Prior to the 2011 IPCPR, Torano Family Cigars announced two new blends that would be released – the Torano Loyal and Torano Vault. At the IPCPR, while both cigars were on display, for the most part a decision had been made on holding off on providing samples of the Torano Vault to the retailers. One of the reasons for this decision was to allow the blend to develop some more age. While this might be disappointing, ultimately I feel the worst thing that can happen to a cigar is putting it into someone’s hands before it was ready – therefore I applauded the decision to wait. The time has finally come for the Torano Vault to be unlocked and come into the hands of the consumers. I recently have had an opportunity to sample some of these newly released cigars and my initial assessment is that this was clearly worth the wait.
Back at IPCPR I had a chance to talk with Charlie Torano on the Vault project. The story of the Vault is very interesting and I can expand a lot on it. Charlie’s father, Carlos Torano started a cigar blend book that logs all of the blends since 1982 worked on by company. This book is literally kept under lock and key in a safety deposit box (i.e. “Vault”). One of the blends in the book was recorded in 2000 and is referred to as “A-008”. This blend was very intriguing to both Charlie Torano and Bruce Lewis. This original blend consisted of a shade-grown Nicaraguan Colorado wrapper, a single binder from Jamastran (Honduras), and fillers from Esteli and Condega (Nicaragua). As Charlie Torano explained to me, they loved the complexity of the cigar, but felt it wasn’t at the level of strength they wanted it to be. Therefore, they set out to tweak the blend. This was done by adding another binder to the blend from Ometepe, Nicaragua (a volcanic island in Lake Nicaragua). Getting tobacco from Ometepe was difficult to do, but Torano Family Cigars was able to secure some of this tobacco and it turned out to be the ingredient they were looking for.
Let’s look at the final product and see how it smokes.
This summarizes the tweak done to the original A-008 blend to create the Torano Vault:
Wrapper: Shade-Grown Nicaraguan Colorado
Binder: Jamastran Honduras, Ometepe, Nicaragua
Filler: Esteli and Condega, Nicaragua
There are three core vitolas with a fourth limited release.
Robusto: 5 x 52
Toro: 6 x 50
Torpedo: 6 1/8 x 52
Corona Gorda: 5 5/8 x 46 (Limited Release)
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For this cigar experience, I selected the Toro vitola. Typically a 6 x 50 is a go-to size cigar for me, so this made the most sense for me to sample. I placed my usual straight cut into the cap and initiated a pre-light draw. The initial dry-draw flavor notes were interesting – notes of wood, earth, and some coffee flavors. I definitely sensed there was more to come when I would light this cigar, so I wasted no time in doing so.
When assessing cigar, sometimes the word smooth is over-used, but in the case of the Vault, I think this is a perfect description. The initial flavor notes revealed to me some nice coffee flavors with some cedar spice in the background. Shortly afterwords, notes of butter cream surfaced and complemented the coffee and cedar spice in the background.
The combination of the butter cream, cedar, and coffee all worked in parallel throughout the smoking experience of the Vault. Along the way, there was an interesting sweetness working in the background. I couldn’t put my finger on what the sweetness was. This sweetness worked behind the scenes, but it seemed to add to the flavors being provided perfectly. The primary notes of cream, cedar, and coffee took turns in terms of which was the flavor in the forefront throughout most of the smoking experience.
By the midway point, it was clear the cream and cedar notes were more in the forefront and the coffee notes settled a bit with some of the subtle sweetness that existed. The final 30 percent provided a spicy finish with the cedar. The word smooth continued to be at play even with the spice notes that existed in the forefront. The finishing nub was outstanding – firm and cool. When a cigar provides a nub with those characteristics, it is very satisfying. It was clear the extra time to age this cigar before releasing it paid off.
Burn and Draw
Not only did the extra aging time pay off in terms of flavor, but it paid off on the attributes of burn and draw. The burn was as close to a perfect score as I could give it. Keeping this burn razor sharp was effortless. In addition, it burned at an ideal rate and temperature. The draw was outstanding as well. This is one of those cigars I truly enjoyed smoking.
|Burn of the Torano Vault|
Strength and Body
I knew with the Torano Loyal being on the milder side in terms of strength, the Torano Vault would be the stronger offering. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that much stronger from a nicotine profile. It still had enough strength though to qualify as a solid medium (that missing ingredient must have truly done the trick). Meanwhile the flavor notes fell more into the medium-bodied profile for the majority of the smoke. Toward the last part of the smoke, I felt they just crept into the range of medium to full-bodied.
The Torano Vault really impressed me. The best thing about this blend is how it can appeal to a wide range of enthusiasts. I believe novice cigar enthusiasts will love the smoothness this cigar brings to the table. At the same time, I feel experienced cigar enthusiasts will appreciate some of the subtle qualities in terms of flavor and construction. Another way to look at this is that I think this cigar will appeal to those who like Nicaraguan tobacco, but in a lot of ways this had the qualities of a good Dominican cigar (even though there is no Dominican tobacco in the blend). From my personal point of view, I can easily see purchasing a box of these.
Body: Medium (Medium to Full toward end)
Source: The cigars smoked for this assessment was a sample provided by Torano Family Cigars. The sample was initiated by Torano Family Cigars in order to provide feedback. I am appreciative for the sample, but in no way does this influence this review.