September 16, 2012

CAO Concert Roadie (5 1/2 x 54)

Video review HERE.
From the brand that was launched in Nashville and marches to the beat of its own drum comes CAO Concert, a new collection that celebrates CAO’s ties to music and harnesses the legendary energy of Music City.

CAO Concert was inspired by the brand’s roots in Nashville,” commented Ed McKenna, CAO’s senior brand manager. “When listening to music at a concert, or even in your own backyard, it’s a great time to sit back, enjoy a great cigar, and enjoy the people you’re with. That’s what Concert is about.”

The four-cigar collection is firmly planted in the full-medium-bodied range, with great harmony of flavor among the tobaccos. CAO’s Rick Rodriguez created the blend which features a special combination of four different Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers, not previously used in any other General Cigar offering. Wrapped with a lustrous Ecuadoran Habano Rosado and bound with CT Broadleaf, CAO Concert begins with a kick of pepper, mellows with hints of subtle sweetness and comes to a full-flavored finish. 
Cigars produced in Nicaragua.

The quartet of new frontmarks will debut at IPCPR and will be available at retail beginning in mid-September. A rarity in the premium cigar category, each Concert cigar will have the same length of 5.5”.Rick 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.”

CAO Concert features these frontmarks: Amp (5 ½”x 46, SRP per cigar is $5.75) Solo (5 ½” x 50, SRP per cigar is $6.25); Roadie(5 ½” x 54, SRP per cigar is $6.75) and Stage (5 ½” x 60, SRP per cigar is $7.50).

True to CAO’s tradition of exciting and unexpected packaging, CAO Concert is presented in an innovative box inspired by a classic Marshall amp, with band art that showcases a guitar pick and Fender-style guitars.
The cigar is quite dark as you can see. It feels quite weighty in the hand and is apparently very dense.

After cutting the cap the test draw was very good. I lit the cigar and the initial flavors were plenty of sweet notes and pepper. There were leather notes, wood notes and cream. This cigar really needed to sit for a minute to let it come into it's own.

About 3/4 inch in the flavors really hit. The flavors settled down into a rich, sweet cedar and cream. The pepper is very good. I rate it as a 6 or 7 out of 10. There are also some background flavors of leather and wood. The finish is one of a sweet cream and some lingering pepper. The cigar feels medium to full bodied at this early stage.

The cigar burned fairly evenly. The leather notes are more prominent now. They mix nicely with the sweet, rich cedar and cream. There are also some wood notes here and there. Folks that like leathery cigars will like this one but it also has the benefit of the sweet, rich notes of the cedar and cream making it one that I am enjoying quite a bit.

At the band the only change is the wood notes have faded but there are coffee notes to go along with the leather, which is secondary to the cedar and cream, which is somewhat less at this point. I would put the pepper at 7 out of 10 at this point. The cream notes on the finish have a toasted flavor to them.

With only about 1 1/2 inches remaining the wood notes have really come to the front end. They are found right after the cedar notes. The cream has decreased, as well as the leather.

The cigar ended up as previously described. I really enjoyed the rich, sweet cedar and cream. The leather notes gave it depth. There were also wood and coffee notes along the way. The cigar ended up full bodied. This is the fullest CAO cigar that I've had in a long time. A very enjoyable cigar that should be on shop shelves now.

Score: 90

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