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Stogie Reviews: Toraño Virtuoso Encore

7 Jul 2008

The first wrapper grown by the Toraños on their own plantation? Tobacco from Panama? These two unique traits help define the distinctive character of the Toraño Virtuoso line.

Advertised as the brand’s strongest blend, Virtuoso is “a testament to the Toraño family’s Cuban heritage.” It sports a Nicaraguan sungrown wrapper, a Honduran binder, and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua, Honduras, and Panama.

The 4.75 inch by 52 ring gauge Encore vitola—rated 89 in the February 2006 issue of Cigar Aficionado—is a tasty-looking treat. While you’ll find plenty of veins, some messy seams, and a hastily-applied cap, the stick is nonetheless as smooth as it is solid.

Another unique feature apparent in the two Encores I smoked for this review is the presence of a slight box press. Maybe my tobacco-laden mind is starting to play tricks on me, but the circumference appears to take on somewhat of a flat oval shape. Or maybe not.

No matter. One thing I’m certain about is the delicious prelight aroma that pours out of the foot and off the sienna-colored wrapper (which is lighter than most sungrowns). George E wrote about these “earthy, vegetal” notes in a Quick Smoke of the larger Forte size.

Once lit, those tastes carry over for the first inch or so. The dominant flavors, however, are of black coffee, pepper, oak, and nut with a little bit of cocoa sweetness adding balance. Balance is especially important on a stick like this with a flavor profile that remains very consistent during the 85-minute smoke.

The finale sees no increase in harshness or spice—or anything else for that matter—even when the nub gets too hot to hold. Don’t get me wrong, though; despite its uniformity, the full-bodied taste never left me bored.

Like most Toraño creations, at least in my experience, the physical makeup of this stick is above average. The burn is straight, the white ash strong, and the clear draw produces ample tufts of thick, rich smoke.

While this cigar isn’t quite as tasty as those from Toraño’s Signature line (face it: I’m a sucker for Brazilian wrappers), it’s still well-built and delicious. You won’t be disappointed if you pick up a box of 25 for the going rate of just over $100. That’s my justification for giving the Toraño Virtuoso Encore four out of five stogies.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

4 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Toraño Virtuoso Encore”

  1. Don Carlos Monday, July 7, 2008 at 3:33 am #

    My thoughts exactly. This blend and the Signature are my favorites from Torano.

  2. Padronnie Monday, July 7, 2008 at 6:29 am #

    Agreed. The review is spot on… the Virtuoso is good , but I too prefer the signature.

    I haven't tried the Casa Torano yet. Anyone know how that stacks up?

  3. George E. Monday, July 7, 2008 at 6:44 am #

    I did a Quick Smoke on the Casa toro maduro: http://www.stogieguys.com/2008/03/03082008-quick-

  4. TheCigarSpy Tuesday, July 8, 2008 at 4:17 pm #

    my kind of cigar!