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CAO Black

CAO's first and finest.

“The best cigar I’ve had, bar none.” I’m not exaggerating when I say I hear this over and over from my customers. To many of us, the exclusive CAO Black cigar is CAO’s crown jewel, their piece de resistance. That’s a bold statement, considering CAO’s stable includes a number of exceptional cigars. You see, this blend was crafted with extensively aged, top-tier tobaccos, made in extremely limited quantities, and packaged in hand-painted, hand-numbered boxes. The production run was small, a super-exclusive “small-batch” cigar. Needless to say, given CAO’s sterling reputation as a maker of superior cigars, they pulled out all the stops. That’s why hearing the phrase “CAO Black is my favorite cigar” has become so commonplace. 

Individually draped in cedar, this classic offers a ton of creamy spice flavors with a subtle hint of vanilla along with an abundance of complex and varied, medium-full flavors. It booms out big, creamy smoke rings, burns perfectly, and mellows nicely after the first 1/3, maintaining a smooth, woodsy flavor with an incredibly clean finish, leaving only a slight, lingering and pleasing peppery taste on the palate. Awesome. Just ask Cigar Buyer Magazine, which awarded CAO Black with an unprecedented perfect score of 10 out of 10, beating out a slew of other top brands.

Wrapper: Connecticut-Ecuador
Binder: Habano-seed Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico
Result: Delicious

