Sharing a Smoke With Charlie Toraño

Charlie Toraño came by the office today. Charlie is the president of Toraño Cigars, and his family is one of the leading families of cigars and tobacco. Back in the pre-embargo days, the Toraños grew tons of great wrapper tobacco in Cuba. After losing their farms to the Cuban Revolution, the Toraños were responsible for helping grow tobacco in the Dominican Republic and Honduras. They were true pioneers.

Today the Toraños make cigars in Honduras and Nicaragua, and Charlie brought along one of their newest, the Carlos Toraño Tribute 2008.

If you’ve enjoyed earlier versions of Tribute, you might have wondered where the heck they are—the last one went on sale in 2004. This is a limited-edition product the Toraños come out with on occasion, and they’ve waited four years to release this one.

They’ve stepped up the blend a bit with the ’08 version. It has a dark wrapper from the Mata Fina region of Brazil, a Nicaraguan binder leaf and a mix of Nicaraguan fillers from Estelí and Jalapa.

We lit them up after lunch, and the cigar gave me a very quick first impression of black pepper spice. It then warmed up nicely to grow more balanced, with the zippy pepper framed by an underlying sweetness. It has hard wood notes, a touch of raisin flavor and a heavy cedar component, probably from the six months of age the cigar has. It burned perfectly.

I caught a familiar flavor in the sweet note and asked Charlie if the binder was from the Pueblo Nuevo farm in Nicaragua. It is—this is a proprietary Toraño/C.A.O. farm that grows very nice tobacco with a good sweet component.

I shot a little video of the cigar and Charlie explaining what makes it special. Take a look:

The cigar goes on sale in October. Charlie is proud of it: “You get the best of the tobacco we have,” he said.

The Tribute will come in three sizes, Churchill, Robusto (the size I smoked) and Torpedo. Prices will be in the $10 range.

We’re going to have more on the new Toraño smokes coming to market in Tuesday’s Cigar Insider.
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