For over a century, the Toraño family made their living in the tobacco fields of various countries. It began in Cuba in 1916 when Santiago Toraño, a young immigrant from Spain, established Toraño & Company—purchasing and reselling tobacco to cigar manufactures. By the 1930s, the Toraño family had accumulated twenty-farms covering six-hundred acres of Cuban land, specializing in the cultivation of Connecticut and Corojo seed wrappers. After Fidel Castro nationalized the tobacco and sugar industries in 1959, the family dispersed across Central America. One of Santiago’s sons, Carlos Toraño, moved to the Dominican Republic and began growing candela; the type of wrapper leaf most favored by the cigar smoker in the Untied States at the time. After Carlos’ sudden death at the early age of fifty-seven, his son eventually became involved in the business. Carlos Toraño, Jr. continued to expand the company, eventually introducing his own brand of cigars in 1994—the Carlos Toraño Dominican. Over the next twenty years, Toraño gradually increased his portfolio of blends while establishing additional factories in Honduras and Nicaragua.
In the fall of 2014, General Cigar Company—owners of multiple brands and trademarks including Cohiba, Partagas, Bolivar, Punch, CAO, Macanudo, and La Gloria Cubana—acquired Toraño Family Cigars. At the time of the purchase, the president of General Cigar Company stated:
“The acquisition of the Toraño brands represents an opportunity for us to strategically expand our portfolio. Our companies have been intertwined for over 50 years and I look forward to working with Charlie Toraño on plans to celebrate the upcoming centennial and to carry forward the vision, passion and innovation that is synonymous with the Toraño name while also leveraging our resources to bring even greater excitement and reach to our trade partners and consumers.”
General quickly began the process of revamping the Toraño portfolio of blends and brands.
At last year’s IPCRP trade show in Las Vegas, General Cigar reintroduced a more contemporary version of one of Toraño’s initial blends—the Exodus. Alan Willner, the company’s vice president of marketing said:
“We created Exodus to appeal to a broader range of cigar smokers, both in its presentation and flavor profile. Exodus tells an allegorical story of the journeys we all make to overcome adversity, drawing a parallel to the Toraño family’s beginnings as tobacco growers, their experiences in post-Castro communist society, and their success in developing acclaimed cigars post-Cuba. We are proud of this new chapter for Toraño and look forward to the continued growth of the Toraño brand.”
*Image provided by General Cigar Co.*
Toraño Exodus Robusto Breakdown
- Wrapper: Honduran San Agustin
- Binder: USA Connecticut Broadleaf
- Filler: Dominican | Honduran | Mexican
- Factory: STG Estelí (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 5″ × 54 robusto
- Price: $6.99 (MSRP)
The Toraño Exodus is the fifth blend General Cigar has released since its acquisition of Toraño Family Cigars, joining the Vault P-004, the Vault TM-027, the Vault C-003, and the Vault L-075. However, this is not the first time the Exodus name has been used on a Toraño cigar. The line was initially introduced in 2001 with the Carlos Toraño Exodus 1959. Over the next twelve years, the company expanded the marque with the Carlos Toraño Exodus 1959 Silver Edition, the Carlos Toraño Exodus 1959 50 Years, and the Carlos Toraño Exodus 1959 Finite 2013. The new Exodus line is produced in four sizes—Robusto (5” x 54, $6.99 MSRP), Toro Grande (5½” x 58, $7.79 MSRP), Torpedo (5¾” x 52, $7.79 MSRP), and Gigante (6” x 60, $8.49 MSRP). Individually wrapped in cellophane, the cigars are shipped in colorful twenty-count boxes, featuring artwork inspired by the murals found in the Wynwood District of Miami.
The Exodus is composed with a proprietary, seco-priming wrapper cultivated in the Honduran valley of San Agustin, which the company claims to “Impart spicy flavors with notes of pepper, and [which] burns to a stark white ash.” To complete the package, a Connecticut Broadleaf binder from the United States covers a mixture of long-leaf filler tobaccos from the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Mexico.
