The CAO Arcana Firewalker, the second in the brand’s Arcana Series, is coming to stores in early February and bringing a historic way of aging tobacco to the modern humidor.

The Nicaraguan filler undergoes an aging process called chincagre, which General Cigar Co. refers to as “an archaic process of primary aging used by local tobacco farmers in Western Nicaragua.” Specifically, in the Masatepe region, where the filler is grown, the tobacco is placed in a large pile called a pilón and then buried deep in volcanic soil for two months. The company says that those conditions allow the tobacco to ferment naturally, locking in an inherently sweet and aromatic quality. Once that stage is completed, the pilón goes to the factory for a second round of fermentation that lasts nine months.

That tobacco then gets paired with an Ecuadorian habano rosado wrapper and a Nicaraguan binder and is rolled in to a 6 1/2 x 56 toro gordo vitola. It is made at American Caribbean Cigars S.A. in Estelí, Nicaragua, with production limited to 5,000 boxes of 20 cigars that will be offered exclusively to the U.S. market. The suggested retail price is $11.99, with the cigars scheduled to begin shipping during the week of Feb. 1.

“The Arcana series is an opportunity for us to unite CAO fans with rare tobacco methods they might not otherwise learn about on their own,” said Rick Rodriguez, blender and ambassador for CAO, via a press release. “This is our way of sparking conversation about what it takes to make a great cigar. We hope it also speaks volumes about our passion for tobacco and the lengths we’ll go to deliver exciting cigars to our fans.”

The CAO Arcana Firewalker is the follow up to the CAO Arcana Mortal Coil, a 6 1/8 x 50 toro that was released in February 2021. That cigar was notable for using andullo tobacco in its filler, a fermentation technique that is found primarily in the Dominican Republic. Instead of placing tobacco into pilónes, andullo tobacco is wrapped with palm tree pods into long rolls called yaguas after the leaves are harvested. The pods are bound tightly with rope and rooted into the ground, which results in a densely packed log of tobacco that is known for delivering a concentrated and often sweet flavor.

Images courtesy of General Cigar Co.

Overall Score

Avatar photo

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.