The Torano family has been in the tobacco business since the first part of the 20th century, starting when Don Santiago Torano moved from Spain to Cuba in 1916. Santiago and later his sons were primarily involved in the leaf trade and tobacco cultivation rather than cigar production, but this would change. After the communists nationalized the tobacco industries in Cuba, Santiago’s son Carlos fled to the Dominican Republic, taking with him a prized possession: Cuban seed, what would eventually become known as “piloto cubano.”
The Toranos would later focus on cigar making, and today the family makes tens of thousands of cigars in their three factories under the Torano name, as well as making cigars for C.A.O., Alec Bradley, and Gurkha.
This line, introduced in 1997, is made in their Nicaraguan factory located in Esteli. (Torano has factories in the Dominican Republic and Honduras as well.) It is no longer listed on the Torano website, so perhaps they are phasing it out. The Exodus line has been enormously popular and well reviewed, and following the trend for heavier-bodied smokes they have just unveiled the Virtuoso line, so maybe the Nicaraguan Selection is getting the heave-ho. In the meantime, I’ve got a couple left and I’ve seen em in stores at a pretty decent price (3 to 4 dollar range), so they’re not gone yet.
Wrapper: Ecuador Sumatran
5 3/4 x 50
I was expecting some nice spicy Nicaraguan smoke from this box-pressed perfecto, but it turned out to be less than I had hoped for. The construction is admirable, slow burning with an effortless draw. The foot alone burned for a good ten minutes before meeting the barrel. I found I had to take this one slowly to avoid a metallic twinge. And while it does mellow a bit with time, it is still a fairly harsh smoke. It does offer some spice, but it is unsophisticated. There is a woody element on the nose, but on the palate there’s not too much to recommend this one. Torano’s 1916 Cameroon is one of my favorite smokes, but the next time I think Nicaraguan I’ll be reaching for something else.