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Stogie Reviews: Taino Robusto

6 Jun 2006

I can’t ever recall having a handmade cigar that was just unsmokable… until this one. And I really wanted to enjoy this smoke. After all, it was a New York stogie!

I bought this good looking smoke with its oily brown wrapper on the same trip during which I visited the La Rosa Cubana factory/store. And I sought out these local cigar makers after reading a Cigar Aficianado article that described Taino Cigars in this way:

A bit west and north of P.B., at 506 Ninth Avenue between 38th and 29th streets, is Taino Cigars, one of the local chinchale success stories. Owner Julio Suris opened Taino in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen in 2000. He had learned how to roll cigars in Cuba, so in the true American spirit he set up a small table in his storefront, rolled a bunch of cigars and called them Tainos.

Business has been good. “We opened, five months ago, a store downtown,” Suris says, talking about his new shop at 93-99 Nassau Street, at the corner of Fulton Street. The Hell’s Kitchen store no longer has a rolling table—he’s moved that downtown—and he couldn’t keep up with demand, so most of his cigars are now made by his brother in Miami, who has 10 rollers. “We didn’t have the space for 10 rollers here,” says Suris. He uses a variety of tobaccos for his Tainos, working with Nicaraguan and Dominican fillers and Sumatra-seed wrappers grown in Ecuador.

Yet after properly toasting the wrapper and lighting up this Robusto, I simply could not get an even burn. No matter what I did (trying to moisten up the half that burned too quickly, clipping the unburnt half so it could more easily catch up) the top half of this cigar simply was burning twice as quickly as the bottom half, forming the dreaded “canoe” shape.

It was as if there was a fuse in this cigar that forced half of it to burn much too quickly, and less than five minutes into this smoke it seemed as if the top half was completely hollow.

I still maintain that this cigar had potential. When I wasn’t distracted by the terribly uneven burn, it had wonderful licorice flavor. But such poor construction is impossible to overcome. Currently I have a two other Tainos in my humidor (a Maduro Robusto and a good looking Torpedo), and I expect much better from them.

So while I might one day give this Robusto another chance (as maybe this is just a fluke), this particular smoke scores a very disappointing one and 1/2 out of five stogies.

[Note: Since I bought this cigar straight out of the Taino humidor without any band, I’m not certain which of the three Taino lines this Robusto came from. However, judging from the descriptions, I would guess that this from the Red Line.]

-Patrick S

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Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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    […] After two underperforming smokes in my most recent reviews, I selected this robusto-sized Romeo y Julieto Vintage III from my humidor in hopes that I could buck the trend. I would not be disappointed. […]

  2. The Stogie Guys » Blog Archive » Stogie Reviews - Tuesday, February 6, 2007

    […] Taino Robusto […]

  3. Quick Smoke: Taino Torpedo - Sunday, September 16, 2007

    […] Each Saturday and Sunday we’ll post a Quick Smoke: not quite a full review, just our brief take on a single cigar. Well over a year ago the Taino Robusto got one of our worst ratings ever. So after a year of aging I tried a one of the torpedos made by Taino in New York City. This smoke was far more impressive then my last encounter with Taino. With a perfect construction, I was able to enjoy a complex mild to medium flavor, featuring honey and subtle earth notes. […]