CAO – Arcana Mortal Coil
Despite and wind, and chill this afternoon, I really needed some time to just relax in the backyard after the work week I had. This time my partners included a CA Arcana Mortal Coil paired with a bottle of Cigar City Brewing’s Whole Cigar imperial stout beer.
The Good Stuff:
CAO is an interesting brand for me. Among most seasoned cigar smokers the grand will always hold a special place in my heart as it launched some of the greatest blends back in the day. Fast forward to today, the company is now owned by General Cigar and is one of the brands under their umbrella that is constantly kicking out new releases year after year and I smoke just about all of them. Their newest release is the Arcana Mortal Coil. There isn’t a ton of information on the branding of the cigar itself, but what I can tell you is that the blend starts out with a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper over Connecticut Shade binder and fillers from Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua. Produced at the STG Esteli factory in Nicaragua, this limited edition blend comes in a single 6 1/8 x 50 format which comes packaged in boxes of 20 with only 5,000 boxes being produced, running $10.99 a stick.
- Size: 6 1/8 x 50
- Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
- Binder: Connecticut Shade
- Filler: Dominican, Honduran, and Nicaraguan
- Body: Medium
- Strength: Medium
- Price: $10.99
- Pairing: Cigar City Brewing The Whole Cigar (Imperial Stout 13.1% ABV)
The CAO Arcana Mortal Coil stars out with, well, I guess on this one we’ll start with the obvious band. Its gorgeous, and outside of being pretty non-functional I love it. Its bold with black and copper embossed ink stating the CAO crest along with the Arcana Mortal Coil moniker. The wrapper underneath is just as gorgeous as it boats a very consistent dark brown wrapper with some scattered darker areas throughout. The wrapper’s texture is very oily with some slight tooth. It’s laid seamlessly over itself showcasing only minor veining as the cigar’s long body leads up to the cigar’s round, double-wrapped cap.
The wrapper on the CAO Arcana Mortal Coil gives off some light spice and oak aromas while the foot of the cigar is interesting with lots of dark berry and earthy aromas. The cap cut clean and easily using my Xikar XO double bladed cutter. The cold draw features a lot of the same dark berry notes along with sharp spice and musk.
The CAO Arcana Mortal Coil start out with a huge bursts of strong cayenne pepper which really lasts quite some time before finally easing up allowing the cigar to showcase bold oak, black cherry, musk, and a ton of earthy notes on the finish. The draw is slightly tight but after some early distress is now puffing away like a champ while the cigar releases almost not stationary smoke while it rests in my ashtray. The burnline is dead even and razor thin leaving behind a trail of brilliant white ash which held on for almost an inch before falling into my ashtray.
Into the second third of the CAO Arcana Mortal Coil and the flavors have really started to open up now. The oak and black cherry still lead the charge with notes of dark chocolate, musk, light coffee and earth. The retrohale really adds a level of spice to the experience that I don’t get from the standard. The draw is still a bit tight, but workable as I close out the second third with only a very minor nicotine kick.
Into the final third of the CAO Arcana Mortal Coil and much is the same. The musk, oak, and black cherry lead the way backed by light coffee and earth. It’s not the most complex flavor profile, and it doesn’t need to be. The only gripe I’ve had is really just the tight draw. Also, towards the end of the experience I encountered just a bit of sap/tar buildup. All in all it took me an hour and forty five minutes to smoke the cigar down to the nub. I experienced no harshness, nor extended heat while I expected both due to the tighter draw. The cigar left me with almost no nicotine kick.
The CAO Arcana Mortal Coil was certainly an enjoyable cigar, but that didn’t come without it’s issues. The draw on 3 of the cigars I smoked were all a bit on the tight side. Not anything that killed the experience but it did require some extra effort. Outside of that, I enjoyed the flavor profile, and the pricing seems perfect if the cigar performed without the issues. The flavor profile was particularly exceptional. I have a handful more of these that I will probably let rest a while and see how they perform in a few months but it’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed a CAO as much as I have this year.
The Whole Cigar is a member-only Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels and rested on Spanish cedar. Brewed by Cigar City Brewing in Florida this beer leads with very strong bourbon barrel notes over vanilla, cinnamon, black licorice, malt, and light anise with a very heavy mouthfeel before finishing with more barrel and vanilla over spice and dark chocolate. This is a great beer, but I don’t get any of the Spanish cedar notes I had hoped for, a smell and taste VERY identifiable to most cigar smokers. The chocolate, barrel, and spice however made a wonderful pairing with the flavors found in the CAO Arcana Mortal Coil while the cigar added the expected flavors to the beer.