Archive for the ‘cao’ Category

CAO MX 2 Cigars: A Maduro Lovers Dream!

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019
CAO MX2 is a complex blend that features long filler from Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominican Republic, a zest Brazilian binder, and a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper.

Cigar Trends: Flavored Cigars

Thursday, July 26th, 2018

As per usual, the Millennial generation has once again served to be the catalyst for an interesting trend. This time, Millennials have taken to flavored cigars, making them become increasingly popular among people of all ages. That said, the following is a closer look at one of the latest trends for cigar smokers: flavored cigars.

Available in both machine-made and hand-rolled forms, flavored cigars are all the rage among those who enjoy smoking but also enjoy a variety of different sized cigars. Allowing smokers to simultaneously unwind and enjoy the aroma and taste a vast array of flavors, they are becoming wildly popular among adults and are even catching on with some older adults. Likened to smoking hookahs, the reason cigar trends are taking center stage is due to other similar trends presently permeating pop-culture.

More Info on the Cigar Trend

Younger smokers seem to be switching from big, bulkier cigars to their smaller, more slender counterparts, in favors of little cigars and cigarillos. Yet another reason for the popularity of flavored cigars, the smaller size allows for sampling multiple cigars at a time.

While there will always be a market for traditional cigar products, there’s a strong trend toward flavored cigars.

Brands to Buy

Are you considering trying some flavored cigars and need more information on which brands have the best flavors for your taste buds? Definitely consider the following:

  • Drew Estate – The genius company behind brands such as Acid (the Acid Blue Kuba Kuba is one of the most widely smoked flavored cigars in existence), Undercrown, and more, DE has lots to offer in terms of flavored cigars. For instance, Acid brand boldly fuses new school taste with old school flavor, offering a variety of cigars perfect for those looking to try something bold and different. Flavors include bold mixes such as Acid Krush Blue, which brings a bold mix of herbs and botanicals to create a uniquely bold, creamy flavor.
  • CAO Cigars – Another brand looking to take cigar smoking to the next level, this brand offers unique flavors such as Cherrybomb, Moontrance, and the ever popular, Eileen’s Dream.
  • Other Notable Brands – If you are looking for some fruit infused cigars as well as other unique combinations, check out the following brands: Thompson, Victor Sinclair, Cojimar, Panama Jack, Tatiana, Al Capone, Gurkha, 5 Vegas, and Oliva, among many others.

While traditional products promote a more old-school vibe of relaxation and freedom, newer, flavored product promote embracing novelty, and variety.



Top Cigar Releases From IPCPR 2018

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

I have been to several IPCPR tradeshows over my time in the cigar industry.  In the past few, it seemed to be entering a dark period.  With FDA Regulations looming, there was a dark cloud cast over the show.  Attendance was dwindling, the mood to become one of worry instead of excitement and new products were their but limited.  This year, however, saw a resounding return to form for the most anticipated event of the year for the cigar industry.  Not only was in lighter in mood, it also showcased some of the most anticipated releases I’ve seen in quite some time.

While many companies brought this thunder this year, first we have to talk about Drew Estate.  While the new Corona Viva sizes and the introduction of new cigarillos have been known for a few weeks, the company finally announced the release of two brand new lines for their Liga Privada brand.  First is the store only Liga Privada 10th Anniversary, celebrating more than a decade of success with their highest rated cigar.  Second, we have the Liga Privada H99, a new cigar that will feature a special grown Connecticut Corojo wrapper.  These cigars were certainly the talk of the town, with several articles and even shout outs from other manufacturers.

General Cigar saw one of the most impressive amounts of releases this year.  They are adding a new cigar to their CAO world edition with the introduction of the CAO Nicaragua.  They are taken a bolder approach with their heritage lines with the new Hoyo La Amistad Black and a redesigned Punch from AJ Fernandez known as the Punch Diablo.  Partagas, Macanudo and La Gloria Cubana are all receiving new releases as well, with amazing updated packaging and new enticing blends.

Altadis USA is also flexing quite a bit at this year’s shows.  We are seeing new editions in tow of their most popular Montecristo lines. We are getting a brand new Montecristo Artisan Series and a stunning new addition to the Montecristo Grupo de Maestro line.  We are also getting the first of a new Grupo de Maestro line, the H.Upmann Grupo de Maestro Connecticut, which we are all very excited about.

