At the 2015 IPCPR Trade Show, CAO officially launched the new CAO Pilon line. The cigar itself has a more traditional look than most CAO releases over the years.  This is a cigar incorporates an old Cuban technique for fermentation that has been pretty much abandoned for the past 50 years.

For the CAO Pilon, the fermentation technique involves using round shaped pilons. This technique goes back to the 19th century.  It involves arranging a stack of tobacco leaves in small configurations shaped like a circle.  According to CAO, this technique maximizes the both the tobacco flavor and aethestics of the tobacco more so than other techniques.  The process involves fermenting the tobacco at a lower temperature, thus increasing the fermentation cycle.  It is also a more labor intensive process.  As a result, since using the round pilons increases the time of a fementation cycle by almost a year, it eventually led to this process being abanonded by many.

The rounded pilons were used on the Ecuadorian Habano wrapper that was used for the blend.  In addition, the blend incorporates Nicaraguan binder and filler from Esteli and Ometepe.  CAO Pilon will be launched in three sizes.

Rick Rodriguez told Cigar Coop that the CAO Pilon project has been a project that he and Agustin Garcia have been working on for the past five years.  Rodriguez also said in a press release, “We have experimented with pilon fermentation for several years. It’s a very labor intensive process and we took our time perfecting it. We thought it was the right time to create a line around this classic technique because it does such incredible things to the tobacco. This is the first time we’re using the pilon method, but I can tell you, it won’t be the last.”

In our conversation with Rodriguez at CAO, he was quite proud of this story of using the rounded pilons. As a result, the packaging was designed such the story could be seen right on the package. This was accomplished through a dual-panel lid.


The CAO Pilon is scheduled to hit retail shelves this month.  At a glance, here is a look at the CAO Pilon:

Blend Profile

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaragua
Country of Origin: Not disclosed

Vitolas Available

The CAO Pilon is packaged in 20 count boxes:

Corona: 5 1/2 x 44 (SRP $6.00)
Robusto: 5 x 52 (SRP $6.50)
Churchill: 7 x 48 (SRP $7.25)