January 09, 2021

CAO Vision 2020 (7 x 50)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from Cigar-coop.com website)

Over a decade ago in 2007 CAO Cigars released a unique project called CAO Vision. It was unique in a lot of ways because the cigar was the first CAO Cigar to be made in the Dominican Republic (La Aurora) and it was a cigar that featured a unique space-age type box that illuminated. Fast forward to 2020, and today General Cigar announced that CAO Vision would be returning for a limited production run. This time the cigar will be made in Nicaragua and will feature an all-new space-age humidor-box design. It will also be an all-new blend for the CAO Vision that will be highlighted by a Cameroon wrapper.

CAO Master Blender and Ambassador Rick Rodriguez was inspired to develop the Cameroon blend from his years studying under the legendary Benji Menendez.

“Whether traveling across the world visiting cigar shops and even in doing virtual events as I have been for the last several months, the CAO fans always tell me that CAO Cameroon is one of the absolute best Cameroons on the market. It got me thinking about the time I spent learning the art of leaf priming and selection with Benji Menendez. Back then he loved Cameroon wrapper (he still does, by the way), and he spent a lot of time teaching me which tobaccos are the best for bringing out the Cameroon’s natural sweetness. I’ve never developed my own blend with a Cameroon wrapper, and I thought it was time to do it, to share my take on a Cameroon-wrapped cigar with Benji and the fans of CAO. It’s my way of saying thank you for this amazing career I have in the cigar business,” commented CAO’s Rodriguez.

While the original blend was a Dominican-forward blend highlighted by a Dominican wrapper, the 2020 edition of the CAO Vision is entirely different. In addition to the Cameroon wrapper, the blend features an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper and Nicaraguan Habano filler from EstelĂ­ and Jalapa. The cigar will come in one size – a 7 x 50 Churchill. Production for the CAO Vision comes from the STG EstelĂ­ factory.

The packaging features an all-new design for the humidor constructed out of Spanish cedar with piano hinges. The humidor features cascading lights that illuminate the sheen of the Cameroon wrapper and underscore the cigar’s construction.

The cigars have also received upgraded banding from the previous edition.

Pricing will be set at $18.99 per cigar with 20 cigars packaged per humidor. For the U.S. market, 2,500 humidors are being released with an additional 2,000 humidors for select retailers in Europe e and Asia.

Blend and Origin

Wrapper: Cameroon

Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra

Filler: Nicaraguan

Country of Origin: Nicaragua

Factory: STG Esteli

Vitolas Offered

Churchill: 7 x 50

The cigar is medium brown and the Cameroon wrapper has a dry appearance. The cigar has a nice feel in the hand and plays off as a larger ring than 50.

The test draw after cutting the cap was good. The initial flavors at light up were cedar, pear, brown sugar, light leather, and very light black coffee base. There was white pepper rated at 6 1/2 to 7. This is the 5th cigar I've sampled. The other 4 were inconsistent. Some were better than others. It will be interesting to see how this sample plays out.

At the first third (37 minutes) the ash is still intact. The flavors in this cigar could be called mild. They don't jump out at you. The strength of the cigar is actually mild to medium. I now have tangy cedar, cherry, brown sugar, honey, nutmeg, and very light black coffee. The finish is honey and nutmeg very low lingering white pepper. The notes are not hitting on all cylinders at this point. I rated the first third 86.

Moving through the second third (1 hour 27 minutes) there was a modest improvement. I now have toffee notes with a tangy cedar, honey, brown sugar, and light black coffee which is somewhat elevated. The cigar is a low grade medium to full bodied. The white pepper has improved a little and is now up to 7. The finish is light brown sugar and slightly improved lingering white pepper. To me, the cigar is not hitting on the Cameroon and Nicaraguan cylinders very much. The cigar is moderately better so I raised the score to 87.

The cigar lasted an impressive 2 hours. There was another slight improvement in the final third. The toffee and brown sugar notes are nice. The tangy cedar is decreased. The black coffee improved. The pepper improved. The cigar ended at medium to full bodied. The finish has pear, brown sugar, and improved lingering pepper, which is now tasting like black pepper. The cigar improved a little but it's still not impressing me. I rated the final third 88.

Overall Score: 87

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