For the boutique, small batch aficionado, the 2018 IPCPR show unveiled a plethora of new and exciting cigars.  Nick Melillo and the team at Foundation is bringing a new Tabernacle to shelves, this time with a special Havana seed wrapper grown on Nicks personal farm in Connecticut.  Steve Saka showed up in style, showcasing a new line, the Sin Compromiso, and a slightly tweaked, stronger version of the Todos Las Dias known as Mas Fuerte.

Robert Caldwell brought three new editions of some of his best known cigars.  We are excited to be getting an Eastern Standard Habano, A Long Live the King Maduro and a tweaked version of the Anastasia.

Zocalo — A Mexican Wrapped Beauty from CAO

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

CAO is a company known for always thinking outside of the box when it comes to blending and rolling, that’s why in recent years, this brand has become one of the most sought-after names in premium handmade cigars. This massive portfolio of 90+ rated cigars, consists of a wide array of binder and filler leaves from various countries throughout Central America rolled inside a compelling assortment of wrappers in various shades.  Now, for the first time in its history, CAO is using a Mexican wrapper on one of its cigars, and it’s called the CAO Zocalo, a beefy 6 x 60 vitola. Fittingly, this limited-edition selection of only 3,500 cigars were released just in time to coincide with the Famous Cinco de Mayo holiday.

CAO master blender Rick Rodriguez employs a special Morrón wrapper grown in the San Andrés Valley by the “First Family of Mexican Cigars, the Turrents of Te Amo fame. He chose this prized leaf for its deep earthy flavor and aroma.  Resting below this oily wrapper, is a toasty Cameroon binder and a core of aged long fillers from Nicaragua.

Zocalo refers to the name of the main square in Mexico City which was the inspiration for this feisty smoke. In addition, to pay tribute to this legendary Mexican landmark, the boxes and bands are adorned with colorful Zocalo artwork in a striking red, white, and black design. 20 of these stunning cigars come seated in each box.

As intended, this limited edition south of the border indulgence is bold, full flavored, and earthy at its core, with nuances of white pepper, chocolate, and hickory wood, adding layers of complexity. Thick billowy clouds of musky, sweet- smelling smoke reminds you that you are smoking a classic Mexican-style cigar, and, in true CAO fashion, the construction is top-notch, the burn is razor-sharp, and the draw is effortless.

Zocalo is an exceptional example of how the artisans at CAO have applied their generations of cigar knowledge and expert blending skills to create an iconic cigar that truly displays the spirit of Mexico.

CAO Flathead

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Thanks to Victoria, of General Cigar Company, for sending me samples of the CAO Flathead. The namesake is a tribute to old school, hotrod motors. You know about flathead motors. The valves sit beside the cylinder, right under the combustion chamber. Much less efficient than current overhead valve motors. My introduction to these old motors were with old Harley’s from the 1930’s. Obviously I would be drawn to this gimmick, so on to the review.


Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

Binder: Ecuadorian Connecticut

Filler: Nicaragua

Size: V554 Camshaft 5.5 x 54

Price: Around $7.00


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The dark wrapper looked really good, and had a mild, earthy, hay aroma. True to it’s name, the head was flat, real flat. The cigar was solidly and evenly packed. The draw had slight resistance, with a woody, earthy pre-light flavor.

The ash held for about an inch. The burn required one major correction in the first third, but things calmed down after that. Basically it acted like a typical box pressed cigar.

1 CAO_Flathead cigars


The first third was pretty straightforward, with dry chocolaty flavors, along with earth, leather, and a peppery zing. The aftertaste had these same flavors, along with some wood.

2 CAO_Flathead cigars

The second third was basically the same as the first. There were minor differences, such as increased strength. The peppery zing increased, and the sweetness stood out a little more.

3 CAO_Flathead cigars

Dry chocolate increased in the last third. Otherwise, everything remained the same. Earth, leather, and pepper, just like before.

4 CAO_Flathead cigars


This was a good medium bodied cigar. Picky smokers, this isn’t for you. There was no wow factor at all. It was basically one dimensional, which isn’t a bad thing. It had good, simple flavors, which is really all I require. I won’t go out of my way to get these cigars, but I would smoke more from time to time. For a predictable, easy cigar, this fits the bill.

