I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend and if you celebrated anything such as Easter, Passover or anything, we hope you had a good time. I know I ate way too much and felt like a stuffed turkey on Sunday night! But luckily the weather was warm and I got to enjoy a few cigars with friends and family.
Today I have a review from a brand we haven’t really seen too much of lately since they release the OSA SOL a while ago (which I reviewed here). The brand is CAO and if you remember they were also purchased by General Cigar. Today’s new addition to the lineup is known as the Concert.
The Concert is intended to be a throwback to the roots of the CAO brand in Nashville, Tennessee. The musical parts of this cigar are pretty darn easy to spot. Not only does the name give musical reference but the band actually looks like a guitar and pick. Also on the side of the guitar is written “Perfect Harmony” in some fancy script.
Rick Rodriguez of CAO is the mastermind behind this blend and the leaves used here seem pretty interesting. I’m a big fan of Rosado cigars when they are done right but to have a Broadleaf binder is very different, I guess we’ll have to see how that plays out in the flavors. The cigars in this line are also all 5.5 inches long and only vary in their ring gauge starting at 46 and going up to 60. In line with the rest of the cigar, all the vitolas have music related names such as Roadie, Amp and Stage. Today up for review is going to be the 50 ring gauge version called the Solo!
Cigar: CAO Concert
Drink: Crown Royal Maple Finish
Vitola: ”Solo” Robusto (5.5 x 50)
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Rosado
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan
Price: About $6
Burn Time: 1.5 Hours
• A nice looking cinnamon brown wrapper surrounds the cigar
• I found one crack in the wrapper just below the halfway mark of the cigar
• It has a pretty firm consistency from cap to foot
• The single cap is applied very cleanly and looks well done
• The foot is well packed for the most part with just a couple spots that had a bit of a gap
• Toasting was even, quick and easy with no problem spots to worry about
• The crack in the wrapper is causing it to unroll a bit as I burn closer to it
• Other than that crack the cigar has been burning razor sharp and even through the first 3rd
• The cigar started to expand a bit causing the crack to get even worse and grow, starting to cause some burn problems now and I needed to give it a quick touchup
• The crack continued to cause problems until I finally passed it in the last third
• I still needed a couple touchups nears the end though
Smoke & Ash:
• Even with a slightly tight draw, I’m getting a ton of smoke each time
• There’s also a good amount of resting smoke coming off the cigar as well
• The ash is coming along really nicely in the early stages, looking strong, tight and clean
• The color on the ash is also quite nice with alternating light grey and white tones
• To prevent the ash from falling onto my laptop I tapped it off around 1 inch but I think it could have easily made it to at least 1.5 inches
• Even with the messy wrapper and re-lights the ash still continued to be strong holding on for 1 inch each time
• Smoke also continued to be full right through to the end
• There wasn’t much aroma coming off the foot here, maybe just a bit of spice and woodsiness
• From the foot, I’m getting a fresh woodsy aroma with the same touch of spice
• Lots more of the fresh wood flavor and even some earth now on the pre-light draw
• The initial few draws had a defined burnt undertone to them but it seem went away
• After the burn notes went away I was left with a bit of a pepper spice flavor profile with some notes of wood mixed in there
• The flavors have stuck in the woodsy and slightly spicy range through the first half with just a bit of leather getting mixed in now and again
• On the retrohale, I’m picking up more of the spice in the bite and a dry spice on the finish as well
• Body has been mostly in the medium range up until now, we’ll see if it changes coming through to the end
• The last half has stuck with the wood and spice main notes, the leather is peeking in more often now and I’m getting a bit of coffee notes here and there
• More leather flavors as I burn down the the end here with just a touch of soft spices hanging around
This turned out to be a pretty nice smoke overall and I enjoyed it for the most part. The cracked wrapper definitely caused some burn issues but they luckily didn’t affect the flavors much and it was probably just a one-time thing since no other Concert sticks I’ve smoked had the same problem. Now there wasn’t anything over the top here but it was a good solid medium smoke with some nice flavors. Not too much change in the profile though so I don’t think I would opt for anything bigger than a robusto. Definitely worth lighting one up though so give it a try, good to see CAO is still turning out some good sticks even after their recent ownership change.
Just in case you missed the name of my pairing before it is Crown Royal Maple Finished. Yes, that’s right, MAPLE! And damn does this bottle pack some serious mapley-goodness! My wife actually said it smelled like pancakes when I opened the bottle. IF you’ve had Crown Royal before you’ll know it’s got a pretty smooth texture to it but a lot of people tend to mix it with coke. The Maple flavor added here makes it perfectly enjoyable just on ice. And it made an excellent pairing for the cigar too, the sweetness can be a little overpowering at first but it settles down after a couple sips. Just don’t try pairing this with any soft or mild sticks cause they might get lost. +1 for Maple!