#nowsmoking San Cristobal Quintessence Corona Gorda: a My Father-made Nicaraguan cigar that teems with “a rich-tasting brew of earth, wood, and peppery spices.” Click now for our review, and what you should know about this cigar, delivered in under 60 seconds…
2016 CA Report: Top Rated Toro Cigars
Rated & Reviewed: The Top 12 Highest Rated Toro Cigars
By Jonathan Detore
We’ve been working our way through “Best Of” lists now for a while, and we’ve been explaining what makes a particular size, wrapper, or X-Y-Z unique and interesting…but I was particularly excited to write about Toro cigars. In fact, as our editor will soon find out, I’ve taken it upon myself to write about the Toro vitola instead of the other topics that were suggested to me. What can I say? I’m a rebel on a mission: a mission to educate the masses about the mystery and history behind Toro cigars.
Historically called a Corona Gorda or “Fat Corona” in Spanish, the Toro fits perfectly for what many cigar smokers want in today’s market, and is currently becoming one of the biggest cigar trends of 2016 thus far. But how has the Toro finally climbed the ladder to top vitola? The answer goes back quite a ways and involves the rising and falling trends of other well known and loved cigar sizes.
In short, the past 3 or 4 decades saw a rather shocking shift in preferred vitola, going from Corona to big ring gauge cigars. This completely flipped the industry on its head considering most cigars have been blended and experimented with in the Corona vitola before going into mass production. As you may have guessed, blending a Corona cigar and then using that blend with an 80 ring smoke doesn’t really work because the proportions of filler, binder, and wrapper tobaccos change significantly from a 44 ring to an 80 ring; thus the intended flavor can certainly be lost, as the vitola increases so dramatically in size. This caused a lot of manufacturers who planned on making big cigars to shift their experimental blending from Corona to Toro vitolas in order to make a wide range of sizes that appeal to a bigger range of customers, without sacrificing flavor in the process. It’s kind of like going from a .22 rifle to a 12 gauge in terms of hitting a bigger target audience.
Now with the giant cigar boom slowly dying out, more traditional sizes are again becoming all the rage right now – but the most popular step in the process of rediscovering smaller cigars is the Toro. And what a great step it is! With many manufacturers still blending and experimenting in this vitola, by purchasing Toro cigars you are more likely to experience the intended flavors the blenders had in mind. Not only that, but you get a longer burn time than with a traditional Corona or Robusto for not that much more money. So in essence, you’re getting great flavor, and more for your money every time you reach for a Toro.
Now, with so many cigars out there on the market, it’s hard to pick out a favorite Toro. It’s also pretty unfair of me to lay down a list of MY favorite Toro cigars since my palate may not jive with yours. That’s why I felt the need to bug our analysts to give me a list of the 12 top rated Toro cigars, as ranked on the Famous Smoke Shop website. That means each cigar is rated by no fewer than 5 customers who actually smoked these cigars, and subsequently rated them. I did however take out cigars that have been listed within the past month or so in other articles so we don’t have any overlap. Plus it allows you to check out a wider array of cigars. Trust me, that wasn’t a trigger I wanted to pull considering the likes of the My Father Le Bijou 1922 and San Cristobal Papagayo XXL had to be ousted. There’s also a few lower down on the ratings I feel should be on the list such as the San Lotano Oval and Aging Room Quattro F55 Concerto S, but this isn’t about me. This is about what YOU all ranked to be the best, and I have to say, you have some awesome taste. Good job!
Padron Family Reserve 45 Years Natural: Rated 99
This is perhaps one of the only times you’ll see a natural cigar overtake its Maduro counterpart, but I can see why the natural has achieved a solid 99 rating by cigar lovers. Certainly a cigar that is meant as a special occasion smoke or when you REALLY need to relax, the Padron Family Reserve 45 Years uses a 10 year or more aged Nicaraguan blend all wrapped in an earthy, sweet, and spicy Nicaraguan Habano leaf which is all box pressed. If you’re a true cigar lover, this needs to be on your list of must-tries.
Tatuaje Reserva Nicaragua Cojonu 2012 Habano: Rated 98
Tatuaje Cojonu cigars have graced the industry for quite a while now, with a stellar blend being released every year. But the best has to be the Tatuaje Reserva Nicaragua Cojonu 2012 Habano. Pete Johnson is a master blender when it comes to cigars (and wine), but he hit the nail on the head when he teamed up with cigar guru Don Jose Pepin Garcia to create this line. Made in very limited numbers, expect a satisfying richness with matching aroma from the Nicaraguan core and Ecuadorian Habano wrapper.
Davidoff Nicaragua Toro: Rated 97
I’m really biased when it comes to the Davidoff Nicaragua. It’s on my personal top 5 list of all-time greatest smokes and for damn good reason. This is Davidoff’s first Nicaraguan puro, and perhaps one of their strongest, and boldest smokes to date. However, if you’re expecting to get your head blasted off by the strong Nicaraguan ligero tobaccos, you’ll be pleasantly surprised as 10 years of fermenting and aging goes into each shred of tobacco within this cigar. The result is a semi-spicy and massively complex smoke.
