An indisputable fact: CAO Extreme ain’t messing around.
CAO. The keeper of 13 different 90+ rated brands. Thirteen. Different. Brands. CAO. The recipient of over 50 unique 90+ ratings.
CAO Extreme. A feisty, 3-country cocktail – laced with 4 different ligero varieties – that’s ready to change everything you thought you knew about CAO....forever.
Some say never judge a book by its cover. Solid advice, but today I say eff that noise. CAO Extreme is built upon power and complexity, and the oversized band tells you everything you need to know about what’s in store for your unsuspecting palate. It all begins with a dark and oily Ecuador Habano ligero wrapper, which graces a rich and spicy Nicaraguan binder. These tasty leaves conceal a robust combination of long-leaf ligeros from Honduras and Nicaragua, with a dash of La Entradas long-fillers to achieve perfect balance. After significant post-roll aging, this eventful cocktail serves up a bouquet that’s rich and hearty throughout, smacking every last taste bud with notes of toast, charred oak, nuts, espresso, and black pepper. Both bouquet and body intensify throughout the burn, building towards a robust, full-bodied finish. CAO Extreme. It’s strong, it’s satisfying, and it’s ready to make your taste buds go bat$h!+ crazy.
“I have been a fan of CAO for nearly twenty years, so when I saw the Extreme on a weekend special I jumped right on it. GREAT cigar!!! Very much reminiscent of a Man O' War, (one of my favorite smokes) both in appearance and flavor. Do yourself a favor and try these while good deals are available. Even at MSRP would still be worth purchasing. Once again, GREAT cigar!”
TS of Elkhart, IN
“I bought this box a intial pricing for a song. I figured what the heck,I'll give it a try.And boy I'm glad I did. This new CAO is quick on power and flavorful from start to finish.The first nubber I've had in a while. Hints of black pepper,and chocolate towards the end,no burn issues.This cigar is flawless. Their best new cigar since the Sopranos series,and every bit as good as my all time favorite from CAO. The Brazilia. A must try.You won't regret it one bit.”
TL of ROCKLEDGE, FL
“Ordered a box of robusto's when CI had them on special. I'm a big fan of CAO cigars and this one didn't let me down. The construction was great, the burn was perfect and the flavor had a punch but not harsh. Very spicy. These will be on my regular rotation.”
SC of MONROE, MI
“Got one of these beauties at cigarfest and it was the first one of the many cigars that i received that day. Great cigar. burned perfectly to the nub and tasted great. My humidor is a little full right now because of cigarfest but when i get some room i will definitely buy a box. Good job CAO
“Excellent cigar. Slow burning with thick bellowing aromatic smoke. There are different tastes at different stages of the cigar, from a heady spice, to mellow sweetness, to hints of nutmeg and cocoa. This is another hit by CAO and should add to it's portfolio of 90 rated cigars.”
FA of ORLANDO, FL
“I'm enjoying a Churchill as I write this. Very nice, robust smoke at a reasonable price. Lots of deep flavors at the back of the palate. Leather is very apparent. Earth and nuts too. Great draw and burn line. Not over the top powerful, like Cain F series or Tatuaje Faustos. This is very pleasant. I'll get another box at some point. Would be great for someone that wants to step up to a full cigar without being overwhelmed.”
BM of PERRYVILLE, MO
“Another great Cigarfest discovery. I enjoy CAO cigars and the Extreme lives up to the name. Very enjoyable smoke very robust.”
RF of FREEMANSBURG, PA
“Wonderful blend of tobaccos that lead to a mellow spice yet a bold flavor. The wrapper leaves a pleasant taste on your lips. The cigars are rolled to perfection and burn evenly! Highly recommended!”
MR of Leesville, LA
“I have been impressed with the CAO line for years. While looking for my favorite CAO cigars(Lx2), I saw the new CAO Extreme cigars. I have smoked several of these cigars and am pleasantly surprised! Great cigar!”
BR of WOODBRIDGE, VA
“The CAO Extreme is a very very good blend.... Great burn and awesome aroma. Folks trust me it's worth a try and you won't regret it!”
