CAO Vision Catalyst | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Dominican Corojo
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican, Nicaraguan, Brazilian
Size: 5 x 50 “Catalyst”
Body: Medium
Price: $6.33 by the box



I found this thing rolling around in my humidor, long forgotten. I think I got a couple of these but I have no recollection if I bought them. Regardless, they had a good 6 months or more of humidor time.

This cigar died the death of a million razors. It was presented in a fancy shmancy box/humidor that pushed the price of 20 cigars to well over $250.

Everyone was buying them and then it hit. Reality. It wasn’t such a hot cigar.
Now you can get them for pennies on the dollar.

So here we go…I am now officially the very last reviewer on the planet to review this cigar.

It’s a funky looking cigar. Rustic everywhere. Very unattractive, very lumpy and bumpy. Lots of ugly veins. Tight seams. A nice triple cap. And the wrapper is a medium brown with some toothiness.

The cigar is extremely light in the hand with several soft spots. Never good.

For some reason, the main cigar band reminds me of a women’s halter top. Ahhh…I remember the 70’s when they were so popular and your girlfriend wore them a lot; without a bra of course…and you could, with one easy motion, make them fall to the floor. Sweet memories.

I clip the cap and find aromas of strong cinnamon graham crackers, nutty, spice, cocoa, cedar, and leather.
Time to light up.

It starts off very nutty and spicy with a hint of cedar and leather. The draw is spot on and smoke fills the room.
There is a slight sweetness. An oaky quality combined with sweet pastry.

The char line goes to shit immediately. Obviously, as a result of being nowhere close to having sufficient tobacco in it.
I’m going to let it go.

Famous Smoke sells them but CI no longer does. Famous wants $128 for a box, $40 for a 5 pack, and $11.25 for a single. And believe it or not, these little stinkers went for $12.70 each at the box price when they came out in 2007. And the always forward thinking Cigar Aficionado gave it #9 in their Top 25 of 2007.

As predicted, the cigar is smoking very fast due to lack of enough tobacco. The wrapper begins to get discombobulated. It is ripping up to the bottom of the cigar band and I’m sure once I remove it, it will travel the length of the cigar. You can’t beat CAO quality.

This was a marvelous marketing scheme that brought in all the boneheads in the world. A fancy, never done before in such large scale, box that can act as a humidor. These things were flying off the shelves at $15-$19 a stick. Can you imagine that?

And then the personal comments began to appear on how the humidor wasn’t worth a shit. It fell apart within a week of receipt. And to make things a lot, lot worse, this was another old school blend that needs 6 months to be ready to smoke.

Here are the flavors as I near the end of the first third: Creaminess, cocoa, blackberry, nuts, sweet cedar, cinnamon graham cracker, leather, and spice cleaning up the elephant shit at the end of the line.
The strength is classic medium body.

I don’t know about you, but for almost $13 for a robusto, I expect more than a 30 minute smoke. And that’s where it is heading.

I can’t wait until I remove the cigar band and the cigar comes apart like knocking your Legos over.

In essence, the flavor profile isn’t that bad. Just not anywhere worth the $13 MSRP. I’m sure.

I checked and neither Cbid nor has these cigars up for auction. Dying, dying, dying….

So it appears, you have to pay Famous Smoke if you want to smoke this fine, fine, cigar.

At the halfway point, a big transition occurs and this cigar actually tastes great. It is now complex with lots of flavor and balance. A chewy long finish. Lip smackin’ good.

Now do I think it is worth $6.33 by the box that Famous is hawking them for?

Maybe. But I wouldn’t buy a box, I would try a fiver. And they note quite clearly that you don’t get a humidor box at this price.

If you went to eBay back in 2008, these humidors were going for a fortune. Idiots were paying $100 for them. What did P.T. Barnum say? “There is a sucker born every minute.”

I am actually very impressed with the flavor profile. Back when I first got the two sticks, I tried the first one about 6 weeks after I received it. It was horrible. CAO just won’t let go of that old school mindset.

So now, 6 months later, the cigar has blossomed into an excellent cigar. The only issue, which could be my fault, is the construction. Moving from one humidor to the other could have hit the tobacco hard and inconsistent humidity may be the issue.

I will never know as this was my last one and I have no intention of buying more at $8 a pop in a 5 pack.

The CAO Vision would not have been such a dismal failure if not for the massive PR campaign. Look at Famous Smoke’s comments by smokers. Most really hate this cigar. Some like it. I’m guessing the haters didn’t let it marinate and the lovers did.

The last third begins and I was wrong about the wrapper coming apart. It is behaving.

I now predict I will get 45 minutes from this robusto. Not 30.

Here are the flavors: Creaminess, cocoa, cinnamon graham cracker, spice, roasted nuts, sweet cedar, blackberry, and cedar.
As a side note, I did receive a couple blends from Stogie Boys to review. The first is their house brand, RIOT. I tried one a couple days after I got them and this stick will need a couple weeks, at least, before I can review it.

The other is another house brand that is a flavored cigar: Café Latte. A very, very inexpensive cigar. The RIOT goes for around $4-$5 a pop.

I’m getting a touch of nicotine now.

My good buddy, Luis Alvarado, at Cuban Crafter’s is sending me some sticks. One is a house brand called Fedora. They only come in the robusto size in boxes of 25 for $95. I didn’t check for 5 packs.


If the CAO Vision had started like what I taste now, and didn’t have such severe construction issues, I would be highly recommending it. Especially, at the $6 price.

I check eBay and people are trying to dump the humidors from $35-$55. The neon lights underneath the hood crack me up.
Well, if nothing else, this review gave me something to do. I have been jonesing for something to review and my credo is Review or Die.

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2 replies

  1. This cigar never caught my interest. The price is insulting and that ‘humidor’, pffftt. I see them from time to time on Monster for $32-35! Are they effin insane? I never fell for the hype and thank god. No wonder CAO is going down!
    CAO is now coming out with the Colombia. That looks interesting, but the long humidor time…..argh. Why do they and others insist on old school blending is beyond logic. (?)

  2. I’ve had the CAO Heatwave now for two months and it is a major dog turd.
    So the new Earthquake, Hurricane, Left Coast, and Sinister Sam do not interest me one bit.

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