30 December 2009
CIGAR REVIEW: Carlos Torano - 1916 Cameroon
The Carlos Torano - 1916 Cameroon was introduced in 2003 to commemorate Don Santiago Torano's emigration from Spain to Cuba. It is hand-made in Esteli, Nicaragua in four vitollas: Robusto (5.5" x 52), Corona (5.5" x 42), Torpedo (6.5" x 54), and Churchill (7" x 48); each of which are cellos with a thin cedar wrapping. The capa is Nicaraguan grown Cameroon, the capote is Havana-seed Nicaraguan, and the tripa is a blend of Honduran and Nicaraguan. Torano describes the 1916 Cameroon as being a, "slow burning, well balanced, medium body cigar with distinctive hints of pepper, caramel, nuts, and sweet spice with a long, smooth finish." The vitolla I smoked for this review was the Robusto.
The 1916 had a very pleasant and sweet pre-light aroma with a color between colorado and colorado-rosado. It had several lumps and bumps in the capa but no knots or hard / soft spots; however, there were some color inconsistencies with small greenish spots here and there. It squeezed very firmly and judging by the foot, appeared to be well packed. I made a straight-cut with scissors and tested the pre-light draw and taste which had pretty fair resistance and a slight bitterness at first which subsided right away and was followed immediately by a woody, sweet taste. It took a little fire to get it lit well but I attribute that to the apparent well packed quality I mentioned a moment ago. Once lit it began to burn very well and produced plenty of distinctive blue smoke with a noticeable woody taste.
About 1/2" in I began to detect a distinct pepper / spice tingle on the top 1/3 of the tongue. Retro-exhalation was possible but had to be done gently, otherwise it would burn a little and trigger a cough. As it burned it left behind a crispy, very light grey, almost white ash with a few dark spots which held on for the full first 1/3 before dropping off on its own. Around the 1" mark the distinctness of the pepper was still present but the tingle had mellowed and each puff was followed by a dry finish. The middle 1/3 continued to mellow but still had some pepper notes and the dry finish while a mild woody taste developed on the lips. Farther into the middle 1/3 the strength of the pepper re-emerged across the middle-top of the tongue and the ash dropped off again on its own with the full middle 1/3 and part of the last 1/3 (indicating good long-filler tobacco and skilled rolling). The final 1/3 smoked with slight wood and pepper notes and the dry finish continued to the end.
Overall, the Carlos Torano - 1916 Cameroon was a decent smoke. From beginning to end it didn't require a single touch-up or re-light. I thought it was going to need a touch-up a couple times but it corrected itself and continued to burn smoothly. I didn't notice much in the way of complexity so it's not the kind of cigar you need to devote your full time and attention to; however, it struck me as being the kind of cigar that would be good with a beverage and while I smoked it, Macallan 12 year old single malt Scotch kept coming to mind, perhaps because its fruity nose and smooth taste would be a good balance and compliment to the wood, pepper, and dryness of the 1916.