Oliva Serie O Tubos: Rated 97
Another list, and yet another Oliva. And this time I didn’t even pick it! I love Oliva because they’re just so damn unassuming. Each line has a pretty blue collar price tag, but never let that fool you. Oliva holds rank with the best of them in the industry, and this toro cigars list ranked by our customers only proves it. The Oliva Serie O, across all sizes, is a crowd favorite, and has been for years. Each offers a rich, savory, yet delightfully spicy Nicaraguan flavor presented in an elegantly decorated tube so you can take yours anywhere and everywhere you want to light up.
La Flor Dominicana Ligero Cabinet Oscuro L-500: Rated 97
BLAMO! That was the sound of that notorious LFD strength meeting your face faster than a rail gun giving your childhood stuffed animal a warm welcome faster than that fuzzy critter can say “I wuv you!” And right behind that strength are some serious full-throttle complex flavors that only true experts and cigar gurus can even begin to understand and appreciate. Hailed as one of the most complex cigars to ever come out of the Dominican Republic, it is seriously recommended you smoke this alone and focus on every puff so you don’t miss even the faintest of passing flavors.
La Aurora Preferidos Corojo #1: Rated 97
Call me a dirty cheater if you’d like, but I’m counting this Double Perfecto as a Toro whether you like it or not, and based on the ratings, it looks like you like it a lot. A solid 97 goes to the La Aurora Preferidos Corojo #1, but with a name like La Aurora, top honors are just par for the course. The Corojo is special though, from the bulky Toro sized Perfecto shape, to the spicy oak-barrel aged wrapper that gives off a captivating aroma and equally entrancing flavor, this particular blend dates back to 1903. It’s a fantastic smoke that is worthy of top shelf real estate in any collector’s humidor.
My Father No. 5: Rated 97
After winning the Cigar of the Year’s #1 spot for the My Father Le Bijou 1922 Torpedo, My Father has the privilege to now claim the honor of being one of the top Toro cigars as rated by actual cigar customers, which, if you ask me, is better than getting a review from any self-righteous reviewer in the world. My Father cigars have always hit the spot for cigar smokers though, and the No. 5 is no exception. Introduced in 2008 by Jaime Garcia, son of Don Pepin Garcia, these full-flavored gems run the gamut of flavor to always keep you guessing as to what you’ll experience next.
Perdomo Champagne Noir Epicure: Rated 97
Perdomo Champagne Noir Epicure cigars were only released a handful of years ago to add depth to the already wildly popular Perdomo Champagne line which featured a Connecticut wrapper. To help attract even more people to the line, the Noir was released, adorned in a heavy Maduro wrapper that is triple fermented over 14 months and aged an additional 6 months in oak bourbon barrels. The crowd went wild for these sweet and superbly balanced cigars, only adding to the Champagne’s legacy of greatness.
Casa Magna Colorado Gran Toro: Rated 97
I’m so incredibly happy that a Quesada is technically on the list. Quesada is one of the most under-appreciated cigar makers in the world, but consistently produce some of the best cigars on the market. Case in point: Casa Magna Colorado Gran Toro. Blended by Manuel Quesada and produced at Nestor Plasencia’s factory, the blend is a straight up Nicaraguan puro featuring spicy and strong tobaccos from Esteli with sweet and savory leaves from Jalapa. Expect a full flavored punch of coffee, cedar, raisins, and a whole lot more. And for goodness sake, do yourself a favor and smoke more Quesada cigars! You’ll thank me later.
Ashton Estate Sun Grown 23 Year Salute: Rated 97
This is one smoke that will go down as perhaps the most legendary cigar of all time. The original line consisted of only 50,000 cigars and was released in 2006 to commemorate Ashton’s 20th anniversary, with an additional 50,000 being produced annually over the next handful of years. That’s where the 23 Year Salute comes in to play. Using only the rarest Dominican tobaccos and produced at Chateau de la Fuente, this sparkling diamond of a toro is 100% my pick on this list as a must try.
Liga Privada T52 Toro: Rated 96
Don’t worry, Drewaholics, I didn’t forget about you and your rabid fandom for Drew Estate Cigars. Nearly every event we attend with Drew Estate features the coveted and rare T52 Toro, and supplies always run out. I can’t say I blame T52 fans for their passion towards this cigar though. It’s a truly epic offering with a 3-nation blend of longfiller tobaccos adorned in an incredibly oily Connecticut Habano wrapper that just sends the flavor and smoke production over the edge. Get these whenever you can. You won’t be sorry.
Rocky Patel Vintage Connecticut 1999 Toro Tubos: Rated 96
Last but certainly not least is the Rocky Patel Vintage Connecticut 1999 Toro Tubos. Housed under Rocky’s incredibly sought after Vintage line of cigars, the 1999 features a perfectly balanced blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan longfillers – all of which are aged 7 years – with a smooth and creamy Connecticut Shade Grown wrapper from 1999. Each cigar is then aged an additional 120 days for all that tobacco goodness to marry together for a nutty, toasty, and sensationally smooth smoke. Perfect for weddings, graduations, or just hanging around, this certainly is one Rocky you NEED to try.
I have to say, folks. I’m proud of you in your selections and ratings of some pretty phenomenal cigars. Everything listed is definitely top shelf in almost every collector’s book, and certainly is top shelf in my humidor here at work. So if you like the size of Toro cigars and are looking to step your game up to the high-quality-big-leagues, these are the perfect cigars to get. Your palate will thank you, and your cigar smoking pals will be jealous as all get-out. Until next time, keep on smoking!