Thursday the news broke of the acquisition of Toraño Family Cigars by General Cigar Co., which came as a surprise to many, none more than the employees of Toraño Family Cigars, some of whom are actual family. Many saw this as a small company selling to a big company to save the brand before the FDA regulations put them out of business. I’ve been a fan of both companies, and have or had friends in both. I can’t help to feel let down by Charlie Toraño in the way he, from an outsiders perspective, let his employees, sales force, even employees bearing the family name down by not preparing them for this eventuality. From the outside looking in, based on conversations both public and private, it looks like Charlie was the big winner in this transaction, and the rest of the company is out on the street, so to speak. Oddly, this isn’t the first time Charlie’s done this. Several years ago he let his sales staff go when he entered into distribution with CAO, without warning and right before Christmas. I have to admit, I had a pretty good opinion of Charlie up until Thursday, and now I’m not so sure. General gets a reasonably good line of cigars out of the deal. From what I understand, Leccia Tobacco wasn’t included in this deal, and Sam has several options available to him. He’s in a good position as he’s probably a pretty attractive property in the market, a hard working guy with a quality product. Anyway, I grabbed a Toraño Vault D-042 robusto for my Thursday walk and reflected upon all of this. This cigar started off with a void in the center, which I found ironic. I’ve enjoyed these in the past, it’s got a Habano wrapper that’s very oily looking, and features a leaf of Pennsylvania tobacco in the filler. Once it burned past the tunnel, about an inch and a half of the 5″ length, it behaved nicely. Rich and tasty. General Cigar Co. says they aren’t planning to make any changes to the manufacture of the Toraño line, and there’s a few that I really like and hope they leave alone. I’ve had a good relationship with someone at Toraño for most of the past tern years, I’m sorry to see the company leaving the industry, so close to their centennial too.
We have set aside tobacco for years in anticipation of this very special blend to commemorate our 20th anniversary. The complex and powerful flavors of the 1994 originate from the best fillers and binder grown on our farm in the Dominican Republic and are complemented with a sweet and savory Mexican San Andrés wrapper. This blend is as special as the occasion it serves to commemorate and is symbolic of the quality and pride with which La Flor Dominicana has built its name.
I gave this a snip with the Xikar XV cutter, then opened it up a little with the scissors after a few moments of less smoke production than I wanted. The Rumba is a 6½” x 52 toro and burns really well, once it’s opened up all the way, that is. Here’s a thing: This has a San Andrés wrapper, but it’s not you’re standard maduro processed San Andrés wrapper. This appears to be the elusive natural San Andrés wrapper, which doesn’t have the familiar cocoa/coffee grounds kind of flavor. This is more refined, and silky smooth. This was an enjoyable cigar, and as I dig back into the LfD lines after many years of neglecting them, I find this to be a winner. I think it was under $8, which is also a plus! Good smoke.
Yesterday I went up to a local cigar shop, Cigar Cigars’ Light’n Up Glenmore cigar store (I’m still a little hazy on what they are calling it since CigarCigars purchased the location!) for a Perdomo event. Joe Winder, our local Perdomo rep was there, and I was greeted by him and Steve, who was the previous owner of the store, and now manages the shops. I picked out some cigars, a couple of the 20th anniversary in the Corona Grande size, which is a great 6½”x 48 size, and the new Perdomo Double Aged 12 Year Vintage, which I promptly lit up. This is a unique cigar, the cigars are made using tobaccos from a 2001/2002 vintage crop, aged in bales for 10 years followed by an additional 2 years aged in wood barrels. I smoked the Connecticut wrapped version, and very much look forward to the Sun Grown and Maduro Versions. It was very smooth, and was a great choice for a pre-dinner smoke. It has tasting notes right on the band, so I really didn’t have to work to hard. It was indeed creamy with hints of caramel and cedar. Thanks to reader Kevin Shahan for putting this one on my radar! It was a great smoke, and as a bonus, my old friend Jeff, who I grew up with, stopped by and enjoyed a 10th Anniversary Champagne with me.
Today was a bit of a whirlwind. Long story short, we had scheduled a cleaning service this morning, and planned to have an open house this afternoon. The cleaning service canceled on us at the last minute, leaving us to rush around scrubbing and dusting and hiding all of our clutter. My brother-in-law Jeff and his girlfriend ran over and helped us out. The open house was a failure anyway, but at least the house is clean! I can’t thank Jeff and Karen enough for coming, and I owe Jeff a nice cigar! When it was all over, I sat on the back deck with a cigar I got at the Rocky Mountain Cigar Festival, a Gunslinger Perdition Toro, from Kendall Culbertson of Outlaw Cigar in Kansas City, MO. I’ve included the video of my brief interview with Kendall below, but he’s a passionate cigar man to be sure. The cigar was terrific. It’s made at the AJ Fernandez factory in Esteli, and features Nicaraguan, Honduran and Broadleaf (origin unspecified) fillers, a Nicaraguan binder and a San Andrés wrapper. I rarely have a cigar smoke so perfectly. It was a very rich smoke with smooth,flavors. I’m very glad I chose this cigar to cap off a less than satisfying day. I will be looking forward to sampling more of these, even though at $9 each they are on the high side of my price preference. It was a treat meeting Kendall, I look forward to visiting his store one day, the next time I am in Kansas City will be my first.
That’s it for now, sorry the post is late, but it’s been a long day. Time to get some dinner and think about an evening walk with a small cigar. Until the next time,