  Size Pack In Stock MSRP Price Qty Cart
Bengal (Toro) (6.0"x50)5-PACK In Stock $26.00
Bengal + Colibri Cutter (Toro) (6.0"x50)BOX OF 20 In Stock $140.00$85.00
Frontier (Churchill) (7.0"x50)5-PACK In Stock $27.00
Frontier + Colibri Cutter (Churchill) (7.0"x50)BOX OF 20 Backordered $150.00$90.00   Notify
Gothic (torpedo) (6.0"x52)5-PACK In Stock $30.00
Gothic + Colibri Cutter (Torpedo) (6.0"x52)BOX OF 20 In Stock $160.00$99.00
Mosaic (Corona) (6.0"x42)5-PACK In Stock $22.00
Mosaic + Colibri Cutter (Corona) (6.0"x42)BOX OF 20 In Stock $120.00$75.00
Storm (Robusto) (5.0"x50)5-PACK In Stock $24.00
Storm + Colibri Cutter (Robusto) (5.0"x50)BOX OF 20 In Stock $130.00$80.00
  Related Products   In Stock MSRP Price Qty Cart
  CAO Dream Team Sampler 10 CIGARS In Stock $69.34 $29.99
Showing 1-50 of 68 Reviews
Customer Reviews of “CAO Black”
CAO .. Does. Not. Disappoint. The Black (Bengal) is just another example of an excellent cigar from CAO. What impresses me most about each CAO is the build. Perfect burn, consistent draw, and then at the core of CAO Black is an assortment of flavors, mild enough to enjoy in the background, but rich enough to not go unnoticed.
MB of Milford, MA
CAO Black is everything a regular cigar smoker could ask for. I have been enjoying CAO Black for about 5 years and they never fail to satisfy. Outstanding consistency in construction, draw and most importantly flavor. Smooth, cool and creamy, but with plenty of complexity and medium bodied spice to keep it interesting. This is a cigar that I always keep in rotation and one that can be enjoyed any time of the day. I am certain they age well, but I can not keep them long enough to find out. I wonder why CAO does not open this fine line of cigars to all retailers? That being said, it is an big advantage for CI to be one of a few retailers who carry CAO Black. And thank you CI for your great prices and specials offers on this cigar.
GS of Fleetwood, PA
I just received my order of CAO Black and have found them to be a terrific and great tasting cigar. I was told they would be too strong but that is not the case.
JG of Fairview Heights, IL
Fantastic medium to full cigar (CAO Black). Like the other CAO lines, the construction, burn, and draw of the Black is superb.
RA of Birmingham, AL
I bought some CAO Black cigars to share with my old friends this Christmas, and they will all be delighted. I could write an essay on the levels of pleasure I experienced when I sampled my first one. That was a special smoke, and I'm using all restraint to save the rest for my trip home for the holidays. Merry Christmas.
CP of Cohasset, CA
My first 2 CAO Black were at Cigar Fest 2005. Smoke one and bring the butt back and get a second. What a cigar! I definitely recommend this smoke.
GH of Bordentown, NJ
One of my all time favorites (CAO Black). Creamy, tasty, cool burning and effortless draw. A real gem that I can't get enough of. CI's great prices are the icing on the cake.
RL of Nazareth, PA
One of the best around (CAO Black). Medium to full body with a slight hint of pepper as well as some cocoa and earth tones. Beautiful draw and a very relaxing, satisfying smoke. Not as chocolaty as a MX2 but a wonderful blend in and of itself. Very, very nice.
JB of Hinsdale, IL
The CAO black: Smoked only the churchill (so far). This is a superbly rolled cigar with even draw & burn. Set aside about an hour to relax & enjoy this one. Smooth & nutty with enough bite to smoke late in the day. Recommended on all fronts.
KK of Rochester, NY
I never did get to the taste (CAO Black). Vanilla through out, pepper on the after taste, creamy and buttery smooth. Last time something tasted sooooooo good on my lips, it was my first kiss. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
VB of San Francisco, CA
I ordered a box of the Man-O-War (CAO Black) after reading the reviews by your staff and the comments from customers. I have smoked some good cigars in my lifetime including some real Cubans. CAO Black has to be one of the best cigars I have ever smoked. It has all the flavor and pleasantness I expect in a quality smoke and I have shared them with a few of my good friends who also agreed on their quality. I only have a few left so it is time to order another box or two. Thanks CI for the great reviews, great prices, great selection and great customer service. I hope to be nearby Pennsylvania in May so I can attend Cigar Fest 2007. Keep up the great work!
NG of Naples, FL
I'm a loyal Gurkha lover.....having said that, i now have a new favorite cigar, the "CAO BLACK" is quite simply the most delicious cigar that Ive ever smoked. I will be ordering these relentlesly. Move over Gurkha (in the humi), i need some room.
VB of San Francisco, CA
Just received my first order of CAO Black cigars, terrific tasting smoke, hints of vanilla, wood and that mild peppery taste.WOW!! I will be ordering more of these for sure. As a bonus, the limited numbered hand painted box is real cool looking too! THANKS CI
TR of Sevierville, TN
Just when you think CAO has done it all, they release the Man O' War. This is by far the CAO crowning achievement. Think of it as a CAO Black with the volume turned WAY up. Tons of creamy smoke. Vanilla and spice....cigar heaven. When you light this one up, make sure your schedule is clear for a solid two hours. Great job CAO. Great prices CI!
SO of Barstow, CA
Tried my first "'C.A.O. Black VR", and was TOTALLY blown away. Sooooooo, I thought I'd try the "C.A.O. Black", well you know the rest. The order is on the way.....man, i can't wait....you better overnight it. High and dry in S.F....later.
VB of San Francisco, CA
What can be said that has not already been said. (Okay, no has said "I like potatoes!" ) A nearly flawless cigar. Every time I smoke one of these CAO Black (I prefer the Storm or Bengal) I enjoy it as much as any cigar I have smoked. As with all of the CAOs I have smoked, the draw is perfect. Some of the staff reviews mentioned that there is aging potential, and I can attest to that. The Bengals that I have set aside for merely a year have mellowed, but the "creamy spice" that the CI gents refer to has become broader. Not necessarily stronger, but seems to coat the palate more evenly... very cool! Great smoke!
PJ of Crystal Lake, IL
