My Weekend Cigar: Cain F

Sam Leccia, known for his groundbreaking nub cigars and Cain cigars, came by the Famous Smoke Shop retail store last Friday night for the weekly Happy Hour. I hadn't seen him since the IPCPR show in New Orleans last summer, and let me tell you, when Sam does an in-store cigar event, he goes all out. He doesn't do the fly-by meet n' greet; he sets up shop with his own rolling table, plays inspirational "rock 'n roll" music, and rolls cigars. (I have some related photos I'll be putting up on the Cigar Advisor Facebook page soon.) So let's get to the review of the Cain F which Sam was also promoting at the event.

As you may or may not know, the Oliva Cain cigars series are called a "straight ligero." This means that at least 75% of the filler core is Ligero, the strongest tobacco. If you remember my cigar reviews of the Cain Habano and Cain Maduro, they both scored 9.0 and 9.2 respectively. The Cain F however is a horse of a different color. And my god, what a horse. A powerful thoroughbred with plenty of speed and more impressive than the Maduro in many respects.

For starters, the Nicaraguan wrapper Sam uses on this 5" x 50 Robusto is flawlessly even in its dark brown color and beautifully oily. Underneath resides a blend of 25% Condega Ligero, 25% Jalapa Ligero, and 32% Esteli Ligero - a total of 82% Ligero - with the latter being the most potent of the trio. The binder is also a Nicaraguan leaf.

After clipping, the cigar drew very easily. It had a nutty-woody cold draw with some peppery elements. The thick Nicaraguan wrapper made the cigar a little chewier, too. Due to the unusually warm weekend I smoked my Cain F outside and I paired it with a glass of Gnarly Head Cabernet Sauvignon. The berry and oaky flavors of the wine made a nice match, too.

Like its Cain brothers, once the F got going it was incredibly smooth. I tasted a very earthy smoke with dense, oak-like woody flavors, nuts, a smidgen of anise, and plenty of spice, but other than that note on the cold draw, it wasn't peppery. I even read a few Cain F reviews before writing this to compare notes. The other reviewers concurred it was very spicy in the peppery sense, especially in the first few puffs. I had a similar experience, however, although it turned out to be a very heady cigar, it wasn't continuously peppery, which turns me off.

Also impressive was the ash. The photo of the first ash really doesn't do it justice, because it hung on for two full inches before it crashed. The second ash held out for another inch-plus. I think I only ashed the cigar a total of three times.

Perhaps it was because I smoked it outside, but in addition to the woody, nutty and spicy flavors, lots of floral notes wafted about. (Has anyone else noticed this when smoking a cigar outside?)

In conclusion, simply amazing and highly recommended. If you like very heady and complex cigars, get a Cain F in your hands soon.

Appearance: 9
Construction: 10
Burn: 10
Draw 9
Flavor 9
Aroma 9
Balance: 9
Total Score: 9.2

~ Gary Korb


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