“Bombay Tobak has produced some excellent blends, but by far this one is the company’s masterpiece.”

Gaaja Toro by Bombay Tobak

Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut desflorado, Variety Hybrid Mejorado 2004
Binder: Ecuador HVA Seca Mejorada
-Seco: Peru Hybrid Habano
-Viso: Ecuador criollo 98, Paraguay Hybrid Habano 2000, Dominican Criollo 98.
-Ligero: Dominican HVA Mejorado
Country of Origin: Costa Rica
Box Pressed Toro: 6 x 54
Price: $15.50
Review: Gaaja Toro by Bombay Tobak
Brand Appearances on Countdown: 2 (2015, 2016)

Coming in at #5 is the Gaaja Toro by Bombay Tobak. Just prior to the 2016 IPCPR, Bombay Tobak owner Mel Shah launched a new brand called Gaaja. The Gaaja is Bombay Tobak’s first box-pressed cigar. However, the more interesting thing about this cigar is that it incorporates tobacco from Paraguay in the filler – something that really hasn’t been done in many premium handmade cigars.

This is the second cigar by Bombay Tobak on the 2016 Cigar Coop Countdown joining the MBombay Vintage Reserve Lancero 1973. It is also Bombay Tobak’s second top ten cigar this year. Gaaja is the first cigar on the Cigar contain Paraguayan tobacco to land on the Countdown.Finally, this is the third cigar out of Costa Rica and the Tabacos de Costa Rica to land on the Countdown.

The name Gaaja (pronounced : Gaa-ya) traces back on the Sanskrit name “Gaja” (pronounced guj) which means elephant. It’s a project Shah has had under development for three years. Gaaja is a blend that features filer  tobaccos from Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Peru, and Paraguay.  The cigar utilizes a Ecuador HVA binder and is finished with an Ecuadorian Connecticut Desflorado hybrid wrapper. The hybrid wrapper is a combination of a Connecticut Seed crossed with Cameroon grown in Ecuador using the Desflorado technique. This technique involves removing the tobacco flower resulting in nutrients being passing to the leaves; which in turn results in more flavor,


Photo Credit: Bombay Tobak


This cigar delivered notes of sweet natural tobacco,  cedar, mineral, and herbal notes. There is an underlying creamy texture to this cigar that keeps things smooth. The retro-hale delivered several notes – including black pepper as well as an additional layer of herbal and cedar notes. I found the retro-hale to be a key component when smoking this cigar as it will bring out quite a bit more of the complexity. Both the strength and body of this cigar are medium.

As unique as this cigar’s blend is, so is the flavor profile this cigar produces. Bombay Tobak delivers a worthy top five cigar and one certainly worthy of fighting Chuck Norris for.


For details of the 2016 Cigar of the Year Countdown, see our 2016 criteria.

Photo Credit: Cigar Coop, except where noted