CAO cigars have been a favorite of cigar enthusiasts for decades. The brand has a rich history that spans back to 1968 when Cano Aret Ozgener founded the company in Nashville, Tennessee. Ozgener was a mechanical engineer by trade, but he had a passion for cigars and decided to pursue his dream of creating a premium cigar brand.
CAO cigars quickly gained popularity among cigar aficionados due to their unique blends and high-quality tobacco. The brand’s success allowed them to expand their offerings and explore new flavors and cigar-making techniques. Over the years, CAO has introduced a variety of popular lines, including the CAO Brazilia, CAO Gold, and CAO Flathead.
The history of CAO cigars is a testament to the brand’s commitment to quality and innovation. From humble beginnings in Nashville to becoming a household name among cigar enthusiasts, CAO has remained true to its roots while continuing to push the boundaries of the cigar industry. In this article, we will explore the rich history of CAO cigars and how they became one of the most beloved cigar brands in the world.
Founding of CAO International Inc
In 1964, Cano Aret Ozgener founded CAO International Inc. as a family business that produced premium cigars, cigar accessories, Meerschaum pipes, and pipe tobaccos. Cano Aret Ozgener was born in Istanbul, Turkey, on January 19, 1937. He moved to the United States in 1961 to obtain a graduate degree in mechanical engineering at Columbia University. After graduation, he worked for a few years in the engineering industry before turning his attention to his true passion – tobacco.
Cano Aret Ozgener
Cano Aret Ozgener was the founder of CAO International Inc. and the driving force behind the company’s success. He was a passionate tobacco enthusiast who traveled all over the world in search of the finest and rarest leaf known to man. His dedication to quality and his commitment to excellence are the hallmarks of the CAO brand.
In 1995, Rick Rodriguez joined CAO International Inc. as a blender and tobacco expert. He quickly rose through the ranks and became the company’s master blender. Rick Rodriguez was instrumental in creating some of the company’s most popular blends, including the CAO Brazilia, the CAO Italia, and the CAO Flathead.
Under the leadership of Cano Aret Ozgener and Rick Rodriguez, CAO International Inc. became one of the country’s top lines of premium cigars. The company’s Meerschaum pipes were smoked by presidents, senators, actors, and other dignitaries. Today, CAO International Inc. is owned by General Cigar Co., but the legacy of Cano Aret Ozgener and Rick Rodriguez lives on in every CAO cigar.
Expansion and Blends
CAO Cigars has expanded rapidly since its inception in 1968. The company has created a wide range of blends, each with unique flavors and aromas. Here are some of the most popular blends from CAO Cigars.
CAO Brazilia is a medium to full-bodied cigar with a dark, oily Brazilian wrapper. This blend is known for its rich, earthy flavor and hints of spice. The filler is a blend of Nicaraguan and Brazilian tobaccos, which gives the cigar a smooth, creamy finish.
CAO Colombia is a mild to medium-bodied cigar with a smooth, creamy flavor. This blend features a rare Colombian tobacco leaf as the wrapper, which gives the cigar a unique flavor profile. The filler is a blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos, which adds a touch of sweetness to the cigar.
CAO Flathead is a full-bodied cigar with a bold, complex flavor. This blend features a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, which gives the cigar a rich, dark color. The filler is a blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos, which adds a touch of sweetness to the cigar. The cigar is named after the iconic “flathead” engine found in classic American muscle cars.
CAO Italia is a medium to full-bodied cigar with a dark, oily wrapper from Italy. This blend is known for its rich, earthy flavor and hints of spice. The filler is a blend of Nicaraguan and Peruvian tobaccos, which gives the cigar a smooth, creamy finish.
CAO America is a medium-bodied cigar with a unique flavor profile. This blend features a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and a Connecticut Shade wrapper, which are wrapped around each other to create a barber pole effect. The filler is a blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos, which adds a touch of sweetness to the cigar.
CAO La Traviata
CAO La Traviata is a medium-bodied cigar with a smooth, creamy flavor. This blend features a dark, oily Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. The filler is a blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos, which adds a touch of sweetness to the cigar.
Overall, CAO Cigars has created a wide range of blends to suit every taste. Whether you prefer a mild, creamy cigar or a bold, full-bodied cigar, CAO Cigars has something for everyone.
Partnerships and Acquisitions
Over the years, CAO Cigars has formed partnerships and undergone acquisitions with various companies in the cigar industry. These partnerships and acquisitions have played a significant role in the growth and success of the company.
