CAO Black June 18th, 2009 Jeff K 90 Share: 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.