I’ll be honest, I have not been impressed with CAO cigars since they were taken over by General Cigars. Nothing against General and their brands, but CAO just seemed to lose some “umph” (for lack of a better term). The Oso didn’t impress me at all (as evidenced by the fact that I bought a box in 2011 and I still have some left). The La Traviata was a nice surprise both in quality and price point. But I still wasn’t jumping up and down to buy my next one. I can’t remember what cigar event I attended when I received my first CAO Concert, but I certainly was in no hurry to smoke it. I even relegated it to my “other” humidor, which houses the cigars that I receive from events and have no intention of smoking. While going through that humidor I came across the Concert and decided to give it a try.
I smoked the robusto called the Roadie, a 5.5×54 vitola with a beautiful oily, toothy, Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper. I toasted the foot with two wooden matches (I’m a bit of a purist) and poured myself a glass of Glenmorangie 10 year old single malt. The smooth start of the firm, dense robusto quickly gave way to a rich complex flavor. I was pleasantly reminded of classic Nicaraguan construction and flavor, but with a twist provided by the Connecticut, Nicaraguan and Honduran binder and filler. Make no mistake, this is a MAN’S cigar. It has depth and character and made my scotch feel slightly inadequate (where is a bottle of bourbon when you need one?). Each easy (but firm) draw produced plenty of billowy smoke with notes of leather and wood.
I have been openly bashing CAO cigars of late, but this cigar will quiet the even the harshest critic. This Concert was music to my mouth.