Monday, November 10, 2008

My Weekend Cigar: CAO LX2 Robusto

This past Saturday, we held a CAO Cigars and XiKAR cigar accessories event in the Famous Smoke Shop Retail Store. The place was jammed and both companies were showcasing their finest wares. Even though they will not be arriving at retail for several weeks, in honor of the occasion, I decided to smoke my CAO LX2 (Ligero times 2) Robusto sample, which I've been saving since the IPCPR Show in Las Vegas, this past July.

When I asked Paul Spence, the CAO sales rep, if he thought I should consider smoking something else under the circumstances, he said, "Don't worry about it. It'll give 'em something to look forward to."

So, I lit up the coffee-colored, 5" x 48 vitola, which dons two bands; the top band has the CAO LX2 logo featuring a crown, while the second, butterfly-shaped band has the words, "Fortaleza Tres" on it, which translates to "three strengths." (I'm looking into what that's all about). The blend consists of a toothy Nicaraguan wrapper, Honduran binder, and two different ligero filler tobaccos - one from the Dominican Republic, and one from Nicaragua, which is grown on the 140-acre Pueblo Nuevo farm in Condega.

The pre-light draw was excellent with a woody-leathery flavor. By putting my tongue up against the head I could taste the spicy leaves. Once lit, waves of peppery spice broke over my palate. This is pretty much what I expected. At about the 1-inch mark the cigar rounded out nicely, taking on a dark, woody character with a mix of pepper and earthy sweetness on the finish.

As the cigar continued to smoke, by the second act, the stronger peppery aspects had all but faded, leaving what I considered a very smooth, medium to full-bodied, "Cubanesque" smoke dominated by deep, woody flavors with a hint of semi-sweet cocoa. The overall construction, burn and balance were top-flight, and although the LX2 was not a "complex" smoke, the flavors remained consistent down to the last inch, when I finally left it in the ashtray to expire gracefully.

This cigar would have been great with a good Tawny Port or 12 year-old single malt, and Paul agreed with a smile. I enjoyed the cigar, and highly recommend the LX2 once they hit the shelves, so keep your eyes and ears open. I also look forward to having another with one of the spirits mentioned above.

~ Gary Korb

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