CAO Concert pre-release (plus giveaway)

CAO Concert

First of all, a disclaimer: this review is based on samples received at the IPCPR trade show earlier this month. We typically don’t like to use show samples for cigar reviews, since they often see a lot of unusual travel to & from the show floor and aren’t always a perfect reflection of what eventually winds up on retailer shelves. However, as these cigars were provided to us as review samples and since every indication suggests that these samples are the same finalized version of the cigar that will be shipped out in the next few weeks, I figured it would be acceptable to base this review on these show samples as long as this disclaimer was made.

That being said, I did find that these samples seemed to be a bit wet, enough so that the performance of the burn was noticeably affected (even with two weeks of rest in my coolidor). However, with a day or two of dry boxing, the burn, draw, smoke, and ash were all significantly improved. While the sample smoked in the video below received little to no dry boxing and its performance suffered as a result (it was my last stick and I admittedly took a gamble to see whether it had had enough rest in the coolidor so as to no longer require the dry boxing treatment), the cigar depicted in the still photos above and in the video introduction was dry boxed and I think the results speak for themselves.

I hope that helps clear things up a bit. Now, without further ado, let’s get on with the review…

This past Saturday, I had the distinct pleasure of appearing on Kiss My Ash Radio during their weekly Blogger’s Corner segment. Each week, Abe & the crew invite a different cigar blogger to come on the air and offer a review for a cigar of their choice. Since I’d been working on this very review that you’re reading right now, I figured I’d share my thoughts on the new CAO Concert that debuted at IPCPR 2012.

CAO Concert by the numbers:
Size: 5.5×54
Vitola: Roadie
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Rosado
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Nicaraguan & Honduran
Strength: Medium
Factory: Scandinavian Tobacco Group in Esteli, Nicaragua
No. smoked for review: 6
Duration: 1.5 hours
Source: IPCPR show samples
MSRP: $6.75
Twitter: @caocigars

Celebrating the musical heritage of Nashville, the city where CAO was launched, the Concert sports a very musical theme, from the guitars on the cigar band, to the cigar box made to look like a guitar amp, to the limited-edition humidor with built-in speakers. However, packaging and marketing always come a distant second to the tobacco itself. So the real question is: did this cigar sing for me? Watch and find out…

(Video length: 15:42)

Soundtrack: “Auld Lang Syne” by Benjamin Orth ft. Admiral Bob
is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

The Concert is the second new cigar produced by CAO following the acquisition of the brand by General Cigar. While the first new blend, the OSA Sol, received mixed reactions from cigar critics (I liked it), due in part to the new wrapper used in the OSA Sol which delivered a very unique taste, the Concert represents a return to a more traditional flavor profile — one that I suspect will have broader appeal. Ultimately, I did enjoy the CAO Concert, and if the smoking performance of the production cigars matches that of the show samples that I dry boxed, CAO might just have another hit on their hands.

By the way, if you weren’t able to listen live to my appearance on Kiss My Ash Radio, the podcast of the episode is now available:


I know how much you all love free cigars, so I’ve got another great giveaway for our loyal Stogie Review fans. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below telling me what music you like to listen to when smoking cigars. I’ll select one lucky entry at random to receive a 5-pack of the new CAO Concert.

Contest ends September 11, 2012; residents of the US & Canada only; must be 19 or older. Good luck!