CAO Concert pre-release (plus giveaway)

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CAO Concert pre-release (plus giveaway)

CAO Concert

First of all, a disclaimer: this review is based on samples received at the IPCPR trade show earlier this month. We typically don’t like to use show samples for cigar reviews, since they often see a lot of unusual travel to & from the show floor and aren’t always a perfect reflection of what eventually winds up on retailer shelves. However, as these cigars were provided to us as review samples and since every indication suggests that these samples are the same finalized version of the cigar that will be shipped out in the next few weeks, I figured it would be acceptable to base this review on these show samples as long as this disclaimer was made.

That being said, I did find that these samples seemed to be a bit wet, enough so that the performance of the burn was noticeably affected (even with two weeks of rest in my coolidor). However, with a day or two of dry boxing, the burn, draw, smoke, and ash were all significantly improved. While the sample smoked in the video below received little to no dry boxing and its performance suffered as a result (it was my last stick and I admittedly took a gamble to see whether it had had enough rest in the coolidor so as to no longer require the dry boxing treatment), the cigar depicted in the still photos above and in the video introduction was dry boxed and I think the results speak for themselves.

I hope that helps clear things up a bit. Now, without further ado, let’s get on with the review…

This past Saturday, I had the distinct pleasure of appearing on Kiss My Ash Radio during their weekly Blogger’s Corner segment. Each week, Abe & the crew invite a different cigar blogger to come on the air and offer a review for a cigar of their choice. Since I’d been working on this very review that you’re reading right now, I figured I’d share my thoughts on the new CAO Concert that debuted at IPCPR 2012.

CAO Concert by the numbers:
Size: 5.5×54
Vitola: Roadie
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Rosado
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Nicaraguan & Honduran
Strength: Medium
Factory: Scandinavian Tobacco Group in Esteli, Nicaragua
No. smoked for review: 6
Duration: 1.5 hours
Source: IPCPR show samples
MSRP: $6.75
Twitter: @caocigars

Celebrating the musical heritage of Nashville, the city where CAO was launched, the Concert sports a very musical theme, from the guitars on the cigar band, to the cigar box made to look like a guitar amp, to the limited-edition humidor with built-in speakers. However, packaging and marketing always come a distant second to the tobacco itself. So the real question is: did this cigar sing for me? Watch and find out…

(Video length: 15:42)

Soundtrack: “Auld Lang Syne” by Benjamin Orth ft. Admiral Bob
is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

The Concert is the second new cigar produced by CAO following the acquisition of the brand by General Cigar. While the first new blend, the OSA Sol, received mixed reactions from cigar critics (I liked it), due in part to the new wrapper used in the OSA Sol which delivered a very unique taste, the Concert represents a return to a more traditional flavor profile — one that I suspect will have broader appeal. Ultimately, I did enjoy the CAO Concert, and if the smoking performance of the production cigars matches that of the show samples that I dry boxed, CAO might just have another hit on their hands.

By the way, if you weren’t able to listen live to my appearance on Kiss My Ash Radio, the podcast of the episode is now available:


I know how much you all love free cigars, so I’ve got another great giveaway for our loyal Stogie Review fans. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below telling me what music you like to listen to when smoking cigars. I’ll select one lucky entry at random to receive a 5-pack of the new CAO Concert.

Contest ends September 11, 2012; residents of the US & Canada only; must be 19 or older. Good luck!

Charlie has been enjoying cigars since 2000 and generally prefers a medium-bodied, full-flavored smoke. A USAF vet, he currently works as a data scientist focusing on natural language processing and is pursuing a PhD in computer science in his spare time. Originally from Connecticut and now residing in Northern Virginia, Charlie is also a fan of football, science fiction, political philosophy, and single malt scotch. You can contact Charlie on Twitter @greenbacker.

120 thoughts on “CAO Concert pre-release (plus giveaway)

  1. nice review charlie! sounds like somthing id enjoy, i would have to say i listen to jazz, it mellows me out with a nice stogie!!

  2. I love listening to good 80’s music such as great journey, ect while enjoying a cigar, mostly because the local shop that i go to and support plays it all the time, its where i started smoking cigars and where i go at least once a day. lets go for my first contest win!!

  3. I like to listen to any new CD (yeah, I still listen to CDs) I picked up. Or, anything from my collection, which is predominantly Classic Rock, Blues and Jazz.

