If we had to make an all-time packaging awards list, the original CAO Vision should make the list. It’s not classic, it didn’t inspire a whole series of copycats, it’s probably not even iconic. But the CAO Vision is the only cigar I can think of that is known more for its packaging than the cigar. If you ask people today—more than a dozen years after the original Vision—to recall the Vision, they remember one fact: the box had lights.
General Cigar Co., which now operates the CAO brand, has generally stayed away from taking cigars out of the CAO archive and bringing them back, but this year the Vision and its light-up box came back.
The new Vision retains most of the elements from the original cigar, just updated. That starts and ends with a glossy white box that features lights that emit a blue color upon opening. The original Vision had four rectangular strips of light that were placed on the inside, basically lighting up the inside of a box similar to what the bottom of a car looked like in The Fast & The Furious, after all, that was 2007. Because we’ve progressed as a society, the 2020 version now uses LEDs and a slightly more intricate design that allows the light to emit in a more balanced manner, including on the outside of the box.
Unfortunately, you probably don’t go searching for cigars in a dark room, so the end result doesn’t have the full Monty Python effect where you open a box of cigars and there’s tons of light erupting from the box, but is very different from every other cigar that’s been released in the last 13 years. It’s also the only box on this list that needs to be plugged into the wall.