Note: We recently have changed our Assesment Rating System. For more information, see our October 2013 Editor’s Corner article.

Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Toro

At the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show, Reinado Cigars showcased three line extensions to their Grand Empire Reserve (GER) line.  These extensions would add a corona gorda, petite lancero, and box-pressed toro to the line bringing the total number of vitolas to four.  It was the year prior that Reinado had launched the first vitola in the GER line which was a box-pressed robusto called Elegidos.  It was that original robusto that showcased the promise of this line as it finished as an Honorable Mention in our 2012 Cigar of the Year countdown.  Today, we take a closer look at the box-pressed Toro.  While the Toro shares the blend components with its box-presed robusto sibling, it tells its own story.  With the Toro, this solidifies Reinado’s Grand Empire Reserve line as it is an excellent cigar.

Reinado Cigars was founded by Antonio Lam. The company is preparing to celebrate its five year anniversary next year.  The company’s focus has been around making Nicaraguan puros. Reinado has differentiated itself by using its own (and undisclosed) unique fermentation process.  The company has two cigar lines, the core Reinado line and the Grand Empire Reserve line.  Lam has been methodical in building these lines and has not expanded too fast.  The result is products that have been well-received in the marketplace.  This year, prior to IPCPR we named Reinado as one of our 2013 “Five Boutiques to Watch.”

Without further ado, let’s break down the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Toro and see what this cigar brings to the table:

Blend Profile

As mentioned above, the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve blend is a Nicaraguan puro.

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Select Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

The Grand Empire Reserve line now has four vitolas.  While we will focus on the Toro for this assessment, we mention the other vitolas for completeness.  The line is now being referred to as the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Premium Collection line.

Box-Press Toro: 6 x 52 (10 count boxes)
Corona Gorda: 5 5/8 x 46 (10 count boxes)
Limited Edition Petite Lancero: 6 x 38 (10 count boxes – only 250 boxes produced)
Elegidos (Box Press Robusto): 5 x 55 (20 count boxes)


The Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Toro has a coffee bean colored wrapper with some dark spots.  The surface of the wrapper had a slight amount of oil on it.  There are several visible veins and visible wrapper seams.  The box-press of the toro was firm.  I found it firmer than the Elegidos.

There are two bands on the Grand Empire Reserve line.  The primary band  is the traditional Reinado band – which is one of the underrated band designs in the industry.  It has a red, gold, and white color scheme.  There is a shield in the center of the band. Surrounding the shield there is a red circular background.  Above the shield it has the text “REINADO” in white font arranged in a semi-circular fashion.   Below the shield is the text “NICARAGUA” in a smaller white font also arrange in a semi-circular fashion.  The band itself has gold trim on the top and bottom.  There is white and red striping on the left and right side of the band.  There is also a red field that sits over the striping on each side of the band.  On the left side is the text HECHO A MANO” in white font siting on the red field.  On the right it says “AL ML” in white font sitting on the red field.

There is a secondary band that sits just below the primary band that is unique to the Grand Empire Reserve line.  The band is gold with the text “GRAND EMPIRE RESERVE” in black font. There is a black pinstripe above and below that text.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

As I usual do before most of the cigars I talk about on this web-site,  I went with my usual choice of a straight cut to remove the cap.  It was then on to the pre-light draw.  The dry draw started with a bit of a sharper spice that I couldn’t quite pinpoint.  As I continued the dry draw, the spice settled more into the cedar spice I had detected when I smoked the Elegidos size.  I also detected some notes of coffee.  Overall, I considered the GER Toro to have a solid pre-light draw. It was now time to light up this cigar and see what the smoking phase would have in store.

Flavor Profile

As mentioned in the introduction, I felt the Reinado Grand Empire Toro told its own story.  This was seen when comparing the flavor profile between the Toro and the Elegidos.  In other words, I think this is a great case how a blend can deliver a different experience in a different front mark. Overall I found a nice smoothness to the flavors in the Toro from start to finish.

The start to the GER Toro had some black pepper notes.  I also detected some coffee and floral notes in the background.  Once the pepper settled down, I found the coffee notes moved into the forefront.  The pepper remained a close secondary note while the floral notes were more distant. As the GER moved through the first third, the coffee seemed a little more prominent on the after-draw.  The retro-hale produced a nice black pepper spice that did not overwhelm the flavors detected on the tongue.

In the second third, some earth notes joined the coffee notes in the forefront.  The pepper and the floral notes still were in a secondary role. As the GER Toro moved into the last third, the pepper notes joined the earth and coffee in the forefront.  The close to the GER Toro was flavorful and not harsh.  The resulting nub was a little soft, but cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

Overall, I found the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Toro to be a well-constructed cigar and this was reflected in the attributes of burn and draw.  The burn line remained straight and sharp from start to finish requiring minimal touch-ups.  The ash was more on the white colored side and remained firm throughout the smoking experience.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.

Burn of the Reinado Grand Empire Reserve Toro

Much like the burn, the draw gets high scores as well.  I found the draw to low maintenance in terms of being able to smoke the GER Toro.  This made for an enjoyable smoke from start to finish.

Strength and Body

I found the Grand Empire Reserve Toro to be dialed back a little more in terms of both strength and body compared to the Elegidos.  I cannot attribute if this was because of the vitola change or because the tobaccos being used were more mature.  I didn’t look at this as a negative.  In fact I think it worked quite well.  Finally the Toro does a real good job at the balance between strength and body as they pretty much stay in sync from start to finish.

The strength to the GER Toro started out medium.  It slowly increased and by the last third it does cross the threshold into the medium to full strength area.  The flavors started out the same way – medium-bodied for the first two thirds, progressing to medium to full-bodied in the last third.

By contrast the Elegidos was more of a full-bodied smoke, and I felt the strength increased to medium to full by the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Back when I first sampled the Elegidos vitola of the Grand Empire Reserve, I wrote that I felt with the Grand Empire Reserve, Lam took his company to the next level as it was an excellent blend. The Toro does a lot to solidify my feelings on this.  While I did mention the GER Toro was a little more dialed back in terms of strength and body, I did feel it produced a smoother smoking experience.  Overall this is a terrific cigar and one that really showcases what a good Nicaraguan puro can be.  This is a cigar I would easily recommend to both novice and experienced cigar enthusiasts.  This is not only a cigar I’d smoke again, but one that I would recommend a box purchase for.


Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity Medium
Strength Medium (Medium to Full last third)
Body: Medium (Medium to Full last third)
Finish: Good
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
Score: 92

Source:  The cigar for this assessment was provided by Reinado Cigars.  The sample received was in order to provide feedback.  Cigar Coop is appreciative for the samples, but in no way does this influence this write-up.