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Top 8 CAO Cigars

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

CAO cigars, named for the initials of the brand’s founder, Cano A. Ozgener, debuted during the Cigar Boom of the 1990s. By 2007, the brand had amassed some solid ratings from the critics and a decent audience when it was acquired by General Cigar, the parent company of Macanudo cigars, as well as several Cuban-legacy brands, including Cohiba, La Gloria Cubana, Partagas, Hoyo de Monterrey, and Punch. Today, CAO cigars are handmade in Nicaragua and Honduras. The brand is known for its flashy packaging, experimenting with tobaccos from around the world, and creating new and unusual shapes like its popular and ultra-thick box-pressed Flathead brand. You may recognize a few tried-and-true, old-school cigars alongside some trendier boxes in our list of the best CAO cigars you can smoke.

1. CAO Flathead

CAO Flathead cigars are big and blocky box-pressed smokes drawn from an oily Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and a full-bodied blend of Dominican, Nicaraguan, and Connecticut long-fillers. This unconventional, squared-off cigar earned a 95-point rating and was ranked as the ‘#3 Cigar of the Year’ in Cigar Aficionado for 2015. Savory notes of leather, molasses, and dark fruit leave an intense impression on the palate. The boxes, bands, and size names of CAO Flathead cigars are designed to appeal to motorheads and muscle car enthusiasts.

Strength: Full
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

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2. CAO Brazilia

Charry and chocolaty notes of nuts and coffee take over in CAO Brazilia, a hearty, medium-bodied cigar named for its succulent Brazilian wrapper. Inside, an earthy amalgam of Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos fills out a collection of bigger ring gauge shapes. The cigars come in boxes and bands dressed in the official colors of the Brazilian flag with size names that refer to the rich culture of South America’s largest country. Brazilia is part of CAO’s World franchise, a collection of cigars created to celebrate the tobacco and customs of countries around the globe.

Strength: Medium
Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Brazilian

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3. CAO Gold

A silky Ecuador Connecticut wrapper leaf conceals a mellow and rich interior of Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos in several traditional shapes in CAO Gold, one of the brand’s earliest hits. Easygoing notes of cashew, cedar, and white pepper mingle while pleasant aroma fills the room. CAO Gold still scores over 90 points with the critics, making it a good cigar for beginners who want to explore the brand.

Strength: Medium
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut

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4. CAO Cameroon

CAO Cameroon cigars are cloaked in a gingerbread-hued Cameroon wrapper, and inside is a smooth marriage of premium Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. A medium-bodied profile of nuts, wood, cocoa, and coffee comes to life in a handful of classic shapes. With over two decades of demand and a 92-point rating from the critics, CAO Cameroon makes our list of today’s best Cameroon cigars.


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5. CAO America

CAO America honors the USA in a stars-and-stripes-themed cigar finished in a unique barber pole wrapper handcrafted with a dark and oily Connecticut Broadleaf and a thin pinstripe of golden-blond Connecticut Shade tobacco. Underneath is a complex blend of Dominican, Nicaraguan, Italian, and American tobaccos. Tasting notes of Ghirardelli chocolate, cedar, and leather weave across the palate with creamy spices in a collection of sizes with patriotic names. One look at the intricate wrapper on CAO America is enough to make any aficionado want to fire one up.

Strength: Medium
Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

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6. CAO Italia

Traditional Italian cigars come in a smaller format and are more closely associated with the cigarillos Clint Eastwood smoked in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. However, that didn’t stop CAO from creating Italia, a collection of handmade cigars blended from Nicaraguan, Peruvian, and Italian long-fillers, married beneath a reddish-brown Honduran wrapper leaf. Peppery and perky notes of espresso, cedar, molasses, and brown sugar mingle before a full-bodied finale layers the palate in a handful of chunky shapes. Like Brazilia, you’ll recognize Italy’s national colors on the bands and boxes of a vintage 92-rated CAO cigar.

Strength: Full
Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Honduran

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7. CAO MX2

When CAO MX2 debuted, the blend overshadowed the original CAO Maduro cigars, which are packaged in bright-red boxes of 20 jet-black smokes. CAO MX2 is just as dark, though, and its chewy Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper covers a complex, four-country recipe of Dominican, Nicaraguan, Honduran, and Peruvian binder and filler tobaccos. Notes of earth, oak, and pepper meld with sweet and woody texture.

Strength: Medium-Full
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf

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8. CAO Pilón

A deep-brown Cuban-seed wrapper from Ecuador glistens with oil and hugs a balanced blend of Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos in CAO Pilón. The cigar is named for the circular stacks of tobacco, or pilónes, the leaves are stored in during the fermentation process – a technique that originated in Cuba. Toasted notes of nougat, earth, and hay impart traces of vanilla in a medium-bodied finish.

Strength: Medium
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano

Shop CAO Pilon Cigars

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