Retro-Smoke: Carlos Toraño 1916 Cameroon and Virtuoso

By Gary Korb

Last weekend, Michael Gant, regional sales rep of Carlos Toraño Cigars stopped by the Famous Smoke Shop Retail store to present some of the company's finest wares. Included among them were two cigars I haven't had in quite a while: The 1916 Cameroon Robusto (5½" x 52) and the Carlos Toraño Virtuoso Encore (4¾" x 52).

The 1916 Robusto is a true delight. A creamy, mellow smoke with a pleasant mix of earthy, toasty and sweet tobacco flavors that remain consistent all the way through. This is a very relaxing cigar that's perfect in the morning or afternoon when you want something a little lighter, yet rich in flavor.

The Virtuoso Encore, which not surprisingly holds a Famous Customer Rating of 9.45, is exquisitely dark, and brimming with rich, creamy, complex flavors, not unlike some of the better full-bodied pre-embargo Cubans. I reviewed the Virtuoso Forte a while back and scored it a "93." The Encore is equally outstanding. This cigar hits on all cylinders and is the perfect full-bodied after-dinner contrast to the milder 1916. A true "espresso" of a cigar that, while very robust, is not overpowering.

If you haven't had the pleasure of smoking a Carlos Toraño cigar, depending on your taste preference, these two selections are a great place to start.


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