It’s been a while since I tried the Exodus, several years in fact, so I thought it was about time to fire up another one. The stand-up guys at the Stogie Review have generously offered a box of Exodus 1959 Double Coronas to the Dog Watch Social Club for a contest which you can win by entering here.
I’ve been so loyal to the Torano 1916 Cameroons and the Signatures that I sort of forgot about the Exodus 1959. The DWSC contest reminded me that it would be good to reacquaint myself with this benchmark cigar.
The 1959 Exodus is made in Torano’s Honduran factory in Danli. Released in 2001, this version is sometimes called the “Exodus Gold” to distinguish it from the Silver version which was released the following year. These parejos are box pressed, and the toro measures a solid 6 inches with a 50 ring gauge.
Wrapper: Honduras (H2000)
Filler: Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua
I would expect a lot of complexity from a cigar with such a diverse blend, especially when it is topped off with the “controversial” H2000 wrapper. H2000 was used widely during the cigar boom in the late 1990’s, during which it was also roundly criticized as flame proof and compared at times to asbestos.
H2000 (AKA Habana 2000) was originally developed in Cuba as an alternative to the corojo and criollo strains which were very susceptible to various kinds of blight. Agronomists crossed “true” corojo, the trademark wrapper leaf developed by Diego Rodriguez in the 30’s, with Bell 61-10, a type of cigarette tobacco. The new strain resulted in a thick leaf that was indeed more disease and pest resistant, but cigar makers found it difficult to ferment and smokers almost universally complained that it burned badly, sometimes resulting in the binder and filler burning completely and leaving a hollow shell of H2000 wrapper. Not good!
Since that time it appears that either the strain has been improved, or processing methods have been developed to persuade the petulant H2000 wrapper leaf to burn properly.
This toro’s wrapper is smooth and almost waxy. The prelight scent is rich with just a tinge of ammonia. It cuts easily and the prelight draw is perfect.
The Exodus 1959 Toro fires up easily, and goes right to work building a solid white ash that holds for two inches. This baby burned perfectly straight. So much for those H2000 complaints.
I found this cigar to be similar in flavor profile to the Torano Signature — it has an earthy base with overtones of coffee, though not as strong in the coffee department as is the Signature. There is also an element of sweetness, as if a couple teaspoons of sugar were thrown into the coffee. And while we’re at it, some cream. This is definitely a smooth smoke.
The complexity of the five-country blend results in a spectrum of flavors that spans from the tannic element in the coffee flavor to the sweet aroma, all firmly grounded in a rich earthy smoothness. The finale was a dose of peppercorns zinging on my tongue. Cap this off with superb construction and a price point in the four dollar range, and you have one fine cigar.
My only complaint is that it seems to burn fairly quickly: from ignition to band this cigar lasted only 45 minutes. But I have to admit that I was probably enjoying this smoke a little too much to take my time. That would also explain the buzz — which reminds me to note that this is a full bodied cigar, best enjoyed after a meal.
If you win the DWSC contest, you’re in for a real treat!