Cant get any better than (CAO Black).!!!!! Nuff Said
G of PSimi Valley, CA
You guys continue to outdo yourselves. I'm sitting here, smoking a CAO Black and savoring every puff, and reading your latest catalog. Aside from the fact that you have the most entertaining catalog in the industry, your prices and specials just can't be beat anywhere. You offer such a tremendous array of cigars and accessories at the best prices. Plus, your intro deals are an incredible way to sample some of the best cigars, it's how I discovered the CAO Black. I've always been a huge fan of CAO's but the "Blacks" are my favorite and you guys are the only ones who sell them (at very fair prices for the quality, I might add!) Plus, your descriptions of each cigar, such as construction, taste, and smoking characteristics, are spot on. You run a "no BS" organization and it shows. From your catalog and website, to your excellent retail store (just the nicest, most straight shooting guys I've ever met in a cigar store), you're a class act.
JC of Doylestown, PA
I got some free CAO Blacks when I bought a box of Man O Wars. I put them away in a humidor for a couple of months and just recently "discovered them". Pretty darn good cigar. I don't like going on about nuttines or earthiness or hints of leather and cinnamon or the like but this is a complex smoke with changing taste as you smoke your way through it. Strong enough to get your attention without overpowering you. The one complaint I have is (I have smoked two now) they tend to get hot about half way down. Maybe if I smoke them a little slower they won't burn as hot..I don't know I only know they get hotter than I like. Other than that they are better than average.
DO of Soldotna, AK
If you want the best cigar around, this is it consistently! They may cost more than what you'd spend on a everyday smoke, but when you want a smoke that NEVER lets you down, this is it.
ML of San Jose, CA
Best Cigar Ever (CAO Black)! I can't really think of a better way to put it. Well, how about this way, this is the one cigar whose price is actually justified. TONS of flavor, the first time I smoked one I couldn't put it down, I felt like I wanted to take a bite out of it. Perfectly medium bodied, excellent construction, producing big bellowing clouds of smoke. Take my advice because I have tried them all, from Graycliff to Partagas to real Cuban Cohibas. If you truly enjoy cigars you must to try the Black.
MP of Pompano Beach, FL
This is the best CAO cigar(CAO Black)out there period. Absolutley stunning in both construction and balance. Better than CAO maduro and the Palms.
CW of New Me, co
This the best CAO (CAO Black) cigar I have smoked and I have smoked them all (except the Sopranos edition). This is a cigar you want to smoke till you burn your fingertips! Smooth from start to finish. If you like medium body cigars this one is worthy of your time.
JB of Jr. Rogersville, TN
WOW, I cannot say enough about the quality and great taste of the CAO Black. It has the perfect draw and thick delicious smoke that make cigars so enjoyable. The deal you have on these (with the 6 freebies and limited edition box) was just too much to pass on. Thank you for another great deal and accurate review of this cigar.
HW of Eugene, OR
THE CAO BLACK FRONTIER IS ONE COOL, SMOOTH, MEDIUM BODIED SMOKE. IT'S NOT ONE TO KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF, BUT IT IS VERY SATISFYING AND CONSISTENTLY GOOD. VERY BALANCED. I CAN'T SAY IT IS THE BEST CIGAR I HAVE EVER SMOKED, BUT IT SURE AIN'T NO SLACKER NEITHER. GOES WELL WITH THE MACALLAN 12 YR. SINGLE MALT SCOTCH AND A MILES DAVIS CD. AAAHHH. I THINK I'LL DO IT AGAIN TONIGHT.
SC of SHREVEPORT, LA
Holy smokes.....this is one delicious cigar (CAO Black)!! No need to beat a dead horse here, since others have quite accurately described the flavor nuances of this smoke, but it was SO good that I felt compelled to throw in my two cents. A definite medium bodied smoke with a fantastic combination of flavors all the way down to the nub. Quite honestly it reminded a lot of the CI Anniversary which is a compliment of the highest order. I grabbed these on a Joe's Daily Deal and I wish I'd grabbed more, as they are just a tad out of my price range for an 'everyday' smoke at their regular price. But this one certainly lived up to the hype!!
B of HBaltimore, MD
This is quite a nice cigar. (CAO Black) Beautifully made with an excellent flavour and aroma. Excellent draw and even burn. I'll smoke this one regularly.
MM of Leesburg, VA
With all the well deserved hoopla about the CAO Black VR, CI is performing a little sleight-of-hand by literally giving away the CAO Black Man O'War at 40 bucks for a box of ten. No, it's not advertised, and you have to look very close to find the deal, but it's there. All I can say is WOW. I reviewed the Man O'War awhile back, so I won't go on raving about it again. All you need to know is this cigar should be in the cigar hall of fame and CI is absolutely taken the price to the realm of bargain-of-the-year. As always, thanks CI!!!
SO of Ft Irwin, CA
AMAZING, SIMPLY AMAZING! Such an awesome taste to this medium-full bodied cigar (CAO Black). It smokes so smoothly and the aroma is so nice! The best made cigar I have ever smoked. A+ Cigar! If they could give a 100 rating, this would get it!
BB of Tallahassee, FL
Don't judge a cigar by one stick (any more than all women by one lousy relationship). If I toss 2-3 sticks from any box, I'm not happy, but it sometimes happens (four, however, is a return). Many problems are attributable to what happens between the cigar leaving the factory and arriving at your home e.g. handling, storage, temperature and moisture variations. All that being said, I'm with the 50 or so fans that find this cigar distinctive and flavorful. Plus, I've smoked plenty, and can't recall any construction problems. One of my desert island picks.
BH of Chelmsford, MA
SMOKING A TORPEDO (CAO Black) RIGHT AND I BECAME OVERWHELMED BY HOW GOOD THIS CIGAR IS. I LET IT SIT FOR ABOUT 6 MONTHS IN MY HUMIDOR AND I HAVE TO SAY, TIME ONLY MAKES THEM BETTER. PERFECT CONSTRUCTION, PERFECT DRAW AND PERFECT TASTE. IT DON'T GET NO BETTER THAN THIS. A+
GJ of Middletown, OH
