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Cigar Review: Old Henry Gold Label Toro

13 Apr 2016

Gold Label

As I wrote in my review of the Pure Breed Toro last month, Holt’s Cigar Company has a Best in Show sampler that features two Toros from each of the four Old Henry blends for just $29.95 ($3.74 per cigar). For cost-conscious fans of José “Pepín” García, this eight-pack is a total no-brainer.

Old Henry CTAnd whether you’re trying Old Henry for the first time or looking for an excuse to revisit these value-priced smokes, your timing couldn’t be better. This year marks the tenth anniversary of Old Henry, a house blend made for Holt’s by Pepín. Holt’s, as you may know, is the Philadelphia tobacconist that launched the Ashton brand in 1985 and today maintains a strong catalog and online presence. That means you don’t have to traipse to 1522 Walnut Street in downtown Philadelphia to get your hands on some Old Henry smokes.

Today, the Old Henry portfolio ranges from the original Old Henry (Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper), Maduro (Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper), Pure Breed (Ecuador Sumatra wrapper), and the subject of today’s review: Gold Label. Gold Label sports a clean, bright, minimally veined Connecticut-seed Ecuadorian wrapper that provides a silky cover for the Nicaraguan tobaccos underneath. Five vitolas are available in the highly affordable $4.75 to $5.75 range: Belicoso, Churchill, Corona, Robusto, and Toro.

The latter is firmly constructed from head to foot. The pre-light notes are faint with delicate hints of sweet hay, honey, and sawdust. After nothing more than a V-cut, I find the cold draw to be a bit stiff for my liking. A simple guillotine cut, though, reveals a good draw with only moderate resistance.

Right out of the gate, the Gold Label Toro exhibits a well-balanced flavor with an enjoyable interplay between sweetness, spice, and cream. Roasted nut, café au lait, dry oak, and white pepper best characterize the profile. The body is mild to medium with a buttery texture.

As it approaches the midway point, the taste becomes spicier with the additions of cinnamon and black pepper. I also notice that when my puffs become more frequent, a fleeting bitter taste has a tendency to materialize, but only for a moment. Avoiding the bitterness—which is not a flavor of which I’m particularly fond—is as easy as remembering to take your time.

The final third of the Toro has lots more cinnamon and pepper, though the body is still barely verging on medium. Construction across both of my samples was consistent and admirable. Both burn lines were of the set-it-and-forget-it variety, the smoke production was above average, and the gray ashes held firm.

This isn’t the first time we’ve reviewed the Old Henry Gold Label. My colleague examined the Belicoso way back in October 2012, finding it not complex enough to merit a four-stogie rating, but “a good bit better than a fairly routine three stogies.” He ultimately split the difference, and I concur. The Toro is worthy of three and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

One Response to “Cigar Review: Old Henry Gold Label Toro”

  1. Cigar Seeker Thursday, April 14, 2016 at 10:40 am #

    I bought that sampler you recommended previously. These are great smokes, so thanks for the advice! The problem I am having is distinguishing one cigar from another, since the labels all look so similar. Is there something I am not seeing?