Thursday, April 18, 2013

Casa Magna & Toraño (black) Maduro


The good, and the “Meh”

The day starts as a promising Saturday afternoon, the house and patio to myself, no kids, no wife, and a friend to share in a smoke.
What could be better, and what could go wrong; well, both happened.

CASA MAGNA – Colorado Churchill

For being a cigar that I had never heard of (that’s no uncommon though), and a label that was unimpressive, this hefty looking smoke was a rather mild and impressive creature.
This was to start my day, an unknown, mystery, open adventure opportunity with a classic name to smoke following just in case.
Happily enough, the weather was cooperating, a sunny afternoon on the patio with some Irish whiskey and the Magna.
I know I’m not the first to review a CasaMagna, as John just did one not a month ago.
This Nicaraguan made Colorado wrapped Churchill blended with the weather, the whiskey, and company perfectly.
Aged about 9 months in my tuperador.

A strong looking cigar, big ring gauge, but oddly light and delicate feel. The wrapper started to split near the foot, but I attribute that to the radical temp and humidity change from my tuperador to the patio.
The binder was not too firm and kept its construction throughout the smoke.
Rating on a scale 1-3, this yields a 2.5

As more medium-bodied and non-earthy cigars are my preference, this one hit home.  The first ½ inch was a little rough, but since I had to use a “bbq stick lighter”, I’ll ignore that all together.
Once things got rolling, the flavor smoothed out quite nicely and continued for about half of the cigar. Not until the last 1/3rd did the flavor change again; this time notably stronger.  The overtones were hard cedar and other earthy notes during the light that mellowed to a nutty medium body flavor.  The later third got stronger as expected, and I could have easily continued, but decided to trade-up (or so I thought) to another stick.
Rating on a scale of 1-3, this yields a 2.5

The draw was excellent!  There was enough flow to enjoy full flavor without too much effort, and the amount of smoke was amazing; whitish-blueish in color and filled the air. This piece tells everyone around that you have a wicked cigar.  Burn remained relatively even without requiring a relight (except for when the rain came in and spoiled patio-time requiring relocation to the garage). It did lose its ash after about an inch or so; don’t expect to hold onto it forever… but this doesn't affect taste or performance.
This cigar drew nicely, smoked heavily, and had an even consistent burn without any signs of being finicky, even on a damp rainy afternoon.
Rating on a scale of 1-3, this yields a 3 for consistency and awesome smoke production.

Overall score for me; it gets an 89%, and a spot in my favorite go-to smokes.

Would I buy more of these:
Absolutely. I forget what I paid, and I’m sure you can look it up online (estimates are about $7).  It made #24 for cigar of the year 2010 by  Could it be better, yes. Did it perform exactly as expected or better, yes but then you’re paying 2 to 3 times as much.
For the price, this siglo is a “must have” in your humidor, and a perfect any-occasion smoke to impress others with your “smoke”.

Toraño Maduro – black label, robust

I have seriously enjoyed the Toraño line to-date.  However, this one had me questioning the reason for such an oddball in the mix; or perhaps I don’t know Toraño as well as I think.
As I mentioned before, the afternoon had taken a weather turn for the worse, and we’re now sitting in the garage avoiding the rain on what was a sunny afternoon.  I am now lighting up this Toraño after having smoked over 2/3rd of that wonderful Casa Magna.  And the downward spiral continues.
Despite being aged for about 4 months, it didn't meet my anticipations.

As with most Toraño’s it is a very fine looking cigar, neatly wrapped in a medium dark maduro wrapper with a pretty dark black label to perpetuate the theme.
The size of this robusto almost looked like a box press (either due to storage causing it, or expansion from not keeping it square).
Aside from this, the construction quality seemed well, but a strong and very firm feel.
Rating on a scale of 1-3, this yields a 2.75

As with all pretty things, there’s always a catch… For this Toraño maduro, the surprise factor results in the flavor; a very strong earthy and dark flavor for a maduro.  I anticipated a sweeter smoke.
Not that this cigar was bad, just that my anticipations were way off, and it does not match my flavor palette.  It started strong and stayed strong, with bitter undertones.  If you like IPA’s or ESB’s, you might consider this as your cigar.
Rating on scale of 1-3, my opinion is a weak 1.75

Draw from this stick was very tight and required a lot of maintenance to keep a good strong burn.  The amount of taste to transfer was minimal compared to the amount of effort required.
The puff-pouf-draw method should be employed on every toke to get any flavor at all, otherwise anemic performance behavior.
Getting and keeping a fire to keep the cigar lit makes enjoyment less than favorable. Overall even burns made up for some of the lack-luster draw and performance.
Keep your lighter handy should this one extinguish on you.
Rating on a scale of 1-3, this yields a 2

Overall score for the Toraño gets a surprisingly low score of 69.5% (that’s a failing mark in school, but an “average” score otherwise). It does do better than a few others I've tried, such as the Helix.

Would I buy more of these:
Since this was a gift, I’m happy to say that I didn't buy it.  Should I have, I would want to know exactly what I’m in for, or otherwise have an unexpected time.
This will not likely make my must-repurchase list, but if I’m given one, I’m sure I can find an afternoon where I need a diaphragm work-out.

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