Canadian cigar smokers are getting their own regional edition CAO, and it just happens to use Canadian-grown tobacco.

It’s called the CAO Borealis, a name that comes from the aurora borealis, a phenomenon more commonly referred to as the northern lights. As for the Canadian tobacco in the filler, it comes from farmland in the southwest corner of the Ontario province near the Great Lakes, where General Cigar Co. says the humidity and warm evenings allow for a special Cuban-seed variety of dark air-cured tobacco to be grown.

That Canadian tobacco gets paired with Nicaraguan tobacco in the filler, along with a Nicaraguan-grown binder and an Ecuadorian habano viso wrapper. The company says the blend is medium-bodied, offering notes of spice, pepper, nuts and cocoa. The CAO Borealis is produced at the STG Estelí factory in Nicaragua.

It is being offered in two sizes, both of which will come in 20-count boxes.

  • CAO Borealis Robusto (5 x 52)
  • CAO Borealis Toro (6 x 54)

“When you think of great tobacco growing regions, tropical climates and hot, humid growing seasons come to mind,” said Rick Rodriguez, CAO’s blender and ambassador, via a press release. “That’s of course true. With Borealis, we wanted our fans to experience something new, so we once again took an unconventional path. This time, we’re featuring Canadian tobacco and are delivering a blend that has an air of something different. It’s an experience that’s enjoyable and colors slightly out of the lines. A cigar you’ll want to talk about. And that’s exactly what we wanted to deliver.”

The company has not yet announced pricing, due in part to the fact that it will vary between provinces, but did confirm that it is a regular, ongoing production line. The CAO Borealis will begin shipping to retailers on April 11. As depicted in the image, it will come in plain packaging to comply with Canada’s laws on how cigars can be packaged.

Update — A representative from General Cigar Co. confirmed that it was a regular production line.

Image courtesy of General Cigar Co.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.