AW of Jonesborough, TN
“I'm smoking the Toro as of this writing. Thanks, Cigar of the Month Club for throwing this stick in. A truly great treat, although I'm not sure I would consider this a full bodied smoke (and I say that being more of regular mild-medium smoker). Right off the bat I got a delicious creamy cocoa smoke. The flavor is accompanied by semi-tight draw that insures an hour+ of smoking. Give this cigar a chance and you won't be disappointed. It's not my favorite cigar, as I prefer a smoother cooler draw, but damn is this good nonetheless. I wouldn't be ashamed to keep this in my humidor. Cheers!”
BS of Spencer, IN
“Rich, full and satisfying.”
HB of Orange Park, FL
“Second best cigar in my humidor. Cubans included. I don't need the prestige of a name or cost to recognize what I really like. Full bodied - slow smoking -well made and flavorful beyond belief. I have smoked these sticks on separate occasions with; rum, rye and coffee. Each drink had another influence on the cigar. I highly recommend this cigar.You will not be disappointed.An little leather - coffee and citrus are prevalent. Excellent cigar at a poor mans price!”
TM of Signal Mtn, TN
“Got this one in a sampler. A fine smoke. Smooth. Great draw. Would definitely recommend”
SS of Chapin, SC
“I like a well built strong cigar. Nothing too much to ask but nowadays seems ard to find for a reasonable price. The last batch of MOW Ruination didnt do it for me do I bought a five pack of CAO extreme. Got them 2 days ago smoked 2 straight off the truck. Why put them in the humi now?
Great construction, firm densely packed, wrapper hold together, taste is strong but not bitter, plumes of white smoke. I stopped half way through made guacamole, came back and it was still burning,
I haven't smoked a cigar till it burnt my fingers for 2+ years but this one has both times. My advice dont waste 5 bucks shipping on 5 sticks, buy a few boxes.
DM of Lancaster, PA
“Don't hesitate, buy this! Great flavor and great burn. Another excellent cigar from CAO!”
CR of Cheyenne, WY
“I don't normally take the time to write reviews but felt the need to after enjoying this cigar. I must say I have been holding out for CAO to come out with a line that impressed the way they did years ago. I haven't been a fan of some of their recent lines lately but the CAO Extreme has made me a fan again. I have read mixed reviews about this cigar but decided to jump all in and order a box with hope. I was not disappointed and you will not be either. I will continue to keep a stock of these in my humidor. Of course everyone has different preferences so take this recommendation as you see fit.”
SN of Colorado Springs, CO
“What can I say, I have yet to meet a CAO cigar I didn't love and these “Extremes” are no exception!!!! Great flavor!!”
EB of Carthage, NY
“I bought the "Legal Limit 18-Cigar Sampler III" wanting to expand my pallet into the Full strength cigars and thought I'd write a review from a novice's point of view. Great smoke! The "Extreme"(Robusto) is exactly that! It is very heady, dark & rich, a little spicy, BUT amazingly smooth and full of flavor! I must be a light weight because I caught and maintained a buzz the entire smoke. Can't wait to smoke my second "Extreme" (two in sampler)”
TN of Valrico, FL
“Does not taste as full bodied as the Brazilias I have recently been smoking, but another great offering by CAO at a reasonable price. Not a big fan of full length wrappers, but no complaints otherwise.”
TT of Bremen, GA
“Excellent cigar. Reminds me of a Punch Bareknuckle, but maybe even better. Can't go wrong here gents!”
SJ of Tatum, TX
“A very good rich smoke; a great after dinner cigar.”
If you know me, you know I’ve always been fond of CAO. Brazilia, Sopranos, Black, Italia....hell, I’m man enough to admit I’ve even burned through a fair share of Moontrance and Bella Vanilla over the years. Bottom line is, CAO makes a damn fine cigar, but more importantly, CAO cigars are among the most consistent and reliable in the boutique realm. There’s a reason why CAO maintains 13 different brands with a rating of ‘90’ or better. Seriously, this brand was receiving 93s in 2001, when an ‘87’ or ‘88’ was considered high.