So-- I had to see what all the hype was about. Thus, I ponied up and bought a 5er of CAO Black Frontiers. My order came in (Pretty quick, too. Thanks, CI!) and I threw them in the humi for a couple weeks. I finally busted one out about 5:15 in the morning (Ya, I'm a third-shifter). As soon as it lit up, I could tell I was going to love it. Peppery and powerful at the start- creamy and smooth in the middle-- crisp and clean at the end (just as many of the reviews have said). Thick gray smoke billowed out nearly the entire length of the cigar. The ash was a very nice white to off-white gray that fell off in logs that you could literally pick up without it falling apart. As the sun rose, I smoked it right down to the nub on my porch. Verdict? Excellent "casual" smoke for a great price. However, the CAO Black also has unlimited potential to be a top-shelf smoke reserved for special occasions if you can't get ahold of them. CAO Black-- welcome to a permanent spot in my humidor! What a smoke!
JL of Marion, IN
Wow, did I say Wow? I meant WOW! This smoke (CAO Black) is now officially in my starting lineup!
HD of Birmingham, AL
Wow! Creamy vanilla with a hint of pepper. Smooth yet just enough punch to make me perky. I love it, I love it, I love it! This is the first cigar I have EVER considered putting on automatic re-order status with CI so that a fresh box arrives on my porch every month like clockwork. Hmmmm....I think I'll end this message now and go put CAO Black on auto re-order status right now.
EB of Woodbridge, VA
After reading CI's reviews, along with some of the others from recent buyers, I decided to try a box of CAO Black Bengals. All I can say is that I will never doubt a CI recommendation. This cigar is undoubtably the finest smoke I have evered tried. Medium bodied with a wonderful flavor throughout. My wife will even kiss me after I smoke this baby! I will definately make room in the Elie Bleu for these! Thanks CI for keeping these great smokes so afforadable.
DR of Chino Hills, CA
Very disappointed in these cigars. Miserably weak as I was expecting medium-full. Maybe I got a bad box, but I'll pass from now on these. Only time I have ever been disappointed in CAO.
WW of Horseshoe Bay, TX
Gentlemen (and Ladies) there is only one phrase that fits: Once you go Black, you NEVER go back. Simply put, this cigar is awesome (CAO Black).
RP of New York, NY
WOW! The CAO Black Man O War has to be one of the largest cigars I have ever smoked. I pulled one out of the beautiful box and was stunned at the heft and size of this monster. All I can say about the taste is "YUUUUUM"! This cigar left the same creamy taste in my mouth that I get from eating a piece of caramel candy. Thanks CI and CAO for such a great cigar.
SB of Glendora, CA
CAO Black is one of the most complex cigars you will ever smoke. Upon first lighting the cigar you will instantly recognize cedar and mild spice. The spice is a pleasant addition and not an over powering pepper taste. This flavor note mellows VERY quickly into the character of the cigar enjoyed throughout the rest of the burn which offers strong notes of cherry, dark chocolate, and a touch of brandy. Not until you get to the nub does the spice reappear and meld with the other delicious aspects to create a fond farewell for your palate. A welcome addition to any cigar lover's humidor.
BC of Bethlehem, PA
Do yourself a favor and try a CAO Black. The rave reviews is no lie - they are excellent - everything about them for a medium smoke.
CF of Pittsburgh, PA
This cigar ( CAO Black) smacked me down like a pacifist at Genghis Kahn's birthday party. Deep, dark, and delicious, I was savoring its fullness of body and thickness of smoke, when it punched me in the head like a Mike Tyson uppercut. (Pre-Prison Iron Mike). Needless to say, I had to sit back down, and let my head clear before I could finish this incredible smoke. Definitely should be labeled "Do not attempt to operate heavy machinery or speak in coherent sentences for up to 15 minutes after smoking this cigar." I strongly recommend the CAO Black, but only if you are not a wimp.
SL of Watauga, TX
Just as advertised, one of the best cigars (CAO Black) I ever smoked.
NR of Houston, TX
A great smoke (CAO Black), but best with a meal. I normally prefer a milder smoke but picked up some of these on the recommendation from a friend. It is creamy and smooth, and went very well with a red wine and steak! I got a bit of a rush as I started it while dinner was still cooking, but once I started eating it rounded out nicely, and complements robustly flavored foods.
B of C Chattanooga, TN
CAO Black is a fantastic cigar. The burn is razor sharp the whole way through, if you muck up the lighting it'll correct itself within the first third. The draw, for me, is perfect, not to loose. The taste, like cedar, very little pepper, not harsh on finish, smooth. Smell that even non-smokers enjoy. After several boxes, they ALL were consistent. Can't go wrong buying these delicious sticks.
RG of New Milford, CT
This is definitely the best cigar i have had in a long time. The taste is incredibly smooth and consistent. The construction and burn were perfect. I both a box of these and once I had one I odered another box to set in the humidor. This is not for the full bodied smoke lovers out there, but the medium to mild guys like me should not pass this up. The best part may have been the aroma. I smoked one at a local outdoor bar and many people commented on how good it smelled. DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND GET A FEW OF THESE. A FEW BOXES THAT IS.
RG of Gainesville, FL
BY far one of the best cigars I have ever smoked. Very good flavor. Very good draw, an even burn. Not much to say here, just an all around excellent cigar!!
LI of Galloway, NJ
The (CAO Black) has made my top 5 list. I think it's the best cigar that comes from CAO. Awesome flavor and aroma.
GR of Sterling, VA
Wow, 49 out of 50 positive comments; sorry to have to add the second negative one. I received a Black Bengal as part of a sampler, and the wrapper was cracked/split from the cap to the band. After a little thought, I removed the cracked part of the wrapper, and smoked the cigar backwards! Lit the end that is supposed to go in your mouth, and put the foot in my mouth. Once I got past the construction problem, it WAS a pretty tasty cigar! I posted my experience on a cigar forum, and one of the other posters had gotten one in a sampler that was cracked as well. Maybe we both got one out of one bad batch, but the construction problem outweighed the nice taste for me.
