General Cigar Co. salutes the troops with its limited-edition smoke called CAO Honor, a stars-and-stripes themed cigar that pays tribute to U.S. military service members. The brainchild of Ed McKenna and Rick Rodriguez of CAO Cigars, CAO Honor is an offshoot of the CAO America line, but was created to be more than just a symbolic gesture of gratitude to the American troops—a portion of the cigar's proceeds goes towards Operation Surf, a program for wounded service members.
"Over the past several years, we've been involved with Operation Surf in small ways, and we wanted to make a push to help out in a much bigger way via CAO Honor," said McKenna, senior brand manager for CAO. "The work that the folks at Operation Surf do in helping wounded heroes cope with physical injuries and PTSD through surfing is incredibly impactful, and we are proud to contribute."
Designed to provide rehabilitative and recreational recovery to service members, Operation Surf is run by the nonprofit organization Amazing Surf Adventures. The organization is currently hosting its 13th Operation Surf event, with 24 wounded active-duty and veteran service members from branches of the U.S. Military and the United Kingdom participating. The program started yesterday and runs through October 19.
As for the charitable cigar that benefits the cause, CAO Honor is similar to its predecessor CAO America in that both cigars are composed of the same blend. They feature a two-toned wrapper that contrasts dark Connecticut broadleaf with lighter Connecticut shade tobaccos over a Brazilian binder and fillers from Nicaragua, Italy, the Dominican Republic and the United States. While CAO America is crafted with a single scrolling pinstripe of Connecticut shade wrapper for the candy-cane effect, CAO Honor employs an alternating pattern of lighter shade wrapper at the head and the foot of the cigar, with the much darker broadleaf in the middle. Each cigar comes sheathed in a sleeve of the American flag.
CAO Honor measures 6 1/2 inches by 52 ring gauge and comes in 14-count slide lid boxes. Only 2,500 boxes have been produced. The cigar retails for $8.50 a stick and is made at the Scandinavian Tobacco Estelí factory in Nicaragua. The cigars are on store shelves now.