CAO Flathead Tour with Ricky Rodriquez, a Contest Winner and ANOTHER CONTEST!

Yesterday I took a drive out to Colmar, PA to the Cigar Cigars store for a CAO Flathead event with Ricky Rodriguez. I got there a few minutes after the event was supposed to start, so I took a look around he expansive humidor. They’ve rearranged the store since my last visit, moving the counter to the front and making a larger public lounge area. I had mixed emotions about what I saw on the buy one/get one table. On the one hand, I was sad to see cigars like the Leccia Black and White, some EPC and the Compounds, Elements and Musings, on the other hand I got a deal on some cigars I wanted to try. I picked up the H, 2, and O and a Titanium torpedo in an effort to sample the entire line. I also picked up a CAO Brazilia Gol to get my day started, I’ll get some Flatheads when they arrive.
2014-05-24 16.10.31I settled in with the CAO Brazilia Gol, I have always enjoyed this blend, especially in the 5″x  56 size. The Brazilian wrapper is dark and oily, and it has a unique, exotic spice flavor that I enjoy. The burn was perfect, which I take as a sign that this establishment maintains their humidor properly. I got nearly half way through the cigar by the time Ricky and Gary arrived. I first met Ricky when he was on Team La Gloria a few years ago (I smoked an Artsanos de Tabaqueros last week that was incredible), and had the privilege of spending time with him in the Dominican Republic on the trip in 2011. Rick runs the CAO operations now, and studied at the feet of Benji Menendez.


After catching up with Ricky for a bit, I was ready for another cigar, so I made my second purchase of the day, a handful of CAO Flatheads, including the ginormous Big Block, a square pressed 7″x70. On the other end of the spectrum is the new Spark Plug, at 4″x 50, which was my next cigar. I also picked up a Heatwave for future smoking and a Area 9 sampler. The Sparkplug has the same square press and flat cap as the rest of the line, but has a closed foot. It’s a tasty little powerhouse,  and smoked much longer that it’s 4 inch  length would suggest. I always thought the wrapper on these lines was maduro, but Rick explained that while it is a dark wrapper, they don’t call it maduro because it’s a lower priming Connecticut Broadleaf than can be used for maduro. It’s carefully processed to the dark color. Call it what you want, it both tasty and visually appealing!


Here’s a video with Ricky ‘splaining the newest offerings from CAO. Thanks to Vince from The Cigar Lounger Magazine for doing the camera work for me!



Ricky went on to give a presentation of how cigars come to be, a seed to smoke kind of thing that wasn’t brand specific or propaganda of any sort.  He covered the planting, curing, fermenting, sorting, rolling,  quality control and packaging very nicely. If you can manage to catch him on this tour, you won’t regret it. He’s got some great stories (ask him about Philly cheesesteaks!) 2014-05-24 17.26.19And is an all around fun guy to hang out with, and his cigars are pretty good too. I enjoyed the afternoon at Cigar Cigars (I sure wish they’d have more events at the three stores within ten miles of home as opposed to having to drive almost an hour!), it was great seeing old friends.




Contest_052014It’s Sunday, so it’s time to select a winner for this week’s contest. You will recall that I pulled a selection of cigars from my humidor, some I purchased, some were leftover samples, but all random_05252014are tasty smokes that I’ve enjoyed. I will add a La Gloria Cubana of some sort to the mix, as well as a CAO Flathead Sparkplug, bringing the total to something like 17 cigars. According to the random number generator at, the winner is number 36, which works out to be foozer6976. Congrats! Please send your address so I can get your goodies to you.

But wait!

I’ve gone contest crazy again! I ended up with some goodies from my escapades yesterday, so I’m going to have ANOTHER CONTEST (actually another series of contests! Stay tuned)!  I’ve got a metal CAO Flathead sign,a pair of CAO Flathead Sparkplug cigars, and a CAO Area 9 sampler. Ricky explains the Area 9 in the video, but for those who didn’t watch, there are six cigars that are coded, and all of them are from the pre-General Cigar Co. CAO era. The cigars are anywhere from five to twenty years old. There could be original Anniversary Series from the Costa Rica days, up to La Traviatas. By the second week in June we should be able to visit, enter the code on the band and find out what the cigar is!

2014-05-25 08.46.48

So leave a comment to enter and I’ll pick a winner on Wednesday. Thanks to Gary and Ricky for enabling me!


That’s all for now! Happy Memorial Day. Remember those who’ve given their lives so that we have the freedom to enjoy a fine cigar. Until the next time,





Filed under Contest, Events, Review, Stores

55 Responses to CAO Flathead Tour with Ricky Rodriquez, a Contest Winner and ANOTHER CONTEST!

  1. Bill Williams

    Happy Memorial Day and please remember and thank those that have and do keep us free!

  2. Leave a comment? No I will beg for a chance to win lol

  3. Eric Pickett Jr

    Very nice article I enjoyed it a lot. Actually learned some stuff on CAO I did not know. Thanks for the info and look forwRd to the next. Stay smoke and long ashes brother.

