By: Sable Aradia
I mentioned recently in the comments on Steven Umbrello’s excellent article “Demystifying Maduros” that my favourite maduro cigar is the CAO MX2. Recently my husband went on a trip across the country for an unrelated matter, and brought one home for me as a gift. I commonly smoke these in the “dagger” size, so a robusto was a welcome change; more of a good thing! Since I finally had one in my clutches, I thought it presented an excellent opportunity to conduct a proper review for the magazine.
To the uninitiated, the MX2 is a little intimidating. It is very dark; a rich brown that conjures images of dark chocolate. Its label does nothing to dispel this, being an uncompromising black with silver highlights.
The Connecticut broadleaf wrapper smells surprisingly dark right out of the plastic. But this, perhaps, is no surprise; it is, I am told, a “double maduro,” meaning that both the wrapper, and the Brazilian binder, are maduro tobaccos; maduro meaning “ripe” in Spanish. Maduro tobaccos are stored in a curing barn for up to 45 days and then aged for years. This process brings out the sweetness of the tobacco in question, giving it an element of caramel and molasses that you can taste the moment you put the cigar to your lips. A quick sniff along its length suggests elements of chocolate, coffee, and smokey BBQ as well.
The filler, I am told, is a combination of Nicaraguan, Honduran, Dominican, and unusually, Peruvian tobaccos. I suppose that probably explains its complexities! There’s a lot of different flavours going on here at once.
As I have said, I prefer to punch my cigars, and I own a small bullet punch that I keep on a keychain on my purse. The cigar punches easily and without a hint of outer wrapper breakage.
Lighting a cigar is a task I have only recently managed with proficiency, but the MX2 is friendly and forgiving to the novice cigar smoker in this regard. A few good puffs and a couple of long draws later and my cigar is burning evenly and with a thick, delicious oily smoke. It has less nicotine than you might expect, which for some is a drawback but for me is a plus because you can enjoy the cigar without worrying about getting the spins or making yourself ill, even if you are a novice smoker like me.
The first few draws, and indeed the first third of the cigar, is surprisingly buttery. This is one of my favourite elements of it. Richness is something I crave in food, drink, smoke and fabric. Buttery and rich and dark, all in one? This is, to me, a heavenly combination. Imagine if someone served you a fabulous barbecued steak with a side of fresh homemade bread slathered in creamy homemade butter, and you get an idea of your first few draws.
After that, a lingering chocolate taste begins to creep in. This is more of a rich cocoa than your typical chocolate bar; again, a real win for me. I would say this is characteristic of the middle portion of the cigar in general. It just starts to lose a little of that creamy butter taste at about the halfway point, which is where purging is generally recommended.
You can smoke this baby cold so you don’t have to worry about tongue bite. In my case, I did have to relight it once; but I must confess, I was smoking it as part of a . . . hmm, let’s just say that the MX2 is my favourite post-coital cigar and . . . well, it was a fun evening and I was a little distracted at the time.
The last third of the cigar is a combination of cocoa and barbecued steak with just a hint of the buttery element. It finishes as richly as it starts, and you can smoke it until it burns your fingers without it tasting at all burnt or stale.
It took me (and almost entirely me) about an hour and a half to smoke the robusto MX2. I’m sorry, I’m afraid I can’t be more precise than that this time. 😉
To date, this is my personal favourite cigar. Cigar Aficionado gives it an 85 rating as compared to the 93 garnered by the La Aurora Preferidos that I reviewed a few days ago, but I prefer it, for all the reasons I’ve mentioned, even though I think the La Aurora is an outstanding cigar!
You can buy a box of these lovelies at Thompson Cigar for as low as $50.55 (where it only averages a three star rating; but don’t listen to them because I think they’re crazy); you can get a five pack for as low as $24 as Cigars International (you can also get the “daggers” there for $11.95, and I have to say I’m jealous because I pay $7 EACH for the daggers in Canada): and in Canada, I would try at Cigar Chief once they get done updating their website, which is down for price updating due to recent changes in Canadian law (read: more tobacco taxes.)
And that, my friends, is a lady’s perspective. 😉