Cain ‘F’ 550 Review



by at 10:13 pm (4 Comments) Cigar Reviews

Recently I found myself in the all too familiar position of not knowing which cigar to review.  Wanting to avoid making any decision at all, I opened the humidor and asked my wife to pick the first cigar that jumped out at her.  The resulting decision made me both scared and excited at the same time. The cigar she picked was none other than the ‘Cain F Series’ in the 550 size.  The Cain ‘F’ 550 is a cigar made by the Oliva Cigar Company, and is comprised almost entirely of ligero tobacco.  The Cain ‘F’ 550 measures 5 and ¾” x a 50 ring, and is made entirely of Nicaraguan tobacco.  The Cain website tells us that the blend is 32% Estelli ligero, 25% Condega ligero, and 25% Jalapa ligero.  For those of you unfamiliar with ligero, go check out my La Flor Dominicana ‘double ligero chisel’ review.

I won’t give the history of ligero all over again, but to make a long story short, its powerful stuff, and I’ve got a healthy respect for it.  The ‘Cain F’ has been staring at me from the humidor for quite some time, taunting me and daring me to find an occasion to smoke what I knew would be a huge powerhouse cigar. Once the decision had been made for me, I prepared a drink, snapped a few pre-light photos, and headed for the garage with my ‘Cain’.

Pre light inspection of the Cain showed the cigar to be very well made.  Consistently firm from the foot to triple cap, the Cain was finished with a smooth, pleasantly oily, medium brown wrapper. After being clipped, but prior to lighting, the Cain gave off a slightly sweet aroma with a medium-firm cold draw.I noticed the Cain took a little more energy to light than normal, but attributed this to the high concentration of ligero.

Once lit, the Cain gave me hints of spice. The first third of the cigar was remarkably smooth and also gave up earthy notes with a little hint of cedar. Through the first third, the Cain burned almost perfectly and kept the medium-firm draw.  I could taste the strength of the ligero in the first third, but at this time it wasn’t as strong as I had expected.

Into the second-third, the cigar remained very smooth and gave up a little bit of a mild leathery taste. Aside from a hint of leather, the taste and burn were consistent with the first third. A faint hint of spice was present here and there, but not overly prominent. The strength of the Cain was definitely present through the second third of the cigar, and I was careful not to rush through it.

As I moved on to the final third of the Cain, I was amazed at how smooth this cigar was, given the approximate 82% ligero content. The flavours in the final third were of a medium intensity, best described as leather with a hint of sweetness on the finish. Near the very end I picked up a taste similar to anise.  It was of no surprise to me that as I worked through the final third of the Cain, the strength of the Cigar had fully shown itself.  With about 1 ½” left, the Cain smoldered out, and I finished my ligero experience.

How would I describe the ‘Cain F’?  I was pleasantly surprised. I thought the heavy ligero approach was going to mean that strength would outweigh quality, but I was wrong. This cigar was strong, and absolutely kicked me in the pants, but my hat is off the the folks at Oliva for making a cigar this strong yet smooth. Overall the Cain ‘F’ burned almost perfectly, requiring just one touch up near the end.  I expected a powerhouse of pepper and spice flavour, but instead got smooth, medium intensity flavours of leather with hints of spice. Again, I was amazed at the smooth mouth-feel of this cigar, and how easy it was on the palate. Would I smoke another? Yes, but the strength of this cigar makes it more of a ‘special occasion’ cigar for me. If you’re a serious cigar smoker looking for something bold, give the ‘Cain’ a shot and let me know what you think.

Four butts and counting….


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4 Responses to “Cain ‘F’ 550 Review”

  1. Jenn

    February 17, 2011
    5:02 pm

    As someone who does not smoke cigars but gets the pleasure of smelling them thorughout my house on review days, I will add my two cents here and say that this cigar in particular was strong enough to make me demand Matt use air freshener in the house afterwards. Don’t know what that means to you cigar lovers, but to me, it means STRONG!

  2. sean west

    May 27, 2011
    5:41 pm

    Excellent review! Matt’s reviews are spot on and very informative.

  3. Alex

    August 26, 2011
    11:19 am

    I would love to know more about what Jenn says, I’ve seen myself sometimes being complimented by non smokers, specially women, by the smell of the cigar I’m smoking and some other times, people have told me that certain cigar I’m enjoying smells really bad, I’m really curious to know the explanation for that, great review by the way.

  4. Matt

    August 26, 2011
    1:06 pm

    Hey Alex,
    Many thanks for checking out the review and posting on it! Expert I am not, but I have noticed that when I smoke cigars such as the ‘Cain’ that have I high Ligero content, there is a distinct difference in the aroma of the smoke. It’s almost always stronger smelling, and a little more sweet or pungent. I’m thinking it’s got something to do with a higher concentration of oils in the upper-primings of the tobacco plants. Other cigars where I’ve experienced this include the La FLor Dominicana Double Ligero Chisel, the La Flor Dominicana Airbender, a Joya De Nicaragua that I can’t remember exactly, and of course, ‘Hal’s Cheroot’.

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