  4. When we first start a night off me and the wife listen to classic rock along with some beers. But once the sun goes down we switch to Sinatra and bring out the bourbon and scotch,

  5. Hey Charlie, great review! This is one cigar I have been anxious about. For the music, I tend to listen to THE CIGAR STATION, I usually like my music fast, heavy & loud, but with TCS it’s all about relaxing and the cigar review commercials are a nice add.

    Thanks for the contest.

  6. Usually when I have the chance to light up it is when I am in my wood shop and then I am listening to talk radio such as Neal Boortz , Alex Jones ,Hannity , and the like. Don`t always agree with everything the say but entertaining nonetheless !!

  7. I usually listen to blues and some good classic rock while smoking. Some old outlaw country sometimes does the trick.

  8. Great review, I’m excited about trying them. I like to listen indie/folk music on pandora or spotify. Actually, I think I will just head on out right now and light one up.

  9. Probably not a real popular choice, but as a hippie at heart, I love coming home from work, picking a nice cigar out of the humidor, and listening to some Phish while enjoying the end of the day! (Coincidentally, as I type this, I realize Billy above me and I should be friends!)

  10. I’ve been waiting to smoke this cigar. I got an extra one from a pre release event CAO did here in Nashville. I’ve been letting it rest. Looks awesome, and I’ve heard its CAO’s best release in quite a while.

  11. I like to listen to the music of the crickets and the cicadas. And as much as I love Keith Jarrett (hi, Kekoa!), there’s not much more relaxing than nature itself!

  12. I guess I’ll be the odd man out here. Even while chilling out with a cigar, I still go with my normal heavy rock. Distrubed, Godsmack, In This Moment, Slipknot, Mudvayne, that playlist is my fav.
    Been hearing a lot about these sticks, sure would be great to pick up some samplers!

  13. Cigar music; The Blues, SRV, Jazz, early Reggae dub music, PFloyd etc… However my number one favorite music with a cigar is Spanish JAZZ!!!

    Great Review, cant wait to try the new CAO.

    Wasn’t a fan of the OSA Sol?….

  14. During the summer months it ieither listening to Baseball game on the radio or Sport talk…yeah yeah I know my wife hates both!

  15. Thanks for the review and giveaway. I enjoy listening to classic jazz, especially Coltrane, when smoking cigars.

  16. When I smoke cigars I like to relax so I normally pair it with the music that calms me. Tool. A distant second would be A Perfect Circle.

    Thanks for the contest.

  17. Usually watching some DVR’d TV when smoking cigars, but when I opt for music to just chill, I prefer something relaxing, like Iron Maiden, Rush, Led Z.

  18. In the evening when the family is asleep, I enjoy firing up a bold, complex, flavorful cigar that will hold my interest through the duration of the smoke. A lot of times, I look for these same characteristics in a band. One band that constantly delivers is Dream Theater. There music is engaging, complex, heavy and interests me even when it is a 24 minute song.

  19. I live on the very outskirts of town and usually smoke at night. The music I enjoy is made up mostly of coyotes howling and barking, crickets chirping, and frogs croaking. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

  20. Just had a cg4 with some rum and Toots and the Maytals this weekend. That prescription will be followed this weekend as well!

  21. I like to sit on the back porch and listen to the crickets and the birds (along with the occasional lawn mower). Since I don’t smoke inside, I wait until the sun start going down and the crickets get louder! 🙂

  22. Fav music while smoking huh? I’d have to say good ol bachata or merengue. Brings me back to the Republica Dominicana when I first got into cigars while doing service. Thanks for the contest!

  23. Typically I will bounce around on Pandora….sometimes it is best to throw on some Ron White and let it ride! LOL for sure

  24. I would never have thought in a million years that so many people would reply with jazz of some sort. They more you know, I guess.

    When I’m listening to something while smoking cigars it’s usually one of: A) the dulcet tones of Bob Uecker calling a Milwaukee Brewers game; B) something by a Romantic composer (Chopin, later Beethoven, either Schumann, Brahms, etc.); or C) Radio Rebelde straight out Havana on shortwave.

  25. I know it’s a bit cliche, but I like listening to the Cuban station on pandora. Sometimes Andres Segovia. Sometimes some of the works of Bix Biederbeck. But always something good.

