Concert is the second CAO cigar released since the brand was acquired by the General Cigar Company. The cigars became available in September 2012, and are made with a blend of four different Nicaraguan and Honduran filler tobaccos, a Connecticut Broadleaf binder, and an Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper. The cigars are available in the following four sizes, each of which measures 5½ inches in length:
- Amp (5½" x 46, SRP per cigar is $5.75)
- Solo (5½" x 50, SRP per cigar is $6.25)
- Roadie (5½" x 54, SRP per cigar is $6.75)
- Stage (5½" x 60, SRP per cigar is $7.50)
The cigar sampled for this review was the Roadie, having a ring gauge of 54. You can learn more about CAO Concert cigars and their unique packaging by viewing our short Video with Ed McKenna and Rick Rodriguez of General Cigar.
My preliminary impression of CAO Concert was formed after smoking a sample provided by General Cigar at the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show in Orlando
. I actually received a 5-pack that was wrapped in cellophane with a cedar strip. This probably explains the predominant cedar flavor of the first sample
, although I have smoked other cigars packed with cedar that did not have such a prevalent cedar taste. In fact, that first sample even seemed to contain more of a cedar taste than General Cigar's Hoyo de Monterrey Reposado en Cedros Cigar
. Anyway, after the remaining CAO Concert samples had a few extra weeks to rest in my humidor
(the interior of which is lined with cedar wood), subsequent test smokes did not have as much of a strong cedar taste as my first sample. I also noticed a few more differences, especially that the CAO Concert is actually a medium-to-full bodied cigar, as opposed to being medium bodied as originally noted. However, CAO Concert is loaded with flavor and is definitely a full flavor smoke. I did not notice a peppery kick at the start of all subsequent cigars, although the very pleasant and sweet herbal-earthy flavors experienced in my first sample did kick in again after about 5 minutes into the later samples. In general, the flavors developed as I continued smoking, but began to fade just a bit after about 45 to 55 minutes (depending on the individual cigar being smoked). My initial rating of 4 to 4½ stars still stands, but since a couple of the samples were good enough to deserve a full 4½-star rating, and we don't have a star rating between 4 and 4 1/2 in full reviews, I'm giving CAO Concert cigars the superior rating of 4½ stars (better than flipping a coin).
Draw and Construction
CAO Concert cigars are very well made and hold a long ash with an even burn. The draw was very good, and no relights were needed for any of the samples. I did apply a quick touch-up light to a couple of the cigars, which really weren't even needed. Average smoke time was about 70+ minutes down to two inches remaining.
As indicated above, the suggested retail prices for CAO Concert cigars ranges from $5.75 to $7.50 per cigar, depending on size. However, the average price can be lower by $0.70 to $1.00 per stick when purchased in 5-packs or boxes of 24 cigars. This is a very good value for a superior tasting cigar that is very well made. CAO Concert cigars will be most enjoyed by connoisseurs as well as mainstream cigar smokers who prefer a lot of flavor in their smokes.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy