Master by Carlos Toraño

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Master by Carlos Toraño

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I’m excited! I finally beat Brian Hewitt to reviewing a cigar that he liked. Suck it Hewitt! Anyway, by now most of you have heard about the new releases by Toraño Family Cigars. The Master by Carlos Toraño is a collaboration between Charlie Toraño and master roller Felipe Sosa. Available in four sizes with the robusto coming in at under $6 a cigar. Going into IPCPR, the Master by Carlos Toraño wasn’t even on my radar. For whatever reason it didn’t sound like it would interest me. I had nothing but their Single Region on my mind, ready for an opportunity to spark one up. After a few of the samples of the Single Region didn’t cut it for me (they seemed a bit young and rushed), I turned my attention to the Master with little expectations but boy was I surprised.

Video runs close to 11 minutes and I gotta say, this will be one of if not the next box purchase I make. I found the Master by Carlos Toraño to be balanced, flavorful and in that medium to medium-full range. It was a challenge attempting to pin point the assortment of flavors and bouquet of aromas. My palette was engaged from beginning to end and along the way, I felt my palette wasn’t worthy or experienced enough to fully appreciate all the nuisances that the Master has to offer.

Disclaimer: As I point out in the video, all the cigars smoked for this review were obtained as samples from numerous and generous members of Toraño Family Cigars during the IPCPR trade show and the Twitter Brother of the Leaf Cocktail Hour that Toraño Family Cigars was a sponsor of.

27 thoughts on “Master by Carlos Toraño

  1. Nice review Jerry. I’m a big Torano fan and enjoy alot of their lines and look forward to trying this one out. Gotta add that, even though it is not July, I am thinking of you and yours as I am smoking a DPG Serie JJ.

  2. Doesn’t my little blurb yesterday count as a review? LOL

    I absolutely agree, the Master by Carlos Torano is box-worthy. But man, you’re supposed to wait until AFTER we secure our boxes to start a run on a cigar! Did they tell you when these will be hitting the shelves? I didn’t think to ask when I visited the booth.

  3. Great review Jerry! Glad to have you back doing reviews. Q&A episodes are cool too though. I will definitely add the Master to my list of cigars I need to try.

  4. good stuff. by your description it sounds like a nice stick. Would you say similar to the DPG Blue? Habano Ec / Nic / Nic combos are usually pretty nice

  5. Jerry,
    Sounds like a winner. Ever since smoking the Torano Exodus 50 Year, I’ve become interested in Torano again. Before that they just sort of fell off the radar for me. I haven’t gotten to my Master sample from IPCPR yet but now I’m eager to try it.

  6. Nice review Jerry,

    Your review gives me some of the same impressions I had while smoking a CAO La Traviata. I’m looking forward to trying these.

    Thanks

    1. This Master is great, so is Brick House and Upper Cut. All are affordable mostly Nicaraguan if not all Nicaraguan, and they are priced right. Of course if money is not an issue, the Liga Privada #9 is just a ridiculously good Non Cuban cigar. The T-52 Liga Privada is also nice, but I still favor the #9. And there is always the Old Standby, the Joya De Nicaragua line of cigars, probably the oldest line of Nicaraguan cigars and really tasty. But look around for the Older Varieties such as the Classico and the Celebracion. The new ones are now made by Drew Estate, and although they hit a home run with the Liga Privada, they have messed up the Joya De Nicaragua line in my opinion. Instead of selling them at about $5 like they used to, they are charging a LOT for their smokes now, and I cannot stand the trend to SUPER FAT cigars. The Antano line, for example, is tasty but overpriced and many of the cigars are 56 ring monstrosities. They have come up with a supposedly EXTRA STRONG version called Dark Corojo as well, but that makes very little sense as the Antano already is very strong. This new Dark Corojo cigar they are pushing is really not much different than the Antano, but of course they are charging a LOT for it. So, what I do is this: I look on the internet for the Old School Joya De Nics, the Classicos and Celebracions. The price is right, and you get that good old Joya De Nic flavor without getting RIPPED OFF.

  7. Nice review, and I agree. As a guy who had become a Cubans Only snob for many years, smoking Cubans exclusively from 2000 to 2008. In 2008 I tried some of the new Nicaraguan cigars (new to ME, anyway) such as Tatuajes, Ligas, and Pepins plus some old favorites like Joya De Nicaragua, and came to the conclusion that the Non Cuban cigar industry had definitely improved from the days when Dominican cigars were dominating the market, back in the late Cigar Boom years. At any rate, I am always on the lookout for a tasty non Cuban cigar in the $5-6 range. See, if I am going to spend more than that, it will be on Cubans. Although I WILL buy the occasional Liga Privada #9 as that is just a SICK cigar, on the level of Cohiba, so I dont really mind paying Cohiba money for one of those. But in general, if Im buying Non Cuban cigars they have to have no Dominican tobacco in them, and they should not be over $6 for a robusto. And there are some very nice Nicaraguan or Nic-Honduran blend smokes for that price. This Master is certainly one. I was never a Torano fan, not even years ago. They never really impressed mer. But The Master LOOKED like it might be a surprise, and I have to say that it definitely did that. This cigar tastes nothing like any Torano I have ever had, thats for sure. Most Torano cigars that I had smoked shared a similar flavor profile, sort of like Padrons all sharing a similar flavor. The thing is, I was never a fan of that particular flavor. But the Master is a different tasting cigar. If I was to compare it to other non Cuban robustos I would say that the Brick House robusto is in some ways similar. Not exacly in taste, the cigars taste different, but both share a strong Nicaraguan flavor profile. Complex, spicy, and a good medium to full body is a good way to describe both the Brick House and this Master by Carlos Torano. I was very pleasantly surprised, and at the price, in the $5 range, I was frankly, overjoyed. My years of smoking nothing but Cubans have left me with a very varied palate. IAs much as I like any cigar, I cant smoke them night after night. I need variety. But I can easily see both the Master and the Brick House in my regular robusto rotation along with Cuban Ramon Allones, San Luis Rey Regios, Bolivar Royal Coronas, etc. No, these new non Cubans dont taste better than Cubans. They taste different, but its a quite enjoyable difference. While they dont have the classic Habanos flavor profile, they do have both strength and complex flavors without any of that unpleasant metallic taste that Dominican cigars have. One thing about going all Cuban like I did is that you can never smoke a Dominican again; your palate gets spoiled and it becomes super sensitive and that metallic aftertaste becomes almost unbearable. Thumbs up on the Master!

  8. Ligero 1.

    First off, we sincerely appreciate the incredible comments about the Liga #9. Extremely grateful.

    Additionally, just wanted to clear a few things up about the Joya de Nicaragua brand that are worth thinking about.

    * Drew Estate is the distributor for all Joya cigars in the USA, but we do not make any of the brands or supply Joya with any raw materials.

    * Your definitely right on the money when it comes to searching for the JDN “Celebration” line for a great value cigar that’s packed with good old Joya flavor and still enough strength. On the other hand, the JDN “Classico” line will often disappoint when the hard core guys are looking for serious strength. I would stick with the Celebration for excellent value.

    * the JDN “Antano 1970” line is by far the most established and best seller of Joya de Nicaragua. As you mentioned, most of the sizes are large ring gauge, but this is how the cigar was originally released from the beginning, so we didn’t change anything regarding the sizes. You are correct, however, that the Joya Antano 1970 line did go up in price – and here is why:
    a. Prior to DE taking over distribution, there had not been a price increase thru many years of nasty inflation. The company was not working profitably charging those prices for Antano, but friends and advisors told the owners of the brand that they could not increase the price, so they didn’t, while every other company in the industry was raising prices by 5 to 10 percent per year, just to keep up with the inflation from 2004 thru 2008. Eventually, the owners of the brand said, wait q second, people are not purchasing Joya de Nicaragua Antano because they are cheap, they are purchasing them because the are good and consistent and strong and 100 percent hand made, no liberman machines. Moreover, I did not ask them, but it would go to figure that if they did not have a price increase, they would either need to go out of business or make an inferior quality product – so they rolled the dice and decided to charge what every other premium manufacturer charges for this quality product, less than 10 bucks per stick, and even cheaper in the box purchase.
    B. Other reasons for the price increase do no not exist. The salesman and woman at Drew Estate work extremely hard to market the JDN products and educate smokers about the brand nationwide. Many of them spend half the month traveling from store to store making sales and supporting their local B&M,s thru events. These guys deserve salaries and DE pays our people well, as the are extremely dedicated and good, hard working family people.

    * the new line of even stronger Antanos is called “Antano Dark Corojo”, and what you said is kind of funny and definitely true – why make a stronger Antano? The answer is a bit complicated, but it is interesting. As you know, the three major areas of filler are what we call Seco, Viso, and Ligero (in order from mildest to strongest). The Antano Dark Corojo was born from a second Leaf selection process where the ligero alone is compiled and broken down to the mild, strong, and super strong – called LIGERON. Basically, meaning ” The Ligero of all Ligeros. This is the darkest, heaviest, thickest ligero leaf from Esteli, Condega, and Jalapa. It was this interest in uncovering the Ligeron that intrigued Joya Group and inspired them to look for the perfect cap a to compliment it, and this is when they chose to use the Dark Corojo. They are beautiful cigars and are definitely made for some aging, such as 3 months to a year. They are extremely powerful.

    In conclusion, it feels kind of weird to be responding to someone that had given us a tremendous compliment by trying to set the record straight. I hope that I addressed some of your concerns about Joya de Nicaragua without sounding full of shit.

    Finally, thanks for reading this whole post. Maybe we both burned thru a nice 5 dollar JDN Celebration while we did it.

    Very best,
    Jonathan

  9. Thanks for your response, Mr. Drew. I would like to reply. The Classico JdN’s, might not have the “serious strength” you mention, but this whole Non Cuban insane trending to Super Triple Ligero Cigars (started years ago by the CAE Xtreme, I believe) is to me, marketing crap. At that time, we were just coming out of the Cigar Boom and that meant that all the “fake cigar smokers” were leaving. They were the ones that loved MILD cigars, so mild was King during the Boom. The left over REAL cigar smokers made it known that they wanted cigars with some strength, hence the Xtreme and Partagas Black, etc. The problem was, however, that most Non Cuban cigars back then were very One Dimensional flavor wise, so you had strong cigars with no complexity. No good, not for me. Now that the Non Cuban industry has progressed and Nicaraguan tobacco has overtaken Dominican as the Leaf Of Choice of guys who know Non Cuban cigars, a lot of Extra Ligero hype is really not needed! Nicaraguan leaf is strong just the way it is. The OLD SCHOOL Joya D Nics were always considered strong cigars, and when the Antano came out, they were just about the King of The Hill when it came to strength anyway! So to me, making an EXTRA STRONG Antano is like asking for an extra promiscuous whore; aren’t they ALL promiscuous, LOL? Ya gotta excuse me for feeling that this is a marketing move to try to get more smokers. And why do you guys NEED more smokers? Oh, I dunno…might it have something to do with the fact that the Antano is now an $8 smoke when it used to be a $5 smoke? It was a STEAL at $5, and I agree it was probably UNDER PRICED. But once you guys kicked it into the $8 range you lost guys like me who will rarely spend that kind of money on a Non Cuban, especially as Cubans are so readily available at BETTER prices! I understand that the price was too low, it hadn’t been raised in years, etc. In MY OPINION, you should have kicked it up SLIGHTLY. Make it a $6 cigar. But once it became an $8 smoke, it entered a whole new arena, and was now competing with Pepins and Tats, etc. Not that I buy many of THOSE either at $8+ a stick. If I am going to spend $8+ for a Non Cuban cigar it has to be something outstanding, something on a par with the BEST Cuban cigars, like a Liga Privada. With all due respect, the Antano is just not there. It can compete with regular Cuban cigars; but I do NOT pay $8+ for regular Cuban cigars, I get those for about $5-6 a stick. So the Antano has become out of the question for me; it is a good REGULAR cigar being sold at prices that are too high for good REGULAR cigars! At $6, I will buy them all day; at $8, I will kick up the extra couple of bucks for a Liga. As for The Classicos, they are strong enough, and at about $2 apiece, give or take, in bundles, they are an excellent every day smoke!

  10. I got one more thing to add, Mr. Drew. In my opinion, the SUPER FAT trend will soon go by the wayside. Go back to making 46 ring cigars and Robustos that are no larger than 50 ring. ALSO, consider coming out with some Liga Privadas in a Petite Corona size! The PC is one of the most popular sizes in Cuban cigars, for many reasons. For one thing the anti smoking Nazis have made it hard to FIND A PLACE to smoke, and therefore a lotta guys are smoking outdoors. Well, there is often not enough time to smoke a huge cigar outside. And a lot of my northern brothers (I live in Miami so I don’t have this problem) have to smoke in cold basements and garages for half the year. Therefore, if you guys made a Petite Corona size Liga #9, and priced it at about $6 each, they would be great sellers. If you guys price them at more than that, I have my doubts.

  11. Ligero1.

    I was just reading the Illusione Slam responses and I noticed something else you wrote. That although you like the cigars very much you have a hard time spending more for non Cuban cigars than Cuban. I just can’t understand why, especially when 25 percent of each box of Cubans are tight and another 25 percent are firm draw. Think what the price really is after throwing out the tight ones.

  12. I happen to think that cigars like the Dark Corojo, the CAO LX2 or the LFD DL have re-defined full body cigars. I welcome it. I think the industry has to continue in that direction as long as there’s a market for it. The JDN Antano is a classic and always will be. Nothing will ever fully replace it.

  13. I smoked one of these today and while I did find it complex and very enjoyable, I thought it was mild-medium at best. Having said that I’m a primarily full bodied smoker and I seem to remember jerry prefers the milder-medium range.

  14. Hey Jonathan,

    I just wanted to let you know I really like your maduro Chateau Real’s! Definitely one of my favorites and the construction is always impeccable.

  15. I will admit that until recently I haven’t smoked a Torano stick. I did enjoy CAO MX2 and Brazillias so I guess I was smoking sticks made by Torano which I really enjoyed, but I had resisted smoking actual Toranos. That has changed in a big way. First, I absolutely love the 1959 50 year line as it is top shelf even when compared to great Cuban sticks such as the Monte #2 and the Cohiba Siglo VI. Now…I am happy to report that I absolutely love the Masters by Carlo Torano too. It delivers great smooth flavors(creamy chocolate, nice earthy woodiness and some “ting” too) and really good strength and even has a bit of that zing I believe we often call “spice”. I am smoking a churchill stick as I write this and the burn was perfect with a draw that is definitely “spot-on”. I’m getting all of this in the mid $5 range and I will glady plunk that down and call it a recommended buy. I’ve got to say that I enjoyed reading Jonathan Drews comments, this is a great review site and it is good to see a manufacturer actively posting!

  16. The JdN Dark Corojo is an amazing cigar. It may not be to everyones taste, but what cigar is? I dont smoke them often, theyre very rich and powerful and cost a little more. But it would be a sad day if they were no longer available. I think people who knock this cigar, just dont get it. Its truly a premium to stand alongside any cigar. I see it as great accomplishment. Its one of the most beautiful cigars Ive ever held. No doubt, times have changed, but for me JdN brand still remains a definition of value (along with Saint Luis Rey, La Aurora and Gran Habano) And the JdN Dark Corojo premium line is no exception.

  17. “I felt my palette wasn’t worthy or experienced enough to fully appreciate all the nuisances that the Master has to offer.”

    Jerry, I hope there weren’t too many “nuisances”–I just ordered some of these!

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