  26. Love the review, I will listen to anything that makes the mode of the day. Lately I been enjoying Thelonious Monk’s Underground with a double shot of burbon on the rocks

  27. Great review. I’m very excited to get my hands on one of these and try it out. I like to listen to classical music while smoking a good cigar. Especially Vivaldi.

  28. There might be a theme here…

    Saltwater Cowboy – Tracy Byrd
    Where the Boat Leaves From – Zac Brown Band
    John Boat Blues – Jason Allen
    Beer, Bait, and Ammo – Kevin Fowler
    Son of a Son of a Sailor – Jimmy Buffett
    Boats – Kenny Chesney
    If I Had a Boat – Lyle Lovett
    Rock the Boat – Hues Corporation
    Rock Me on the Water – Jackson Browne
    Boat Drinks – Jimmy Buffet
    Come Sail Away – Styx
    Redneck Yacht Club – Craig Morgan
    Big Boat – Eddie Boyd


    I’m On A Boat – Lonely Island

  29. My favorite music is whatever cable music station my girlfriend selects while I smoke on the patio and she joins me. Oldies, punk, alternative, classic rock, new music… it’s all good. Investing in outdoor speakers and having a tolerant girlfriend who also will join me with a cigar are two excelent “investments.”

  30. I like to listen to A Perfect Circle, Tool, Toadies, Audioslave, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, White Stripes, and other music appropriate for a 43 year old that used to have long hair and now only grows his hair long to comb it over his bald spot. 🙂

  31. I listen to either something relaxing from my computer if I’m near it or, if I’m visiting my grandfather with a stog (a weekly event), nothing at all.

  32. I listen to several things while I enjoy a good cigar – everything from metal (Metallica / Judas Priest) to country (Willie Nelson / Johnny Cash) to classic rock (KISS / Aerosmith) to Blues (Stevie Ray Vaughn / B.B. King) or the sound of the wind blowing thru the forest in my backyard or tuning an engine … just depends.

    But, what really makes the cigar with me is a good beer (Becks / St. Paulie Girl) and someone to share the moment with …. I’d love to sample this one as well & see if it can hold up to the rest of my favorite cigars from Rick & the crew at C.A.O.

  33. For me it’s pretty much anything and everything on my SanDisk player. On shuffle from later great comedian Bill Hicks to Todd Snider to Pantera R.I.P. Dime. Folk, country to speed metal.

  34. Normally my favorite type of music while smoking a cigar depends on when/where … Lately Hooverphonic which is categorized as “trip-hop”

  35. Amazing how many cigar smokers are jazz lovers. I fall into that category as well. How about some Arturo Sandoval laying down some Cuban licks. That’s the ticket!

  36. Definitely the smokey jazz of Miles Davis and or the cool jazz of all his contemporaries who played at the end of the 50’s, early 60’s. Sweet, smokey, and full of flavors and aromas.

  37. Thanks for another great review!
    While I listen to ALL types of music, I gravitate to electric blues when enjoying a great cigar.
    BB KIng, Albert King, Luther Allison, Bernard Allison, Howlin Wolf, etc.

  38. Jazz is definitely the way to go. Nothing like lighting up a great stick with some Miles Davis playing.

  39. I like listening to all my music from the late 70’s to early 80’s: Bruce, Who, Stones, Beatles, Styx, all punk from the late 70’s ie.Flock of Seagulls etc.. All rock that was jamming at that time.

  40. When I get to kick with a great cigar I like to let my mind go too. Indian Classical does it for me. Ravi Shankar, Nikhil Banerjee are among the greats that help me focus on the moment and enhance the senses to enjoy a great stick.

  41. Reiterating many of those above me, the blues. Typically Muddy Waters or Buddy Guy or Jimi Hendrix (the blues album).

  42. Anytime I’m smoking a cigar I’m trying to relax either by myself or while talking with friends so music will always be something chill like Coltrane, Davis or Hancock or something newer like John Mayer Trio or Jason Mraz.

  43. Usually I’ll go with something relaxing, either a Smooth Jazz, Island music with steel drums or some 80’s tunes depending on my mood.

  44. Nice review. I can’t wait to get my mits on a few of those.
    No question that some peppy, upbeat rock and roll goes well with a stogie and a fine adult beverage.

  45. I’ve been listening to the new Blockhead and Gaslight Anthem albums for the last few nights smokes. Thanks for the review. I look forward to trying this one.

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