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Cigar Review: Partagas Benji Homage Toro

20 Feb 2014

With this limited-run cigar, General Cigar shows what it looks like when an elephant dances, producing an elegant, powerful smoke that holds its own among top-flight boutiques.

Partagas HomageCreated as a tribute to General’s recently retired tobacco master Benji Menendez, the Homage is a delight to smoke. It comes in two vitolas: Toro (6.5 x 54) and Robusto Gordo (5.5 x 52). They’re packaged in 10-count boxes with total production of only 1,500 boxes in each size.

The cigars feature more wrapping than a Christmas present. White tissue paper envelops the cigar, and it is surrounded by double bands that are duplicated around the cigar itself. (A tip: The easiest way to remove the tissue paper is to tear it off around the head, then grab the pigtail at the foot and slide it down.)

Though you’ll often see “62”—the notation on the band refers to Menendez’s years in the industry—included in the name, it isn’t, according to General’s Victoria McKee. She also reported that Menendez had no role in the complex blend of a Honduran wrapper and Connecticut Broadleaf binder with Dominican, Honduran, and Mexican filler.

It’s smooth, with a light finish. I’ve smoked four and found them consistent, though one did exhibit a bit of an uneven burn at several points. Draw was excellent on each. Strength varies along the way, ramping up considerably by the final third.

Flavors change throughout as well. Homage begins with some spice and a thick, rich tobacco taste, followed by the introduction of floral notes and wood. Strong pepper makes an appearance in the second half, as does some cedar and tobacco sweetness.

It’s the kind of smoke that rewards attention, and you’ll likely find yourself detecting lots of flavors and nuances. One I didn’t pick up was that telltale dirt taste I associate with Mexican tobacco. Frankly, I’d never have guessed it was in there.

If you’re a fan of bold boutique smokes, check out the Homage. With its reasonable prices—$9 and $9.50 for the Toro and Robusto Gordo, respectively—you might want to pick up a box, if you can find one. I give the Partagas Benji Homage Toro a rating of four and a half stogies out of five.

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

George E

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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