RL of Glen Allen, VA
CAO BLACK Is my favorite by far and I have smoked many top self labels
CR of Dayton, OH
Well, I got this cigar as a single to try, since I have seen soooo many good reviews on this one. I have to say she's a beautiful one. It is well constructed with great amounts of smoke. Burns well. The only thing is, besides being slightly smoother, the taste is just like these John Bulls I have. If you gave me a blind taste test I would barely tell the difference. If you want a excellent top shelf Connecticut go with Olivia. Can't go wrong.
JC of Middleburg, FL
I just smoked one last night and I was amazed on how great this cigar was. The flavor was out of this world. I will be filling my humidor with this cigar.
SM of Duluth, GA
While I enjoy a CAO Black when it is a good cigar, too often for me it is rolled too tight and with the delicious, but fragile wrapper it gets damaged much of the time. Out of a box I would say that half are a delightful mellow smoke and the other half are a job to smoke.
DS of Lincoln City, OR
Unfortunately this is the one that didn't do it for me. I got the Dream Team sampler and I have THOROUGHLY enjoyed all but this particular one. The rest have absolutely blown me away. That being said I have one more Black Bengal and will give it another try later on, but for now this is the only one I won't be buying again. If you haven't already you owe it to yourself to try the Dream Team sampler.
MS of Cypress, CA
Great cigar, smoked one last night last over an hour wonderful
LB of East Haven, CT
Novice smoker here. Have tried CAO Gold, Gold Maduro (both nice), LFD Sauve (very mild & enjoyable), 5 Vegas Classic, and Macanudo Cafe Hyde Park (need to try another; the first stick burned horribly). With two fingers of Laphroaig Cask Strength accompanying me this CAO Black is easily the best, most enjoyable, creamy, delicious tobacco I've tasted thus far. The light is effortless, the burn is consistent, the draw is perfect, the flavour can only be described as "gorgeous"; not the least bit overpowering to even the novice palette. The smoke billows out more than the other sticks I've mentioned and I'm smiling ear to ear.
MM of Burlington, ON
The first draw on this made me smile. It is simply perfection. The wrapper and construction are flawless. This cigar came in a sampler and, boy, am I glad it did. I would say it is more on the full bodied side. I have smoked many a nice cigar, but this truly takes the cake. I highly recommend it.
WJ of Woodstock, GA
Best cigar to date! I just received a 5 pack of these last night and tried one right out of the package. Smooth and flavorful. I definitely will stock these. I can't wait and try one after its been in the humi for awhile.
BS of LA CROSSE, WI
After reading the great reviews, I'm left wondering if I smoked the same cigar. Not bad, but far from great. They seem rather bland to me....
RM of ST PETERSBURG, FL
It's all true! CAO's Black is the kind of blend that should be reserved for special moments. It's the most delicious mild bodied smoke anywhere near my rotation & that says a lot for a roto that includes Camacho, Joya DeNic, Obso & Core. The toro is a smooth, slim thing of beauty measuring 6.2" X 50. I love the cedar wrap & carefully remove it & place it on another of my 50 ring gauge vitolas, for a long cedar nap. Notes of vanilla, wood, light white pepper with a sweet undertone, intermingle on the tongue & cling pleasantly to the palate. CAO makes excellent cigars & the Black blend is their best, IMHO. I give the CAO Black toro a robust 4.5 out of 5 vitola rating. Highly recommended. Works well with a snoot of scotch or a pint of English ale.
BB of LOVELAND, OH
Yesterday I had the CAO MX2, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had a couple CAO Black's sitting in the humidor and decided to try it today. This is an amazing cigar. Very pleasant throughout with nice fulfilling smoke. The taste stayed immersive and left me with that warm fuzzy feeling afterwards!
MB of Saint Clair Shores, MI
Bought a sampler that had CAO Black...this cigar is extremely well made, and burns evenly from start to finish. Copious amount of smoke with each draw, but never harsh....Very, very enjoyable smoke, regardless of the price....a "10"!
VV of St. Louis, MO
Bought a sampler that had CAO black. This cigar is extremely well made, and burns evenly from start to finish. Copious amounts of smoke with each draw, but never harsh....Very, very enjoyable smoke, regardless of the price....a "10"!
VV of St. Louis, MO
These were about the best I ever had! Great value, smooth smoke with rich flavors. Well worth the money!
HF of Big Canoe, GA
Well made, perhaps a bit hard. Smokes evenly with pleasantly spicy taste. Would recommend it and I will order again.
HF of Big Canoe, GA
I just tried my first CAO Black, and it was wonderful! I smoked it down to almost nothing! I paired it with some Crown Royal Black (didn't plan that haha. I'll most certainly buy more of these! A great cigar that doesn't hurt the wallet. What's not to love! Awesome job CAO!
JG of HAYS, KS
I've tried a lot of cigars. Gurkha, Vegas, Rocky Patel, and I always come back to CAO and far and away my favorite is the black. I've tried all the different rolls and no matter what the black in any roll is my favorite. What a wonderful experience it would make anyone a cigar lover.
RS of LEWISTOWN, MT
One of my favorite cigars of all. A genuinely good tasting smoke. I was a novice so I ordered a sampler with a humidor to get started and this was one of the most pleasant smoking experiences I had found. The corona size seems to provide less of the exorbitant smoke plumes that I enjoyed so much in the chunkier version I had in my sampler, though I can't remember what that size was....I'll be keeping my eyes open for CI's next CAO Black deal--and I will be buying some. Thanks CI!
CG of Niles, OH
very good, nice flavor profile, great burn good medium body cigar ... best bang for your buck nice aroma
KI of chelmsford, MA

