world of tobacco, countless brands, manufacturers and owners coexist, all with
interesting stories to tell. CAO is one of them.
time on the market, compared to centuries-old brands, CAO has stood out for its
boldness that has known no limits to reach all the places where they can obtain
the leaves with which they manufacture their innovative cigars.
motto, “WHERE TOBACCO GROWS, GOES CAO”, is a reality that is expressed by using
tobacco grown in particular places around the world. For example, the jungles
of the Amazon, the mountains of Colombia, the valleys of the Dominican
Republic, the volcanoes of Nicaragua, even including Italy, Cameroon and many
other places on the map. This allows them to have an extensive inventory that
incorporates both common mixes and rare special blends, and offer a variety of
opportunities to try new things.
A bit of
Ozgener, an Istanbul-born engineer, set up shop in his family garage in
Nashville in 1968. There he sold meerschaum and briar pipes and humidors until,
in 1995, when the cigar boom in the United States, began to produce cigars.
company, which was called CAO International Inc., produced its first cigars in
Honduras and Nicaragua, in the factories of Nestor Plasencia. They were hugely
successful and in 1997 they reached US stores. Many more cigars were soon
added, to the point that by 2004, they made seven brands: Gold, Brazilia,
Criollo, Double Maduro (or MX2) and three versions of L'Anniversaire: Maduro,
Cameroon and Extreme.
also marketed flavored cigars and several special lines, including the Black, a
reincarnation of the original CAO, and a cigar they called the CAO 65th
Anniversary Esen, made to honor Cano Ozgener 65th birthday. Thereafter, they
focused primarily on premium cigars and the pipes became a very small
percentage of the C.A.O. In 2005 they produced more than 8 million cigars that
were sold in 70 countries.
retired in 2007, but his original brand, which boldly incorporated different
lines made from Brazilian and Italian tobacco, had already attracted the
interest of the tobacco industry and was acquired by Henri Wintermans, a
division of the company Scandinavian Tobacco Group. (STG). His son remained
with the company, joining as company president before leaving in 2010.
Swedish Match and STG Holdings merged in 2010, General Cigar Co. inherited
CAO's entire portfolio of pre-existing brands. Today, this tobacco giant
distributes the CAO brand and all its lines.