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Written by Puff Staff

Saturday, 17 February 2007

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Can any cigar live up to the packaging of the CAO Vision? We try and find out.

There is no denying the beauty of the box, a singular work of art.  The cigar itself has the CAO trademark good looks wrapped in a virgin white band that is simple in its complexity.  We are of course, referring to the CAO Vision, and more specifically, the cigar we tested, the Catalyst, a 5 x 50 Robusto.

The first Dominican-made cigar in the CAO Cigar portfolio, CAO Vision features a four-year-old Dominican Corojo wrapper and is an extraordinary composition of tobaccos from the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Brazil.

CAO Vision is packaged in the NEW Sensi-Box, a state-of-the-art cigar box that doubles as a humidor. The CAO Vision box/humidor has been scientifically calibrated to ensure the 68-72% relative humidity level that equates to optimally stored cigars.

Before we meander into our little review, a "take it for what it's worth" moment.  We were only able to smoke 3 of the CAO Vision Catalysts.  All three of these cigars were from the CAO launch party at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas during the 2006 RTDA show.  So not only did we have a very limited sample, these cigars were also early release, and had been sitting in our humidors for the last 8 months.

Why bother reviewing such a limited sample you ask?  First, it's hard to watch these beauties sit. Second, CAO will be releasing the Vision to dealers around the time of the publishing of this review.  Third, it wasn't likely we would be seeing more of these anytime soon.  Timing is everything!

The vision is a nice looking smoke.  If you're looking for humidor candy, look no further.  The question is, can such an amazingly packaged smoke live up to the baubles it surrounds itself with?  The answer...sort of.

If this cigar was received in a simple 25 smoke unbanded bundle, the smoking public would be raving about it.  Dressed in Armani, it has to live up to the billing.

Construction is flawless.  When you first pick up the Vision, it is solid as a rock.  Almost so muscular, our first concern was would this draw?  Rumor has it this smoke is rolled by La Aurora for CAO in the Dominican Republic, and the construction shows...flawless along with the draw.

The flavor is classic Dominican, and the blend of the Vision works together like a symphony.  Never once did the flavor vary from first light, an

accomplishment that is rarely achieved in any cigar from any country these days.  No single flavor dominated, a true sign of a great cigar.  That flavor remains somewhat of a riddle to us.  In the three smokes we sampled, with every cigar we found ourselves liking it more and more.  There are serious leather overtones and a creamy flavor that permeates the whole of the cigar.  The vision also behaved fantastically, never getting hot throughout the whole of the cigar.

This is not a heavy cigar, but a just right mix for any accompaniment.  We couldn't help but wonder if the finished product won't be more impressive than what we smoked, as some slight vegetal tones made themselves known from time to time.  Given the chance, we'll be giving this smoke another try...and looking forward to it.

The vision may not live up to its packaging, but don't hold that against it as a Ferrari could make Jessica Alba look average in the driver seat.  (Okay, we may be pushing it a bit there.)  This is a cigar well worth trying, and not just once. Make yourself try a few before rendering judgment.

Wrapper: Dominican Republic
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Brazil

CAO Vision Catalyst: 5 x 50 / MSRP: $12.00
CAO Vision Epiphany: 6 x 50 / MSRP: $14.00
CAO Vision Prana: 6 1/4 x 52 (Torpedo) / MSRP: $16.00




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