CAO Man O' War

Posted by Keith

Let me say this right up front: CAO Black is a truly fantastic blend. I've sung its praises from sea to shining sea before so don't roll your eyes. It ain't just me! In fact 4 out of 5 dentists agree. But alas, a few unfortunate souls haven't yet been lucky enough to try it. To them my words may sound like the Amen chorus, but believe me brother when I tell you the Black is one of the best blends on the market. This is a cigar to be taken slow. Rush it and risk missing the varied and numerous subtleties and nuances, including pepper, creaminess, nuts, cedar and even notes of vanilla. 

So when word spread of a new, limited production size called Man O' War, I was ready to bestow the wet, sloppy kiss of approval before it was even released. Just four weeks ago the eagle landed, precipitating a veritable feeding frenzy around CI headquarters. 2,000 boxes in total for the entire industry, handmade in a one-shot production run, and all sitting just 80 yards from where I am writing this. I feel like a fat man working in a donut shop.

A cool and stately 6"x60 size, this rather portly vitola is practically the Balthazar of the cigar world. But like Bill Russell, the Man O' War packs a finesse game in a big fella's body. Pre-light, there's a distinct salt and pepper flavor to the wrapper. After toasting I immediately find the thick ring of the Man O' War to tame the pepperiness of the Black blend and tone down the strength a touch....I'd go so far as to say it borders on mild to medium, rather than a true middleweight as are the other sizes. It boasts an ample creaminess, vanilla undertones, extraordinary smoothness, and pours forth with lovely clouds of gray smoke. The soft creamy flavors linger on the palate a moment before dissolving into a clean, crisp finish. 

It's got great aging potential too, I'd recommend grabbing several boxes before they disappear. Smoke a few and put the rest away for a little nap.

