CAO...at it again. Jeff K More and more today, new cigar releases seem to be hyping up some sort of gimmick or “uniqueness” factor. Some work, some don’t, and it’s nice to see the industry moving forward in different ways. But most nights, when I’m looking for a cigar to unwind with after a long day, I don’t want something flashy. I want something simple and elegant. Enter CAO Pilon, a cigar that’s been one of my post-work go-tos since it was released in late 2015. I’m sure many of you are familiar with CAO, but if you have a second, check out their portfolio again, and just count all of the fantastic cigars that they’re behind. This brand is chock full of 90+ ratings (including the cigar at hand today), and I’m expecting that list will keep growing in the future. Pilon was released under their “Classic” line, which also includes the fantastic CAO Gold, Maduro, and Cameroon. So where does the name Pilon come from? It’s a purposefully stacked layer of leaves, meant to ferment the tobacco. This style of fermentation dates back to Havana, Cuba in the 1800’s. It’s a traditional approach that takes slightly longer than typical fermentation, but that delivers a flavor that is rich, bold, and as the line suggests, classic. Before we dive into the flavor of these sticks, let’s quickly go over the presentation. For my money, it’s unbeatable. The box is simple, the band gives you all the information on the blend that you need (why don’t more cigars do this?), and the text on the front tells you all about the Pilon story. Inside the box, you’ll find 20 perfectly rolled Nicaraguan gems. The Ecuadorian Habano wrapper is slightly oily, and really compliments the Nicaraguan fillers and binder. The result of this blend is a medium-bodied mix of spice, earth, cedar, leather, and a natural nuttiness. The cigar grows in strength as you burn it, and by the end, it certainly has a bit more kick, without being overwhelming. This is a perfect companion to a glass of rum after a great dinner. The balance of this cigar makes me confident recommending it to anyone, and as of now, I’m making sure I always have a few of these on hand. It just goes to show you — trends come and go, but passion and talent are timeless.