Perhaps the most sought after release from CAO over the last five years is back.

The CAO Amazon Basin, a cigar that debuted in limited fashion in 2014, will once again be shipping to retailers later this month.


Alan Wilner, vp of marketing for General Cigar Co., told halfwheel the cigar uses the same blend as the original release: a 6 x 52 toro with an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, over a Nicaraguan binder and fillers from Nicaraguan and Brazil.

That Brazilian filler is Bragança, a tobacco grown in the Amazon rainforest that is harvested only once every three years, making the CAO Amazon Basin an inherently limited cigar.

If that wasn’t enough, the process of getting the tobacco out of the rainforest was even more challenging:

Unlike traditional tobacco plantations where the plants are arranged in neat rows, these seeds are planted wherever there is available sunlight. Once harvested, the leaves are rolled by hand into tubes called carottes and undergo six months of natural fermentation, a technique similar to that of Andullo tobacco. Once fermented, it takes four to six weeks to get them from forest to factory, a process that involves being hand carried to the river, put into canoes and rowed to the mainland, then driven to the port and shipped to Nicaragua where they are made.

General Cigar Co. never disclosed production numbers for the original release and the company left the door open that it would produce the cigar in the future, but it was never confirmed.

In March, murmurs started that the cigar would return this year, something General said was more likely for 2017. Now the cigar is ready to be released, shipping to stores on Monday.

Suggested retail pricing is $10.25 per cigar, up from the $9.25 the cigar was originally priced at in 2014.

Avatar photo

Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.