The CAO MX2 was a cigar I had strayed away from for a number of years. I had a bad experience with another somewhat similar triple maduro cigar (different company) and that lead me away from the MX2. Then I was gifted or received a MX2 in a sampler pack. The cigar was a lot better than the other experience I had with the other cigar and felt like a fool straying away from the MX2 as it was a pretty good smoke.
Up until last week when I did the CAO OSA Sol & Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA Pairing, I had never had a Flying Dog beer. I am way out of their distribution area. The Snake Dog IPA was a pretty decent beer for being an IPA. I am not a fan of an IPA, but the Snake Dog was not overly “hoppy” and paired quite well with the OSA Sol, which I was not originally a fan of either. Living on the MS Gulf Coast, I am very fond of and love oysters, so the Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout should be an interesting beer. It is actually brewed with oysters which is my first time of ever hearing of such a thing.
- 5×52 Robusto
- Connecticut Broadleaf Wrapper
- Brazilian Binder
- Filler of tobacco from Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Peru
- Oyster Stout
- ABV: 5.5%
- IBU: 35
- Roasted Barley, Midnight Wheat, Cara-Pils, Black Malts
- Perle Hops
The MX2 has a fairly dark wrapper with a few imperfections here and there. A deeply applied double cap, few minimal veins and an over all slightly spongy feel to it. The foot has a hay and stronger nutmeg aroma to it. The wrapper has a nice cocoa aroma to it and is not as potent as the foot aromas. The cold draw is pretty much spot-on the way I like it. There is some of the hay notes of the foot as well as some of the cocoa from the wrapper in the cold draw.
Popping the cap off the Pearl Necklace, I get a dark malty aroma. Then with a good whiff, I do smell a hint of the oysters and reminds me of fresh shucked oysters. Those in land locked parts of the country may not know what that means. But if you are a fan of fresh oysters, you know exactly what that aroma is!
The MX2 has a slightly spongy feel to it, with some places a little stiffer than others. Cold draw was great and I had no issues with it. The draw stayed great the whole cigar as well as the burn. It did have some waves in it, but nothing worth worrying about. The ashes held for a decent amount of time; considering I had a fan blowing on me (and it) during the hot summer’s day. The amount of smoke was pretty bold and had a strong room aroma that a non-smoker may not like. But I really didn’t see any issues with the cigar.
The construction of the bottle opener was rock solid. I have used many types of openers in my past. This one felt as solid as the “professional” ones I have used before. It was a little awkward in my hands, but I am getting used to it as I use it more. It was solid, but you needed to use a little more force with it as there is no length (leverage) to pop the caps.
I have had the MX2 a number of times, but never the Pearl Necklace beer. So I really wanted to try the beer before I toasted up the cigar. The beer has a dark characteristic to it with a slightly odd aftertaste to it that I can not pinpoint or describe as of now. The first couple of draws on the MX2 give me a nice cocoa flavor with hints of a saltiness as well. A little ways into the cigar, I start to taste some of the hay or straw notes detected in the foot. A few good & healthy swigs of beer followed by a draw on the cigar changed the characteristics of the smoke somewhat. It actually got a little more creamy and smoother as well as a hint of a maltiness appeared in the smoke. The hay note eased off with the beer and wasn’t so “edgy” as it was before. Leaving the first portion, the cocoa developed into more of a slightly bitter chocolate flavor in which I really enjoyed.
Working into the middle, I notice more of a slight earthiness that compliments the oyster notes detected in the beer. The chocolate flavor isn’t like a Hershey bar type of chocolate, but a slightly bitter type of chocolate. It reminds me of the large chunks of chocolate that we use during the holidays to make chocolate cover pretzels, potato chips, etc…. The more I progress into the cigar, the more potent the earthiness gets.
Getting into the final third of the cigar, I start to taste more hints of the oysters in the beer. The flavor lingers over into the smoke some and really throws a loop into the flavors. I start to realize how cool and dry the smoke is. So the beer helps out with the dryness and adds to the coolness. The chocolate seems more bitter now, but not an overly nasty bitterness. The earthiness hits its peak with about an inch or so left and is kept under control with a swig of the Pearl Necklace.
- Would I smoke the cigar again by itself? Most definitely, its one of my favorite CAO cigars.
- Would I drink Pearl Necklace again? Sure, it was pretty good and I would possibly buy a 6pk of it.
- Would I pair them again? Yes, a darker beer deserves a darker cigar paired with it. The beer brought out more of the earthiness and rounded off the smoke profile.
- I think the pairing worked well. I liked how the beer rounded out the smoke and took the edge off it as well as brought out more flavors that were hiding.
- I liked the pairing more in the middle portion of the cigar. The flavors mingled well throughout the cigar, just was a better mingle for me in the middle.
- I didn’t care for the odd finish of the beer at first, but it eased off into a manageable flavor eventually.
- It is going to be hard to “truly” enjoy a MX2 without the presence of a Pearl Necklace beer now. Maybe one day in the future, I will be able to obtain the beer in my area.
- The beer wasn’t as heavy as some people think it would be. I know people who stay clear of anything with the word “stout” in it because they are thinking “its way too heavy for me“. This beer was not as stout as many are out there today. So, don’t let the “Stout” name fool you, its only 5.5% alcohol content.
*This cigar was provided to me, unsolicited, from CAO Cigars for this review. This beer was sent to me, unsolicited, from Flying Dog Brewery. Many thanks to those great people for the opportunity to review this pairing!