General Cigar Co
In 2007, CAO International was acquired by General Cigar Co, a subsidiary of Scandinavian Tobacco Group. The acquisition allowed General Cigar Co to expand its portfolio of premium cigar brands and gain a foothold in the boutique cigar market. Under the ownership of General Cigar Co, CAO Cigars continued to produce high-quality cigars using rare and exotic tobaccos from around the world.
In 2010, Swedish Match, a leading manufacturer of cigars, acquired a majority stake in General Cigar Co. This acquisition further strengthened the position of CAO Cigars in the premium cigar market. Swedish Match’s extensive resources and expertise in the cigar industry allowed CAO Cigars to expand its reach and offer a wider range of products to its customers.
In 2012, CAO Cigars announced a partnership with Dupont, a leading manufacturer of luxury accessories. The partnership resulted in the creation of a limited edition cigar cutter, the Dupont Maxijet CAO cigar cutter. The cutter featured the CAO logo and was designed to complement the brand’s premium cigars.
Overall, these partnerships and acquisitions have allowed CAO Cigars to expand its reach and offer a wider range of high-quality products to its customers. By partnering with industry leaders such as General Cigar Co, Swedish Match, and Dupont, CAO Cigars has been able to maintain its position as a leading producer of premium cigars.
Innovations and Aging Techniques
CAO Cigars has always been known for its innovative techniques and unique blends. The company has consistently pushed the boundaries of what is possible in the cigar industry. Two of the most notable innovations that CAO has introduced are the Amazon Basin and Pilon aging techniques.
The Amazon Basin is a unique tobacco that is grown in a remote region of the Amazon rainforest. The tobacco is grown in the same way that it has been for centuries, using traditional methods that have been passed down through generations of farmers. The result is a tobacco that is rich, complex, and full of flavor.
CAO was the first company to use Amazon Basin tobacco in a premium cigar. The company’s Amazon Basin blend is made with a rare type of tobacco that is harvested only once every three years. The tobacco is then aged for an additional six months to a year to allow its flavors to fully develop.
The Pilon aging technique is another innovation that CAO has introduced. This technique involves stacking tobacco leaves in a circular shape, which creates a natural fermentation process that allows the tobacco to age more evenly. The result is a tobacco that is smoother, richer, and more flavorful.
CAO’s Pilon Añejo is a perfect example of the company’s commitment to innovation and aging techniques. The blend is made with tobacco that has been aged for over two years using the Pilon technique. This extended aging process allows the flavors of the tobacco to fully develop, resulting in a cigar that is smooth, rich, and slightly spicy.
In conclusion, CAO Cigars has always been at the forefront of innovation in the cigar industry. The company’s commitment to aging techniques and unique blends has resulted in some of the most flavorful and complex cigars on the market today. Whether it’s the Amazon Basin or Pilon aging techniques, CAO is always looking for new ways to push the boundaries and create something truly special.
Legacy and Impact
CAO Cigars has made a significant impact on the cigar industry since its founding in 1968. The company was started by Cano Ozgener, an Istanbul-born mechanical engineer who moved to the United States to attend Columbia University. Cano Ozgener’s love for cigars and smoking pipes led him to establish CAO Cigars, which quickly became a favorite among cigar fans.
CAO Cigars’ legacy is rooted in its commitment to quality and innovation. The company has always been at the forefront of cigar making, and it is known for its unique blends and flavors. CAO Cigars was one of the first companies to use Cameroon tobacco in its cigars, a move that helped to revive interest in this type of tobacco.
The company’s impact on the cigar business can be seen in its marketing and branding efforts. CAO Cigars has always been a trendsetter, and its marketing campaigns have helped to shape the industry. The company’s bold and colorful packaging has become iconic, and it has helped to attract a new generation of cigar smokers.
CAO Cigars has also had a significant impact on the communities where it operates. The company has a factory in Kinston, North Carolina, where it employs hundreds of people. CAO Cigars has also been instrumental in the revival of the Turkish meerschaum pipe industry. Cano Ozgener’s love for smoking pipes led him to start a company that produces high-quality meerschaum pipes in Istanbul. Today, CAO Cigars is one of the largest importers of meerschaum pipes in the world.
In conclusion, CAO Cigars has left a lasting legacy on the cigar industry. The company’s commitment to quality, innovation, and marketing has helped to shape the industry and attract a new generation of cigar smokers. CAO Cigars’ impact can be seen not only in the cigar business but also in the communities where it operates.