Photo via cigar.com
When your neighbor offers you a cigar, you have to accept right? And when it’s a CAO, you know your neighbor has good taste in cigars. While the name MX2 sounds more like a sports car, nothing about this cigar is “fast”. Slow burning, multi-layered and double wrapped, this is a unique, flavorful and complex cigar. The first look at this cigar, you’ll notice a wonderful dark, oily Maduro wrapper. What you can’t see, is this is one of TWO Maduro wrappers used. The outer wrapper is the super dark and oily looking Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro. Underneath is a more flavorful and spicy (as in spiced, not hot) Brazilian Maduro wrapper. To add to the complexity, the filler of the cigar is a mix of Dominican, Honduran, Nicaraguan, Peruvian tobaccos all blended together. Out of the wrapper there are some strong earth tones to the smell of the dark outer Maduro wrapper. I used a punch cut and then lightly toasted the cigar with my torch lighter before fully lighting. The draw was perfect, not too tight, not too loose, and it produced a very thick smoke which is one of my personal favorites in a good cigar.
First Third: Right out of the gate, you’re getting some great flavors of leather and earth. There are also some notes of dark chocolate and a hint of salt, but they come and go during the first third. Once you get it going some notes of black pepper will creep in, but it is rather subtle and not overpowering. The finish was not too long and rather light with the leather flavor probably lasting the longest.
Second Third: I do have to specifically call out the ash because on this cigar it was gorgeous and solid, showing how well constructed these cigars are. I was able to smoke almost half of this cigar before ashing it. During this stage, the chocolate and black pepper notes fade away and as you go even further pretty much every other flavor fades away except the leather. As someone who loves heavy peated, smoky and leathery scotches, this stage was my favorite.
Final Third: The final third continues with the leather taste, and there’s really not much else. I went down well past the band just because I was enjoying the leather flavor so much, plus it was finally warm enough to not have to wear gloves to keep warm.
I paired this with a can of SoMe Big Whoop bourbon barrel aged Whoopie Pie Stout (side note: if you haven’t tried SoMe’s line of Whoopie Pie stouts, they are phenomenal! And the Big Whoop is the best one yet!). The sweetness of the beer really went well with the undertones of chocolate and salt in the first third, and then gave some great accompanying flavors during the second and final third when the leather was the only flavor left. There’s a lot of possibilities on pairing with this cigar as it doesn’t have a wide variety of flavors, and the base flavor of leather can go with a lot of different choices. You can go with a similarly leather heavy scotch or whiskey, something smoky, or with something sweet like a stout or porter.
Overall the CAO MX2 was a great experience for me. The super dark and oily wrapper gives it a very appealing look, and the leather heavy notes are perfect for my palate. It’s also very versatile as it doesn’t have an overpowering flavor that limits your options, so it’s great with a meal, having a few drinks, or as a “dessert” cigar at the end of the day. If you’re looking for a Maduro wrapped cigar to try that is highly rated but won’t break the bank, it’s a great first dip into the “dark side” of cigar wrappers.
Filler: Dominican, Honduran,