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News: New Releases ‘Area 9’ and ‘Sinister Sam’ from CAO

15 May 2014

You can pretty much bank on CAO introducing a new line at the upcoming IPCPR Trade Show, but don’t expect any details on that cigar for a while. Still, right now there are some limited release blends coming out from the CAO team at General Cigar.

I was able to catch up with brand frontman and chief blender Rick Rodriguez at an event yesterday to get the scoop on the new CAO offerings, as well as clear up some misinformation that has been circulating.


Area 9

Out now is CAO Area 9, a selection of cigars from CAO’s vast archives. The cigars consist of old blends that have been aging at CAO’s EstelĂ­ factory.

Included are cigars (some released a long time ago, others have never been released) that were made in the factory before it came under the General Cigar umbrella, along with possibly some post-General Cigar test blends. Some may be original release CAO cigars like Brazilia, America, Vision, or others that were made prior to 2007. Others include special blends that never made it to market, including, I’m told, one for a project CAO briefly had with Kid Rock that never came to fruition.

The cigars come in a bundle of six tied up in a burlap sack (though there are more than six Area 9 cigars). They have plain white bands with cryptic names like Picasso, Chief, Liga M35, Ciprus, Parabola, and Rica, with no details on their origins. In early June a special section of the CAO website will let consumers look up more details on the cigars in their Area 9 bundle. For now, the Area 9 cigars are event-only cigars that are included as a promotion for those who purchase a box. But there are hopes that it may eventually be available for sale.

Sinister Sam

Another new cigar coming before the late July Trade Show is Sinister Sam, a one-off blend along the lines of Hurricane and Angry Santa. Though, in a way, it is most similar to the Brazilia Carnivale.

While the Carnivale was Rick Rodriguez’s twist on the original Brazilia blend he inherited, Sinister Sam is his own take on the CAO America blend, which forms the base for the one-size blend.

“Sam” is a reference to Uncle Sam (hence a twist on CAO America). And contrary to rumors, there was never any plan to release it under the name ‘Son of Uncle Sam,’ a name that at most was briefly kicked around in a brainstorm session before being quickly rejected. Look for it to come out in June.

Patrick S

photo credits: Stogie Guys

4 Responses to “News: New Releases ‘Area 9’ and ‘Sinister Sam’ from CAO”

  1. Patrick Semmens Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 10:57 am #

    BTW, the Area 9 cigars aren't all a total mystery. Given that "Chief" has barber pole dual wrappers it's a safe guess that it is an original America blend. For the others, the Area 9 webpage will be needed.

    • Ed M. Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

      Not so fast. The CHIEF actually used Ecuador wrapper on that one. Though on most of these cigars, it was difficult to find the information on what the blend actually was, as that info has been lost to history. Some we may know only the wrapper or binder. Regardless, the blends we have now to use for the project vary in quantity from 1000 cigars to 10,000 cigars, depending on the cigar. You could be getting a $10 cigar, or a $5 cigar – it all depends on the luck of the draw. It's the ultimate blind taste test, but really, it's a taste test that can't be repeated as some of these cigars have been aged for many years.

      • Patrick Semmens Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 8:01 pm #

        Thanks for the info Ed. Maybe not so safe of a bet.

  2. Anders Friday, May 16, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    Cheers to General for Area 9. I'm excited about the idea of smoking from the CAO vault and potentially getting some well-aged cigars.