Cigar Industry

Carlos Toraño Sr. Dies at 78

Feb 16, 2022 | By David Savona
Carlos Toraño Sr. Dies at 78
Photo/Gary John Norman
Carlos Toraño Sr. in 2006.

Carlos Alberto Toraño Sr., the former maker of the Carlos Toraño cigar line, has died. He was 78 years old. 

Toraño was born in Cuba, and his family was a major broker and grower of cigar tobacco, with roots dating back to 1916. Starting in the 1930s, the Toraños focused on growing shade wrapper, the most expensive component of a cigar. The family business was nationalized in 1959, seized by the Cuban government, when Toraño was 16 years old. 

“We realized very soon after Fidel came into power that we had made a major mistake, because this was a communist revolution and that there was no way to put it back,” Toraño told Cigar Aficionado during a 2004 interview. “The tobacco and the sugar [industries] were the most important ones, so they were the first two that he took over.” The Castro regime took not only the family business, but the fortune as well. “All the bank accounts they'd taken over, the farms were taken over. We lost everything.”

The Toraños left Cuba, and Carlos Toraño Sr. went to school, and then worked in the computer business for a time before going to his roots and getting into the tobacco business. He became a broker of cigars in 1991, and then in 1994 he began distributing cigars bearing his name. Later, he took a hand in making cigars, owning Latin Cigars de Honduras and Latin Cigars de Nicaragua, which, for a time, made the CAO brand for the Ozgener family. The factories also made such company-owned brands as Carlos Toraňo Signature Series, Tribute, and the 1959 Exodus, named for the departure of his family (and other Cuban families) who were pushed out of Cuba.

Toraño retired, and the Carlos Toraño brands were eventually sold to General Cigar Co. in 2014.

Toraño’s wife, Evelyn Toraño-Trinidad, has planned a private memorial mass in Miami to celebrate her husband’s life.
 

Carlos Torano

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