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The Toraño Exodus Robusto is a chunky looking cigar, carrying a ring gauge four points larger than normal—a fat 54 versus the 50 found on the vast majority of vitolas in the robusto classification. Its Honduran San Agustin wrapper is teetering on the rough side—three large veins, an elevated seam, sporadic tooth, and an asymmetrical cap that is loose in two areas. The color of the cigar is a mixture of lightly-roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate, with contrasting bursts of onyx scattered across the face. A medium amount of oiliness produces a luminous sheen in the early-morning sun.
The Exodus is entubed with a large, die-cut band, which occupies a substantial part of the surface area of the cigar. In the center of the band, the word “TORANO” is printed vertically in black on a silver background, with “EXODUS” located beneath in a smaller font and reverse coloration. The sides of the band are printed in four colors to match the images on the box. Properly packed from the foot to the cap—bordering on the edge of sun-dried papier-mâché—the wrapper aroma is a blend of natural tobacco and milk chocolate, while the open foot smells of earth, dried hay, and hardwoods.
After the cap of the robusto is opened with a double guillotine cut—to ensure the maximum amount of taste from the wrapper, binder, and filler—the initial cold draw is nearly perfect. Flavors and aromas of berry, bread, cream, and leather immediately touch the palate, while a slight saltiness from the wrapper appears on the upper and lower lips.
After toasting and lighting the cigar with a soft, double-flame lighter, the smoking experience begins with a cannonade of pepper, earth, natural tobacco, and must. By the sixth puff, the initial flavors are enhanced with the taste of a toasted bagel, lightly smeared with mixed-fruit jelly. This combination culminates in a mouthful of fairly creamy smoke, which coats the entire tongue and the roof of the mouth while producing a short finish. The draw of the Exodus is moderately open with just a bit of desirable resistance, generating an above-average amount of smoke output. Very subtle aromas and flavors of dry-roasted nuts, hardwoods, and minerals mingle together with the primary flavors, while red pepper with a touch of cinnamon is dominant on the sinus-clearing retrohale.
As the robusto enters into its second third, both the body and the strength of the cigar transitions from medium to medium-full, while the cigar’s initial flavors continue to dominate the profile. Additional aromas and flavors of charred steak, drip-brewed coffee, and assorted spices flirt in and out of the mix, adding a slight layer of complexity to the cigar. The smoking experience is rather dry and unsweetened, requiring unusually frequent sips of San Pellegrino—my preferred beverage when reviewing cigars.
Room aroma is reminiscent of dried leaves and newspaper burning in rusty, fifty-five gallon drums near a deserted railway station. The burn line wavers a bit, holding one-inch of light gray ash, highlighted with streaks of nickel. After the first touch-up, bits of ash begin falling to the floor like snowflakes—even though the stack remains quite firm to the touch. On the retrohale, the red pepper present in the first third is replaced by freshly-ground black pepper with trace amounts of cedar.
As it burns through its final third, the Toraño Exodus Robusto transitions into a more full-bodied cigar in terms of both body and strength, while the flavors begin to meld toward four dominant notes—natural tobacco, minerals, must, and pepper. The vitola experiences a loss of the understated complexity present in the first two thirds of the burn—along with a gradually building bitterness—but the draw continues to be open, producing a satisfying smoking experience. The cigar, however, requires two more touch-ups at roughly one-inch intervals as it burns toward the nub.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
The answer to that question is, “Yes.” The Toraño Exodus Robusto is a wallet-friendly cigar which will enhance the humidor of every Honduran tobacco fan. And with its very reasonable price point, it is an ideal cigar to share with friends around a campfire.
- Smoking Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
- Pairing Recommendations: coffee and espresso, stout beer, bourbon, dark-whiskey cocktails
- Purchase Recommendation: 5-pack
- Good draw
- Affordable price
- Bold flavors
- Moderate complexity
- Flaky ash
- Multiple touch-ups