    Eric Pickett Jr

  4. Dan Colley

    Random number generator? Sounds like a pretty easy way to make money for someone (other than me !!!) Anyway, my name is in the hat. I’ve always wanted to smoke some vintage cigars. This is probably going to be my best chance to do that. Good reviews today. As always, you give me something to think about when ordering.

  5. Steve C

    Great read today. Great giveaway, too!

  6. Thanks for those who served, remember those who fell

  7. Kevin Shahan

    Happy Memorial Day. Have a smoke for the troops, I know I will.

  8. Wow Love me some CAO cigars. I would love to win this contest.

  9. Patrick Hosler

    Always excited to try rare burns. Thanks for the fun contest. What a clever way to “clean” out the cao vaults. I may have to pick one up.

  10. Chris Brose

    That would be an awesome sign to put up in my garage as well as cigars to smoke in my garage! Hope I win this! Happy Memorial Day!

  11. Chris V

    Didn’t even realize that Ricky was coming to any of the shops outside of Philadelphia. The Area 9 stuff sounds interesting. I’ll have to seek some out!

  12. Dawn C

    Great Sticks!

  13. jjo

    Congrats to foozer!

    Thanks to you and Rick for the info and another great giveaway.

  14. Duane Holmes

    Great smokes!!

  15. KRUK

    That would look bad ass out on the deck!!!

  16. That sounds sweeeeeet!!!

  17. Swede214

    Thanks Craig again for your contests, and let’s not forget our men and women in our military. Happy Memorial Day.

  18. Brian Impson

    Hmmm, I wonder if 18 is a lucky number for me?

  19. Thanks again Craig. Have a great Memorial weekend!

  20. Miguel

    Wow this smoke sounds really good. Thanks Craig for the article

  21. The Big Block is a thing of beauty. I try to have one a month. What the heck is Area 9?

  22. Chris McCann

    Nice post, Craig..and thanks for the contest!

  23. Andy K

    I still have four of the O.G. CAO Annies left. Thanks for the contest.

  24. Thechris213

    Thanks Craig appreciate the chance

  25. Loomisglx

    Nice to see there’s some pre-General stick’s around, particularly available in your contest. Thanks for the opportunity in the contest.

  26. I’d love to win that sign…

  27. Craig

    Another great review. Look forward to hearing your thoughts on the 7×70.

  28. Freakboy791

    Happy holiday, all. Craig, thanks for yet another contest.

  29. Rachel M

    I hope your having a great holiday weekend! Thanks for the giveaway 🙂

  30. Remember those who have given the ultimate!

  31. Michel Vigeant

    Craig, love reading the blog. Sorry to hear about the pooch. Stay smokey, my friend

  32. Commish

    Nice article. Thanks for another chance to win.

  33. Matt Ross

    Happy Memorial Day, Craig – thanks for the contest as always.

  34. Mike in Fla

    Remember those who gave their lives for your Freedom. Thanks Craig for the contest.

  35. TriMarkC

    I’ve met with Ricky a few times at events – great guy! Those Area 9 cigars sound incredible – I’d love to win just for those!!!! Take care, and Happy Memorial Day to all!

  36. George Satterfield

    I read this a couple of days ago and decided to wait to reply, thought maybe if I got my name down further on the list I could have a better chance. last weeks prize pack was totally awesome !! As is this weeks, I have not tried the “Flathead” Yet but looking forward to it. Maybe the Spark plug as it is smaller. I hope you are having a grand weekend, take care and keep it real.

  37. smoke770

    fantastic smokes!!! Thanks!

  38. KOPTim

    It just so happens that my favorite cigar is the CAO Brazilia. Never had the Flathead , but it is on my list to try.

  39. Great article and contest!

  40. Great article as always brother Craig! After reading it I feel I need a tuneup, maybe a new set off Sparkplugs..hehehe. I’m in for that most awesome giveaway! All the best, Craig

  41. First time reading this blog…very informative. I’m learning a lot about cigars and this site has already showed me so much. Winning the contest would be a great way to learn more!!!

  42. Thanks for the giveaway. Glad you enjoyed your trip.

  43. Don Kozerow

    Got a bare spot on my wall that could use that sign

  44. John

    Good blog, Thanks for the contests.

  45. Zeegar

    ANOTHER contest???? Please include me!

  46. Never heard of the Area 9 Sampler, so I would like to try those. I dig the size of the Spark plug so this would be a nice bonus. Thanks for the contest and I hope you and your family had a great Memorial Day weekend.

  47. Huh this is very interesting, thanks for the contest sir

  48. Mike

    Great read. Thanks for mentioning the real heroes who protect our freedoms.

  49. Thank you for the Contest and congrats to the winner of the last one!

  50. Everett

    Great website and contest

  51. Morgan Geoghagan

    I love CAOs. Thanks for the contest!

  52. John Hateley

    Love CAO cigars and the site! Keep up the good work!

  53. Travis

    Mmmmm Flatheads. Thanks for all your info and of course contests!