CAO Cruisin and a Bad Week for Bloomberg by Frank Seltzer

Friday, March 15th, 2013


Last week, CAO sent a cigar lover on a cruise with Kid Rock for his annual “Chillin’ The Most” cruise. The contest was part of the kick off for the CAO Concert line of cigars. Justin Harris of Nashville won the cruise which included a CAO branded cigar lounge aboart the Norweigian Pearl cruise ship.  CAO blender Rick Rodriguez also was on board.  Said Ed McKenna the senior brand manager for CAO,

“Kid Rock’s ‘Chillin’ The Most’ is the ultimate expression of our brand.  It’s also a fitting way to celebrate the success of CAO Concert, which gives a nod to our rock n roll roots.”

Justin cruised the Bahanas getting back to port, and most likely reality, on Sunday.


Bloomie Loses

Bloomie (from Huff Post)

You may have already heard about part of this but this has been was a bad week for the nation’s top nanny.  Bloomie boy got shellacked in court and in a science paper.  First up,  a state judge stopped Bloomberg’s ban on 16 ounce sodas.  Yippee. The decision is a huge blow to the mayor’s efforts to control possibly every second of New Yorker’s lives and it came one day before the ban was to go into effect.   Said the judge, New York is “enjoined and permanently restrained from implementing or enforcing the new regulations”.  Why? Because he further said, “The Rule is nevertheless fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences…the loopholes in this Rule effectively defeat the stated purpose.”


Gee a Bloomie health department rule that is arbitrary?  Who would have thunk it.  The NYC ban on big sodas excluded some places ( 7-Elevens ) and some drinks with more sugar ( milk shakes, lattes, frozen coffees etc.).  Oh and for all its good sounding BS, the rule never did address free refills.  The rule was strictly a nanny PR stunt.


The judge further said that the health board was basically trying to have virtually limitless authority.  The city’s arguments in favor of the soda cap would leave the board’s “authority to define, create, mandate and enforce limited only by its own imagination.”  That was the Mayor’s idea.  Of course the city wll appeal this common sense ruling most likely the challenge will continue long after Bloomberg is gone.


Science Fact

But if that wasn’t bad enough for Bloomie, the Lancet published a study this week showing that ancient mummies had clogged arteries….you know arteries we have been told that are clogged by fast food, sugary drinks and smoking.  Oh wait…ANCIENT mummies…4,000 years ago, way before all that stuff was invented.  Bloomie’s whole raison d’etat just went up in …hehehe…smoke:


Researchers say that suggests heart disease may be more a natural part of human aging rather than being directly tied to contemporary risk factors like smoking, eating fatty foods and not exercising.


Wait what?  SMOKING IS NOT the cause? Maybe it is time to look to something else rather than tobacco!


“Heart disease has been stalking mankind for over 4,000 years all over the globe,” said Dr. Randall Thompson, a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City and the paper’s lead author.


Thompson said he was surprised to see hardened arteries even in people like the ancient Aleutians who were presumed to have a healthy lifestyle as hunter-gatherers.


“I think it’s fair to say people should feel less guilty about getting heart disease in modern times,” he said. “We may have oversold the idea that a healthy lifestyle can completely eliminate your risk.”


Mayor Bloomberg….you listening?   (Of course not.)

CAO Concert

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Thanks to General Cigar, owner of the CAO brand, for sending me some samples of the cigar up for review today.

Back in the day, pre-General Cigar buy out, CAO was known for it’s flashy packaging and presentation. It looks like General is returning to that with the CAO Concert. It is said that this is inspired by CAO’s roots in Nashville. The cigar band is basically a guitar pick, along with a couple of guitars, which are complete with an “F cut.” I only point this out for the music geeks out there.

In the end, I don’t care about any of this. Read on, and see if the cigar delivered where it counts.


Wrapper: Ecuadorian Rosado

Binder: Connecticut

Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran

Size: Roadie 5.5 x 54

Price: $6.75


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper was shiny, a little toothy, had minimal veins, and a mild earthy aroma. Off of the foot, I could only smell a mild cedar, and a touch of pepper. Overall, this cigar was solidly and evenly packed. This led to a draw that was a little on the tight side, but it was well within my tolerance. The pre-light draw had a woody and earthy flavor.

The ash held for just over an inch, and the burn required one minor correction.

1 CAO_Concert cigars


The first third had no buildup. Immediately I was greeted with a dark woody flavor. Up next was zingy pepper, followed by earth and hay. The smoke feel was thick, dry, and had a generic tinge of sweetness.

