Monday, June 1, 2009

My Weekend Cigar: CAO America Potomac and MX2 Box-Press

This past Saturday, the Famous Smoke Shop Retail Store had an in-store event with CAO Cigars. As usual, their regional sales rep, Paul Spence was on-hand to promote the lines and answer customer questions. The last time Paul was here he was kind enough to give me a preview sample of their CAO LX2 cigars. This time, he handed me a cigar that will be debuting at the upcoming IPCPR Trade Show in New Orleans, August 8-12: a CAO MX2 "Box-Press." I'll get to that beauty in a minute, but first I want to talk about the CAO America Potomac I smoked in the store that day.

I could have had my pick of the litter that day, but I chose the CAO America Potomac because I hadn't had one in a very long time, and am I glad I did. This was what I call "a perfect smoke," in every way: construction, burn and flavor. The cigar was well-packed and lit perfectly, too. The smoke was medium to full-bodied with a rich, earthy and naturally-sweet flavor. Many cigars tend to taste very woody, but this smoke was very creamy and more herbal in character. You could tell how well the cigar was rolled by the ash, which formed a perfect cone around the Ligero that was in the dead center of the cigar. I paired the cigar with a cup of coffee and savored it down to a finger-burning three-quarters-of-an-inch. This was really a marvelously flavorful and multidimensional cigar that I'm glad I returned to; I believe I'll be smoking these a lot more often in the future, too.

Now on to the CAO MX2 cigars Box-Press (see my cell-phone photo below). If a cigar ever looked like a candy bar, this was it. The Maduro wrapper glistened with mouthwatering goodness. The cigar is also double-banded. It sports the die cut MX2 band, plus a second silver band that simply says "box-press." My sample was cut to a Robusto size.


The cap clipped off neatly and lit perfectly across. I smoked it out on my deck Sunday night under the stars with a glass of Canada Dry Bitter Lemon. Not only did this cigar LOOK like a chocolate bar, but the flavor was also intensely chocolately. The smoke was thick, creamy and medium-bodied with gobs of natural sweetness, earthiness, and chocolate with a trace of woodiness in the mix. The flavor was also remarkably consistent, too. Even more remarkable was the firmness of the ash on this cigar. I did something I've rarely done with the cigar, too: I stood it on its ash and it held up for second or two. Considering it was very windy, that was good enough for me. (If I had given it a chance, I think the ash would have held-on for almost the entire length of the cigar!)

During the second act, the cigar gained in strength and pulled somewhat of a reversal. The flavor was now more woody laced with chocolate and developed a more spicy edge as well. I smoked it down to just over an inch. I had been puffing on it a lot and sensed it might turn bitter. Overall, a superbly flavorful smoke - nice and chewy, too - and I'm looking forward to smoking another at the show for comparison.

For those of you who prefer a box-press shape, as CAO did with their Italia Box-Press (another personal fave), IMO the upcoming MX2 Box-Press is the bomb.

~ Gary Korb

2 comments:

dmj said...

My local shop had the MX2 Box Press on Saturday so I picked up a couple samples, one of which I smoked right then and there--wonderful cigar! It looked great, tasted great, and--surprisingly for an MX2--the draw was flawless! Looking forward to the second one I picked up which I will be reviewing for my blog.

itallushrt said...

As an everyday MX2 Beli smoker I was intrigued when my local smoke shop had a box on display. I grabbed and lit it up last night. I really enjoyed it! I too experienced an even burn and excellent draw. Excellent flavor throughout. I think i'll find myself reaching for these more often.