Last summer I picked up this limited edition Havana Soul at the Cigar King in Scottsdale. It was created by Don Pepin Garcia for a special event at the store (if I recall correctly) but there were a few left over after the event, so in addition to a couple smaller sized Havana Soul cigars I picked up this “Super Toro.”
The blends that Don Pepin makes for Cigar King are based on the classic Habanos that Pepin made in Cuba for many years. The Havana Soul takes as its patron the rich smooth flavor and medium body of the Montecristo line. I am certainly no expert on Cuban cigars, but in my modest opinion this is one of the most “cubanesque” cigars available for sale in the U.S.
This is a limited edition super-sized toro at 6 1/2 inches long with a 52 ring gauge. There are two bands on the cigar, which at first glance looks like a mistake of some kind. Is it a Havana Soul, or is it a Hirsh y Garcia? The wrapper used on the Havana Soul is Pepin’s Corojo 99, a hybrid version of the original Cuban corojo, in this case grown in Nicaragua. The filler and binder are Nicaraguan as well, a combination of corojo and criollo blended to achieve a flavor that is truly unique.
Like all of the cigars from El Rey de Los Habanos, this one bears the classic Cuban triple cap, which in this case is curled into a short point. The wrapper practically glows with oil, and I have to admit that I hesitated before cutting and lighting this one up. It’s one of those cigars that is almost too pretty to torch. But cigars aren’t created to hang on the wall and be admired by the passing crowd. They’re cigars, meant to be smoked by heartless thugs like me. So I headed for the garage with my cigar, my lighter, and my evil intentions.
I was a little concerned about the cut at first, remembering caps with tails in the past that have unraveled on me. This one was solid though, and stayed that way. Looking at the foot of the cigar before lighting I noticed the wild swirls that are characteristic of the entubado method of cigar rolling. A quick prelight pull on the cigar revealed a perfect draw, and the time was right for lighting.
It starts up with a touch of green wood that disappears almost before I can recognize it. A peppery finish is present from the start and will make several return appearances before the final act. Very quickly the flavor becomes smooth and nutty, with just a hint of youthfulness. The aroma is, for lack of a better word, “twangy.” It’s a sweet, caramel laced nutty aroma that is very reminiscent of Habanos — I’m thinking of the Bolivar petite corona in particular, maybe because of the peppery flavor profile that these cigars share.
The construction is spot on perfect, with the exception of a wavering burn line that causes no issues, but isn’t perfect. The ash is a solid light gray with a somewhat flaky appearance. It looks like it should fall apart when I ash it, but it doesn’t. At a couple inches into the smoke I’m finding it to be medium bodied, but fairly powerful. I had a full meal before lighting this one up, and I’m glad I did.
The second third picks up some cocoa on the nose and the finish gets stronger and spicier. There’s a slight burn on the tongue, but I may have been oversmoking at this point. I forced myself to slow down and let the cigar cool off a little. Five minutes into the final third found the flavors traveling from solidly nutty country into smooth buttery territory, still accompanied by a sharp peppery finish.
This is a wonderful and very complex cigar. The larger sized limited edition is a bit more complex than the other sizes I have sampled, but certainly bears the same marks. My only criticism is a slightly green flavor that is present more acutely for the first inch of the cigar and gradually dissipates but never entirely disappears. But rather than a damning flaw, I’m going to take this as an indication of how well this cigar will age.
I’ve been contemplating buying a box of Havana Soul for aging purposes, and the Super Toro has just about nudged me over the tipping point. They’re not cheap at $150 – 200 per box but if you’re a Pepin fan it’s well worth the investment.
Right now, this is a great cigar. With a few years of age, I think it will be spectacular.