The Top 20 Whiskies Of 2022—Follow The Countdown

Cigar Industry

CAO Brand Ambassador Rick Rodriguez To Retire

Mar 11, 2022 | By Gregory Mottola
CAO Brand Ambassador Rick Rodriguez To Retire

After a career with General Cigar Co. that’s spanned more than 20 years, Rick Rodriguez, blender and ambassador for the CAO brand, is retiring at the end of April. He is 62 years old. 

Rodriguez joined General in January of 2000 as a sales rep when the company was still owned by Edgar M. Cullman’s Culbro Corp. Five years later, he was given the opportunity to learn the tobacco end of the business, training under industry veterans such as Benjamin Menendez, Daniel Núñez and Ernesto Perez-Carrillo.

The training brought him to Team La Gloria in 2008, the group of blenders behind General’s La Gloria Cubana brand. 

When General acquired CAO in 2009, Rodriguez stepped into the role of blender and brand ambassador for all CAO lines. For the past 13 years, he’s been inextricably linked with CAO, working alongside the team in Nicaragua where CAOs are produced. His concepts for CAO have included Amazon Basin, the Arcana Series, CAO Bones and CAO Flathead, a squarely-pressed smoke that was named Cigar Aficionado’s No. 3 cigar of 2015, for the V660 Carb size.

“This job has been a dream come true for me and so much of it seems like fate. From the moment Edgar Cullman Sr. offered me the job to study under the company’s cigar masters, I knew how lucky I was,” Rodriguez said. “When I write my life story, and maybe now I will, my time in the cigar business will be a huge part of that story.”

His last day with the company will be April 29.

General Cigar Co. is owned by parent company Scandinavian Tobacco Group, which is based in Denmark.

Rick Rodriguez

More in Cigar Industry

See all
Cigar Aficionado Announces Free Monthly Newsletter Called Ratings Flash

Cigar Aficionado Announces Free Monthly Newsletter Called Ratings Flash

We’ve created a new, free e-newsletter that’ll keep you up-to-date on recent cigar ratings called …

Nov 29, 2022
2022 Big Smoke Las Vegas Seminars: Lunch With Oliva Cigars

2022 Big Smoke Las Vegas Seminars: Lunch With Oliva Cigars

After a morning of several seminars and many cigars, a welcomed lunch was offered to guests, courtesy …

Nov 17, 2022
2022 Big Smoke Las Vegas Seminars: Thirty Years Of Cigar Aficionado

2022 Big Smoke Las Vegas Seminars: Thirty Years Of Cigar Aficionado

Senior contributing editor Gordon Mott was joined by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo and Litto Gomez to …

Nov 17, 2022
2022 Big Smoke Las Vegas Seminars: No. 2 and No. 3 Cigars of 2021

2022 Big Smoke Las Vegas Seminars: No. 2 and No. 3 Cigars of 2021

At the Big Smoke Las Vegas seminars, the Cigar Aficionado staff sat down with the cigarmakers who …

Nov 17, 2022
2022 Big Smoke Las Vegas Seminars: Welcome To The Jungle: Mysteries Of Cameroon Tobacco

2022 Big Smoke Las Vegas Seminars: Welcome To The Jungle: Mysteries Of Cameroon Tobacco

In the second seminar on Saturday during the Big Smoke Las Vegas, we explored the mysteries of …

Nov 16, 2022
The 2022 Big Smoke Las Vegas Evenings

The 2022 Big Smoke Las Vegas Evenings

The Big Smoke Las Vegas had a new home this year, but the festivities were as good as they've ever …

Nov 15, 2022