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Cigar Review – Carlos Toraño Loyal Robusto

Since the IPCPR show in July, we’ve gotten more samples than we can even keep track of. Generally I’ve been reviewing them as soon as we get the first shipment, and yesterday we got our first few boxes of Carlos Toraño Loyal, so I decided to review the Robusto I’d been saving. According to the info card that came with the sample, the Loyal line is supposed to represent the Toraño family’s commitment to the principle that a bargain cigar should not only be cheap, but also legitimately good. Personally, I think they hit the nail on the head with this one.

The Carlos Toraño Loyal Robusto goes for around $5 per stick and features a particularly eye-catching Sumatra-seed wrapper leaf from Ecuador. This leaf was slightly toothy and had a few sizeable veins, but was otherwise flawless. The filler leaves were evenly- and not-too-densely-packed at the foot, thanks to what looked like an accordion roll, and once I clipped the cap, the draw was effortless and immediately gave up tons of flavors. On the pre-light, I got bread, brown sugar, and baking spice, some of which was definitely ginger, and I thought of only one thing: gingerbread. With that in mind, I fired up the torch and hungrily puffed away.

As soon as the first puff of smoke came through this cigar, I immediately knew it was one of the most well-balanced smokes I’d ever had. Initial flavors were just like the pre-light, but with a few extras—coffee, butter, booze (maybe rum), and a little bit of pepper that never quite got past medium-bodied.

Further in, that pepper mellowed and some darker undertones of coffee and cocoa came to the forefront. It wasn’t as sweet as it was in the first third, but the flavors were still in the dessert realm. I got a little bit of butterscotch on the retrohale, along with what shaped up to be a pretty heavy nicotine buzz. It wasn’t an “oh man, I need to lie down” buzz as much as it was a pleasant, floaty, swimming buzz, sort of like what you’d get from drinking champagne a bit too fast.

As I neared the final third, the confectionery flavors had all but cleared out, and all that was left was a consistently strong sweet tobacco note. The retrohale was a tiny bit leathery, but I still tasted that tobacco note almost exclusively. With about an inch left, the pepper was almost completely gone and the malted caramel sweetness had almost completely faded. Fearing burning my fingers, I set down the nub with a little under an inch left.

All in all, I’d say this is one of the best cigars I’ve ever had, let alone for $5 and change per stick. The flavor transitions in this cigar were some of the smoothest and most pleasant that I’ve ever had. It was like the ultimate three course meal, starting with dessert, transitioning into coffee, and finally ending with a cigar. On top of that, the construction was great, consistent inch-plus ashes and burning straight from start to finish.

If you want to see what the Toraño family can do with an affordable cigar, get your hands on a box of Carlos Toraño Loyal. Its sweet, smooth, and pronounced flavors are perfect for an after-dinner smoke, and it’s definitely mellow enough for the novice smoker. I have another stick in my humidor at home, and I am very much looking forward to smoking it in another few months. In the meantime, here’s to another great Toraño cigar—may there be many more!