Just prior to the 2019 IPCPR Trade Show, Bombay Tobak introduced its fourth brand in its portfolio known as M.Esteli. M.Esteli would be a very different release compared to the other brands in the Bombay Tobak portfolio. First, M.Esteli is a cigar that was intended to be a bolder offering. Second, M.Esteli is intended to offer a premium cigar in the 6.95 to $7.95 range. Finally, M.Esteli would highlight different tobaccos than seen in the M.Esteli brand before. M.Esteli would be formally launched at the 2019 IPCPR and then shipped to retailers shortly afterward. Today, we take a closer look at the M.Esteli in the Toro size.
Bombay Tobak is owned by Mel Shah, who came into the cigar industry by way of the IT industry. In 2001 he retired from IT, and he launched Fame Wine and Cigars in Palm Springs, California. In 2014, Shah took the next step in his evolution in his cigar career and entering the manufacturing space by launching Bombay Tobak. His first brand was the popular MBombay brand. This was followed up in 2016 with the Gaaja brand and 2018 with the MQBA line. Each of these brands had some unique characteristics. MBombay and Gaaja were lines known to leverage Peruvian tobacco. Gaaja is a line that also incorporated tobacco from Paraguay. MQBA’s first release was an Ecuadorian puro. With M.Esteli, the blend is a Nicaraguan-forward blend and also utilizes tobacco from the Dominican Republic as well.
Without further ado, let’s break down the M.Esteli Toro and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
When Bombay Tobak launched its Ecuadorian puro, MQBA, it was the company’s first release that would use tobaccos from its farm in Ventana, Ecuador. The M.Esteli also uses tobacco from the farm – specifically an Ecuadorian Habano 2000 wrapper. The Dominican tobaccos are present in the binder and filler – including the use of HVA and Piloto Cubano in the filler. The Nicaraguan component includes Pelo de Oro. According to Bombay Tobak, the tobaccos used in the blend go through longer fermentation periods. As with all Bombay Tobak cigars, production for M.Esteli comes out of the Tabacos de Costa Rica factory in Costa Rica.
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano 2000 (Ventana)
Fillers: Dominican (HVA, Piloto Cubano) Nicaraguan (Pelo de Oro)
Country of Origin: Costa Rica
Factory: Tabacos de Costa Rica
M.Esteli is offered in three sizes. Each is packaged in 30-count bundles. The cigar is intended as an open stock refillable tray item.
Robusto: 5 x 54
Toro: 6 x 54
Torpedo: 6 x 54
The Ecuadorian Habano 2000 wrapper of the M.Esteli Toro had a medium brown color with rosado tint to it. There was some oil on the surface of the wrapper. While there were some thin veins and some thin wrapper seams that were visible, this was a wrapper that was relatively smooth. Consistent with all of the vitolas in the M.Esteli line, the M.Esteli Toro has a covered footer.
Prior to lighting the M.Esteli Toro, a straight cut was used to commence the cigar experience. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw phase. The dry draw delivered a mix of earth and a touch of citrus. I considered this to be a satisfactory pre-light draw. With the pre-light draw experience complete, it was now time to light up the M.Esteli Toro and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The M.Esteli Toro opened up with a wide assortment of flavors including coffee bean, cedar, citrus, earth, black pepper, and cream. Early on the coffee bean, cedar and citrus notes moved into the forefront. The citrus notes had an orange-rind quality to it. Meanwhile, the cream, earth, and pepper notes settled into the background. On the retro-hale, there was a mix of the orange citrus and black pepper present.
As the M.Esteli Toro moved into the second third, the coffee bean notes took control as the primary note. Both the citrus and cedar notes diminished. By the midway point, the cedar notes had nearly dissipated. The citrus notes remained in the background. While they diminished, they still complemented the flavor profile nicely. Meanwhile, there was a small increase in the pepper. The earth and cream notes remained constant in the background.
The last third didn’t see much change. There was another small increase in the pepper, but overall the coffee bean notes remained in the forefront with the citrus, pepper, earth, and cream notes in the background. This is the way the M.Esteli Toro finished up. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
When It came to burn, the M. Esteli Toro performed well. The cigar had no problem maintaining a straight burn path. There was a little bit of waviness on the burn line, but overall this didn’t prove to be problemsome. The resulting ash was light gray in color. For the most part, the ash was on the firm side, but there was some minor flaking along the way. The burn rate and burn temperature maintained an ideal level.
The draw to the M.Esteli Toro was on the open side. This was not a loose draw, but normally I do prefer a touch of resistance on it. In the end, this was a cigar that was low maintenance to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The M.Esteli Toro is a cigar that started out medium strength and medium to full-bodied. As the cigar experience progressed, both attributes increased in intensity. By the midway point, the strength progressed into medium to full territory. The remainder of the cigar still was in medium to full strength territory.
While there was an increase in body, the M.Esteli Toro remained in medium to full territory. If you are not one to retro-hale, you might assess the intensity level of the body a little lower, but we do consider the retro-hale a pivotal part of assessing the cigar.
In terms of strength versus body, the body will have the edge for the first two-thirds. By the last third, the strength and body are on an even playing field.
Overall, I found the M.Esteli Toro hit on a lot of the positioning points of this cigar. First, while it’s not a cigar that is going to knock you down with strength and body, it is going to be a cigar that is on the bolder side across all of the offerings of Bombay Tobak. While this isn’t a blend that is going to have some of the more exotic tobaccos Bombay Tobak has been known for, it’s still a cigar equally interesting and enjoyable. It’s a cigar that excels in the most important category – flavor. Finally, at $7.95, this cigar delivers great value.
The M.Esteli Toro is a cigar I’d recommend to a seasoned smoker. It’s one that a cigar enthusiast can reach for on a regular basis. I certainly wouldn’t discourage a novice looking for something medium plus to try this. As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke again. This cigar comes in 30-count bundles, which is on the higher side. However, the value of this cigar makes a 30-count pack of these warrant box/bundle purchase consideration.
Key Flavors: Coffee Bean, Cedar, Citrus, Cream, Pepper, Earth
Draw: Very Good
Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Very Good
Value: Box Worthy Consideration
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop