness and cedar.

Mix that in with how amazing this cigar looks, feels, burns, and builds in character as it goes, and you've got one outstanding, relatively strong Sumatran on your hands. Just don't forget to throw a little additional age at this blend, because it seems to only get better with time.

CAO "Pilón Añejo" Review

Stogie Specs


CAO "Pilón Añejo"


Cuban-Seed Sumatra (Ecuador)


Habano (Honduras)


Dominican Republic & Nicaragua




5.5" x 54 "Robusto"



Pairing Drink

Cassis and Pomegrante Homemade Soda



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