2 CAO_Concert cigars

The second third kept the same core flavors as the first third. The main difference was a bitter sweet note. The pepper lost a little zing, but kept enough so that I had to pay attention when retrohaling. The smoke feel wasn’t as dry, resulting in less craving for water.

3 CAO_Concert cigars

A bitter cocoa developed in the last third. It mixed with the ever present wood, earth, and peppery spice. The smoke feel remained dry, and bordered on creaminess.

4 CAO_Concert cigars


While the CAO Concert didn’t bring anything new to the table, it was a solid medium bodied cigar. Construction, ash, burn, and flavor were all consistent. I think the price point was met, and if I see them on the shelves, I may smoke one from time to time.


Monday, August 29th, 2011

This is the first blend from CAO since it’s move to General Cigars. A part of me is disappointed in CAO for “selling out.” Another part understands mentality behind taking the money and running. General Cigars has good brands and bad. So it is only fair to give CAO a chance.

The name OSA stands for Olancha San Augustin. This is the region of Honduras that the wrapper is from. Sol refers to the fact that the wrapper is sun grown.

General Cigars sent me a five pack along with a press release. I appreciate the chance to try this new blend. So let’s see how the CAO OSA Sol treated me.


Wrapper: Honduras

Binder: Connecticut

Filler: Nicaraguan & Honduran

Size: 6 x 54

Price: $6.25


Pre-Smoke & Construction:

The wrapper had a nice look to it, with no visible flaws. The odor coming off of the wrapper was a mild earthiness. The foot smelled the same with an added spiciness. The cigar was evenly and solidly packed, and the pre-light draw had slight resistance. The pre-light flavor was earthy with perhaps a note of wood.

The burn required one correction, and the ash held for around one inch.

1 CAO_OSA_Sol Cigars


The first third had a core flavor of earthiness. Accompanying it was wood. When passing smoke through the nose, I picked up an easy spice with earthy and woody notes. As I progressed through this third, the smoke feel improved from a dryness to smoother feel with a tinge of sweetness.

2 CAO_OSA_Sol Cigars

The second third kept the same earthy and woody flavors. The earthiness was different, almost grassy or a little musty. The spice through the nose basically remained the same. The smoke feel became thicker feeling at times, with a lingering sweetness.

3 CAO_OSA_Sol Cigars

The last third had an increase in that earthy, musty flavor. I can’t decide if I liked it or not. It was just there. Like before, woodiness was next in the flavor profile. The spice through the nose increased slightly in strength. A spicy tingle was left on the lips and tongue, but the flavor was that earthiness I mentioned earlier.

4 CAO_OSA_Sol Cigars


I’m on the fence about this cigar… It wasn’t outright bad, but something about the earthy flavor seemed off. Nothing stood out as being bad, or particularly good. The flavors were just there. Maybe some age on these cigars would mellow the weird earthiness a bit, who knows. In the end, the CAO OSA Sol was just OK. Thanks again to General Cigars for letting me try it out.

Bonita Smoke Shop Giveaway WINNER!

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

As you all know, Bonita Smoke Shop hosted a great Christmas giveaway on the site this year. I can’t say enough good things about this shop. So just do yourself a favor and pay them a visit on the web, or in person if you are in the Bonita Springs, FL area.


Out of the 93 of you who entered the contest, I drew a random winner. My method was simple. I put tickets into a bowl, mixed them up, and blindly grabbed a ticket.

So without further ado, the winner is Andrew DeVore! I already emailed you for your contact information, and will await your reply.

Thanks again to Bonita Smoke Shop for making this happen, and to everyone who visits the site!

The site grew beyond my expectations in 2010. The purpose of this place has been, and still remains a place for me to have a reference of the cigars that I smoke. I am certainly no expert or aficionado. If anything, I am an average casual smoker. The only difference is, I have this website. So keep coming back and let’s have a good time in 2011.

Stay tuned, as I am arranging another great giveaway in Jan. of 2011!

Christmas Giveaway Ending Soon!

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

For those of you who haven’t entered this great giveaway, click HERE and do it now!


The contest will be over soon, and I’ll pick a random winner. So, if you haven’t entered yet, simply leave a comment HERE. And let’s not forget to thank Bonita Smoke Shop for this great contest!

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