|#12: CAO Concert|
The CAO Concert is our selection for #12 on the 2012 Cigar of the Year countdown. This marks the second release by the CAO brand since it was acquired by General Cigar Company. The Concert was launched at the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show. The name of the cigar is meant to pay tribute to the band’s roots from the music city of Nashville, Tennessee. In addition to this, the name is meant to be indicative of how the cigar provides “harmony” in its flavor profile.
The CAO Concert is General Cigar’s second cigar to make the 2012 Cigar of the Year Countdown. This marks a return for CAO to the Cigar of the Year countdown after a one year absence. It also marks the third time in four years CAO has qualified for the countdown. It was in 2009 where CAO took the honor as our #2 Cigar of the Year with the CAO La Traviata. Finally, in the year where Ecuadorian Habano wrapper has been the rage, this marks only the second time an Ecuadorian Habano (in this case a Rosado) has landed on the countdown.
The CAO Concert was blended by former Team La Gloria member Rick Rodriguez. One thing that Rodriguez decided to do was the make all of the initial vitolas in the line the same size (5 1/2 inches), but vary in ring gauge. In the press release for the CAO Concert, Rodriguez explained: “With Concert, I wanted to bring out a new cigar that has really consistent flavor and body across all of the frontmarks. I believe this particular length works perfectly to maximize the flavor of both larger and smaller ring gauges.”
The flavor profile to the CAO Concert provides some wonderful complexity. There is a blast of pepper to start, and then the Concert adds notes of chocolate, leather, floral, grass, and hickory. All of the notes definitely provide the “harmony” as advertised. The flavors start out medium-bodied, but by the end of the cigar progress to full-bodied. The strength also starts out medium, but increases to medium to full. The Concert delivers an excellent burn and draw along the way.
As we looked at positioning this in the countdown, this cigar shot up in the standings. It has continued to get better with time.
Here is our original pre-release assessment of the CAO Concert. Click here for our assessment update where we provide a rating and score.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Rosado
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Four different Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos (not previously used before)
Solo: 5 1/2 x 50
Stage: 5 1/2 x 60
Amp: 5 1/2 x 46
Roadie: 5 1/2 x 54
Recommended Vitola: Roadie (5 1/2 x 54)