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Staff Reviews

CAO Gold Robusto Staff Review

Zack D. D's picture

Zack D.

I am reviewing CAO Gold in a 5 x 50 Robusto, a staple in the brand’s portfolio. CAO is named for brand founder Cano A. Ozenger, who launched the company during the Cigar Boom of the 1990s. Ozenger ran the company with his children, Tim and Aylin. Early on, the Ozengers relied on a handful of different cigar factories to produce their cigars. Eventually, the bulk of CAO production was transferred to the Torano family.

In 2007, the Ozengers sold the brand and CAO was folded into the portfolio of General Cigar, the parent company of other national labels, including Macanudo and Cohiba. Today, CAO is handcrafted in Nicaragua and Honduras.

CAO Gold is a mellow and approachable cigar. The blend is responsible for increasing the brand’s popularity. A medium-bodied recipe of aged Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos rest underneath a golden-blond Ecuador Connecticut wrapper. The wrapper shows a handful of thin veins as well as a few darker areas. The cigar’s pre-light aroma reminds me of hay, wet soil, and pepper. The cold draw adds hints of butterscotch, cedar, and leather.

As soon as I light up, I pick up lots of black pepper and dark-roast coffee notes. The spices mellow and hints of dark chocolate and leather enter. Notes of cedar and butterscotch characterize the retrohale. After about an inch, the flavors become somewhat salty and citrusy. A hint of orange peel lingers on the tongue. As I approach the middle of the cigar, black coffee and cedar notes dominate the profile.

CAO Gold mellows out and is nicely balanced in the second half. The retrohale is spicy while an overall creaminess unfolds. The long, lingering finish is a perfect balance of citrus and leather with notes of charred oak. It’s been years since I last reached for a CAO Gold. I forgot what I was missing.

The cigar’s construction is impressive. Despite a slightly loose draw to start, it smoked cool and slow and delivered a slew of flavors. It burned perfectly straight and produced a strong, light gray ash. Don’t let the light-blond wrapper fool you into thinking this is a mild cigar. I categorize CAO Gold as a solid medium-bodied smoke. I rank the strength at 4 or 5 out of 10.

If you are unfamiliar with the CAO portfolio, I highly suggest giving this brand a try. There is a cigar for every smoker’s palate. CAO Gold is a great entry point for newer aficionados. For more variety, check out the CAO Toro Assortment which features 5 popular CAO Toros with a reliable torch lighter in a sampler you can easily give as a gift or add to your coolerdor today!

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