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Stogie Reviews: Rafael Gonzalez Toro

22 Jan 2008

Those of you who are interested in cheap, mild, everyday smokes are probably already familiar with Rafael Gonzalez. For everyone else who hasn’t been introduced to the somewhat reclusive brand, let’s get up to speed.

Rafael Gonzalez ToroRafael Gonzalez was launched in 1998 out of the Villazon factory in Honduras. It should not be confused with the 80-year-old Cuban brand of the same name, a blend of pure Vuelta Abajo tobaccos developed by Marquez Rafael Gonzalez.

Predictably, the Honduran line is sold to the American market as “a classic Cuban reborn.” While the Habano has a reputation as one of the mildest sticks around, “this Honduran-made edition is more medium-bodied in flavor, yet retains the smoothness, excellent balance, and inviting aroma for which Rafael Gonzalez is known.”

Sounds good enough, especially at the price. I paid about $3.25 apiece for the two Toros (6.125 x 50) I smoked for this review.

Unfortunately, one of those cigars got off to a terrible start as the top portion of the delicate Connecticut Shade wrapper separated from the Connecticut Broadleaf binder when I cut the head. (I used the same reliable cutter, mind you, that I use for all of my reviews.) I was able to correct the problem with some trusty saliva.

Aside from this defect, I have to say these cigars are quite attractive for value smokes. The wrappers are smooth and a bit oily, and while the seams may not be perfect, a cross-section of the firm stick reveals some masterful rolling.

I was pleased to find a heavy aroma of roasted almond off the three-country filler blend, even before lighting. From there the flavor begins very mild with a nutty cream taste and just a little spice in the finish. An uneven burn requires several touch-ups, and the cigar never transforms into the medium-bodied smoke it’s advertised as.

Judging it on its own merits, though, I’m still not too impressed, especially when you consider some of the really outstanding mild cigars that are available on the cheap (the Don Kiki White Label and the Ybor City Handmades come to mind). That’s why I can give the Rafael Gonzalez Toro only two out of five stogies.

[To read more StogieGuys.com cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

One Response to “Stogie Reviews: Rafael Gonzalez Toro”

  1. padronnie Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 5:33 pm #

    I just had one of these the other night – only it was a robusto

    Just as you described, pleasant medium-mild smoke.. but nothing special.