Themed around the simple yet intriguing concept of allowing cigar smokers the opportunity to experience the changes brought on through the wrapper component, Aganorsa Leaf refreshed the JFR Lunatic Torch series for 2020. The cigar had previously been introduced in 2016, being a derivative of the Lunatic line, which is itself a derivative of the JFR brand from Aganorsa Leaf.
Changing gears for 2020, the Torch received a fresh coat of paint and an expansion to three sizes: Visionaries (6½” x 52), Dreamlands (6½” x 60), and Mad Folk (4¾” x 70). As part of the update, the original 7″ x 50 Churchill format was retired along with a presentation that no longer falls in line with the company’s modernized portfolio.
Lunatic Torch Visionaries Breakdown
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ‘99 (Jalapa)
- Binder: Nicaragua (double binder)
- Filler: Nicaragua (Estelí | Jalapa)
- Factory: Aganorsa Leaf (Nicaragua)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 6½″ × 52 (Toro)
- Price: $9.99 (MSRP)
The updated JFR Lunatic Torch collection maintains the blend of the original, featuring a Nicaraguan Corojo ‘99 wrapper from the country’s northernmost Jalapa region that is cut back a half-inch from the foot, allowing smokers a chance to get a feel for the binder and filler blend before the wrapper kicks in. This leaf is accompanied by a double binder and fillers from the Estelí and Jalapa regions, all being grown by Aganorsa’s massive agricultural operation in Nicaragua (which is among the two largest growers of premium tobacco in the country).
There’s no question that the updated line better suits Aganorsa’s current presence on the market. Where the original could almost be mistaken for an Illusione Cigars ad, the new look falls nicely in line with the Lunatic cigars introduced at last year’s IPCPR 2019 trade show. Differentiating themselves from the aforementioned Lunatic (Lunatic Locos), the Torch swaps the metallic highlights for gold, as well as introducing a matching sub-band that designates the cigar as “TORCH.”
The first thing consumers will give attention to is the exposed foot, which has a nice, contrasting appearance, transitioning from the unconstricted filler to the clean-cut parejo that smokers are familiar with. This is a half-inch segment, differing from the full inch that was featured on the original Churchill-sized Torch. It’s a style seen on quite a few cigars on the market, though Aganorsa’s torch branding helps visualize the concept better than most. The toro is triple capped and forms a flat, Cuban-esque shape at the head. This leads into smooth seams along the wrapper, which has attractive undertones of orange beneath the leaf’s Colorado shade. The construction is solid, feeling like a rather dense tobacco bunch that is nearly papier-mâché-like in rigidity.
The Jalapan leaf has a tangy muskiness to the aroma, joined by hints of caramel and barnyard. The foot cannot be as easily assessed due to the unruly projections of filler leaves, but you may be able to pick up more generic notes of cedar, barnyard, and natural tobacco. As expected from the bunch density, the pre-light draw is a touch on the firm side, offering up clean notes of graham cracker, cedar, and damp soil.
Click images below for full resolution
The torch lights up quickly, albeit a little sporadically, with flame creeping into the cigar’s core at slightly different rates. In my testing, I found it’s best just to let the leaves burn at their own rates and save your touchup (which I needed on each sample) until the burn line fully crosses into the wrapper. Before the wrapper, I found the aroma from the binder/filler as interesting (if not more so) as the smoke on the palate, being warm and toasty and giving off notes of nutmeg, a crackling winter fire, and roasted chestnuts. Meanwhile, the taste is producing characteristics of anise, white pepper (especially in the retrohale), and bitter citrus rind. Approaching the wrapper, sweetness builds in the background, having a standout flavor like the crust of a caramel oatmeal bar.
Unsurprisingly, there isn’t any sort of epiphany as you burn into the wrapper. This depends on the wrapper’s potency, but this leaf isn’t usually as impactful as advertised—it is only a single leaf out of the many contained within the blend, after all. On the Torch, the Corojo leaf seems to help tighten up the screws; the burn becomes more predictable and the aforementioned sweetness becomes more crisp and clean on the palate. Caramel remains dominant, but the sweetness is more in the realm of demerara sugar. There is also a bitter cocoa in the mix and a vanilla sweetness through the finish that is reminiscent of the vanilla dipstick in a packet of Fun Dip candy. The cigar feels very medium on all fronts, with a clean sweetness being delivered through a noticeably cool temperature.
The vanilla sweetness remains, but added influence of cinnamon and grain starts to converge for an enjoyable horchata-like concoction. Each of my smoking samples required touchups at least at every third. Combined with a slightly firm draw and a medium-light smoke output, the construction isn’t quite as maintenance-free as desired, though it’s nothing too bothersome. Along with the clean and naturally sweet profile comes an effervescent cola quality that feels as though it’s bubbling through the retrohale. As noted earlier, the aroma is something to watch out for; nearing the band, it’s giving off pleasant elements of sweet florals, graham cracker, and cedar.
The Torch Visionaries’ halfway point seems to draw a firm line in the sand, signaling the end of the clean and sweet side of the profile. In its place are dark and toasty characteristics: peppercorn, anise, clove, and roasted nuts. There’s a distinct flash of popcorn sweetness—more specifically pinpointed as buttered popcorn-flavored Jelly Belly candy (I know, I said the sweetness was over, but this comes out of left field). Then it’s back to the darker tones of molasses, charred nuts, and heavily toasted bread. This section amps up the body and strength, with flavor output taking a back seat. The smoking temperature increases in tandem, prompting a recommended slow and steady pace in the cigar’s final inch or two.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Yes, the first half alone warrants the purchase. It may not be in your standard rotation but I’d buy five to 10 without hesitation.
- Flavor: Medium
- Strength: Medium
- Body: Medium
- Caramel oatmeal bar
- Demerara sugar
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Cream ale | Wheated bourbon | Dark-rum Mojito | Horchata
- Purchase Recommendation: 5 to 10
- Clean sweetness through first half
- Cool smoking temperature through first half
- Great aroma from smoke
- Multiple touchups
- Two of three samples had slightly firm draw
- Final third loses sweetness and approaches charred territory