Good start, eh? Well, here’s the reality check. If you know I’ve always been fond of CAO, you likely also know I enjoy the older CAO releases when compared to the latest offerings. OSA never really did it for me, Concert missed the mark with my palate, and La Traviata is brick and mortar only so I never think of it.
But this....THIS....is why I stuck with CAO all these years. Waiting for and wanting something new from CAO that hearkens back to the old days, when Brazilia stole our taste buds and Sopranos set new standards in super-premiums. The something new is CAO Extreme, and I suggest you give it the long, hairy eyeball.
Everything about this cigar is oldschool CAO to the core. The simple box made complex through modern, eye-catching design elements. The oversized band and in your face branding. And then, the most important thing, the blend. Four different ligero varieties were used to create this blend, including a thick and flavorful Habano ligero wrapper from Ecuador. CAO has always been known for using rare or unique tobaccos in blends, and these ligeros – and the amount of them – is no different.
By now, you likely know how this review is going to go. I can’t lie....I’ve been burning CAO Extreme for a few weeks now....and by that I mean 1-2 a day, at least. I can’t get enough of them. The flavor isn’t revolutionary, but it’s unique and eventful....and the experience is extremely satisfying. From the thick, aromatic smoke to the top-notch quality, and right on down to the ever-changing flavor....in my mind, Extreme has what it takes to out CAO the mighty Brazilia.
The cigar opens which a rich, roasted blast of dark tobacco goodness and a touch of white pepper. The smoke is thick and chewy, smothering my entire palate like a blanket and filling my room with an oily, charcoal-like scent on the exhale. There are literally clouds of smoke lingering above my head....it’s like the smoke is too heavy for the far-too-expensive ventilation system in my ceiling.
After about 10 minutes of slow-burning bliss, I begin to pick up a sweetness on the sides of my palate. An oaky, almost syrupy sweetness. Basically, if you told me these tobaccos aren’t barrel aged, I’d call you a liar. If you said it again I’d likely demoralize you publically. There’s oak, there’s toast, there’s sweet cedar, there’s black tobacco, and there’s pepper. But here’s the really interesting part. Ligeros tend to add a ton of spice and power smacking you in the teeth. This doesn’t do that. There’s no doubt pepper and power, but the blend hits you in the gut and just feels powerful, from the weight of the smoke. That doesn’t make sense, I am sure, but think on it if you happen to try this....I think you’ll understand. If you want to feel it for real, exhale through the nose and prepare for a pepper blast that’ll make you want to check for blood. Ahhh....ligero.
I am now midway through and the charcoal aroma is really coming off the cigar nicely as the smoke escapes the foot. It’s literally going right into my nostrils with each puff and I love it. A trace of black coffee has entered the fray, and the pepper has moved solely to the finish – right on the front of my palate and tip of my tongue. This is where the brass kicks in. If you’re not feeling CAO Extreme behind the eyes at this point, you’re letting it rest in your ashtray far too long. Pick it up, man up, and enjoy the fruits of well-aged, perfectly processed, and expertly blended ligero.
An inch and a half left and I’m looking at the clock to see if I have time to burn another before heading out for the evening. Oak dominates, coffee has faded, and leather surfaces. Pepper remains and shows no signs of going away. The final leg is rich, smokey, and meaty, and the strength has no doubt tipped well into the full-bodied arena. I am ending this review. There’s an inch left and I want to enjoy it. Do yourself a (big) favor and try CAO Extreme, and welcome CAO back to the limelight.
Oh, I had the Robusto.
Last thing. Had a delicious beer this past week. Finally found Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) on tap, and it was well worth both the wait and the long trip to try it before the keg was killed – which literally happened 10 minutes after my arrival. This dark, 11.2% beast is loaded with rich, roasted flavors, including coffee bean, dark unsweetened cocoa, and a trace of (seemingly charred) caramel. Delicious and satisfying, with no trace of an 11.2% backbone. If you see this, order two immediately. The flavors pop a ‘lil more as the beer warms up.