|Roberto P. Duran – Rio Toa|
At the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas Nevada, Roberto P. Duran Cigars launched three new lines of cigars. One of those cigars was the company’s eponymous cigar named after its founder – called the Roberto P. Duran Cigar. The eponymous-named Roberto P. Duran Cigar has a specific role as it has been intended to introduce a “super premium” cigar into the line. It was a year ago where the company made its debut and released three blends under the Azan line of cigars. Overall, I have been impressed with the work this company has been doing – and this is certainly is another outstanding cigar released by the company.
The company and the new cigar named are made for its owner and founder, Roberto Pelayo Duran. Originally from Cuba, Roberto started out as a cigar production supervisor in that country. He then went on to assemble and manage all Cuban cigar brands for The Pacific Cigar Company, Ltd. He has also served as consultant to British American Tobacco working on their global brand strategy.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Roberto P. Duran cigar in the Rio Toa (Robusto) format and see what this cigar brings to the table. Since this assessment was based on pre-release samples received at the IPCPR Trade Show, we will default to a pre-review format to share our thought and perspective. Once the cigar makes its way to retailers, this cigar will smoked again and a formal assessment rating and score will be provided.
The cigar features an Ecuadorian Habana Criollo wrapper from a plantation that Roberto owns in Ecuador.
The binder and filler are from Nicaragua with an added leaf from Latin America in the filler.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habana Criollo
Filler: Nicaraguan + one leaf from an undisclosed Latin American country
The Roberto P. Duran Cigar comes in four sizes. Each of the four sizes pay homage to Roberto’s roots in Cuba – in particular the town of his birth, Baracoa (which incidentally is the name of one of the other two cigars being released by the company).
The Rio Toa: 5 x 52. This represents biggest river in Cuba. It is very significant to the eco-system and it is at the heart of Baracoa.
La Punta: 6 x 54 (Torpedo). The name appeals to a Torpedo. The fort of “La Punta” built in 1802 is one of the symbols of Baracoa.
Tainos: 6 x 56. This is an ode to the Tainos, which were the natives of Baracoa before the arrival of Colon.
Cacique Guama: 6 x 60. This was a Tainos Chief from Baracoa who was a great fighter against the Spanish occupation of their land.
For this cigar experience I smoked the Roberto P. Duran Rio Toa. The Roberto P. Duran cigar has a rich cinnamon color with almost a slight orange tint to it. There was a moderate amount of oil on the surface of the wrapper. There were some thin visible veins and some visible wrapper seams.
The band features the Roberto P. Duran logo. This is highlighted on the front by a metallic blue shield design trimmed with silver. Toward the top of the shield is a castle window-like design also in silver font with a leaf draped over it in a chrome font. Toward the center of the shield is the text “ROBERTO P” in chrome font. Below that text is “duran” – also in a large chrome (lower case) font with the “d” protruding to the row above it. Finally on a third row is the text “PREMIUM CIGARS” in a small chrome font”. There are some silver adornments toward the bottom of the shield. To the left and right of the shield are two thick stripes – a white gold color on the upper half and and a metallic blue color on the lower half. A thin silver stripe separates the two thick stripes and there is chrome trim across the top and bottom of the band. Sitting on the left and right side of the shield on the white gold stripe are two silver circular designs with metallic blue trim.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up my Roberto P. Duran Rio Toa, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was removed, I was treated to a mix of natural tobacco and floral notes. There was a subtle sweetness to the natural tobacco. I could also pick up a slight creamy note in the background. Overall I considered this a very good pre-light draw. At this point I was ready to light up my Roberto P. Duran Rio Toa and see what the overall smoking phase would have in store.
The Roberto P. Duran Rio Toa kicked off with notes of pepper, natural tobacco and a slight citrus component. It didn’t take long for the natural tobacco notes to become primary. The pepper notes moved to the background with the citrus notes. I also detected some cream on the after-draw. It added a smoothness to the flavor. Meanwhile the pepper could be detected through the nasal passages.
The second third continued to showcase the natural tobacco notes. The natural tobacco had that “Cuban twang” that you often get when there are natural tobacco, citrus, and pepper notes all coming together for a perfect storm. There was still some cream in the background keeping to the smooth profile. I also picked up a bready note in the background.
As the cigar moved into the last third, the bread notes joined the natural tobacco and pepper notes as the main flavors. The citrus notes diminished and that also reduced the Cuban Twang effect on this cigar. This is the way the cigar experience came to a close. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and slightly soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
The burn of the Roberto P. Duran Rio Toa remained straight from start to finish requiring only some occasional touch-ups along the way. The resulting ash has a charcoal gray color to it. The resulting ash had enough firmness to it where it came off in nice chunks. There was some light flaking along the way, but this didn’t prove to be problem-some. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Roberto P. Duran Rio Toa|
The draw to the Roberto P. Duran Rio Toa was outstanding. It had just a touch of resistance – which is something I enjoy. This made the cigar an enjoyable cigar to puff on.
Strength and Body
The Roberto P. Duran Rio Toa is not going to be a cigar that will overwhelm you with strength. I assessed this cigar as being a medium strength cigar from start to finish. As for the body, I found there was just the right amount of depth to the flavors. I assessed this cigar as also being a medium-bodied cigar. In terms of strength versus body, the two attributes counter each other very nicely with neither overshadowing the other.
Overall the Roberto P. Duran Rio Toa was an excellent cigar. While this isn’t a cigar that is going to be revolutionary in terms of delivering new flavors, it does deliver a nice fusion of classic flavors. There is a nice smoothness on the pallet throughout this cigar. This is also a great example of why a cigar doesn’t need to be bold and full to be equally satisfying. I also think there is some serious aging potential down the line, so this is a cigar worth keeping an eye out for. While I believe this smoked as a super premium should, I personally look at aging potential as a component to this worthiness so time will be the final arbiter if this is worth it.I’ve smoked through the Cacique Guama and La Punta sizes as well. With these sizes as well as Rio Toa, I also think this is a cigar that can appeal to a wide range of cigar enthusiasts – novice or experienced. As for myself, this is a cigar I would definitely reach for and smoke again.