CAO Black

Posted by Jeff K

CAO is a brand that makes a ton of great cigars, has accrued a lion’s share of 90+ ratings, and developed a devoted fan base of die-hard CAO nuts. Their cigars are definitely some of the best on the market today. A personal favorite of mine has always been the CAO Black. This is the unequivocal “everybody” or “anytime” cigar. It’s mild and smooth enough to light up right at the crack of dawn, but it also has more than enough flavor and complexity to be enjoyed after a full meal or over drinks. It’s the essential, universal humidor staple. Best part is, they are consistent as hell and reasonably priced.

The packaging is noteworthy. The boxes are hand painted with a Jackson Pollock-esque paint splattering – a nice touch. Packaged in wooden boxes of 20, each cigar comes individually cedar wrapped.

The wrapper - It’s a Connecticut-seed grown in Ecuador, but it is unlike any other Connecticut wrappers out there. Dark-brown, even colored and astoundingly smooth, this wrapper is a sight. The binder is a Nicaraguan Habano, which adds some oomph. Its 3-country filler blend is well aged for smoothness and diverse for complexity. With long-filler tobaccos from Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico, CAO Black is well proportioned and meticulously blended for optimal smoothness, flavor and complexity.

From beginning to end, CAO Black is smooth, impressively smooth. The flavor profile isn’t overly flamboyant, but it is loaded with rich, natural tobacco notes. With some cigars, I get a ton of different distinct flavors – which I like most of the time. But CAO Black offers something a bit more traditional. It tastes like a cigar – pure, natural tobacco. I definitely get some notes of cedar, cream, and pepper accompanied by a clean, semi-sweet finish, but nothing too intense of overwhelming. Its mellow and easygoing from start to finish, but the flavor is defined and always present. Medium-bodied, refined, elegant and not overdone.

This may not become your favorite cigar (although it very well may), but they do have a place in your humidor. When I buy a box, its always seems to be empty pretty quickly.

CAO Black

Posted by Brandon S

Originally the first cigar ever produced by Cano A. Ozgener the Black is back and in my opinion, it’s better than ever!

I keep an ample supply of these on hand at all times because quite frankly, I think they’re addictive. At home I have so many empty CAO Black boxes that at a quick glance it damn near looks like a Zebra standing next to my humidor!

The Black is a very well-rounded cigar that upon lighting it up will greet you with a quick dose of spiciness before settling down into a creamy, medium-bodied smoke at about the 1” mark. A little further into it and you begin to pick up distinct cedary notes that are a direct result of each cigar in the box being draped with a nice cedar sleeve. From here the Black slowly gains complexity, constantly changing and evolving throughout the remainder of the cigar. Over time I have settled on two specific sizes that I really enjoy; the 6X50 Toro size called the Bengal and the 6X52 Torpedo named Gothic. Both sizes are simply perfect for showcasing the dizzying array of flavors that this cigar is capable of producing. Come to think of it, the only down side (if you can call it that) is that the CAO Black is extremely limited in production. Just 6,000 boxes of each size were produced for the US market which means that it’s about time I stop writing and get myself set up with another coupla boxes!

CAO Black

Posted by Keith

Unquestionably this is my favorite CAO blend. The packaging is unique - the boxes are unlike any you've seen. Stark black all around, snow white lids, and the top strewn with black paint like some kind of Jackson Pollock piece you'd see at the Museum of Modern Art (having seen the laborious process of painting these boxes in the Honduran box factory, I can tell you that it is quite a sight). Crack the box open and you've got more eye candy: lovely cigars, each one draped in its own cedar sleeve, its Connecticut-seed Ecuadorian wrappers glistening with a nice oily sheen and super smooth texture. Ooooooh.

Upon lighting you get a load of spiciness and some sharpness on the tongue, but shortly after it takes a turn into a creamy vanilla-like smoothness. By no means one-dimensional, this somewhat complex blend develops and evolves as it burns from foot to nub. It's got character, depth of flavor, and a medium-bodied strength level that suits me perfectly. No fine print or qualifiers needed, I love it.

CAO Black

Posted by Gonz

I've been under the weather for the past couple of weeks. My ass has been kicked with this ridiculous head cold that I just can't seem to shake. Where does phlegm come from anyway? Isn't it amazing that no matter how much you blow your nose or cough up a lung, your body produces more and more. One day, I finally gave in, got home early, and tried to get some rest. Unfortunately, Nickelodeon was having a "Welcome Back, Kotter!" marathon. A couple of hours later, I finally fell asleep and then I had this whacked out dream about cigars (not all that unusual I guess) but it was in the plot of a Welcome Back Kotter episode! Barbarino's uncle had a source for Cuban cigars, so me, Vinnie, and Epstein were trying to offload them for top dollar - until Mr. Woodman caught us and tried to have us arrested. Mr. Kotter saved the day, of course, convincing Mr. Woodman that we were budding entrepreneurs, didn't know they were Cubans, and should be commended for our efforts to start our own business. Man, sick dreams are weird.

