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Cigar Review: CAO Concert Roadie

14 Aug 2012

It was only a few years ago that the hot cigar company, the one with the buzz, the edgy promotions, and presentations, the intense interest in every new release, was CAO. Vision. The Sopranos. The America with its barber pole. Mx2. Lx2. And of course La Traviata.

Think Drew Estate nowadays: Liga Pravada. Undercrown. T52.

For CAO, though, it seems that what was once a leading edge cigar company has been dulled by ownership and management changes, a headquarters relocation, and being tucked inside one of the world’s largest tobacco conglomerates.

But the folks at General are applying the whetstone. Their first CAO release, the OSA Sol, was accompanied by lots of hype. Concert is the latest to get the treatment. And the full treatment it is.

The Concert’s box looks like an amp, its band is built around images of a guitar pick and Stratocaster-like guitars, and cigar promotions will be tied to musical events. Introduced at this month’s IPCPR Trade Show, the cigar is scheduled to ship in September.

Concert comes in four sizes. I smoked several of the Roadie, which I received at the convention. Its MSRP is $6.75, and it measures 5.5 inches long with a 54-ring gauge. Interestingly, all of the CAO Concert sizes are 5.5 inches long, with four varying ring guages: 46, 50, 54, and 60.

The first impression comes from a beautiful wrapper. The thin Ecuadorian Habano rosado leaf has few veins and almost glistens with an oily sheen. A Connecticut broadleaf binder encases “a special combination of four different Nicaraguan and Honduran fillers not previously used in any other General Cigar offering,” according to the press release.

I didn’t find much pre-light aroma and lit it using cedar, which added to a healthy kickoff. The draw was just the way I like it, a tad deliberate while easily delivering a mouthful of thick, creamy smoke.

The Concert is a complex, smooth cigar. The first third or so is peppery and fairly strong before it transitions into a more mellow and varied middle marked by a citrus flavor. The strength actually seems to go down a bit in the final third, as there’s some sweetness along the way.

Construction was fine, except in one of those I smoked. It developed a small tunnel about halfway down and the tobacco didn’t fully combust for a bit. That cut down on the smoke volume and created a dusty taste for a number of puffs.

This cigar has a lot going for it, from flavor to value. I’d recommend giving Concert a try. Whatever your musical taste, I think it will likely fit your cigar palate. And for that, I give it four stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

-George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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