Anyway, since I haven't been able to taste anything since New Year's Day, yesterday, over 2 weeks later, I finally picked up my first cigar. Now I've had 2 weeks to think "What is the first cigar I am going to smoke when I can actually smoke again?" I needed a good "Welcome Back" cigar. I've been itchin' to pick up one of those new CAO Blacks since they arrived in late December. The reviews have been phenomenal, truly exceptional, but you never know if you should attribute that to user excitement of a new line or is this the real deal? (Remember when the CAO Brazilia's came out - yowza, you couldn't find one anywhere - except CI of course!) So, in effort not to shock my system, I only smoked half a cigar last night - a couple of inches down just to prepare my pallet. I had a hard-time putting it down, but fear of a lung-hacking episode forced me to put it down! Tonight, I picked up a second CAO Black and it was pure heaven. Oh, it's good to be home again.

This cigar, the original CAO cigar, has been re-released with a Connecticut shade seed / Ecuadorian grown wrapper, Nicaraguan binder, and fillers from Nicaragua, Honduras, and Mexico. With so many different tobaccos, you know that the blending by the aficionados at CAO is going to be second-to-none.

I read a review on another site back in December that had the following quote: "the CAO Black Label is the best cigar I have ever smoked in any price regardless of country of manufacture." Bold statement, for anyone - novice smoker or professional reviewer. Sure, everyone's taste is different, but any lineup by the folks at CAO, plus a raving endorsement, is reason enough to try it.

The initial light of this baby sparkles on your front tongue with a spicy, dry flavor lending the impression that this will be a powerhouse cigar. My guess is that this originates from Mexican filler in the blend. The first inch is much of the same, but then the Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos take over. It burns fast with tons of bellowing smoke. The next two inches begin the "smoothening" ritual of this quality cigar. The burn slows down, the spicy character fades, and a rich full body is softened by the flavorful, mild, and pleasant Connecticut shade wrapper. I don't care where a Connecticut wrapper is grown, I love the smooth and silky wrapper. The Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut is not nearly as pale and fragile as a typical Connecticut, but the flavor is superb. There isn't much deviation from there. A dry, woodsy character with a strong full body, yet mild to medium flavor on the palate.

The Black will hold your tastebuds and with solid construction that you can expect from the folks at CAO, you won't be disappointed. After a long time away, I'm back baby! So very back! And I can't think of a better way than to have a few more CAO Blacks and make my tastebuds jingle.

P.S.
Many thanks to all of you that sent congratulatory notes to me over the past month. And thank you for sharing some of your personal stories and experiences. It was truly wonderful to hear from so many of you.

P.S.2
In case you're like me trying to remember the "Welcome Back, Kotter!" theme song, I did some research for ya'...

Welcome back, Your dreams were your ticket out.
Welcome back, To that same old place that you laughed about.
Well, the names have all changed since you hung around,
But those dreams have remained and they've turned around.
Who'dve thought they'd lead ya? (Who'dve thought they'd lead ya?)
Back here where we need ya? (Back here where we need ya?)
Yeah, we tease him a lot, Cuz we've got him on the spot. Welcome back.
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.

CAO Black Man O' War

Posted by Steve R

I've been known to jump the gun on more than one occasion. Today marks another one of those occasions. The cigar I am smoking right now is a sample of something very special that's scheduled to arrive towards the end of May. The reason I decided to write about it is simple: I've been burning through these samples on a daily basis, and loving every single one.

The cigar is Man O’ War, a limited-production size within the CAO Black line. The size, a menacing 6”x60 super-toro. CAO sent us 50 samples. Of that number, I’ve had at least 30, and each one has offered everything I could possibly ask of my favorite CAO blend, CAO Black.

If you’ve tried CAO Black, consider this: Take everything this blend offers - the creamy texture, peppery aftertaste, vanilla undertones and buttery smooth character – and multiply it. Multiply it by 2, 3, whatever; just imagine more. That’s Man O’ War, ‘more’ CAO Black. A soothing hour and a half of sheer smoking delight.

Only 20,000 cigars were produced from CAO’s one-time alottment. To thin the inventory out a bit, these gentle giants have been set in boxes of 10. Indeed, Man O' War will turn some heads.

Free Colibri Grip CAO Cutter!

Free Colibri Grip CAO Cutter!

For a limited time, receive a free Colibri Grip CAO Cutter (worth $40) with every qualifying box purchased!


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